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The Real History of the Crusades
Crisis Magazine ^ | 4/1/2002 | Thomas Madden

Posted on 04/07/2002 7:35:39 PM PDT by traditionalist

With the possible exception of Umberto Eco, medieval scholars are not used to getting much media attention. We tend to be a quiet lot (except during the annual bacchanalia we call the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, of all places), poring over musty chronicles and writing dull yet meticulous studies that few will read. Imagine, then, my surprise when within days of the September 11 attacks, the Middle Ages suddenly became relevant.

As a Crusade historian, I found the tranquil solitude of the ivory tower shattered by journalists, editors, and talk-show hosts on tight deadlines eager to get the real scoop. What were the Crusades?, they asked. When were they? Just how insensitive was President George W. Bush for using the word "crusade" in his remarks? With a few of my callers I had the distinct impression that they already knew the answers to their questions, or at least thought they did. What they really wanted was an expert to say it all back to them. For example, I was frequently asked to comment on the fact that the Islamic world has a just grievance against the West. Doesn’t the present violence, they persisted, have its roots in the Crusades’ brutal and unprovoked attacks against a sophisticated and tolerant Muslim world? In other words, aren’t the Crusades really to blame?

Osama bin Laden certainly thinks so. In his various video performances, he never fails to describe the American war against terrorism as a new Crusade against Islam. Ex-president Bill Clinton has also fingered the Crusades as the root cause of the present conflict. In a speech at Georgetown University, he recounted (and embellished) a massacre of Jews after the Crusader conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 and informed his audience that the episode was still bitterly remembered in the Middle East. (Why Islamist terrorists should be upset about the killing of Jews was not explained.) Clinton took a beating on the nation’s editorial pages for wanting so much to blame the United States that he was willing to reach back to the Middle Ages. Yet no one disputed the ex-president’s fundamental premise.

Well, almost no one. Many historians had been trying to set the record straight on the Crusades long before Clinton discovered them. They are not revisionists, like the American historians who manufactured the Enola Gay exhibit, but mainstream scholars offering the fruit of several decades of very careful, very serious scholarship. For them, this is a "teaching moment," an opportunity to explain the Crusades while people are actually listening. It won’t last long, so here goes.

Misconceptions about the Crusades are all too common. The Crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general. A breed of proto-imperialists, the Crusaders introduced Western aggression to the peaceful Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins. For variations on this theme, one need not look far. See, for example, Steven Runciman’s famous three-volume epic, History of the Crusades, or the BBC/A&E documentary, The Crusades, hosted by Terry Jones. Both are terrible history yet wonderfully entertaining.

So what is the truth about the Crusades? Scholars are still working some of that out. But much can already be said with certainty. For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression—an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands.

Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them. While Muslims can be peaceful, Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. Muslim thought divides the world into two spheres, the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War. Christianity—and for that matter any other non-Muslim religion—has no abode. Christians and Jews can be tolerated within a Muslim state under Muslim rule. But, in traditional Islam, Christian and Jewish states must be destroyed and their lands conquered. When Mohammed was waging war against Mecca in the seventh century, Christianity was the dominant religion of power and wealth. As the faith of the Roman Empire, it spanned the entire Mediterranean, including the Middle East, where it was born. The Christian world, therefore, was a prime target for the earliest caliphs, and it would remain so for Muslim leaders for the next thousand years.

With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed’s death. They were extremely successful. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt—once the most heavily Christian areas in the world—quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East.

That is what gave birth to the Crusades. They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.

Pope Urban II called upon the knights of Christendom to push back the conquests of Islam at the Council of Clermont in 1095. The response was tremendous. Many thousands of warriors took the vow of the cross and prepared for war. Why did they do it? The answer to that question has been badly misunderstood. In the wake of the Enlightenment, it was usually asserted that Crusaders were merely lacklands and ne’er-do-wells who took advantage of an opportunity to rob and pillage in a faraway land. The Crusaders’ expressed sentiments of piety, self-sacrifice, and love for God were obviously not to be taken seriously. They were only a front for darker designs.

During the past two decades, computer-assisted charter studies have demolished that contrivance. Scholars have discovered that crusading knights were generally wealthy men with plenty of their own land in Europe. Nevertheless, they willingly gave up everything to undertake the holy mission. Crusading was not cheap. Even wealthy lords could easily impoverish themselves and their families by joining a Crusade. They did so not because they expected material wealth (which many of them had already) but because they hoped to store up treasure where rust and moth could not corrupt. They were keenly aware of their sinfulness and eager to undertake the hardships of the Crusade as a penitential act of charity and love. Europe is littered with thousands of medieval charters attesting to these sentiments, charters in which these men still speak to us today if we will listen. Of course, they were not opposed to capturing booty if it could be had. But the truth is that the Crusades were notoriously bad for plunder. A few people got rich, but the vast majority returned with nothing.

* * *

Urban II gave the Crusaders two goals, both of which would remain central to the eastern Crusades for centuries. The first was to rescue the Christians of the East. As his successor, Pope Innocent III, later wrote:

How does a man love according to divine precept his neighbor as himself when, knowing that his Christian brothers in faith and in name are held by the perfidious Muslims in strict confinement and weighed down by the yoke of heaviest servitude, he does not devote himself to the task of freeing them? ...Is it by chance that you do not know that many thousands of Christians are bound in slavery and imprisoned by the Muslims, tortured with innumerable torments?

"Crusading," Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith has rightly argued, was understood as an "an act of love"—in this case, the love of one’s neighbor. The Crusade was seen as an errand of mercy to right a terrible wrong. As Pope Innocent III wrote to the Knights Templar, "You carry out in deeds the words of the Gospel, ‘Greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends.’"

The second goal was the liberation of Jerusalem and the other places made holy by the life of Christ. The word crusade is modern. Medieval Crusaders saw themselves as pilgrims, performing acts of righteousness on their way to the Holy Sepulcher. The Crusade indulgence they received was canonically related to the pilgrimage indulgence. This goal was frequently described in feudal terms. When calling the Fifth Crusade in 1215, Innocent III wrote:

Consider most dear sons, consider carefully that if any temporal king was thrown out of his domain and perhaps captured, would he not, when he was restored to his pristine liberty and the time had come for dispensing justice look on his vassals as unfaithful and traitors...unless they had committed not only their property but also their persons to the task of freeing him? ...And similarly will not Jesus Christ, the king of kings and lord of lords, whose servant you cannot deny being, who joined your soul to your body, who redeemed you with the Precious Blood...condemn you for the vice of ingratitude and the crime of infidelity if you neglect to help Him?

The reconquest of Jerusalem, therefore, was not colonialism but an act of restoration and an open declaration of one’s love of God. Medieval men knew, of course, that God had the power to restore Jerusalem Himself—indeed, He had the power to restore the whole world to His rule. Yet as St. Bernard of Clairvaux preached, His refusal to do so was a blessing to His people:

Again I say, consider the Almighty’s goodness and pay heed to His plans of mercy. He puts Himself under obligation to you, or rather feigns to do so, that He can help you to satisfy your obligations toward Himself.... I call blessed the generation that can seize an opportunity of such rich indulgence as this.

It is often assumed that the central goal of the Crusades was forced conversion of the Muslim world. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the perspective of medieval Christians, Muslims were the enemies of Christ and His Church. It was the Crusaders’ task to defeat and defend against them. That was all. Muslims who lived in Crusader-won territories were generally allowed to retain their property and livelihood, and always their religion. Indeed, throughout the history of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, Muslim inhabitants far outnumbered the Catholics. It was not until the 13th century that the Franciscans began conversion efforts among Muslims. But these were mostly unsuccessful and finally abandoned. In any case, such efforts were by peaceful persuasion, not the threat of violence.

The Crusades were wars, so it would be a mistake to characterize them as nothing but piety and good intentions. Like all warfare, the violence was brutal (although not as brutal as modern wars). There were mishaps, blunders, and crimes. These are usually well-remembered today. During the early days of the First Crusade in 1095, a ragtag band of Crusaders led by Count Emicho of Leiningen made its way down the Rhine, robbing and murdering all the Jews they could find. Without success, the local bishops attempted to stop the carnage. In the eyes of these warriors, the Jews, like the Muslims, were the enemies of Christ. Plundering and killing them, then, was no vice. Indeed, they believed it was a righteous deed, since the Jews’ money could be used to fund the Crusade to Jerusalem. But they were wrong, and the Church strongly condemned the anti-Jewish attacks.

Fifty years later, when the Second Crusade was gearing up, St. Bernard frequently preached that the Jews were not to be persecuted:

Ask anyone who knows the Sacred Scriptures what he finds foretold of the Jews in the Psalm. "Not for their destruction do I pray," it says. The Jews are for us the living words of Scripture, for they remind us always of what our Lord suffered.... Under Christian princes they endure a hard captivity, but "they only wait for the time of their deliverance."

Nevertheless, a fellow Cistercian monk named Radulf stirred up people against the Rhineland Jews, despite numerous letters from Bernard demanding that he stop. At last Bernard was forced to travel to Germany himself, where he caught up with Radulf, sent him back to his convent, and ended the massacres.

It is often said that the roots of the Holocaust can be seen in these medieval pogroms. That may be. But if so, those roots are far deeper and more widespread than the Crusades. Jews perished during the Crusades, but the purpose of the Crusades was not to kill Jews. Quite the contrary: Popes, bishops, and preachers made it clear that the Jews of Europe were to be left unmolested. In a modern war, we call tragic deaths like these "collateral damage." Even with smart technologies, the United States has killed far more innocents in our wars than the Crusaders ever could. But no one would seriously argue that the purpose of American wars is to kill women and children.

By any reckoning, the First Crusade was a long shot. There was no leader, no chain of command, no supply lines, no detailed strategy. It was simply thousands of warriors marching deep into enemy territory, committed to a common cause. Many of them died, either in battle or through disease or starvation. It was a rough campaign, one that seemed always on the brink of disaster. Yet it was miraculously successful. By 1098, the Crusaders had restored Nicaea and Antioch to Christian rule. In July 1099, they conquered Jerusalem and began to build a Christian state in Palestine. The joy in Europe was unbridled. It seemed that the tide of history, which had lifted the Muslims to such heights, was now turning.

* * *

But it was not. When we think about the Middle Ages, it is easy to view Europe in light of what it became rather than what it was. The colossus of the medieval world was Islam, not Christendom. The Crusades are interesting largely because they were an attempt to counter that trend. But in five centuries of crusading, it was only the First Crusade that significantly rolled back the military progress of Islam. It was downhill from there.

When the Crusader County of Edessa fell to the Turks and Kurds in 1144, there was an enormous groundswell of support for a new Crusade in Europe. It was led by two kings, Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, and preached by St. Bernard himself. It failed miserably. Most of the Crusaders were killed along the way. Those who made it to Jerusalem only made things worse by attacking Muslim Damascus, which formerly had been a strong ally of the Christians. In the wake of such a disaster, Christians across Europe were forced to accept not only the continued growth of Muslim power but the certainty that God was punishing the West for its sins. Lay piety movements sprouted up throughout Europe, all rooted in the desire to purify Christian society so that it might be worthy of victory in the East.

Crusading in the late twelfth century, therefore, became a total war effort. Every person, no matter how weak or poor, was called to help. Warriors were asked to sacrifice their wealth and, if need be, their lives for the defense of the Christian East. On the home front, all Christians were called to support the Crusades through prayer, fasting, and alms. Yet still the Muslims grew in strength. Saladin, the great unifier, had forged the Muslim Near East into a single entity, all the while preaching jihad against the Christians. In 1187 at the Battle of Hattin, his forces wiped out the combined armies of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem and captured the precious relic of the True Cross. Defenseless, the Christian cities began surrendering one by one, culminating in the surrender of Jerusalem on October 2. Only a tiny handful of ports held out.

The response was the Third Crusade. It was led by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa of the German Empire, King Philip II Augustus of France, and King Richard I Lionheart of England. By any measure it was a grand affair, although not quite as grand as the Christians had hoped. The aged Frederick drowned while crossing a river on horseback, so his army returned home before reaching the Holy Land. Philip and Richard came by boat, but their incessant bickering only added to an already divisive situation on the ground in Palestine. After recapturing Acre, the king of France went home, where he busied himself carving up Richard’s French holdings. The Crusade, therefore, fell into Richard’s lap. A skilled warrior, gifted leader, and superb tactician, Richard led the Christian forces to victory after victory, eventually reconquering the entire coast. But Jerusalem was not on the coast, and after two abortive attempts to secure supply lines to the Holy City, Richard at last gave up. Promising to return one day, he struck a truce with Saladin that ensured peace in the region and free access to Jerusalem for unarmed pilgrims. But it was a bitter pill to swallow. The desire to restore Jerusalem to Christian rule and regain the True Cross remained intense throughout Europe.

The Crusades of the 13th century were larger, better funded, and better organized. But they too failed. The Fourth Crusade (1201-1204) ran aground when it was seduced into a web of Byzantine politics, which the Westerners never fully understood. They had made a detour to Constantinople to support an imperial claimant who promised great rewards and support for the Holy Land. Yet once he was on the throne of the Caesars, their benefactor found that he could not pay what he had promised. Thus betrayed by their Greek friends, in 1204 the Crusaders attacked, captured, and brutally sacked Constantinople, the greatest Christian city in the world. Pope Innocent III, who had previously excommunicated the entire Crusade, strongly denounced the Crusaders. But there was little else he could do. The tragic events of 1204 closed an iron door between Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox, a door that even today Pope John Paul II has been unable to reopen. It is a terrible irony that the Crusades, which were a direct result of the Catholic desire to rescue the Orthodox people, drove the two further—and perhaps irrevocably—apart.

The remainder of the 13th century’s Crusades did little better. The Fifth Crusade (1217-1221) managed briefly to capture Damietta in Egypt, but the Muslims eventually defeated the army and reoccupied the city. St. Louis IX of France led two Crusades in his life. The first also captured Damietta, but Louis was quickly outwitted by the Egyptians and forced to abandon the city. Although Louis was in the Holy Land for several years, spending freely on defensive works, he never achieved his fondest wish: to free Jerusalem. He was a much older man in 1270 when he led another Crusade to Tunis, where he died of a disease that ravaged the camp. After St. Louis’s death, the ruthless Muslim leaders, Baybars and Kalavun, waged a brutal jihad against the Christians in Palestine. By 1291, the Muslim forces had succeeded in killing or ejecting the last of the Crusaders, thus erasing the Crusader kingdom from the map. Despite numerous attempts and many more plans, Christian forces were never again able to gain a foothold in the region until the 19th century.

* * *

One might think that three centuries of Christian defeats would have soured Europeans on the idea of Crusade. Not at all. In one sense, they had little alternative. Muslim kingdoms were becoming more, not less, powerful in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. The Ottoman Turks conquered not only their fellow Muslims, thus further unifying Islam, but also continued to press westward, capturing Constantinople and plunging deep into Europe itself. By the 15th century, the Crusades were no longer errands of mercy for a distant people but desperate attempts of one of the last remnants of Christendom to survive. Europeans began to ponder the real possibility that Islam would finally achieve its aim of conquering the entire Christian world. One of the great best-sellers of the time, Sebastian Brant’s The Ship of Fools, gave voice to this sentiment in a chapter titled "Of the Decline of the Faith":

Our faith was strong in th’ Orient,

It ruled in all of Asia,

In Moorish lands and Africa.

But now for us these lands are gone

’Twould even grieve the hardest stone....

Four sisters of our Church you find,

They’re of the patriarchic kind:

Constantinople, Alexandria,

Jerusalem, Antiochia.

But they’ve been forfeited and sacked

And soon the head will be attacked.

Of course, that is not what happened. But it very nearly did. In 1480, Sultan Mehmed II captured Otranto as a beachhead for his invasion of Italy. Rome was evacuated. Yet the sultan died shortly thereafter, and his plan died with him. In 1529, Suleiman the Magnificent laid siege to Vienna. If not for a run of freak rainstorms that delayed his progress and forced him to leave behind much of his artillery, it is virtually certain that the Turks would have taken the city. Germany, then, would have been at their mercy.

Yet, even while these close shaves were taking place, something else was brewing in Europe—something unprecedented in human history. The Renaissance, born from a strange mixture of Roman values, medieval piety, and a unique respect for commerce and entrepreneurialism, had led to other movements like humanism, the Scientific Revolution, and the Age of Exploration. Even while fighting for its life, Europe was preparing to expand on a global scale. The Protestant Reformation, which rejected the papacy and the doctrine of indulgence, made Crusades unthinkable for many Europeans, thus leaving the fighting to the Catholics. In 1571, a Holy League, which was itself a Crusade, defeated the Ottoman fleet at Lepanto. Yet military victories like that remained rare. The Muslim threat was neutralized economically. As Europe grew in wealth and power, the once awesome and sophisticated Turks began to seem backward and pathetic—no longer worth a Crusade. The "Sick Man of Europe" limped along until the 20th century, when he finally expired, leaving behind the present mess of the modern Middle East.

From the safe distance of many centuries, it is easy enough to scowl in disgust at the Crusades. Religion, after all, is nothing to fight wars over. But we should be mindful that our medieval ancestors would have been equally disgusted by our infinitely more destructive wars fought in the name of political ideologies. And yet, both the medieval and the modern soldier fight ultimately for their own world and all that makes it up. Both are willing to suffer enormous sacrifice, provided that it is in the service of something they hold dear, something greater than themselves. Whether we admire the Crusaders or not, it is a fact that the world we know today would not exist without their efforts. The ancient faith of Christianity, with its respect for women and antipathy toward slavery, not only survived but flourished. Without the Crusades, it might well have followed Zoroastrianism, another of Islam’s rivals, into extinction.

Thomas F. Madden is associate professor and chair of the Department of History at Saint Louis University. He is the author of numerous works, including A Concise History of the Crusades, and co-author, with Donald Queller, of The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Israel; War on Terror
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Great article, with one exception: he does not give King Sobieski the credit he deserves in the relief of Vienna.
1 posted on 04/07/2002 7:35:39 PM PDT by traditionalist
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: skull stomper
3 posted on 04/07/2002 7:48:50 PM PDT by scooby321
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To: traditionalist
had you seen the front cover of U.S. News this past week (April 8 cover date)? I posted the article on the Religion forum earlier today. It only bears reading to chart the distortions and lies that form the basis of what is being put out for public consumption. Thanks for posting this.
4 posted on 04/07/2002 7:49:51 PM PDT by gusopol3
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To: traditionalist
Great article. Thanks for posting.
5 posted on 04/07/2002 7:50:08 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: traditionalist
Good post. We ought to write this prof and thank him.
6 posted on 04/07/2002 7:52:59 PM PDT by Kay
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To: traditionalist
Excellent article. Most people do not realize that the Muslims conquered a Christian middle east and north Africa.
7 posted on 04/07/2002 7:54:27 PM PDT by marktwain
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To: traditionalist
Actually, he doesn't mention the 1683 siege of Vienna, which was the one the Poles raised.
8 posted on 04/07/2002 7:55:33 PM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: traditionalist
Great article, with one exception: he does not give King Sobieski the credit he deserves in the relief of Vienna.

Much as I enjoy pointing out the Polish deliverance of Europe from the Turk (and the Reds in 1920), the article doesn't go much beyond Lepanto in 1571.

Jan III Sobeiski broke the Siege of Vienna, on Sep 12, 1683.
9 posted on 04/07/2002 7:55:47 PM PDT by Mike Fieschko
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To: traditionalist
Pope Urban II called upon the knights of Christendom to push back the conquests of Islam at the Council of Clermont in 1095.

Just as George "Dubya" Bush was to entreat Tony Blair at the Council of Crawford, TX, in 2002.

Cool article.

10 posted on 04/07/2002 8:00:18 PM PDT by The Great Satan
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To: traditionalist
bttt for later
11 posted on 04/07/2002 8:03:49 PM PDT by Aggie Mama
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To: traditionalist
Excellent article!

Thanks for posting it.

12 posted on 04/07/2002 8:06:26 PM PDT by Reagan Man
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To: traditionalist
In the West, while we fight the Islamists, the other war is against socialism which is determined to destroy the centuries of learning and lessons. Every country that has fallen to socialism, just like the countries that fell to Islam, are impoverished and repressed, or on their way to being so increasingly.

America is most successful inheritor of the classical Greeks and Romans, of all of Western civilizations history. This is also the war we must fight while we destroy the murdering Muslim terrorists.

13 posted on 04/07/2002 8:13:39 PM PDT by WaterDragon
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To: marktwain
I always found the "Children's Crusade" to the be the sadest. Thousands of kids from Central and Eastern Europe made it to somehwhere in Turkey and were captured and sold into slavery.
14 posted on 04/07/2002 8:14:16 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: traditionalist
Another thanks!
15 posted on 04/07/2002 8:14:58 PM PDT by WFTR
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To: traditionalist
Thanks. Just saved it as a Word document.
16 posted on 04/07/2002 8:19:57 PM PDT by Sans-Culotte
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To: Rebelbase
Even sadder is the fact that there was TWO "children's crusades". Both ended in disaster, with most of the children ending up betrayed by those they paid for passage to the "Holy Lands", being instead sold into slavery to the Turks.

Islam is currently in the middle of its second big push into Europe. Eventually the West will either wake up and begin fighting back, or it will end up overwhelmed by Islam.

17 posted on 04/07/2002 8:20:29 PM PDT by Billy_bob_bob
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To: traditionalist
As a medieval studies graduate myself, I am always pleased to see attention given to a much misunderstood age. Unfortunately, this article is clearly written with an agenda in mind and the author has done some very selective omitting here of any number of important background factors as well as painted an exaggerated view of the piety and religious motivations of the Crusaders.

The ancient faith of Christianity, with its respect for women and antipathy toward slavery,

I suppose it's considered good form to end an article with a punchline, but he could at least had the sense to stick to facts...both the Bible and history prove this assertion false.

18 posted on 04/07/2002 8:24:04 PM PDT by The_Expatriate
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To: traditionalist
Excellent historical lesson here, thanks for the post. Bookmarked and bumped!
19 posted on 04/07/2002 8:27:05 PM PDT by Enlightiator
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To: traditionalist
Excellent article. Muslims also conquered Spain, scaring the heck out of France as well.
20 posted on 04/07/2002 8:28:03 PM PDT by KC_Conspirator
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To: The_Expatriate
I suppose it's considered good form to end an article with a punchline, but he could at least had the sense to stick to facts...both the Bible and history prove this assertion false.

In what sense? When compared with Greco-Roman and Islamic attitudes towards women, and 18th-century American (and Islamic) attitudes towards slavery, Christianity's hardly dead-last.

21 posted on 04/07/2002 8:36:32 PM PDT by Dumb_Ox
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To: traditionalist
>St. Bernard ... Ask anyone who knows the Sacred Scriptures what he finds foretold of the Jews in the Psalm. "Not for their destruction do I pray," it says. The Jews are for us the living words of Scripture, for they remind us always of what our Lord suffered....

An interesting article, but it's important to keep the definitions straight. Did St. Bernard not know that David, writer of the Psalms, was not a Jew? And that there were no Jews when the Psalms were written? Gotta know the players without a scorecard:


  Genesis:  God, Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, Lot, Abraham,
  Sara, Melchizedek, Eliezer, Hagar, Ishmael, Isaac, Abimelech, Rebekah, Laban, Keturah, Esau, Jacob/Israel, Leah,
  Rachel, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dinah,
  Potiphar, Tamar, Perez, Zerah, Manasseh, Ephraim.

  Exodus:  Moses, Zipporah, Gershom, Jethro, Aaron, Eleazar, Joshua, Hur, Nadab, Abihu, Ithamar, Bezalel, Uri,
  Nun, Oholiab, Ahisamach.

  Leviticus:  Mishael, Elzaphan, Uzziel, Molech, Shelomith, Dibri.

  Others:  David, Solomon and Sampson were not Jews, among many others...

22 posted on 04/07/2002 8:45:36 PM PDT by LostTribe
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To: traditionalist
[piling on]

Thanks from me for the article. Though my interest is purely an amateur's, I, too, enjoy attention given to these events.
23 posted on 04/07/2002 8:46:08 PM PDT by Mike Fieschko
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To: traditionalist
24 posted on 04/07/2002 8:46:38 PM PDT by Don Myers
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: The_Expatriate

Where do you contend the concept of "Equal in the sight of God" came from, Mad magazine? The Christian nations abolished slavery and embraced equality before any others because of the Bible.

26 posted on 04/07/2002 8:57:08 PM PDT by Deb
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To: traditionalist
Mega-bump for Crisis magazine(!):

This article was published in SPECIFIC response to

Bill Clinton's outrageously arrogant Sept. 2001 speech at Georgetown Univ. in which Clinton put forth

the brazenly distored historical LIE (!!)

that the Sept. 11th WTC & Pentagon attacks were

(get this)

caused by the Crusades!!

27 posted on 04/07/2002 9:04:34 PM PDT by FReethesheeples
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To: traditionalist
Thus betrayed by their Greek friends, in 1204 the Crusaders attacked, captured, and brutally sacked Constantinople, the greatest Christian city in the world.

Interesting article, if a bit thick on the "Crusaders were only good and Godly" angle. I can understand that theme, the Crusaders in general probably did have pure motives.

However, blaming the Fourth Crusader decision to attack and sack Constantinople - a pre-eminent Christian city and the recovery of whose captured lands had been the reason for the Crusades in the first place - on Greek betrayal is going completely overboard. The Venetians in control of the Crusade (by virtue of having the ships) used the Crusaders to reduce the Eastern Romans to ruins without any pure motives at all. They did it to build up their own trade in the region. That was the betrayal, not some dis-honored promises made - and no doubt know to be impossible to fulfill in advance by the shrewd Venetians - by the pretender to the Byzantine throne who was used to "justify" the raid.

28 posted on 04/07/2002 9:17:06 PM PDT by KellyAdmirer
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To: traditionalist
Thanks for the history lesson.
29 posted on 04/07/2002 9:18:35 PM PDT by Bullish
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To: Deb
Because of the Bible? Could you cite for me chapter and verse the Bible's condemnation of slavery?

As you will be unable to do so (for none exists), let me cite a few examples of the Bible's toleration, even promotion, of slavery.

How did Jesus say a slave should treat his master?
A slave must completely obey and fear his master, even if his master is cruel and unjust: "Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward" (1 Peter 2:18). "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ" (Ephesians 6:5).

What is God's policy on physical punishment of your slave?
"A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer"(Proverbs 29:19). "And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake" (Exodus 21:26-27).

Whom did God tell the Israelites they should turn into their slaves?
The people of other tribes living around them: "Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids" (Leviticus 25:44).

What does God say is to happen to a male slave after six years of service?
"If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever" (Exodus 21:2-6).

What does God say should happen to a master who beats his slave to death?
He should avoid all punishment if the slave survives for a couple days after the beating: "And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money" (Exodus 21:20-21).

Does God allow you to sell your daughter into slavery?
Yes. And the situation is not unbearable for her since, if her master takes her as his wife and she does not please him, he must set her free: "And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation, he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her. And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. If he take him another wife: her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish" (Exodus 21:7-10).

What punishments does God mandate when an ox gores a free man and when an ox gores a slave?
"If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit. But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death....If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned" (Exodus 21:28-32).

What was the plight of those not born Israelites?
They were to be taken by the Israelites as slaves, and their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. were destined to be slaves: "Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever" (Leviticus 25:44-46).

What conduct by slaves does Jesus dislike?
Insincerity and rudeness: "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God" (Colossians 3:22; see also Ephesians 6:5-6). "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (Titus 2:9-10).

What effect does God say warfare has on slavery?
Whereas the men in any community invaded must be killed, the women and children are to be taken as slaves: "And when the Lord thy God hath delivered [a city] into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee" (Deuteronomy 20:13-14).

30 posted on 04/07/2002 9:39:11 PM PDT by The_Expatriate
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To: Deb
As for equality between men and women, that is a very un-Christian concept, if we are to go by the Bible.
What is a woman's role in the church?
A woman is never to open her mouth in church. She has nothing valuable to say and should limit her participation to asking her husband to explain things to her: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church" (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).

What is a woman's role in the educational process?
Women should never be teachers because they are easily deceived: "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression" (1 Timothy 2:11-14).

Is a wife permitted to follow her own conscience?
A woman must obey her husband in all matters at all times: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their husbands in every thing" (Ephesians 5:22-24). "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God" (1 Corinthians 11:3). "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord" (Colossians 3:18).

In God's eyes, who is worth more between women and men?
God expressly says men are worth more, and actually provides monetary amounts proving this: "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the Lord by thy estimation. And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels. And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. And if it be from sixty years old and above, if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female, ten shekels" (Leviticus 27:1-7)

What is the role of a widow?
She should be depressed and pray day and night: "Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth" (1 Timothy 5:5-6).

How long is a woman unclean after the messy act of childbirth?
The woman is unclean for seven days if the child is a boy, but she is unclean for twice as long if the child is a girl: "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days...But if she bare a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks" (Leviticus 12:1-5).

Can you trust a woman's promises or guarantees?
No, because women are deceitful and manipulative and because a woman's promise is null and void if her husband disapproves of it: "And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her" (Ecclesiastes 7:26). "But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the Lord shall forgive her" (Numbers 30:12).

Under what circumstances are we to spare the life of a married or engaged woman who has been raped?
When the woman is raped in the country as opposed to the city or when the woman is a slave girl: "If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out onto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city...But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die...For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her" (Deuteronomy 22:23-27). "And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free" (Leviticus 19:20).

In times of war, what is God's plight for women in the captured areas?
While the men are to be killed, the women are to be taken as slaves. Pretty women are to become the wives of conquering men who find them attractive. Women in places the Lord gives His chosen people as an inheritance are to be killed along with every other living thing: "And when the Lord thy God hath delivered [a city] into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones...shalt thou take unto thyself...But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth" (Deuteronomy 20:13-16). "When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies...And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house...thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife" (Deuteronomy 21:10-13).

31 posted on 04/07/2002 10:38:03 PM PDT by The_Expatriate
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To: The_Expatriate
Is your post a joke or is your bias so great you can't understand English?

Try reading what I wrote again without your determined and hardcore prejudice. Maybe you're just not capable of seeing the difference between the way the Bible says God sees and values his creation and the way man sees and values his brothers.

Once again...the Christian nations were the first to denounce and abolish slavery. The Sudan (a muslim country) is still practicing it...against Christians.

Please note that for centuries slavery existed for many and various reasons. People sold themselves into slavery. Parents sold their children. People and families fell into slavery because of debt. Countries were conquered...and on and on. After the famine in Ireland, hundreds of thousands sold themselves into indentured slavery in order to come to America. God's concern has always been for the soul of man, not the flesh. How man has structured his culture and civilization has been up to him. God has cared how we functioned within that civilization, which is why Jesus was constantly talking about poor men going to heaven and rich men mistakenly building their heaven on earth. An honorable "slave" would have been more precious to God than a dishonorable King.

Your Bible verses are ridiculous and our thinking is trite.

32 posted on 04/07/2002 10:38:28 PM PDT by Deb
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To: traditionalist; Catholic_list; *Christian_list; *Abortion_list; *Pro_life; patent...
Good article, thanks.

Two other Crusade threads:

The Battle over the Crusades: Myths, legends and anti-Catholic "histories"


33 posted on 04/07/2002 10:40:52 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: The_Expatriate
The Devil qoutes scripture.

Live as Servants of God.
Peter 2.11
11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul.
12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your
honorable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge. 13 For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human
institution ordained for human beings, whether of the emperor as supreme, 14 or of governors, as sent by him to
punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing right you should
silence the ignorance of the foolish. 16 As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a
pretext for evil. 17 Honor everyone. Love the family of believers. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
34 posted on 04/07/2002 10:44:40 PM PDT by DaveTesla
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To: Rebelbase
I always found the "Children's Crusade" to the be the sadest. Thousands of kids from Central and Eastern Europe made it to somehwhere in Turkey and were captured and sold into slavery.

The first example of that peculiarly western notion of "meaning well"; unintended consequences; and the triumph of reality over good intentions.
Sound familiar?

A pathetic current version is the "we never dreamed they would fire live bullets..."
Children I can understand; Adults acting like children...

35 posted on 04/07/2002 10:47:56 PM PDT by Publius6961
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To: The_Expatriate
The least you could do is link the source of your excerpts. You from the DU?

Here is the source, FYI you other FReepers:

Americhrist Ltd  

The Landover Baptist Church® is a satirical newsletter/website published by Americhrist Ltd. enjoy an average of 215,000 unique sessions, 1.3 million unique pageviews, and over 24 million hits per month.

The Landover Baptist Church® uses invented names in every article, except in cases when public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.

The content of this web-site--graphics, text and other elements--is © Copyright 2000 by Americhrist Ltd. and may not be reprinted or retransmitted in whole or in part without the expressed written consent of the publisher.

Landover Baptist: America's Favorite Church® is not intended for readers under 18 years of age.

"The ultimate religious spoof" -- London Times, September 9, 2000

"Fish in a barrel, well shot" -- SPIN Magazine, August, 2000

Washington DC Offices
Americhrist Ltd.
PMB# 252
P.O. Box 1000
Merrifield, VA 22116-1000
E-mail (all departments)

Editorial Staff 
Editor-in-Chief  Christian Harper
Senior Editor  E.B. Walker
Writing Staff  E.B. Walker, Jim Mountain, Christian Harper, Paul Bradley, B. Wilson
Graphics Jim Mountain, Christian Harper, Paul A. Bradley 
Website Design: Christian Harper 

- Betty Bowers  appears courtesy of Betty Bowers Ministries at
- Pastor Deacon Fred's sermons are heard weekly on New York's WLIR Alternative Radio. 60 second sermons are available for syndication. Radio stations should contact: ("syndication sermon" in subject line) He is also available for speaking engagements by contacting ("Deacon Fred Request" in Subject line)
- Taffy Crockett appears courtesy of

Editorial submissions of any kind are not accepted and Americhrist Ltd. cannot guarantee their return, nor can Americhrist Ltd. guarantee a response to unsolicited editorial submissions. 
© Copyright 2000 Americhrist Ltd., All rights reserved. 

If you would like to be put on a mailing list and receive notice of updates, speaking engagements, or events pertaining to The Landover Baptist Church Satire, simply follow the form below: 
Type in your e-mail address and click "Sign Up."

[<Please! Take Me Back To Church!]

36 posted on 04/07/2002 10:53:46 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: The_Expatriate
The ancient faith of Christianity, with its respect for women and antipathy toward slavery,

Under what OTHER religious teachings would women and slaves been better treated? Islam? Zoroastrianism? Druidism? One of the reasons women could inherit property and slaves were required to be treated well (and NOT separated from their families) in Louisiana was because it operated under the Napoleanic Code which was encouraged by the Catholic Church. Other states in the South didn't have these requirements precisely because they were not Catholic.

If it were not for the stressing of individual liberty and responsibility which comes from Christianity, this country would not be what it is today; and is a major reason why there are really NO OTHERS like ours anywhere! We were an experiment which has proven to be successful; a wonderful blend of religiosity and secularism.

38 posted on 04/07/2002 11:03:22 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Goldhammer
What a great quote.

I remember seeing a list one time of the brilliant and powerful men, down thru the ages, who had originally been born into slavery and there was an essay with it that claimed if the men had been born free, they wouldn't have achieved their greatness. Something about adversary building their character.

39 posted on 04/07/2002 11:06:15 PM PDT by Deb
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To: The_Expatriate
Oh, I're just mindlessly cutting and pasting from some book. Do you have a point? Obviously not.
40 posted on 04/07/2002 11:12:57 PM PDT by Deb
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To: Deb
our thinking is trite

That's the first thing you've said that makes any sense.

41 posted on 04/07/2002 11:13:59 PM PDT by The_Expatriate
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To: traditionalist
It is clear to me that with all the acts of terrorism and the price of gas going up, we must start a Crusade.

A Crusade that will free the oily lands from the infidels.

42 posted on 04/07/2002 11:16:17 PM PDT by Calculus_of_Consent
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To: Billy_bob_bob
I have only read of one childrens crusade.

When I lived in Greece during the early sixties ... there were slave auctions of men, women, and children in Turkey.

43 posted on 04/07/2002 11:19:18 PM PDT by patricia
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp
Impuning the source rather than addressing the content of a post: it seems you're the one who spends his free time at DU picking up tips. Yes, I did save myself some time and trouble by going to an online source to get the Bible quotes; it seems you've done the same to save yourself the time and trouble of thinking of a rebuttal.
44 posted on 04/07/2002 11:20:15 PM PDT by The_Expatriate
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To: KellyAdmirer; formerlib
Thanks for the background on the Fourth Crusade. St. Mark's square is still decorated with gold, jewels and art plundered from Constantinople.

But it might be interesting to do a search on amazon for the writer's take on the subject. His bio at the end lists a book that he co-wrote on the 4th crusade. Curious to know what's in it.

By and large, though, in terms of the Big Picture... he does a pretty decent job. I saw the A & E special he mentioned at the beginning of his article (hosted by Terry Jones, one of the guys from Monty Python) and it was incredibly one-sided, in favor of the Muslims. It had to have been bought and paid for by the Saudi royal family, or someone else with an equally skewed agenda (and collosal bankroll).

45 posted on 04/07/2002 11:21:08 PM PDT by MoJoWork_n
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To: SuziQ
Under what OTHER religious teachings would women and slaves been better treated?

Doesn't this say something to you about religious teachings in general?

46 posted on 04/07/2002 11:23:10 PM PDT by The_Expatriate
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To: Deb
The Christian nations abolished slavery and embraced equality before any others because of the Bible.

My point has been made -- that the Bible does not preach abolition or equality between the sexes -- and you have yet to cite anything from the Bible to support your baseless assertion. Go ahead, make my day.

47 posted on 04/07/2002 11:27:19 PM PDT by The_Expatriate
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To: The_Expatriate
My My. Touchy. I just posted your source. A source with a bit of bite, not exactly kind to us Christians, mind you. I take it you are agnostic/pagan/atheist/feminist? But I shouldn't judge.
48 posted on 04/07/2002 11:27:54 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: The_Expatriate
Doesn't this say something to you about religious teachings in general?

I always trust my instinct.

49 posted on 04/07/2002 11:29:15 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: The_Expatriate
As a medieval studies graduate myself..

Good. I've been looking for one. What is your opinion, and that of other scholars, of the 1908 edition of The Catholic Encyclopedia?.

I'm not Catholic but, since first finding it a few months ago on the net, have enjoyed it immensely. It is very even handed and gives a good history of Unitarianism (my faith) but I wonder how other subjects fare.

50 posted on 04/07/2002 11:40:01 PM PDT by LarryLied
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