Saturday, February 14, 2015

Milites Christi

Justifying violence
Citing from the Holy Book
Teaching hatred
In the name of God

Boy, did Obama step in it recently:

President Obama may have thought he was giving a straightforward history lesson at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday when he compared the atrocities of the Islamic State to the bloodshed committed in the name of Christianity in centuries past.

But that is not how many of his longtime critics saw it.

“The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said Jim Gilmore, the former Republican governor of Virginia. “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States.”

I could write a textbook on presidential comments that were more offensive; it would be easier to just provide a transcript of every presidential state-of-the-union address for the last 120 years or so…but I digress.

What were these “most offensive” presidential comments of a lifetime?

“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Mr. Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

I won’t dive into the history, it is well known; there is nothing untruthful in Obama’s words.

Americans aren’t known for understanding anything meaningful or important about history – Obama attempted a bridge too far with his remarks; otherwise why would someone be offended by the truth?  Wouldn’t it have been easier if Obama just stuck to current Christian support for the current Crusades, the current Inquisition, and current Jim Crowe laws?  Wouldn’t this be easier for simple minds to grasp?  What would be offensive about that?

The Crusades were military campaigns sanctioned by the Latin Roman Catholic Church during the High Middle Ages and Late Middle Ages. In 1095, Pope Urban II proclaimed the First Crusade with the stated goal of restoring Christian access to holy places in, and near Jerusalem.

Today’s Christian crusades come in two colors: the War on Terror and unequivocal support for Israel.  The stated purpose, instead of a goal of restoring Christianity, is today’s equivalent of establishing democracy.  But, to a resident of the Middle East, it is the same story: Christians coming in large armies and travelling far distances in order to kill Muslims.

Each is fought by largely (nominally) Christian nations and each is loudly and vocally supported by so-called Christian leaders.  Let’s start with Rev. Richard Land, “A Christian Defense of the War in Iraq.”  Who is Reverend Land?

As president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention, the Rev. Richard Land is one of the most influential moral voices on the conservative Christian scene. (Emphasis added)

He recently left this post and this interview is a few years old, but let’s see what he had to say – three years after Bush the Younger launched the war:

I believe in just-war theory, and the first item in just-war criteria is that it has to be a just cause. I believe our cause in Iraq was just; I think it was one of the more noble things we've done.

He believes the United States has done a service to the people in Iraq – giving them freedom and all that.  I wonder what an Iraqi would say about that – well, an Iraqi that didn’t die as a result of receiving all that blessed freedom.

The good reverend never met a war – or an opportunity for a war – that he didn’t like: in the same interview, he offers several possibilities for intervention via military action…well, except North Korea, because…well, they have nukes so they might hurt poor little Dick.

What about unequivocal support for Israel – another source for today’s crusade?  It is easy to find organizations with the words “Christian” and “Israel” in their name:

Our mission is to bring biblical understanding in the church and among the nations concerning God's purposes for Israel and to promote comfort of Israel through prayer and action.

It’s the action part that is concerning; the site is filled with appeals to the US Congress, denunciations of Palestinians, Iran, Obama, etc.

Christians United for Israel (because just being “for” Israel isn’t enough):

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with over two million members and one of the leading Christian grassroots movements in the world. We have only 25 staff, but serve over one million members and conduct over 40 pro-Israel events every month.

The purpose of Christians United For Israel (CUFI) is to provide a national association through which every pro-Israel church, parachurch organization, ministry or individual in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel in matters related to Biblical issues.

At a recent conference, CUFI had John Hagee (a founder of the organization) doing the honors – speaking during last years’ murderous campaign in Palestine:

The objective of Hamas, said Hagee, “is to win the media war with dead civilians. We’ve come to Washington to ask our government to stop demanding for Israel to show restraint.”

More than 4,800 evangelicals and Jews broke into applause. Some raised their arms and turned up their palms; a shofar-maker from New Jersey blew on one of his horns.

Hagee had set the theme: This year’s CUFI conference, followed by its members’ lobbying trips to Congress, would pressure the Obama administration not to broker an early cease-fire in Israel.

No, we wouldn’t want to stop killing in the name of god.  Hagee even cites from the holy book – although I might disagree with his interpretation:

“I’ll bless those that bless you and I’ll curse those that curse you,” said Hagee, quoting from the book of Genesis. “That’s God’s foreign policy statement, and it has not changed.”

I didn’t know God had a foreign policy statement.  I didn’t think it was possible for anything on earth – or even in the universe – to be “foreign” to God.  How is this physically, logically, or theologically possible?

Hagee is no piker; he is a big believer in wishing the rapid approach of nuclear armageddon upon us all:

John Hagee is the senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. The nondenominational evangelical church now has more than 18,000 active members.

I have not even mentioned anything about the general war-mongering to be found in many churches during every national holiday, and I won’t.  I will leave this to the expert, Laurence Vance.

Today’s crusades are far deadlier than those referenced by Obama from 1000 years ago.  He needn’t have stretched the average American mind beyond its superficial (and often fallacious) knowledge of history to have made his otherwise valid point.

The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition (Spanish: Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición), commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition (Inquisición española), was established in 1478 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms and to replace the Medieval Inquisition, which was under Papal control. It became the most substantive of the three different manifestations of the wider Christian Inquisition along with the Roman Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition.

The Inquisition was originally intended in large part to ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from Judaism and Islam. This regulation of the faith of the newly converted was intensified after the royal decrees issued in 1492 and 1501 ordering Jews and Muslims to convert or leave.

Convert or leave – it could be worse, couldn’t it?  Well, there was the torture:

As with all European tribunals of the time, torture was employed. The Spanish inquisition, however, engaged in it far less often and with greater care than other courts. Historian Henry Kamen contends that some "popular" accounts of the inquisition (those that describe scenes of uncontrolled sadistic torture) are not based in truth. Kamen argues that torture was only ever used to elicit information or a confession, not for punitive reasons. Modern scholars[who?] have determined that torture was used in two percent of the cases, and in less than one percent of the cases was it used a second time, never more than that. The torture lasted up to 15 minutes.

What kind of Christians were these monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella?  Torture almost never used twice and for not more than fifteen minutes?  Obama should have been booed off of the stage for referencing such weak-kneed so-called Christians.  No wonder Gilmore found the remarks so offensive.

This is what today’s Christian expects for his torture-prayers:

·        The CIA had force fed some prisoners orally and/or anally in order to establish “total control over the detainee.”
·        The Committee found that "[a]t least five CIA detainees were subjected to 'rectal rehydration' or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity."
·        At least one prisoner was "diagnosed with chronic hemorrhoids, an anal fissure and symptomatic rectal prolapse," symptoms normally associated with a violent rape.
·        CIA officials Scott Miller and James Pavitt were told that rectal exams of at least two prisoners had been conducted with "excessive force."
·        Threats to rape and murder were made against the children or family members of prisoners.

The list goes on, tortuously.

A higher percentage of Christians than the percentage in the general population support this torture:

…79 percent of evangelicals in America and 78 percent of Catholics (along with 68 percent of all Americans, according to a recent poll)—who say torture can be justified.

If the Christians would just get on with evangelizing to their heathen countrymen, support for torture would go through the roof.

Jim Crow laws mandated the segregation of public schools, public places and public transportation, and the segregation of restrooms, restaurants and drinking fountains for whites and blacks.

The aforementioned Christian support for Israel and Israel’s caging of Palestinians will suffice for today’s example.


Back to Petrucci:

Tools of the devil inside
Written in Holy disguise
Meant to deceive and divide
Us all

That Christians today believe what they believe about today’s Crusades, Inquisition, and Jim Crow condition is a testament to the quality of the holy lies they so willingly swallow.

Obama really didn’t have to dive into Medieval history to make his point.  Ask any Muslim (or any of the few remaining Christians) on the street throughout the Middle East and North Africa about Crusades, Inquisition, and Jim Crow, and they can offer numerous examples from the 21st century.

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