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When the churches literally ruled society, the human drama encompassed: (a) slavery; (b) the cruel subjection of women;(c)the most savage forms of legal punishment; (d) the absurd belief that kings ruled by divine right; (e) the daily imposition of physical abuse; (f) cold heartlessness for the sufferings of the poor; as well as (g) assorted pogroms ('ethnic cleansing' wars) between rival religions, capital punishment for literally hundreds of offenses, and countless other daily imposed moral outrages. . . . It was the free-thinking, challenging work by people of conscience, who almost invariably had to defy the religious and political status quo of their times, that brought us out of such darkness." Steve Allen