Posts Tagged “crusade”

Albigensian Crusade 01I’ve been told that Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, failed vice-presidential candidate, and princess of the GOP and of the teabaggers who infest it, isn’t nearly as stupid or insane as she seems to be. “Crazy like a fox” is the expression I’ve heard.

Even so, I can’t help but wonder if Ms Palin is aware she recently spoke in a manner befitting a medieval Crusade leader. My guess is, she doesn’t know it, because like most Americans, especially of the Religious Right sort, she has no education in medieval history. No, I think she spewed some of her own insane lunacy, and it only just happens to sound that way. Politico reports she made remarks about President Obama’s plan to attack Syria sometime over the next few weeks (WebCite cached article):

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is condemning potential American military action in Syria, charging it would be President Obama “saving political face” and saying, “Let Allah sort it out.”

She did this in a Facebook posting, complete with a picture of her standing with members of the military (cached). How patriotic of her!

I immediately recalled my own medieval studies: “Let Allah sort it out” is Ms Palin’s own version of a common paraphrase of an order reportedly delivered in the field by a Papal legate leading a Crusader army in southern France.

The occasion was the attack on Béziers in 1209. The army of legate Arnaud Amalric was concerned about how to tell the loyal Catholics in the town from the heretic Cathars. What he reportedly told them, was “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius,” or in English, “Kill them all. The Lord knows who are his own.” Whether or not he actually said this, is a matter of some conjecture. What is more certain, is that by the legate’s admission, his own men killed Catholics and Cathars indiscriminately. So even if he hadn’t given such an order, he might as well have, because that’s how his men behaved.

The other question I have about Ms Palin’s criticism of the impending attack on Syria, is that I seriously wonder if she’d be condemning it, had either John McCain or Mitt Romney been in office and made the same decision. Her running-mate, McCain, in particular has been scrapping for a war in Syria for quite some time now (cached). I’m not sure she’d be so outspoken against such a move, if a Republican president had proposed it.

In any event, I’m not sure a bone-chilling pronouncement of doom on people, some of whom she has to know would be innocent, is the best way for Ms Palin to talk about the Syrian civil war and the manner in which the US should deal with it. I’m also pretty sure that some propagandists in the Islamic world will pick up on her medieval-Crusade-style language and use that as evidence that the US is engaged in a modern-day “Crusade” to wipe out Islam as a religion and kill all Muslims. (Not that this is possible for us to do, obviously, but that won’t stop them from saying so.) We just don’t fucking need people spewing this kind of rank bullshit.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Gustave Doré, Crusades, the Discovery of the True CrossLots of Christians are embarrassed by the Crusades, the series of military expeditions by western European Christians against Muslims (and on one occasion, eastern Christians) in the Middle East, in the name of reclaiming the Holy Land in the name of Jesus Christ. Most Christians these days dismiss them as but a momentary aberration, but they lasted from the final years of the 11th century, to the fall of Acre at the end of the 13th … so they can hardly be considered a single, discrete moment of collective Christian madness. Few Christians these days are capable of understanding what the Crusades were without waving them off as being “in the past,” and fewer still are willing even to talk about them very much.

While the subject of the Crusades makes Christians uncomfortable, it’s rare for them to explicitly and plainly lie about their nature. Yet that’s precisely what former Pennsylvania Senator and militant Christianist Rick Santorum did, however, as Politico explains (WebCite cached article):

Rick Santorum launched into a scathing attack on the left, charging during an appearance in South Carolina that the history of the Crusades has been corrupted by “the American left who hates Christendom.”

“The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical,” Santorum said in Spartanburg on Tuesday. “And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom.”

To say the Crusades were not an expression of Christian “aggression” is anti-factual and laughable. Of course they were! How could they not be? The massacre of Jerusalem in 1099 — to name just one event during the First Crusade — was most certainly “Christian aggression” — unnecessary, barbaric and horrifically excessive, at that. The list of other moments of “Christian aggression” that took place during the entire course of the long sequence of Crusades is long and bloody. For Santorum to deny their “aggression” means he’s either grossly ignorant of the Crusades, or a liar. (Or maybe both.)

Santorum’s idiotic diatribe included this revealing little snippet; referring to the concept of equality, Santorum said:

“It’s become part of our national religion, if you will,” he continued.

Uh, Rick … umm, you might want to read your First Amendment and see if you can digest the fact that the US cannot legally have a “national religion.” OK? And if you’re going to insist nonetheless that we do have one, I wish you the best of luck forcing me to worship it. Go ahead, Rick. Have at it. Make me follow your “national religion.”

Hat tip: Unreasonable Faith.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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