Children’s Crusades

     Remember the children’s crusade? It was 803 years ago that Western Europe thought it would be a good idea to send children to the Holy Land to convert the Muslims, or kill them, and their children.
     The Mediterranean Sea was supposed to part when the white kids got there, but it didn’t. So the children who survived were sold into slavery. That’s how it goes sometimes.
     The medieval mind is a strange thing. It’s still around today, in the so-called Islamic State, and right here in the United States.
     Every influential military thinker from Sun Tzu through Julius Caesar, Napoleon and our geniuses in the CIA today agree that to defeat an enemy we must know how he thinks. So I bought a copy of “History of the Franks,” which Gregory, Bishop of Tours wrote in 594, back at the beginning of our Dark Ages, which supposedly ended around the time of the Children’s Crusade. Because I want to know how our enemies think.
     If there is one word that defines the way fundamentalist Muslims, and fundamentalists of any religion think, that word is “medieval.”
     One reason Islamic fundamentalism is so disturbing to us is that “it is difficult for us to take an unprejudiced view of religious and moral phenomena that are in the direct line of our cultural descent.” So said the late Ernest Brehaut, translator of Bishop Gregory’s history.
     It would be much easier, Brehaut said, if we could imagine that an alien people lived on a remote island, practicing a religion with which we are wholly unfamiliar. But that is not the case. The Islamic world saved the civilization of Greece and Rome for the West, during our Dark Ages.
     The medieval mind is bewildered, and sees the universe as hostile. Fearful, without science, semi-literate at best, the medieval mind turns to religion for answers. And religion, as the only answer available, becomes the proof – of anything at all.
     Religion need not be proved. Religion is the proof. So it is that vile assaults upon humanity – the desecration of the human race – is praised as holy.
     I give you the Taliban, and the Islamic State. I give you Clovis, king of the Franks, smashing a man’s head in with an ax because the man had broken a vase – and Bishop Gregory assuring us that God loved Clovis, “because he walked with right heart before Him and did what was pleasing in His eyes.”
     Let me also give you photos of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, drowned on a beach in Greece last month as his family fled the Syrian civil war. These heart-rending photos were supposed to awaken the conscience of the West. And what did our conscience say?
     Well, fundamentalist Republicans want to be sure we keep those “terrorists” out of here. And every reporter from The New York Times on down keeps calling these children and their suffering parents “migrants,” rather than what they are, which is refugees of war.
     You can kill people with your own hands, you can kill them with guns and car bombs, and you can kill them with words.
     What’s the difference between Clovis and the imams of the Islamic State? Ain’t no difference at all, except the weapons they used.
     You can also kill people with laws and money. And speaking of children’s crusades, what’s the difference between killing women with one’s own hands and killing them by destroying the most successful system of women’s health care in the history of the world, because your – pardon the word – God tells you it would be pleasing in His eyes?
     Would the governor of Texas or Sen. Ted Cruz smash a woman’s head in with an ax on national TV? Surely not – unless it was prime time during Super Bowl weekend and they were running for president. Then, sure, they’d do it.
     But there are other ways to kill women and children.
     It’s just a choice of weapons.

%d bloggers like this: