Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reverend Dan's Christian Crimeline

And to all the David Bartons and Rick Santorums out there: I'm not making this sh*t up!!

Let's get one thing straight: while I'm not trying to bash Christianity, the fact is that Christianity has never sufficiently apologized for its own sins. And while I consider myself a Christian, it's galling to me that some people paint Christianity's history as a (sometimes) misguided but devoutly focused, evangelizing mission, persecuted relentlessly along the way.

The picture of devoutly-driven Founding Fathers by David Barton, and the recent tongue lashing given out by Rick Santorum concerning the Crusades and the early Church's treatment of Muslims (everyone else is "anti-Christian) are both totally off the mark. 

Through the years, I have been researching what could be called a "Christian Crime Line." Yes, that's a bit nasty, but there's no other way we can look upon the actions in a different light, especially when stacked up on upon the other. True, the eras in between may have had some ameliorating qualities, but the fact remains that non-Christians were persecuted, and killed on a scale of much greater proportions than Christians were under the Romans, even before the Crusades. By the time Urban II gave his fateful speech, whole cultures had been wiped away "in the name of God."* 

So let's look at some aspects of Christian history most people have never been taught before:

313 - 
Constantine unites the Empire after the Battle of Milvian Bridge and officially recognizes Christianity as a legitimate religion and bans persecution of Christians  
314 - 
Christians begin to massacre pagans in Egypt and Palestine
319 - 
Christian clergy receives tax-exempt status
319 - 
Arian Heresy starts to spread throughout the Empire
325 - 
Council of Nicea is convened by Constantine to discuss date of Easter and deal wiith Arian Heresy. Approx. 300 bishops attended (out of 1800 in the entire empire, most of whom were in north Africa)
325 - 
Approx. 3000 pagans are killed immediately after the Council of Nicea
327 - 
"Christian" Constantine executes his son Chrispus in belief that he had sex with his step-mother, Fausta. He didn’t. After Constantine finds out the truth, he has Fausta boiled ... in her own bathtub.
330 - 
Constantine outlaws Christian conversion to Judaism
335 - 
Magicians and astrologers (astronomers as well) are banned and executed
336 - 
Arian Christians are persecuted
337 - 
Constantine is finally  baptized as a Christian … on his deathbed
350 - 
Riots break out between Arian Christians and Orthodox Christians
354 - 
Emperor Constantius orders all pagan temples closed
355 - 
Clergy exempt from being tried in secular courts
359 - 
Christians build world’s first “death camps” in Skythopolis, Syria for pagans and unconverted Jews**
391 - 
The Great Library of Alexandria is burned by a Christian mob
360  - 
Pagan sacrifice is declared punishable by death
412 - 
Augustine of Hippo, supports war against heretics
415 - 
Female philosopher Hypatia is brutally murdered
435 - 
Emperor Theodosius II order the deaths of all non-Christians except Jews
476 - 
Rome falls to the Goths
528 - 
Emperor Justinian outlaws the Olympic Games (considered pagan)
529 - 
Justinian closes Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum.
590 - 
After Pope Gregory I decrees celibacy for the clergy, infants are murdered
632 - 
Byzantine-Arab war
782 - 
Charlemagne orders the beheading of pagans
850 - 
Eastern Orthodox Empress Theodora orders execution of Paulicans (heretics)
1095 - 
People’s Crusade
1095 - 
First Crusade: Pope Urban II calls for a “Holy War” to "save the tomb of Christ from the heathen”
1096 -
During the People’s Crusade (as in all official nine Crusades) Jews are killed en route
1101 - 
Crusade of 1101
1144 - 
First “Blood Libel” used against Jews in England
1145 -
 Second Crusade
1189 - 
Third Crusade
1193 - 
Northern Crusade
Fourth Crusade
1209 - 
Albigensian Crusade
1209 - 
The Inquisition as institution of Christianity is officially established
1212 - 
Children’s Crusade
1217 - 
Fifth Crusade
1228 - 
Sixth Crusade
1232 - 
Northern Crusades
1248 - 
Seventh Crusade
1251 - 
First Shepherd’s Crusade
1270 - 
Eighth Crusade
1271 - 
Ninth Crusade
1281 - 
Aragonese Crusade
1320 - 
Second Shepherd’s Crusade
1348 - 
Jews, believed to be the cause of the Black Death were massacred in Mainz, Germany
1365 - 
Alexandrian Crusade
1396 - 
Nicopolis Crusade
1398 - 
Crusades against the Tartars

After the last "Crusade," a variety of complex factors entered into the picture. Too many to go into detail here, so please forgive the next seemingly sweeping generalizations. 

Witch-burnings took hold in Europe and, along with The Inquisition, for the next 400 years killed approximately 1 million people. Auto de Fes (burning as many as a dozen "witches" at a time) were very popular in France, Germany and even England. Men and children were also burned as "witches." Then in 1492, Jews and Muslims were expelled from Spain just before the colonization of the Americas, India and Indonesia. When Cortez landed in Mexico, there were approximately 25 million Meso-Americans (Natives from California down to Peru). In the year 1650, it is estimated that there were less than 1 million. And while disease may have been a major factor of depopulation, slavery and forced-conversions played roles as well. Within a period of 800 years (not counting the Crusades), Europe's countries were involved in 782 wars, most of which were sanctioned by the Church. The Tai Ping Rebellion in China (supporting a man who claimed to be the brother of Christ) took over 20 million lives.*** 

Does the above make me seem incredibly anti-Christian? Of course. Most will think that I couldn't possibly be a Christian after reading such a litany. But I am steadfast in my beliefs and, in them, I remain a Christian. And I will not fill in the obvious blanks in the Christian history of the above because so many apologetics have done that before me. 

But, being human, I can't begin to forgive the past, until I hear a very loud apology.

*I think that killing anyone for any reason "in the name of God" is the height of blasphemy. Sorry.
** While the evidence for this is very, very slim, the concept of "concentration camps" was not new. Also, take into account the volume of pagans still in the Roman Empire: a minority, yes, but one that, at the time, still was the religion of at least 10% of the Empire.
***And at no time did any Christian entity try to stop it.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Christian leaders declared that cats were "witches' familiars" and/or agents of the devil and ordered the widescale annihiliation of felines. Upsetting the ecosystem, rodents thrived (no longer had a natural enemy) and spread the Black Plague. So add those deaths to the toll.