Monday, December 22, 2008

The reason for the season: All Hail The Prince of Peace

Christianity during the height of the Renaissance -- the so-called "rebirth" of learning -- looked a little like this: Citizens of a city would gather in the city square. In the square would be set up posts surrounded by piles of firewood. People who had been identified as 'heretics,' or 'non-believers,' or Jews, often, would be hauled or dragged into the square, where they would be bound to the stakes. Attended by prayres and pious invocations, flaming torches would be applied to the kindling. then, amid horrific screams and the stench of charred human flesh, congregants -- men, women and children -- would cheer as "heretics" were burned alive. These atrocities were performed in the name of the "God of love" and his son, the "Prince of Peace."

Before they were burned, the "heretics" were tortured -- their limbs mangled and broken and their flesh torn, to extract from the victims the admission of their own sinfulness. If they hadn't been executed, most of the "heretics" would have died slow, painful deaths anyway. The executions were conducted at the whim of the church leaders. If they particularly disliked one of the "heretics", the firewood would be arranged so that the fire would consume the victim slowly, prolonging his or her agony.

These "heretics" were dressed only in a thin shirt. It was especially festive when young women were burned, because their shirts would be burned away first, giving the crowd a glimpse of their naked flesh before the flesh blistered and blackened. The "heretics" most common "crimes" were to dare to suggest that the leaders of the Christian church lived too luxuriously while many of their congregations lived in poverty. Other "heretics" were burned because they believed that the church's rituals should be conducted in the local language, so the everyone could understand it. They didn't need a reason to burn Muslims of Jews; their mere existence was enough to merit the treatment.

Good times. Allelujia, Alleluljia!

1 comment:

ignorant redneck said...

Of course, this post ignores the millions of people who were killed by officially secular and athiest regimes from 1918 through 1991, and the millions more killed by officially athiest and secular movements on the periphery of these regimes.

A death toll that greatly surpasses that of the whole era of heretic burning by the combines efforts of Catholic, Protestan and Orthodox churches world wide.