Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Schism: Dissidence, Dominance, Heresy, Tolerance

When the phrases "to escape religious persecution" or "the rights to freedom of speech and assembly" are bandied about in 2012, a lot of people seem to be carrying sugarcoated notions of these things. People usually don't move to a place to escape persecution because another group of people aren't being nice to them -- more likely it's because another group (or groups) of people have declared them anathema, unnacceptable, worthy only of exile or death. Purge them, stone them, drive them off. . .

Going back to the Waldensians (Waldenses), recall that they went underground for hundreds of years, and sought places of refuge with varying degrees of success. Why?  One doesn't have to be a Waldensian to understand the primal basics. Here's an official Catholic version, which is quite clear on what happened:

". . . force soon checked the heretical movement. In 1192 Bishop Otto of Toul ordered all Waldenses to be put in chains and delivered up to the episcopal tribunal. Two years later King Alphonso II of Aragon banished them from his dominions and forbade anyone to furnish them with shelter or food. These provisions were renewed by Pedro II at the Council of Gerona (1197), and death by burning was decreed against the heretics."  (Source: "Waldenses," Catholic Encyclopedia. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15527b.htm)

Did everyone catch that?  In case you missed it: ". . . and death by burning was decreed against the heretics."

"If anyone says it is permitted for a Christian to have several wives, and having several wives is not forbidden by divine law -- He is anathema."*

As far as the USA goes, despite its Bill of Rights and reputation as a haven for tolerance, consider just a couple of incidents involving American Mormons (Church of Latter Day Saints). 

1. Missouri Executive Order Number 44 (October 27, 1838): "The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace -- their outrages are beyond all description." 

2. June 27, 1844, Carthage, Illinois, USA: 150 of the "American People" forced entry into the Carthage Jail and shot dead Joseph Smith, original leader of the Mormons, along with his brother Hyrum (also of the "American People") in a hail of gunfire, while they were waiting to stand trial.

Next time you hear a politician (including Mitt Romney) chirping about how exceptionally wonderful "the American People" are, remember this.  

Today's Rune: Defense.  *(La Voie lactée / The Milky Way, Luis Buñuel, 1969).

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

amazing the rhetoric used against the Mormons at that point. Always what is anathema to one must be treated as if it is the worst thing in the history of humankind.