Weird History

The Biggest Religious Panics in US History

Religious panics have been part of US history since the first Puritan settlers set up camp. Puritanical fears of witches led to the Salem Witch Trials, killing two dozen innocent people. These fears eventually transformed into evangelical Protestant conspiracies against Catholics, various moral panics related to Satan, and even a crusade against rock music.

Today's society is similarly afflicted with religious hysteria. Anti-gay and anti-trans laws around the country have been pushed by evangelical politicians and preachers, and Islamophobic fears of sharia law and terrorist collaboration are rampant. Even conspiracy theories about the Illuminati are tinged with religious panic, as proponents believe the group intends to overthrow Christianity and replace it with Satan worship.

Here are some of the worst and strangest religious panics in American history.