“Fall of Constantinople, (29 May 1453). After ten centuries of wars, defeats, and victories, the Byzantine Empire came to an end when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks in May 1453. The city’s fall sent shock waves throughout Christendom. It is widely quoted as the event that marked the end of the European Middle Ages. Ο Θεός ήλθοσαν έθνη translated as ‘O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance’. Manuel Chrysaphes, the composer of this marvellous historical piece, which has been discovered at the beginning of the first world war, did not find more eloquent words than those of Psalm 78 [Psalm 79] in order to mourn in it the church of Aghia Sophia [Hagia Sophia].”
“The existence of a Muslim kingdom in Medieval Spain where different races and religions lived harmoniously in multicultural tolerance is one of today’s most widespread myths… The problem with this belief is that it is historically unfounded.” – Dr. Darío Fernández-Morera, Ph.D.
“The existence of a Muslim kingdom in Medieval Spain where different races and religions lived harmoniously in multicultural tolerance is one of today’s most widespread myths. University professors teach it. Journalists repeat it. Tourists visiting the Alhambra accept it. It has reached the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, which sings the virtues of the ‘pan-confessional humanism’ of Andalusian Spain (July 18, 2003).
“The Economist echoes the belief: ‘Muslim rulers of the past were far more tolerant of people of other faiths than were Catholic ones. For example, al-Andalus’s multi-cultural, multi-religious states ruled by Muslims gave way to a Christian regime that was grossly intolerant even of dissident Christians, and that offered Jews and Muslims a choice only between being forcibly converted and being expelled (or worse).’
“The problem with this belief is that it is historically unfounded, a myth. The fascinating cultural achievements of Islamic Spain cannot obscure the fact that it was never an example of peaceful convivencia.”
I have thought for years – since my undergraduate medieval studies days, in fact – that there was something that did not ring true about the standard narrative of “peaceful, multicultural” Cordoba / Andalusia, where Muslims, Christians, and Jews allegedly lived together in harmony, and the arts and sciences flourished. There were hints of a shadow – such as the admission that non-Muslims had to pay jizya – but it was hard to pin down anything more. There had to be more to the story!
Now, Dr. Darío Fernández-Morera, Ph.D., has written an exhaustively researched and documented book on the subject, of which the linked (and rather lengthy) article is but an abstract, and which makes it abundantly clear that the much-lauded “peaceful coexistence” was enforced by brutal oppression, in which Christians – in their own land! – and Jews were emphatically second-class citizens, subject to the whims of their overlords, and in which the undeniable artistic achievements were financed by heavy taxes and the spoils of conquest.
I would add, also, that the much-vaunted Muslim medical and other arts were based heavily on Classical and late Hellenistic – Greco-Roman – antecedents, texts to which medieval Christians would have had access, had the great libraries of the Mediterranean world not fallen to Islamic conquerors in the 7th and 8th centuries.
And the “intolerance” shown by the Christian successor state in what had been al-Andalus is perhaps somewhat more comprehensible – perhaps even forgivable – in light of the more than seven centuries (722 – 1492 AD) Spanish Christians had spent re-taking the Iberian peninsula from its Muslim overlords. A cautionary tale for today’s West! But I digress:
In dealing with the question of why this myth (in the popular sense of the term, which is to say, fallacy) has been so persistent in both popular and academic culture, Fernández-Morera suggests – accurately, in my opinion – that it “may be that extolling al-Andalus offers the double advantage of surreptitiously favoring multiculturalism and deprecating Christianity, which is one of the foundations of Western civilization,” and continues,
“This mechanism is not unlike that in the mind of those who dislike Western culture intensely, but who with the fall of Communism find themselves without any clear alternative and so grab Islam as a castaway grabs anything that floats. So anyone who dislikes Western culture or Christianity—for any reason, be it religious, political, or cultural—goes on happily pointing out, regardless of the facts, how bad Catholic Spain was when compared to the Muslim paradise.”
A paradise which exists only in the cultural Marxist imagination.
As I say, this is a lengthy essay. It is, nonetheless, worth a read, for the light it casts on a much-misunderstood, and greatly mis-characterized, time and place in history. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest!
Hey, Tommy Tommy! Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy Robinson!
I cannot guarantee that you’ll be able to see this video. At the least, there will be an “offensive content” screen to click through, and most of its features will be disabled. But at least I was able to view it, and hopefully you will be, too.
Robinson was campaigning for a slot as an MEP – Member of the European Parliament – in this weekend’s elections; sadly, that campaign was not successful.
But whether you like him or not, whether you agree with him or not, this video – showing the local police doing absolutely zilch while armed Islamic thugs, many of them brought in from out-of-town, throw bricks, rocks, bottles, and even scissors at his supporters, including women and children, gathered for a campaign rally – shows all too clearly the situation in Britain at present.
Dear God in heaven, what has happened to “England’s green and pleasant land”…?
I know I said I was going to try to avoid political postings during Lent; but I also said I would make exceptions for exceptional events.
With all the coverage given to the reprehensible attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand last weekend, it was easily lost that the same week had seen attacks killing at least as many Christians in Nigeria, with comparatively little media coverage or attention. What reporting there was came from Christian organizations, although some mainstream media outlets did pick up the stories (albeit “below the fold“).
I am sorry if this sounds cynical or snarky, but how much do you want to bet the current spate of attacks on Christians will be largely ignored by US/Western media – and in particular, that the celebrities, political pundits, and media talking-heads who are quick to claim “Islamophobia” and oppression of Muslims will have little to say about “Christophobia,” and oppression of Christians by Muslims?
Certainly there will be no denunciations, outrage, or calls for re-education of Muslims to make them more tolerant of Christians, as there have been in the other direction. As my dear late mother used to say, “it all depends upon whose ox is getting gored.”
But violent persecution and oppression of Christians is a very real issue, in these times. Even Newsweek, hardly a right-wing rag (!), recounted a January report by a Catholic charity organization, which found that
“The persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today ‘than at any time in history,’ and Western governments are failing to stop it, a report from a Catholic organization said.
“The study by Aid to the Church in Need said the treatment of Christians has worsened substantially in the past two years compared with the two years prior, and has grown more violent than any other period in modern times.”
And Open Doors USA, which publishes a World Watch List of the 50 countries in which it is most difficult to be a Christian, reports that 215 million Christians experience high levels of persecution, a number which represents 1 in 12 Christians worldwide; that during 2018, 3066 Christians were killed, 1252 were abducted, 1020 were raped or sexually harassed, and 793 churches were attacked; and that although the #1 most dangerous country for Christians is atheist, communist North Korea, Islamic oppression fuels Christian persecution in 8 of the top 10 countries.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy!
This handout photo taken and released by the Vatican press office Osservatore Romano on November 7, 2017, shows Pope Francis (R) receiving Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, during a private audience in Vatican. / AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO / Handout
A number of leading Catholic bishops are beginning to respond to the highly controversial joint declaration, the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” which Pope Francis signed with Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar Mosque, during an interreligious meeting in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Feb. 4.
As a current article on LifeSite News points out, the document has incited considerable controversy among Christians for asserting that “the pluralism and the diversity of religions” are “willed by God in His wisdom” – a statement many believe contravenes the Catholic Faith. About the furthest I would be willing to go is that the pluralism and diversity of religions are tolerated by God in His mercy… which is saying quite a different thing.
This is sobering. Saddening. Angering. I loved London, when I was there in 1985 and again in 1990. (I also wanted to visit Paris some day. Not in its current state…) “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life!” exclaimed Samuel Johnson, in 1777. What a different 241 years make!
And of course, what is true of London (and other major cities in England, and increasingly throughout the British Isles) is true of many other places in Europe, and could rapidly become true of the United States, too, if those who support the migrant “caravans” – along with “sanctuary cities,” and similar inanities – have their way.
This video is not going to be an easy or popular one to listen to, especially for those who are still sucking at the teat of the dominant “liberal”/progressive narrative. Stefan Molyneux says things that are not going to go down easily, for some. But that does not make them wrong.
Unfortunately, he is all too right.
“Diversity is our strength.”
Sorry, not sorry, for the language.
God damn – and I mean that quite literally, may God Almighty condemn to destruction in this life and perdition in the next – those who, in the name of an insane, twisted obsession with so-called “diversity,” are seeking to destroy the West, and its culture, history, and civilization (including, not incidentally, Christianity and the Judeo-Christian tradition). God damn them to Hell.
“French police have issued a call for help to find the man suspected of opening fire near a Christmas market in Strasbourg. Hundreds of police, soldiers and border agents on both sides of the Franco-German border are trying to find Chérif Chekatt, 29.
“Two people died and 13 were injured in the gun attack in the eastern French city on Tuesday evening. The gunman shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘God is greatest’) as he opened fire.
“Chérif Chekatt was already known to the French authorities as someone who had been radicalised into following an extreme form of Islam while in prison for crimes including robbery.”
This is absolutely appalling. How can we – by which I mean Western society in general, and Christians (or people claiming to be Christian) in particular, not, I hope and pray, readers of this blog – be so blind, and so foolish?
“An Act Concerning Religion.” That was the original title of what is colloquially known as the “Maryland Toleration Act of 1649,” the same year in which King Charles I (known by many Anglicans of an Anglo-Catholic and Royalist bent as King Charles the Martyr, or simply The Royal Martyr) was shamefully executed in an act of regicide by the so-called “Rump Parliament,” under the despicable Oliver Cromwell.
An attempt (only partly successful) to assure protection for Catholics in the proprietary Colony of Maryland in the wake of this act of regicide and England’s subsequent interregnum under the Puritan Parliament, later Protectorate, the Act – passed by the General Assembly of the Maryland Colony – sought to provide equal protection under law for all Trinitarian Christians, and at the same time, provide legal protection for Trinitarian Christianity (*) itself.
As such, it might, in retrospect, have been a better model (with some adjustments, discussed below) for our national view on the subject than the relevant clause of the First Amendment, which has since been stretched beyond all intention of the Founders, through what I cannot help but see as a perverse and willful misconstrual of Jefferson’s “wall of separation” comment. That appeared in a letter to the Danbury, Connecticut, Baptists, and was originally intended to assure religious people of their protection from the government, not the other way ’round.
The full text of the Maryland Toleration Act, in the original (rather archaic) form of English in which it was originally written, appears below. Its most salient section is reproduced here, in slightly updated language:
“That whatsoever person or persons within this Province and the Islands thereunto belonging shall from henceforth blaspheme God, that is Curse him, or deny our Saviour Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, or shall deny the holy Trinity [to be] the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost, or [who shall deny] the Godhead of any of the said Three persons of the Trinity or the Unity of the Godhead, or shall use or utter any reproachful speeches, words or language concerning the said Holy Trinity, or any of the said three Persons thereof, shall be punished with death [yes, it really does say that!] and confiscation or forfeiture of all his or her lands and goods to the Lord Proprietary and his heirs.”
In other words, anyone who publicly blasphemes or denies either the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity (*) or any portion thereof is to suffer both the death penalty, himself, and the seizure of his property and assets! There is also a clause prohibiting, basically, “talking smack” about a) the beliefs and practices of any particular branch of Christianity, or b) insulting practitioners of any form of Christianity not one’s own.
In other words, to put it in relatively simple and modern terms, you will not publicly denigrate Christianity, Christians, or Christian doctrine, and you will – at least publicly – be nice to other Christians. It is, frankly, hard for me to argue with either of those.
[The Act also includes a section prohibiting the profanation of the Christian Sabbath (Sunday, a.k.a. the Lord’s Day) “by frequent swearing, drunkenness or by any uncivil or disorderly recreation, or by working on that day when absolute necessity doth not require it.” I am old enough to remember the days of the “Blue Laws,” as they were called, when most places of business were closed on Sundays and other restrictions on secular activities (including sales of alcohol) were in place; and although at the time, I found it frustrating, as I have gotten older – and hopefully, more mature – I have come to realize the wisdom, both spiritually and practically, of keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest.]
Now, mind you, I am not suggesting the death penalty for anyone who fails to hold to or publicly confess the Trinitarian Christian faith! Not at all. In particular, what people believe in private is precisely that: private, and it is not the business of government to be snooping behind closed doors.
But under this system, you are not allowed to publicly assert that Christianity is a crock of bull, whatever your private opinions may be, and you must accept the basically Christian character of the society of which you are a member, if you wish to remain a member of that society. That seems entirely reasonable to me. Continue reading ““An Act Concerning Religion””