29 September 2013

Spreading beliefs through violence: A very old tradition

I just read that on this date (September 29) in 1227, Roman Emperor Frederick II was excommunicated from the Catholic Church for not participating in the Crusades. At that point, apparently, the Catholic Church had grown even more powerful than the Roman Empire. And the Church wanted blood. Or else.

The Crusades were the Church's attempt to spread its influence and control throughout Muslim-dominated parts of the region, and to convert - or wipe out - the heathens. They were spreading Catholicism at the point of a sword. What would Jesus do?

Now, hundreds of years later, things are not so different. We've traded in our swords for machine guns and drones, but the more powerful entities on the planet are still trying to spread their own ideologies through violence.

Today it's not called a Crusade. Today it's called "spreading democracy". It's called "winning hearts and minds".

In reality, however, you cannot force people to believe in you or to accept you - especially when they're concerned for their lives and limbs.

But apparently that doesn't matter to those in power who care only about power.

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