Tue 10 Feb 2015
Comments Off on No one expected the Spanish Inquisition…
Faux News expanded its crusade against President Obama (who is reduced to POTUS in their pseudo-news hocus pocus) and Islam (which is only newsworthy when it is called extreme) with a line right out of Monty Python. At the White House Prayer Breakfast (which Fox seems to think only included “evangelicals”) the president made a simple moral point that we should get off our “high horse” and remember that atrocious acts have been committed in the past by Christians in the Crusades and Inquisition. He might have added that “witches” were routinely burned at the stake in Christian Europe. The response from the right was that the president must hate Christianity if he compares the horrific acts of ISIS to marauding Crusaders and Torquemada. Some have such vitriol for Obama that they claimed the Crusaders were acting in self-defense.
I do not have the stomach to watch Faux News (and mercifully I choose not to have a cable connection in Qatar), but the tidbits that float through Facebook and Youtube cannot be easily avoided. In the “three stooges” approach to journalistic commentary, one Tucker Carlson acted so indignant that at one point he asked who would have expected the Spanish Inquisition in the president’s remarks. That rang a bell to commentary that was far more rational, the famous Monty Python skit that “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.” One should expect that anyone with a smattering of history would know that the Spanish Inquisition featured the auto-de-fe burning of the heretics of that day as a public spectacle. I cannot rack up the ignorance of the commentators to outright lying, but it is obvious that such politically salacious rhetoric feeds the faithful Fox flock.
For those who might actually question whether or not Obama is a Muslim, they can at least revel in the elation that he sympathizes with Muslims. Comparing the egregious acts of ISIS condemned by virtually all major Muslim leaders and organization with the Crusades is hardly sympathetic. Unless, of course, you think the Crusades were a just war to liberate the Holy Land from the infidel or that the Jews and fellow Christians slaughtered by the Franks deserved to die. Or you think, as Tucker (whose name rhymes with …) seems to, that Christianity and specifically Martin Luther King ended slavery in America. There were indeed abolitionists who argued that slavery went against the teachings of Jesus, but they were in the minority for a long time. Southern pulpits before and during the Civil War dripped with the natural order of servitude established by the curse of Ham and thus upon all black men from that line of Noah.
To be honest, Monty Python is wrong. We should indeed expect the Spanish Inquisition. We should remember rather than whitewash the extraordinary brutality and inhumanity that we as humans have been capable of and that some still practice. Deny the extermination of native American tribes, deny the fact that blacks were lynched in the thousands in American only a century or so ago, deny the Holocaust, deny the killing fields of Cambodia, deny Rwanda, deny all you want. But history outlasts the lies told to make such horrendous deeds disappear. We should expect such brutality because the conditions that lead to it are ripe and not that new. The stimulus to brutality is not religion, at least not the major monotheisms that share belief in the same God that created Adam, but the political aspirations of those who ignore the moral precepts of their faith.