Saturday, February 06, 2010
Don't insult the crocodile until you cross the water.(Be careful about criticizing others.) African Proverb
I am student of Dr. Malachi.Z. York, Hon Elijah Muhammad, Marcus Garvey, Dr. King, Khalid Muhammad, and many others." Sawaad Amen Ra
This is a wonderful book. I'm glad it is finally out. All of the religious intolerance of the early church is brought to light. The facts should not be used as a reason to hate the church; but, they help us all understand that claims of a divine right to speak for God are all false. If you liked this book , I would also recommend the book An Encounter With A Prophet. The author of An Encounter With A Prophet would no doubt be burned at the stake if organized religion still had the power it had in the middle ages.
I was very impressed by Helen Ellerbe's "The Dark Side of Christian History." A critical overview of nearly 2000 years of Christian history, Ellerbe sheds light on the ugly skeletons that "feel good" Christendom would like the rest of us to ignore or downplay. Ellerbe opens by saying that the Christian legacy "fosters sexism, racism, the intolerance of difference, and the desecration of the natural environment" and goes on to intelligently justify her position.
Ellerbe covers the suppression of theological diversity in early Christianity (including the suppression of alternative gospel texts), the Crusades, the Inquisition, genocide against Native Americans, the witch hunts of the 1400s-1700s, and other atrocities committed under the direction of Christian churches. The book is thoroughly annotated, and contains a substantial bibliography for further reading.
My only criticism of Ellerbee's book is that, if anything, she doesn't go far enough. This is especially true in her brief mention of Christian complicity in the slave trade. The intertwining of Christian churches and theologies with slavery is a truly vast phenomenon with a huge body of documentation (start with Frederick Douglass' "Narrative" and Harriet Jacobs' "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl"). But I suppose there is only so much an author can accomplish in a book of about 220 pages.
I recommend "The Dark Side" both to intellectually honest Christians and to non-Christians who may be the targets of some of the types of bigotry that have historically been intertwined with Christianity. As a companion text, try "The Bible Tells Me So: Uses and Abuses of Holy Scripture," by Jim Hill and Rand Cheadle
The Spanish Inquisition was an institution that had precedents in other Inquisitions. The reconquest of Spain from the Moors resulted in a relatively peaceful multi-religious society, but violent anti-Judaism and anti-islam ensued and many Jews and Muslims converted to the Catholic faith.
Some of these conversos were suspected of not being sincere converts. The Alhambra Decree in 1492 ordered all remaining Jews to leave their kingdoms, causing more Jews to convert to Christianity rather than leave Spain. Various motives have been proposed for the monarchs to start the Inquisition, such as increased political authority, weakening opposition, doing away with conversos and sheer profit.
Ferdinand II of Aragon pressured pope Sixtus IV to agree to let him set up an Inquisition controlled by the monarchy by threatening to withdraw military support at a time when the Turks were a threat to Rome. Sixtus IV later accused the Spanish inquisition of being overzealous, accused the monarchs for being greedy and issued a bull to stop it, but he was pressured into withdrawing the bull. On both occasions Sixtus IV went along with Ferdinand II of Aragon
During the 16th century a new target was found: Protestants. About 100 were burned as heretics. An index of prohibited books was drawn up that were alleged to contain heresy. In time converts from Islam, called Moriscos, were also persecuted by the Holy Office. Other crimes were also taken up in these tribunals such as blasphemy, Superstitions, heretical propositions, Sodomy, Bigamy and solicitation. Among superstitions, six witches can be positively verified to have been executed.
The Spanish Inquisition was an institution at the service of the monarchy, but had to follow procedures set up by the Holy See, and the appointment of Inquisitor General had to be approved by the pope. Most of the inquisitors had a university education in law. Its income came from the confiscations and otherwise operated in conformity with Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church. The procedures would start with Edicts of Grace, where people were invited to step forward to confess heresy freely and to denounce others. Denunciations were followed by detentions, which in some cases lasted up to two years before the trial. A defense counsel was assigned to the defendant, a member of the tribunal itself, whose role was simply to advise the defendant and to encourage him or her to speak the truth. A Notary of the Secreto meticulously wrote down the words of the accused. The archives of the Inquisition, in comparison to those of other judicial systems of the era, are striking in the completeness of their documentation. The percentage of cases where torture was used, which was as a means of getting confessions, varied. Sentences varied from fines to execution and those condemned had to participate in the ceremony of auto de fe. The arrival of the Enlightenment in Spain in the first half of the 18th century slowed inquisitorial activity and it was definitively abolished on July 15, 1834. From 1476 to 1834 probably between 3,000 and 5,000 people were executed.
This book unblinds the serious problem that mass media socializes black males (like me), to see whiteness (and therefore white women) as the ulitmate reflection of what is beautiful. From the moment we are born we are shown millions of depictions of white women as both intelligent and beautiful (from old movies to the Barbie doll). At the same time we are fed a constant flow of images depicting women of color, especially darker-skinned black women, in negative and often unattractive roles. The abandonment of black women by black men, as pointed out by this writer, will likely lead to increased caos/ crime in the black community. Thank you for helping me to better understand this issue!
The devil (President Bush) came right here... And it still smells of sulfur today." Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez September 20, 2006.
"I believe I`m going to die doing the things I was born to do. I believe I`m going to die high off the people. I believe I`m going to die a revolutionary in the international revolutionary proletarian struggle."
Fred Hampton Black Panther Party
Posted by Sawaad Amen Ra at 9:54 AM