Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nov. 27, 1095 Pope encourges crusaders to kill for Christ. Not much has changed in all these years

Another example of the church going in the wrong direction using God for evil purposes.

Pope Urban II called on all Christians to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims and reclaim the Holy Land: "Deus vult (God wills it)!" What is currently called the Middle East was then in control of the Turks who frequently barred Christian pilgrims entrance to the city.At the Council of Clermont in France, the pope promised absolution and remission of sins for all who died in the service of Christ. The mobilization of 60,000 to 100,000 Christians throughout Europe in this effort became known as the First Crusade.

Not much has changed in 1,000 years with some people like Sarah Palin saying that troops going to Iraq are part of "God's plan".

Video lasts 0:19.


  1. The Pope isn't doing it. That has changed. From your headline, I assumed this post was going to be criticism of the Catholic church.

  2. Dear Chalicechick:

    The pope has taken a stand against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but I don't see American Bishops refusing communion to Catholic politicians who support the war and voted for it as they have Catholic politicians who are for choice. Do you see the contradiction in their pro-life stance? Millions of more people have been killed in the immoral wars perpetrated by the U.S. sanctioned by Catholic politicians in spite of the Church's stand than in abortion.

    I think the plausibility structure of the Roman Catholic church leaves a lot to be desired. That's why I left it to join the Unitarian Universalists.

    Thank you for your comment.

    David Markham

  3. I'm not at all sure that you're correct that more lives would be saved by going to war, mostly because there are TONS of abortions in America every year. Indeed, I'm pretty sure that there are more aborted babies in American in one year than there have been casualties in this entire war.

    And even if that weren't true, the Catholics might well argue that it is one thing to take the lives of volunteers who know the risks and another to take the lives of fetuses that have no say. One could argue that politicians have a greater duty to speak for the voiceless than they do to speak for those who volunteer and get paid knowing that death is at least a possibility.

    Believe me, I know you're mad at Catholicism. It's impossible to read this blog and some of the things you sent to that email list without picking up on that. Still, I wonder if there's really much to be gained from sniping at other religions and bringing up thousand-year-old mistakes.


  4. Dear Chalicechick:

    I don't see this analysis as a numbers game. One death of a human being with inherent worth and dignity is too much, but since we are looking at things this way - what role did the Catholic Church and other Christian churches have in the hollocaust?

    If we don't remember the past, we are doomed to repeat.

    I am not angry at the Catholic church but more indignant at the hyprocisy. I want people and their institutions to be perfect especially if they are in the business of dominating, oppressing, and subjugating others.

    I feel rather like Jesus in the Temple driving out the money changers. Did I tell you that my birthday is on 12/25? Really, it is.

    Thanks for your comments and reminding me of my bigotry and uncharitable feelings towards others. I need that, I do.

    All the best,

    David Markham

  5. (((what role did the Catholic Church and other Christian churches have in the hollocaust?)))

    Ok, you're not getting my point, though I suppose 70 year old mistakes is an improvement.

    As far as the Catholics go, BEFORE the holocaust, when the German government was planning to outlaw religion, the Pope made a deal with the Germans that if the Pope didn't criticize the German government that German Catholics would be allowed to practice their faith.

    Given that promise, the Catholic church spoke out of the horrors intolerance was bringing during the holocaust but didn't actually speak of the German government by name. People who don't like the Catholics LOVE to bring up how the church didn't denounce the Germans BY NAME under the apparent assumption that no one in Europe was smart enough to figure out who the Church was talking about.

    I don't see this as an important distinction as the highest Catholic who did speak out against the Germans specifically was the Bishop of Amsterdam. The Germans immediately started killing Dutch Catholics, and no good came of it whatsoever that I've ever seen.

    So I don't really see that the Catholics speaking out would have done anything other than quiet people who hate Catholics of that one criticism.* If anything, it would have cost more lives as it would have lead to the Nazis killing far more Catholics and it would have made it MUCH harder for the Catholics to secretly save the Jews that they did.

    Golda Meier spoke at Pope Pius' funeral and praised him for what the Catholics did.

    Though plenty of Catholic soldiers died fighting Hitler, the Catholics weren't perfect during that time, nobody was. Indeed, the Catholics have screwed up big time before and since. Show me a thousand-year-old institution that hasn't.

    But seriously, you want to blame an institution that still exists that helped the Holocaust along?

    Snipe at IBM.

    ((( I want people and their institutions to be perfect )))

    When one of my best friend's kids announces that they want something they aren't going to get, I always have the same response:

    "I want a house in the Hamptons. Life's rough."

    I'd say that applies here. IMHO, we can cry all day that institutions that do a lot of good (Which the Catholic church still does, even though I disagree with them on a lot of points too), aren't perfect, or we can either help them improve by joining and working from within or we can get out of the way and save our criticism for when we're doing an equivalent amount of good.

    If you were feeding 80 million people worldwide who would otherwise be starving, you could say whatever you wanted about how they screwed up 70 years ago and I wouldn't say a word.

    Until you're doing the good that Catholic Relief Services is, I'd hold off on criticism of old mistakes and focus on what can be done to improve the world now. And I'll note that whining about how other people are imperfect does not fit my definition of "doing good."

    Don't sacrifice the good to the perfect, doing so is an excellent way to waste your life and your gifts.


    *To be honest, my observation is that "speaking out" is almost never actually helpful, though it is easier than actually helping people.

  6. Ps. Albert Einstein was speaking of the Catholics when he wrote:

    ""Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that them had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks... Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.""

    Don't compare the Catholic Church's actions to perfection.

    Compare them to what everyone else was doing.