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Propaganda in History - Dispelling the Myths

Reader comment on item: A Christian Boom

Submitted by Foxglove (United States), Dec 12, 2002 at 02:20

First off, let me say anyone who claims Hitler was a "Christian" is either sorely misinformed or deliberately painting a picture. Hitler, like many other "evil" men throughout history used whatever means possible to achieve his goals. This invariably included dogma.

To his confidantes, by all accounts he uttered such "Christian" statements, as:
"Christianity is an invention of sick brains," Adolf Hitler, 13 December 1941. and
"So it's not opportune to hurl ourselves now into a struggle with the Churches. The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death," Adolf Hitler, 14 October 1941.
ref: http://www.kwdavids.net/hitler.html

Secondly. The Crusades. Not once was there an order given to kill Jews during the Crusades. Anyone familiar with the medieval documentation knows this. I refer you to an expert both on medieval documentation an author of books on the crusades, Thomas F. Madden (A Concise History of the Crusades, and co-author, with Donald Queller, of The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople.)

The Catholic Church was the only cohesive large body to unify and combat a threat like Islam at the time.

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.

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.

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. They were cleary and definably against Islamic violence, invasion and takeovers.

I refer you to an excellent article by Thomas F. Madden at http://www.crisismagazine.com/april2002/cover.htm
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