" Freethinker " and " rationalist " have been terms of opprobrium whether used by Protestants or Catholics.
In 1840 he introduced a bill to settle the vexed question of patronage; but disliked by a majority in the general assembly of the Scotch church, and unsupported by the government, it failed to become law, and some opprobrium was cast upon its author.
The name was adopted because of the fancied resemblance of the peace party to the venomous copperhead snake, and, though applied as a term of opprobrium, it was willingly assumed by those upon whom it was bestowed.
When, however, it is remembered that the unanimous decision of the Swiss churches and of the Swiss state governments was that Servetus deserved to die; that the general voice of Christendom was in favour of this; that even such a man as Melanchthon affirmed the justice of the sentence; 3 that an eminent English divine of the next age should declare the process against him "just and honourable," 4 and that only a few voices here and there were at the time raised against it, many will be ready to accept the judgment of Coleridge, that the death of Servetus was not "Calvin's guilt especially, but the common opprobrium of all European Christendom."
The antithesis - batting first and getting rolled over - rarely seems to attract similar opprobrium.