You Thought the Crusades Were Evil… Until You Read This

CRUSADESIMAGEISI

Turns out the Crusades weren’t all about gold, gore, and glory.

This article is excerpted from the Spring 2011 edition of the Intercollegiate Review. It originally appeared as “Four Myths about the Crusades“. Be sure to read the full myth-busting article right here (complete with end notes).

In 2001, former president Bill Clinton delivered a speech at Georgetown University in which he discussed the West’s response to the recent terrorist attacks of September 11. The speech contained a short but significant reference to the crusades. Mr. Clinton observed that “when the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem [in 1099], they . . . proceeded to kill every woman and child who was Muslim on the Temple Mount.” He cited the “contemporaneous descriptions of the event” as describing “soldiers walking on the Temple Mount . . . with blood running up to their knees.” This story, Mr. Clinton said emphatically, was “still being told today in the Middle East and we are still paying for it.”

[…]

From presidential speeches to role-playing games, the crusades are depicted as a deplorably violent episode in which thuggish Westerners trundled off, unprovoked, to murder and pillage peace-loving, sophisticated Muslims, laying down patterns of outrageous oppression that would be repeated throughout subsequent history. In many corners of the Western world today, this view is too commonplace and apparently obvious even to be challenged.

But unanimity is not a guarantee of accuracy. What everyone “knows” about the crusades may not, in fact, be true. From the many popular notions about the crusades, let us pick four and see if they bear close examination.

Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and even a cursory chronological review makes that clear. In a.d. 632, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, North Africa, Spain, France, Italy, and the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica were all Christian territories. Inside the boundaries of the Roman Empire, which was still fully functional in the eastern Mediterranean, orthodox Christianity was the official, and overwhelmingly majority, religion. Outside those boundaries were other large Christian communities—not necessarily orthodox and Catholic, but still Christian. Most of the Christian population of Persia, for example, was Nestorian. Certainly there were many Christian communities in Arabia.

By a.d. 732, a century later, Christians had lost Egypt, Palestine, Syria, North Africa, Spain, most of Asia Minor, and southern France. Italy and her associated islands were under threat, and the islands would come under Muslim rule in the next century. The Christian communities of Arabia were entirely destroyed in or shortly after 633, when Jews and Christians alike were expelled from the peninsula. Those in Persia were under severe pressure. Two-thirds of the formerly Roman Christian world was now ruled by Muslims.

What had happened? Most people actually know the answer, if pressed—though for some reason they do not usually connect the answer with the crusades. The answer is the rise of Islam. Every one of the listed regions was taken, within the space of a hundred years, from Christian control by violence, in the course of military campaigns deliberately designed to expand Muslim territory at the expense of Islam’s neighbors. Nor did this conclude Islam’s program of conquest. The attacks continued, punctuated from time to time by Christian attempts to push back. Charlemagne blocked the Muslim advance in far western Europe in about a.d. 800, but Islamic forces simply shifted their focus and began to island-hop across from North Africa toward Italy and the French coast, attacking the Italian mainland by 837. A confused struggle for control of southern and central Italy continued for the rest of the ninth century and into the tenth. In the hundred years between 850 and 950, Benedictine monks were driven out of ancient monasteries, the Papal States were overrun, and Muslim pirate bases were established along the coast of northern Italy and southern France, from which attacks on the deep inland were launched. Desperate to protect victimized Christians, popes became involved in the tenth and early eleventh centuries in directing the defense of the territory around them.

[…]

Far from being unprovoked, then, the crusades actually represent the first great western Christian counterattack against Muslim attacks which had taken place continually from the inception of Islam until the eleventh century, and which continued on thereafter, mostly unabated. Three of Christianity’s five primary episcopal sees (Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria) had been captured in the seventh century; both of the others (Rome and Constantinople) had been attacked in the centuries before the crusades. The latter would be captured in 1453, leaving only one of the five (Rome) in Christian hands by 1500. Rome was again threatened in the sixteenth century. This is not the absence of provocation; rather, it is a deadly and persistent threat, and one which had to be answered by forceful defense if Christendom were to survive. The crusades were simply one tool in the defensive options exercised by Christians.

To put the question in perspective, one need only consider how many times Christian forces have attacked either Mecca or Medina. The answer, of course, is never.

Click here to read more on Myth 1.

Myth #2: Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.

Again, not true. One version of Pope Urban II’s speech at Clermont in 1095 urging French warriors to embark on what would become known as the First Crusade does note that they might “make spoil of [the enemy’s] treasures,” but this was no more than an observation on the usual way of financing war in ancient and medieval society. […]

As Fred Cazel has noted, “Few crusaders had sufficient cash both to pay their obligations at home and to support themselves decently on a crusade.” From the very beginning, financial considerations played a major role in crusade planning. The early crusaders sold off so many of their possessions to finance their expeditions that they caused widespread inflation. Although later crusaders took this into account and began saving money long before they set out, the expense was still nearly prohibitive. Despite the fact that money did not yet play a major role in western European economies in the eleventh century, there was “a heavy and persistent flow of money” from west to east as a result of the crusades, and the financial demands of crusading caused “profound economic and monetary changes in both western Europe and the Levant.”

One of the chief reasons for the foundering of the Fourth Crusade, and its diversion to Constantinople, was the fact that it ran out of money before it had gotten properly started, and was so indebted to the Venetians that it found itself unable to keep control of its own destiny. Louis IX’s Seventh Crusade in the mid-thirteenth century cost more than six times the annual revenue of the crown.

The popes resorted to ever more desperate ploys to raise money to finance crusades, from instituting the first income tax in the early thirteenth century to making a series of adjustments in the way that indulgences were handled that eventually led to the abuses condemned by Martin Luther. […]

In short: very few people became rich by crusading, and their numbers were dwarfed by those who were bankrupted. Most medieval people were quite well aware of this, and did not consider crusading a way to improve their financial situations.

Click here to read more on Myth 2.

Myth #3: Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather, they had ulterior, materialistic motives.

This has been a very popular argument, at least from Voltaire on. It seems credible and even compelling to modern people, steeped as they are in materialist worldviews. And certainly there were cynics and hypocrites in the Middle Ages—beneath the obvious differences of technology and material culture, medieval people were just as human as we are, and subject to the same failings.

However, like the first two myths, this statement is generally untrue, and demonstrably so. For one thing, the casualty rates on the crusades were usually very high, and many if not most crusaders left expecting not to return. At least one military historian has estimated the casualty rate for the First Crusade at an appalling 75 percent, for example. The statement of the thirteenth-century crusader Robert of Crésèques, that he had “come from across the sea in order to die for God in the Holy Land”—which was quickly followed by his death in battle against overwhelming odds—may have been unusual in its force and swift fulfillment, but it was not an atypical attitude. It is hard to imagine a more conclusive way of proving one’s dedication to a cause than sacrificing one’s life for it, and very large numbers of crusaders did just that.

But this assertion is also revealed to be false when we consider the way in which the crusades were preached. Crusaders were not drafted. Participation was voluntary, and participants had to be persuaded to go. The primary means of persuasion was the crusade sermon, and one might expect to find these sermons representing crusading as profoundly appealing.

This is, generally speaking, not the case. In fact, the opposite is true: crusade sermons were replete with warnings that crusading brought deprivation, suffering, and often death. That this was the reality of crusading was well known anyway. As Jonathan Riley-Smith has noted, crusade preachers “had to persuade their listeners to commit themselves to enterprises that would disrupt their lives, possibly impoverish and even kill or maim them, and inconvenience their families, the support of which they would . . . need if they were to fulfill their promises.”

So why did the preaching work? It worked because crusading was appealing precisely because it was a known and significant hardship, and because undertaking a crusade with the right motives was understood as an acceptable penance for sin. Far from being a materialistic enterprise, crusading was impractical in worldly terms, but valuable for one’s soul.

[…]

As difficult as it may be for modern people to believe, the evidence strongly suggests that most crusaders were motivated by a desire to please God, expiate their sins, and put their lives at the service of their “neighbors,” understood in the Christian sense.

Click here to read more on Myth 3.

Myth #4: The crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians.

Part of the answer to this myth may be found above, under Myth #1. Muslims had been attacking Christians for more than 450 years before Pope Urban declared the First Crusade. They needed no incentive to continue doing so. But there is a more complicated answer here, as well.

Up until quite recently, Muslims remembered the crusades as an instance in which they had beaten back a puny western Christian attack. An illuminating vignette is found in one of Lawrence of Arabia’s letters, describing a confrontation during post–World War I negotiations between the Frenchman Stéphen Pichon and Faisal al-Hashemi (later Faisal I of Iraq). Pichon presented a case for French interest in Syria going back to the crusades, which Faisal dismissed with a cutting remark: “But, pardon me, which of us won the crusades?”

This was generally representative of the Muslim attitude toward the crusades before about World War I—that is, when Muslims bothered to remember them at all, which was not often. Most of the Arabic-language historical writing on the crusades before the mid-nineteenth century was produced by Arab Christians, not Muslims, and most of that was positive. There was no Arabic word for “crusades” until that period, either, and even then the coiners of the term were, again, Arab Christians. It had not seemed important to Muslims to distinguish the crusades from other conflicts between Christianity and Islam.

[...]

So it was not the crusades that taught Islam to attack and hate Christians. Far from it. Those activities had preceded the crusades by a very long time, and stretch back to the inception of Islam. Rather, it was the West which taught Islam to hate the crusades. The irony is rich.

Click here to read more on Myth 4.

Back to the Present

[…]

It is true that many Muslims who had surrendered and taken refuge under the banners of several of the crusader lords—an act which should have granted them quarter—were massacred by out-of-control troops. This was apparently an act of indiscipline, and the crusader lords in question are generally reported as having been extremely angry about it, since they knew it reflected badly on them. To imply—or plainly state—that this was an act desired by the entire crusader force, or that it was integral to crusading, is misleading at best. In any case, John France has put it well: “This notorious event should not be exaggerated. . . . However horrible the massacre . . . it was not far beyond what common practice of the day meted out to any place which resisted.” And given space, one could append a long and bloody list, stretching back to the seventh century, of similar actions where Muslims were the aggressors and Christians the victims.

Nothing is served by distorting the past for our own purposes. Or rather: a great many things may be served . . . but not the truth. Distortions and misrepresentations of the crusades will not help us understand the challenge posed to the West by a militant and resurgent Islam, and failure to understand that challenge could prove deadly. Indeed, it already has. It may take a very long time to set the record straight about the crusades. It is long past time to begin the task.

Click here to read the full article.

  • tom cook

    This is my understanding of the Crusades from all of the history I have digested. Muslims worked under the insistence of muhammed to enslave, kill, or convert everyone and there has never been an intention in islam to coexist peacefully. Islam is a predatory vulgar religion based on barbarity, the subjucation of women and pedophilia. Islam(ism) must be eradicated just like communisim and all freedom destroying isms.

  • http://abiasedperspective.wordpress.com Luke Phillips

    You are making conservatism look bad by writing an essay depicting the crusaders as a pack of white knights only doing justice and fighting evil. You sound a lot like liberal, progressive social justice activists, telling tall tales of poor, oppressed peoples enduring centuries of oppression and, one day, rising up and fighting the man in a true crusade for justice. Go out on the street with those Occupy Wall Street thugs- you tell the same narrative.

    Alexander Hamilton delivered the most conservative one-liner ever spoken: “Tis the portion of Man assigned to him by the eternal allotment of Providence, that every good which he enjoys shall be alloyed with ills, that every source of his bliss shall be a source of his affliction- save VIRTUE alone, the only unmixed good permitted to his temporal condition.” In modern Facebook English, for those uneducated out there: Anything human is both good and evil- humans are neither demons nor angels, but a poor mix of both. The closest things to demons are men who call themselves angels.

    I despise anti-Western multiculturalism as much as any of you guys do, but here’s the difference- I love and appreciate Western culture without being a jingo. There’s value in every culture’s ways, as well as folly. Our culture is no exception; neither are our brothers in Islam. And in truth, there are a good many publications Muslims have churned out over the years that pay great homage to true conservative values- humility before God, valuing of individual excellence, the tragic nature of human life wrought by geopolitics and human fallibility. It’s true- read The Hundred Names of Allah, The Thousand and One Nights, and The Muqqadimah. Multiculturalism is flawed in saying that there is no objective value and therefore all cultures are equal. The truth is, there IS objective value, and all cultures tap into it in different ways which the wise man ought to value and learn from.

    It is a shame that, in defense of Christianity and in opposition to Islam, the author should feel compelled to resort to 15th Century depictions of Christians as good and Muslims as evil. Such characterizations are as invalid and immature as 20th Century depictions of Muslims as all-righteous and civilized and Christians as barbaric and dogmatic. You have sunk to the level of those you despise in publishing this. Be reasonable. Be conservative.

    There is truth in both narratives, and there is falsehood in both narratives. Such is true of all narratives. Life is tragic and our vision is distorted. Read your Homer, o ye who would claim the mantle of literature as your shield and sword.

    The world really is more interesting than it seems.

    • Dolphieness

      Luke Phillips: His article did not imply that war is innocent. You appear to want to misread the article intentionally. Is it so you could jump on the podium and pontificate?
      In all wars there will be those of good intentions and those who have bad intentions – which is what the above author correctly, clearly stated.
      The good intentions are frequently overlooked and twisted. The good intentions involved people volunteering to lay their lives down in a war to save fellow Christians from the ever expanding and horrible Islamic invasion. The bad intentions – there are those who are cruel and mentally sick (either initially or later after much violence they turn sick).
      The Islamic invaders were sick from the beginning. Convert or die or pay an extortion fee. Then it changed to convert or die. Either way, raping, kidnapping, pillaging, mutilation and more occurred.
      Islam has never been a religion of peace. Muhammed was a troubled man, caught between the jinn and other belief systems. He sought revenge against those who had not embraced him in various endeavors. He set out to exterminate all who did not walk the way he wanted them to. He fought with his own people, stabbing people in the back (literally and figuratively).
      The Crusades were implemented many centuries after the invasion of Islam and they were implemented after great thinking on the part of many.
      It was bloody. It cost money. It cost lives.
      As far as the rest of your pontificating, facts are one thing, stories are another. You quote stories rather than facts.

      • http://abiasedperspective.wordpress.com Luke Phillips

        Mr. Dolphin,
        Thank you for joining me, my fellow pontificator.
        I do not disagree with anything you say on the nature of war or indeed on the nature of Islam (so long as you soberly acknowledge that essentially everything you have said about that very human religion can be said with equal validity about its cousin Christianity.) You detail with vigor the crimes Islam committed. Did not Christianity commit its own crimes? And not even always against its neighbors, but even against its own? Do ‘The Warrior Popes’ or ‘The Sack of Constantinople’ mean anything to you? Beyond the differences of culture and religion, men are men, and they have a tendency to be vicious when not constrained by Leviathan or prudence. I don’t give Islam a pass, nor do I give Christianity one; nor do I praise Islam for attaining the greatest civilization possible, anymore than I do so for Christianity.

        As for the specifics, perhaps it is true that Christianity is indeed the more loving and merciful of the two. As a Christian myself I’d like to believe that. But with the record of history spread before us, none of us should be casting immediate judgments in black and white.

        It should easily have been expected that the Christians would retaliate against the siezure of their lands, as much as any other people or culture has done in our own time. Does that make the conquest just and the war proper? Does that elevate our preferred faction on a pedestal above all others? I don’t see their cause as ‘just’ any more than the Muslim conquest previous to it could be called ‘just.’ War is war.

        In short, Mr. Dolphin, my problem with this article is its self-serving appeals to victimization and its equation of that victimization with our righteousness, a tool of the weak and normally the revolutionary. We proud supporters of the Western tradition need not demonize our neighbors and say that all we have been taught is a lie, just to feel secure and justified in our pride. A Stoic acceptance of the evil on our side and the good on theirs is necessary to accept the good on our side and the evil on theirs.

        I think it’s important that the Christian side of the story be shared, especially in light of the visceral attacks on Christianity the last two and half centuries have been host to. But just as the necessity of a return to Founding Virtue does not at all condone or justify the contemporary Right’s humiliating bastardization of the Founders’ beautiful, sublime political philosophy into populist garbage, so a true appreciation of our Christian heritage in the Crusades cannot be based upon an assertion of our self-righteousness and innocent Christian virtue.

        • Raymond of Canada

          Nor should you “praise Islam for attaining the greatest civilization possible.” There is absolutely no evidence to prove it. However, you can praise Christianity that it has created the highest civilizations possible. In fact, for centuries, peoples have abandoned their own countries to share in the freedom and opportunities found in western democracies which, even today, are based on Judea/Christian principles, which is the highest form of civilization on earth. No apologies from me.

    • Brendon B

      They are scaling down hundreds of years to a single page. Pope Urban’s declaration was in 1095, over three centuries after the Battle of Tours and decades after the Normans had invaded Sicily. It would be like America declaring war on Britain because they threatened us in the War of 1812.

      Furthermore, the article is subtly racist. Muslims are not all one people stretching from North Africa to Iran. It was the Magrebs/Moors who invaded Spain, the Arabs who invaded Italy, and the Turks who invaded the Balkans. They are all very different ethnic people with different languages, culture, etc. Just because they are Islamic doesn’t make them the same any more than you could blend Irish, Italians and Russians together as the same people.

    • http://www.withinapresumptionofgodlessness.com Tom Dauria

      Thank you Captain Obvious:)

      We know everyone is capable of good and evil. That’s why we have police and prisons and knights and soldiers to protect good and innocent people like you who can contain his evil from those who won’t.

      As you know, in the latter years of the 18th
      century, in The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton argued that without a “federal navy . . . of respectable weight . . . the genius of American Merchants and Navigators would be stifled
      and lost.”

      His proposals proved positive for a standing military in peace time when America was first confronted with her first war on the “radical”
      Islamic terrorists in the early years of the 19th century.

      It’s always important to mention how Christians are as evil as everyone else but unfortunately the “radical” Muslims aren’t at war with “just” the “radical” Christians, so America is forced to protect the good and innocent people like you:) and me.

    • IRAMOE

      AH HA!! You have seen a history book! When Jerusalem fell it wasn’t only the Muslims that died. Jews and Christians alike were also slaughtered by the Crusaders as they all lived there. I cannot stand today’s view of the Crusades and Templars however. (Most don’t even know of the Teutonic Knights or St. John’s Hospitalers) In the beginning to become a Templar you had to give up land, money and your family, if you had one, and take a vow of poverty and chastity. Today Templars are depicted as evil, gold worshipping, murders which is so far from the truth aka. Assassin’s Creed. But the children of today are taught this to be true and their parents are SO uneducated they have NO idea. We live in SAD times.

  • http://abiasedperspective.wordpress.com Luke Phillips

    Nice picture, Assassin’s Creed is awesome!

    • IRAMOE

      spoken like a kid that never has seen a history book! Keep going you get a job in a gas station yet!

  • Bulan Sabriel

    Although the Crusades were a legitimate response to the Muslim invasions, the slaughter of Rhineland Jewry was not.
    These were also not the only Crusades, as there were the Northern Crusades to Christianize the area between Prussia and Finland.

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  • CapitalG

    Islam is of the Devil

  • DINORightMarie

    What is the difference between a “crusade” and “jihad”? Both are wars/fighting that are done for religious reasons (one to perhaps pay penance for sins, the other to fight and eliminate religious enemies)…..

    Did I just answer my own question?

    (I know what the dictionary says. I am wondering if they are not, in actuality, one and the same.)

    • LAteach

      Here is a good example of the language of jihad (does it compare to Christian groups today doing and/or speaking the same way?):
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2014/05/the-nigerian-schoolgirl-kidnappings-as-christian-persecution/

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      RTFA. One is a war to expand territory, the other is a war of self defense.

    • Raymond of Canada

      Not the same at all. You can only allow the enemy of your beliefs (Islam) to get away with so much. There comes a time when you say, “so far, and no further.” Hitler found out the west had its breaking point. So will Islam’s jihadists!

  • notatallpc

    It’s just like the bible says: “though shalt not kill, unless other people are doing it too or you figure you have a pretty good reason”

    • IRAMOE

      ummm. . . “self defense or to save the innocents”

  • anon.

    Very good article here, and thank you for the links to the larger edition.

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  • Patriot4ever

    Given the current state of the new Muslim invasion and destruction of Christianity I say bring back the Crusades! I’m fed up with their violence, intolerance and deplorable beliefs such as Sharia Law. Jihad is their crusade against Christians so time to lock and load and bring back our own Crusade to crush them!

    • Joyfully

      i just wish they had been successful. had they been, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today.

    • Genesis

      They learned nothing from the crusades! We do not need another repeat!!!

    • ChezC3

      Your enemy today isn’t the Muslims, but the secularists. They did a good job of dividing the believers based on old prejudices though…

  • Invictus_Lux

    The worst things about the Crusades were the utter apathy of the Christian Kings being too busy fighting among themselves for CENTURIES before the pope was able to appeal to their moral obligation to cooperate to stop the incessant pillaging and kidnapping of European Christian children for slaves that went on for centuries unabated. The Muslims particularly loved to steal children to trade as sex slaves for favors among the officers and ranking members. The most capable young boys they castrate and made them into fierce personal guards of Muslim officers – the Janissaries (with most dying from the extreme military training & disciplining). These diabolical devils then used these previous Christian boys as their elite shock troops against their own race and Christian societies at the front. They were fanatic and would rather die in combat than fail their masters and so were most feared by the defenders.

    The Spanish were brutalized by the Muslims. The Muslims never showed any quarter and executed captured or surrendered knights and stacked decapitated knights’s heads so high they looked like hills; all as a warning to any who dared not submit to Dhimmitude.

    • Joyfully

      would like to know where you learned this very quietly kept secret. i believe this can be true, based on the behavior of boko harem and the taliban of contemporary times. this is not part of the contemporary understanding and i would genuinely like to understand this.

    • Raymond of Canada

      From my understanding of history, Catholicism conducted their own crusade against none-Catholics. While none-Catholics burned a few witches and fought back in other ways, their numbers pale to those killed by Catholic Inquisitions. Therefore, I see no moral leadership from the pope, except to protect their own.

      • IRAMOE

        Ray. Read about Henry the VIII after the Pope said “No” to his divorce request, and The French King, upon finding out there was no way he could repay the Templars.

      • ChezC3

        The Inquisition’s scope has been greatly exaggerated current scholarship reveals.

      • Eskimo man

        The Inquisitions were more about the prevention of heresy, the protection of Gods word, than a crusade against non Catholics.

        • Raymond of Canada

          It was rather unfortunate though that a large majority of those in error were non-Catholics.

          • Eskimo man

            That’s because Catholics gave us the word of God, and non Catholics want to destroy it, or modify it to suit themselves and the devil.

          • Raymond of Canada

            That is precisely why the inquisition took place because one group of people thought they knew better than the other group and God was asking them for help to cleanse the world of heretics.

          • Eskimo man

            It wasn’t one group of people thinking they new better than the other. The Catholic Church produced the Bible in the first place, and God entrusted His word to them. So they are the only guardians of the word of God on earth. If we didn’t have the Inquisitions, the true word of God would be lost by now.

          • Raymond of Canada

            Eskimo man, no doubt you believe Peter was the first pope too and that Roman Catholicism was the first and only religion up until, out of nowhere, there existed all those “heretics” that didn’t pull the Roman line, so had to be quelled. The false church had it just about sewn up until Roman authority was questioned and the enlightenment followed revolutionized the whole world wherever Roman authority was challenged. It’s easy to name the nations that learned they didn’t need a papacy to do their thinking.

          • Eskimo man

            I don’t believe anything, it’s just fact that he was the first Pope, and the rock that Jesus built His Church on. You have no understanding on the matter any way, and I am wasting my time with you. If you want to follow Jesus, you do so through His Church. If you want to reject Jesus and His Church, Just keep following Luther and the devil.

          • Raymond of Canada

            It’s people like you who confirm the fear I have about some people. Surely, if you can justify the slaughter of “skeptics” because they are a perceived threat to your beliefs, you can do it again!

          • Eskimo man

            It was not the slaughter of sceptics, and it was Gods will at the time. You cannot understand it by looking at it with a modern perspective. Was it wrong for God to wipe out the human race at the time of Noah? Was it wrong for God to wipe out the homosexuals at Sodom and Gomorrah? The problem with people like you is that you want to call everything a belief, and never see or understand the truth.

          • Julie

            What behaviors do you know of that caused the Spanish government to react as it did? And why? Consider having your land plundered for hundreds of years, your faith in God blasphemed, and you having to wear a green badge, have no rights or say in the courts, not allowed to promote your faith in Catholic Spain, because you are dhimmi?

        • Julie

          Most correct.

      • Julie

        Sorry, but John Paul II allowed the documents on the Inquisition to be finally opened in August, 2003.
        What resulted was what Catholics long suspected, that the abuses by the Spanish temporal rulers were greatly exaggerated, and that the clergy exonerated and caused the release of many.
        The reaction was due to the ongoing plundering by Islam, and Spain wanted to have a united Catholic country, seeing that heretical or divisive ideas and behaviors could weaken the country, and eventually allow Islam to finally triumph.
        To this day, Islam still believes Spain belongs to them.
        Those guilty of causing divisions in a guarded society were very small in comparison to the extremely high numbers created by anti-Catholic writers, particularly those from America in the mid 1800′s.

  • Invictus_Lux

    Charles – you’re an idiot. The Muslims were routinely attacking Christendom the entire time and also waylaying any who dared to attempt the pilgrimage to the Holy Lands. The Crusades was purely a defense counter-offensive to stop the looting and pillaging and to liberate the Christians in the Holy Land and the ancient churches and shrines from defilement (turned into latrines to mock Christians). If the Crusades were motivated purely on conquest they would not have stopped at Jerusalem and would have pushed all into the region and well into what is now Saudi Arabia and captured and dominated the entire region. You’re reading too much liberal anti-Catholic revisionist history.

  • cestusdei

    Solid article and should be required reading in history classes.

  • asonofSocrates

    Good solid scholarship. It would appear the west has been defending itself from middle eastern expansion and use of military force to impose political/religious culture upon others for over a thousand years.

  • Wm. Michael Mott
  • mastedon2

    Wow REL that’s pretty fkin stupid. Capitalism? You mean the one that provides jobs and at one time had the US at the top of the list in terms of innovation and prosperity? Take your socialist ideals and head on back to California, bankrupt of $$ and spirit.

    • XPolitician

      The problem with many
      conservatives today in the US they confuse an oligarchy we have in the US ran by the likes of the Koch brothers, Wall Street Bankers and big Oil with capitalism. To put it simply Capitalism is good an oligarchy is unhealthy. In fact this confusion is splitting the Republican Party to many parts.

      • IRAMOE

        another bozo. Why can’t you idiot lefties stay on subject here?

        • XPolitician

          Iramoe obscene and rude as you depict yourself here I was responding to the troll calling himself an extinct hairy elephant — talking on the subject — I imagine was about the writers veiled support Capitalism article; attacking Muslim nations; painting Muslims as wicked. When really the writer’s real purposed is about justifying war in the Mideast. His real point is veiling profit motives as a crusade to fight evil? Did I get it right or is you lucid proficiency operational.

          • mastedon2

            MORON XP,
            Thanks for reminding me of ABC, whist discussing XYZ. Get on point next time. I know how you liberals like to “correct” everyone to feed your arrogance… at LEAST be on point enough to know where we are.
            No one is more aware of the financial/lawyer driven politics destroying true capitalism than I am.
            Peter Schiff anyone?

          • XPolitician

            The point is Peter
            Schiff you are rude vulgar and very ignorant. You cannot express an opposing idea without showing just how stupid you are, and a personal attack. You and
            your non-combat veteran warmongering friends of yours have hijacked US religion
            turning with your nationalistic US capitalist oligarchy god funded by the Koch brothers into an arm of violence. In this case Islam. This writer is not talking about Christ’s Gospels of tolerance oh little brain Peter he is spinning rationalizing violence in a clever rationalization of more war. Keep
            up the personal attacks they show just how stupid you and your ilk are. Go take a ride in your imaginary Lamborghini and get some fresh air, it might do you well Peter Schiff.

          • XPolitician

            You are like a lot of young pups, ball behind the Ipad.

          • IRAMOE

            As rude as I like to be! And as direct as well. Muslim nations, minus a few, breed and harbor international killers by the thousands. And you defend that by pointing at wall street. You are a sad son of a bitch. Why don’t you become XAmerican?

          • XPolitician

            Listen IRAMOE or whatever you are. Killing people whether US or not is immoral. Have you shed blood for this nation? Not sure anyone in your family has. Not
            likely, but I am sure your family benefits from right wing politics of war and low taxes; Like I said to the other wannabe a billionaire right wing troll go take a ride in your imaginary Lamborghini and then go to your Temple. Asking God just why you think it is alright to pick and choose terrorist friends based on race and religion; and continue to spread hate.

          • IRAMOE

            HAHAHAHA I LAUGH AT YOUR ABSOLUTE IDIOCY !! I have been unemployed for over 2 years now, lost my house and a job of 18 years. I did 27 years of Army and Reserve time. The Military in my family goes back past longer then I know!! And I study my genealogy. And your family? Mr. libtard? Never had to go to war ( thank GOD) and don’t preach to me about immorality you heathen, I’m a strong Catholic and live my religion you self righteous blowhard ( only a blowhard would call himself X politician ). IF THE RELIGION FITS AS TERRORIST IT IS THAT BY DEFINITION. ( wow, an x politician . . . just another wannbe something)

          • XPolitician

            Curious
            have you completed university, secondary school or elementary school. You seem
            not mature enough to have completed your
            Bar Mitzvah?

          • XPolitician

            You are not Catholic. You are a radical Zionist.

          • IRAMOE

            You are a ignorant fool.

          • IRAMOE

            Off point again I see. Typical trick of the ignorant. . . and stupid to! :-)

          • XPolitician

            The key word here is Reserve time Army reserve time. If your attitude at work is as here no wonder you lost your job. You are this part of US society who keeps voting against your own needs. If you are American. Actually which I doubt I thought you where out writing graffiti on Christian Churches in the Holy Land.

          • IRAMOE

            You are such a self centered ass Mr. “Politician”! You are the sickening type that puts yourself first instead of the country. You make me sick. And while you’ve pulled THE typical LIBTARD trick (if you can’t win an argument get personal) And you would have NO FU*KING Idea why I lost my job or my house! I’ll bet you still live with or off mommy and daddy. And you stupid X Politician ( precinct person? hahaha) What would you know about the military at all? I love the fact you have 2 -3 family members that have served and it makes you smart enough to comment!! HAHAHA you are a piece of work. Over half of our armed services are reserve and the ALL go to combat you ignorant putts. So take you self righteous lack of knowledge as shove it up your ass. Read a book, dipshit.

        • XPolitician

          The subject should be about hate mongering by those with hidden agendas. Isis today are driving former US military Humvee s. Killing Christians with US weapons given to them by the US. The United States will never get it straight as long as they fight wars not in the interest of Americans.

      • Mark Cragin

        This refrain from liberals is really tiresome. Charles and David Koch through their foundation ranked only a poor 36th in terms of political contributions, far outdistanced by various wealthy liberals.

        How about the “likes” of Tom Steyr and George Soros? There’s a couple oligarchs to be concerned about.

  • Monte Harmon

    Yes, “C”apitalism has many problems, and is rather Darwinian when totally unregulated, but then again, at least it doesn’t kill most of its members like the other systems do. If you can think of anything better…

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  • Joyfully

    you should follow the money. do you know who pays karen armstrong’s salary? i’ve read her “unbiased” books, and i have looked into the foundation that supports her propaganda. i suggest you do the same.

  • Joyfully

    perhaps you should read a book on the subject if you want an in-depth examination. expecting to get a “myriad of factors that ‘could have’ played” in an article that attempts to de-mythologize five points is placing an unfair burden on the author.

  • Ummer Farooq @faro0485

    This is pro-catholic bumkin. One that denies that the pope’s war for the holy land, drenched England dry from war taxes so much so that Richard wanted to make an alliance with Saladin by marrying his sister Joan of England to AlAdil. And it even came to the fact that John himself was kicked out that church. Those were not Christians, but catholic popes.

    • MarylandBill

      Actually, since the article talks about the fact that the Crusades were extremely expensive and tended to bankrupt the participants, it does not deny the impact of the third Crusade’s impact on the Holy Land, it merely doesn’t single it out for particular attention. BTW, King John’s excommunication had nothing to do with the Crusades but rather about the appointment of a bishop, and so is irrelevant to this discussion.

    • Eskimo man

      What I’ve noticed in my life experiences with Muslim people, is that they are very stupid in comparison with ordinary people. Yet Catholics seem to be very smart and knowledgeable. Judging by your dumb ass comment, and your name and picture, you are a dopey Muslim.

      • Ummer Farooq @faro0485

        Oh how cute, catholics are the best? I take it that you are the platonist not I.

        • Eskimo man

          Catholics are not the best, and in many cases, far from it. But the Catholic Church is the Church of the true God Jesus Christ. When you separated Christians from Catholic Popes, that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. When you start your comment with a Catholic bashing statement, it proves that you are not smart at all. Who won the crusades? Catholics. Who has the weakest armies in the world? Muslims.

          • Ummer Farooq @faro0485

            Actually it was the British who managed to take over the holy land and rule it and much if the world, and they were not Catholic. And heck it was the English that kept any settlement there in the past. So I can stand by my claim that this is pro-catholic bumpkin. You can claim whatever you like about your church being true but if you cannot even present simple truths, then how can we know your preferences to be true? And in that article it says that a Muslim said the Muslims won the crusades. You read it wrong almost confusing me that it was said the other way until I checked it again for the name of the French person who supposedly asked the question

          • Eskimo man

            The British never took over the Holy land and ruled it. They also do not rule much of the world. You are the one who does not present simple truths fool. I did not read it wrong you dummy. I know for a fact that the crusades were won by the Catholic forces, even though outnumbered 10 to 1, at the final battle of Lepanto. I knew all about the crusades before reading this story brainiac. Muslims can claim all they want, but we know their religion is false, their prophet is false, and you are false and not that smart are you?

          • Ummer Farooq @faro0485

            You are lying against me and falsifying what I said. Yet you call me a liar. All you knew about was the myth and propaganda taught to you and many others like you. You claim that battle was a battle of the Crusades, yet you ignore the fact that in the original actual crusades there was England. Where did England go? Ah it was later fighting against these crusaders, and then in the 1600s made an alliance and trade pact with the Ottomans. Outnumbered? The stats record more firepower on the Holy League’s side.

            Your lie against me is enough evidence that you have been swallowing Plato.

          • Eskimo man

            The country England was never a part of the crusades, only that there were some English Christian fighters that joined some of the crusades. England never fought against crusaders, the crusades were finished at the time of the reformation. You are talking shit, just like your false prophet Mohamed did. This is a story of one of the crusades. -

            “There were twenty-six
            thousand Saracen horsemen, only a few hundred Christians; but the Saracen were
            routed. Most were killed; Saladin himself only escaped because he rode a racing
            camel. The young king with his hands bandaged, rode in the forefront of the
            Christian charge – with St. George beside him, people said, and the True Cross
            shining as brightly as the sun. Whether or not that was so, it was an almost
            incredible victory, an echo of the days of the First Crusade. But it was also
            the last time such a great Moslem army was beaten by such a small force.”5

            Deluged by heavy rains and
            suffering the loss of roughly ninety percent of his army, Saladin returned to Cairo in utter defeat.
            Years later, he would refer to the battle disdainfully as “so great a
            disaster.”6

            Realizing that divine
            assistance was largely responsible for his triumph, Baldwin
            erected a Benedictine monastery on the site, dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria, on whose
            feast day the victory had been won. The Battle of Lepanto -
            1571.
            It was the prized
            desideratum of every Sultan of the Ottoman Empire to march his vast army to Rome itself and repeat
            the same victory there. Were they to succeed, Saint Peter’s Basilica was sure
            to become a mosque, yet another trophy in the growing collection of great,
            fallen Christian churches, and Rome
            would be reduced to a satellite city of the triumphant Muslim power. Conquest
            of Rome would
            be the apotheosis of the triumph of Islam over Christendom. If this were to
            happen, the fate of the Western World would be doomed and life today would be
            very different.
            A beleaguered yet
            determined Pope Pius V summoned forth all his diplomatic skills and authority
            as Holy Father to call leaders of Europe
            together to make a last stand against the mighty Turkish power in the name of
            Christendom. When all was said and done, Spain,
            the Republic of Venice,
            Genoa, Savoy
            and the Knights of Malta formed a Holy League with the Papal
            States.

            . Pius V
            requested that all Europe join in praying the rosary for success in the
            campaign. He led a procession around St. Peter’s Square for this intention,
            calling upon the Virgin Mary to deliver Christendom from the Turkish menace by
            granting victory at the Mediterranean naval outpost named Lepanto.
            The Holy League’s fleet, at
            about two-hundred galleys, was large, but still outnumbered by the Turkish fleet
            having about 60 more ships.

            . Don Juan knelt on the
            deck, offered a brief prayer and took up his sword. Both sides engaged one
            another as the epic battle for the future of Europe
            commenced. The two forces clashed in fierce combat, some of it hand-to-hand,
            for four hours and losses on both sides were heavy but at the end of the day,
            victory resided with the Don Juan and the Christian forces. The Turks lost
            nearly their entire fleet and suffered over 30,000 dead or wounded, including
            the commanding general and many of their finest military men. The victory was
            made even sweeter with the release of thousands of enslaved
            Christians. For once the arrogant Turks, who afterward contemptuously
            referred to the debacle simply as “the rout,” demonstrated that they were not
            invincible and were not destined for inevitable global dominion. They learned
            the hard way that Christendom would not fold before Islam without a fight. Upon
            learning the news, Pope Pius was jubilant and dedicated the day, October 7, to
            the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Victory. Now, her title is known as Our Lady of
            the Rosary and the feast is still commemorated today, while the particulars of
            the battle, or even knowledge of it all together, are sadly forgotten. The
            battle was a great accomplishment for the Church and Europe and must never be
            forgotten by Catholics.

          • Ummer Farooq @faro0485

            With your language you sound like you need an exorcism.

            As for your story, are you suggesting that it is fictional?

          • Eskimo man

            Everything you say is fictional, just fantasy, non truth.

  • IRAMOE

    spoken like a true idiot.Stay on point.

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  • XPolitician

    Marine 0311 DMZ Vietnam 1967 and 1968 here. Michael Moore does not spend 100′s of millions $$$ on social engineering as does the Koch brothers from blogs like this to grants to US universities who allow him to spread his propaganda. Let us not forget the Casino owner and chief warmonger in Vegas. This guy has bought many conservative Catholics and bible based Christian souls.

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  • XPolitician
  • XPolitician

    Anything written for public consumption has to be looked on as being suspicious. Veterans Today is a respected source. http://www.veteranstoday.com/2012/06/15/zionist-trolls-and-hypocrites-in-high-places/

  • venicementor

    Why consider the truth when people today can keep on blaming the Christians because they can’t seem to bring themselves to get educated.