|ban Islam bigotry symbol|
Since the deplorable shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the swell of hate on the right towards not just those extremists who oppose western society, both sacred and secular, but also demonstrate a level of ignorance mixed into that hatred, fueled by propaganda intended to keep them scared and angry.
Just relying on the comments in social media against Muslims is horrifying - including against Americans who are Muslim. Statements like "they should all be rounded up and either killed or at least kicked out of America". Statements like "every Muslim should be bombed out of existence" and that we should nuke every country with a significant Muslim population (sub-thread, send every Muslim to those countries before we blow them off the map). Statements like every Muslim wants to kill us, and no Muslim can be trusted anywhere ever, and that no Muslim can be an American. I think I was most offended by the conspiracy theorists who not only rejected even the possibility that Muslims could be peaceful, or tolerant of other religions, but who made up ugly, crazy conspiracy theories to explain the charitable effort to collect money to fund burned black churches in the south.
In particular the prophet Mohammed comes in for disparagement. He is described as a pedophile and a violent mass murderer himself, and particularly condemned for his position on killing non-believers and for engaging in polygamy and sex slavery, way back in 570 - 632 CE. He is also blamed of course for modern terrorist martyrdom.
There is only one problem with this criticism from predominantly Christian Right wingnuts of predominantly European ethnicity --- it is hypocritical, criticizing historical figures on the basis of religion, while NOT criticizing European ethnic Christians for exactly the same conduct, either modern or historic.
The history of Christianity in Europe is rife with all of those same things -- polygamy was approved and solemnized for a long time by the Christian Church. Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor ( a position that essentially established him as the top Number 1 Christian of his day, sanctified by the Pope, hence the 'Holy' in Holy Roman Emperor) had an estimated 18 wives (some may have been concubines, an official legal status similar to marriage, but a step lower in terms of rights and privileges). Christianity was spread at the point of the sword, convert or die, as in the massacres of Verden, where Charlemagne, later the first Holy Roman Emperor, ordered Pagan Saxons to convert or die, some 4,500 of them.
Now let us move on to the claims of pedophilia and child marriage. Pedophilia is sexual arousal by children; it does not appear correctly to apply to Muhammad who did in engage in one instance of child marriage and other instances of adult polygyny. Muhammad lived between 570 and 632; within Judaism and Christianity in that period, polygamy still occurred as did child marriage.
Child marriage not only occurred in that earlier period of the middle ages, but later -- and it extended into the early colonies that became the United States. A few examples:
Gratian, the influential founder of Canon law in the twelfth century, accepted the traditional age of puberty for marriage (between 12 and 14) but he also said consent was "meaningful" if the children were older than seven. Some authorities said consent could take place earlier. It was this policy which was carried over into English common law. Similarly Gratian's ideas about age became part of European civil law.
Judges honored marriages based on mutual consent at age younger than 7, and there are recorded marriages of 2 and 3 year olds. The 17th-century lawyer Henry Swinburne distinguished between the marriages of those under seven and those between seven and puberty. He wrote that those under seven who had said their vows had to ratify it afterwards by giving kisses and embraces, by lying together, by exchanging gifts or tokens, or by calling each other husband or wife. A contemporary, Philip Stubbes, wrote that in sixteenth-century East Anglia, infants still in swaddling clothes were married. The most influential legal text of the seventeenth century in England, that of Sir Edward Coke, made it clear that the marriage of girls under 12 was normal, and the age at which a girl who was a wife was eligible for a dower from her husband's estate was 9 even though her husband be only 4 years old.
...the children of Henry II "had been married in babyhood," and the Council of Westminster (1175) conceded that these could be valid marriages "pro bono pacis" (for the sake of peace), even although it also said that "where there is no consent of both parties there is no marriage, and so those who give girls to boys in their cradles achieve nothing" [Brooke, p. 140].
(Except when they did receive financial benefit, which is pretty well documented as occurring often. - DG)
Let's move on to colonial America:
The American colonies followed the English. For example in Virginia in 1689, Mary Hathaway was only 9 when she was married to William Williams.
In England for example in the parish of Middlesex County, Virginia, there is a record of 14-year-old Sarah Halfhide marrying 21-year-old Richard Perrot. Of the 98 girls on the 10-year register, three probably married at age 8, one at 12, one at 13, and two at 14.
But let's look to the post-American Revolution in the US, when it was arguably predominantly a nation of Christians making these laws, consistent with canon law:
In the United States, as late as the 1880s most States set the minimum age at 10–12, (in Delaware it was 7 in 1895).Now we would call that legalized, predominantly-Christian-approved traditional child marriage.
So we've covered killing the unbelievers / conversion by the sword (of which there are many more examples in Christian history) and we've demonstrated the prevalent, institutionalized evil of child marriage, let's move on to Christian polygamy.
Early Christian Church:
Joyce, George (1933). Christian Marriage: An Historical and Doctrinal Study. Sheed and Ward. p. 560.Moving a bit later:
"When the Christian Church came into being, polygamy was still practiced by the Jews. It is true that we find no references to it in the New Testament; and from this some have inferred that it must have fallen into disuse, and that at the time of our Lord the Jewish people had become monogamous. But the conclusion appears to be unwarranted. Josephus in two places speaks of polygamy as a recognized institution: and Justin Martyr makes it a matter of reproach to Trypho that the Jewish teachers permitted a man to have several wives. Indeed when in 212 A.D. the lex Antoniana de civitate gave the rights of Roman Citizenship to great numbers of Jews, it was found necessary to tolerate polygamy among them, even though it was against Roman law for a citizen to have more than one wife. In 285 A.D. a constitution of Diocletian and Maximian interdicted polygamy to all subjects of the empire without exception. But with the Jews, at least, the enactment failed of its effect; and in 393 A.D. a special law was issued by Theodosius to compel the Jews to relinquish this national custom. Even so they were not induced to conform.
Matilda Joslyn Gage Women, Church and State. Ch VII.Spanning the centuries to after the period of the historic figure Muhammad, during which polygamy (technically polygyny) continued in Christian Europe; Charlemagne live a little more than a century after Muhammed.
Socrates of Constantinople wrote in the 5th century that the Roman Emperor Valentinian I took two wives and authorized his subjects to take two wives, supporting that Christians were then practicing plural marriage.
Charlemagne had at least twenty children over the course of his life time with three wives and five concubines. He had five wives but no offspring with his second and his last.Let us move later in the history of polygamy in Christianity, the Reformation:
The founder of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther wrote: "I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter." [Luther later changed his mind somewhat on this issue - DG]
Lutheran theologians approved of Philip of Hesse's polygamous marriages to Christine of Saxony and Margarethe von der Saale for this purpose, as well as initial disapproval of divorce and adultery. As well as Phillip, there was much experimentation with marital duration within early German Lutheranism amongst clergy and their erstwhile wives.And more recently:
The theologian Philipp Melanchthon likewise counseled that Henry VIII need not risk schism by dissolving his union with the established churches to grant himself divorces in order to replace his barren wives, but reluctantly, and with remorse afterward, consented that polygamy was an allowable alternative.
Anabaptist leader Bernhard Rothmann initially opposed the idea of plural marriage. However, he later wrote a theological defense of plural marriage, and took 9 wives himself, saying "God has restored the true practice of holy matrimony amongst us.
The Lutheran pastor Johann Lyser strongly defended plural marriage in a work entitled "Polygamia Triumphatrix".
The Anglican church made a decision at the 1988 Lambeth Conference to admit those who were polygamists at the time they converted to Christianity, subject to certain restrictionsAnd for those who claim that good Christian Americans don't engage in acts of terrorist martyrdom against Muslims, we have this from just two months ago, from the HuffPo and the Daily Beast:
Sounds a lot like a Christian version of Daesh (ISIS). I believe I make my point: conservatives are the quintessential hatriots, ignorant bigots, but most of all, HYPOCRITES who apply a higher double standard to other people than they do to themselves and people they perceive to be like themselves.
Christian Minister Robert Doggart Reportedly Caught Plotting An Attack On American Muslims In IslambergHave you heard about the Christian terrorist Robert Doggart, who was plotting a violent attack against a Muslim-American community in New York state? Probably not, because as opposed to when U.S. law-enforcement officials arrest a Muslim for planning a violent assault, they didn’t send out a press release or hold a press conference publicizing Doggart’s arrest.
So let me tell you about Doggart and his deadly plan to use guns and even a machete to attack American Muslims in upstate New York. Doggart, a 63-year-old Tennessee resident, is an ordained Christian minister in the Christian National Church. In 2014, he unsuccessfully ran for Congress as an independent, espousing far right-wing views.
But don’t dismiss Doggart as some crazed wingnut howling at the moon. He served in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, worked for 40 years in the electrical generation business, has a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from La Salle University, and claimed he had nine “committed” men working with him to carry out this attack.
Doggart came to the FBI’s attention via postings on social media and a confidential informant. Why attack these Muslims? Doggart’s own words highlight his motive being grounded in at least partially in his view of Christianity: “Our small group will soon be faced with the fight of our lives. We will offer those lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God.” Doggart continued, “We shall be Warriors who inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies of our Nation and World Peace.”
Doggart, who was also recorded via wiretaps speaking to militia members in Texas and South Carolina, didn’t mince words about his plans for the Muslims of Islamberg: “We will be cruel to them. And we will burn down their buildings [Referring to their mosque and school.] ...and if anybody attempts to harm us in any way... we will take them down.”
He also detailed the weapons he would use in the attack, including an M-4 military assault rifle, armor-piercing ammunition, explosives, pistols, and a machete, because “If it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds.”
Doggart expressed a hope that he would survive the terror attack, but explained, “I understand that if it’s necessary to die [in this attack] then that’s a good way to die.”