Religious repression includes confiscation of church property, banning and exile of religious orders, trial, imprisonment and execution of the clergy, and the banning and burning of religious books. It also includes persecution of adherents to the religion in question, general religious discrimination, religious war and mass murder.
Religious repression has existed from very early history. The Spanish inquisition is the best known. The religious inquisition of the Edo period (1600-1868) was designed to eradicate Christianity throughout Japan. Under it, the population was screened for the presence of the religion's missionaries and believers. Persons discovered to be Christian were forced to apostatize, the recalcitrant were subjected to psychological and physical tortures until they recanted, and those who refused to abandon their faith were executed. One of the most horrifying examples in the 20th century was the Nazi treatment of the Jews.
Religious repression exists overtly in countries where ideology is contrary to religion (for example, in communist countries) and less overtly in countries where one religion strongly predominates and, by influence over the law and other social and political institutions, excludes the place in society of others.