The Right-Wing Doesn’t Want to Talk About Christian Atrocities, So Let’s Talk About Christian Atrocities

By Josh Kilburn | 7 February 2015
Americans Against the Tea Party

The right-wing’s been freaking about Obama bringing up the crusades and the Inquisition, to show that Christianity doesn’t have a blood-free history. Whether it’s posting videos with skewed definitions of the Crusades or claiming Islam is still worse because reasons, they’re in a blind rush to defend the tribe and, in the process, they’re not orchestrating a very effective defense.

History is full of atrocities committed by Christians for Christ, against not just other religions but against Christians themselves. Let’s take a look at some of them, shall we?

11. Central African Republic Genocide (2012 – Present)

This is an ongoing conflict, and it’s my first go-to when I need to shut down a teabagger on a rail. While the UN hasn’t called it a genocide yet, Reuters acknowledges that what the Christians are doing is ethnic cleansing against a Muslim minority. The conflict is very much one of Christians working to expel Muslims from the country, and by all accounts, they’ve been very successful so far.

10. Bosnian Genocide (1992 – 1995)

I vaguely remember this genocide, but it’s worth noting because of how the pieces fell. There isn’t a huge language distinction; Serbian, Bosnian, and Croat are part of a dialect continuum. The difference is in the religion; Bosnian Serbs are Orthodox, while Bosnia Muslims were, well, Muslims. And that was what got them targeted during the collapse of the former Yugoslav Republic. The term “Ethnic Cleansing” gets thrown around to describe this one, too, and it was an extremely effective example of one (which is why it coined the term) — one of the worst ones in Europe since the Holocaust targeted everyone outside the Nazi paradigm for the ideal state. Speaking of which …

9. The Holocaust (1933 – 1942)

Make no mistake, there were Christian collaborators with the Holocaust. The real kicker, though, is knowing that the Holocaust didn’t happen in a vacuum. In many ways, the Holocaust was the child of centuries of Christian Antisemitism in Europe. “Christ Killer” is a common Christian slur thrown at Jewish people, and the Blood Libel didn’t come from Muslims, it came from Christians. Martin Luther, the father of Protestantism, was a raging anti-Semite; in addition to his theses, he also wrote a book called On The Jews and Their Lies. While the religious outlook of the Nazis is questionable, what’s not in question is that centuries of Christian Antisemitism allowed it to happen.

8. The Pogroms (1881 – 1884; 1903 – 1906; 1917 -1921)

While I’m talking about Jewish abuse at the hands of Christians, let’s discuss the Pogroms. Pogrom is from Pogromit, a Russian verb meaning “to create a desert.” The Pogroms were a series of violent attacks carried out against the Jews by the Christians in Russia and Poland over the dates listed. The 1880s pogrom was triggered by anti-Jewish propaganda that the czar had been assassinated by Jews. Notice the date for the last one: 1921, and note how close that is to 1933; the pogroms were fresh on the mind of the Nazis when they seized power.

7. American Slavery (c. 1619 – 1865)

American slavery is a special beast; when you discuss slavery, you have to do it while acknowledging that American Slavery is a superior brand of evil. While all slavery is wrong, there was something perversely worse about American Slavery that, up to that point in history, makes it stand out. It’s that American Exceptionalism I keep hearing about. During the era in the lead up to the Civil War, both pro- and anti-slavery advocates threw Bible verses at one another, but the pro-slavery advocates where coming at it from a stronger position if they considered themselves “Biblical literalists”. In fact, some have argued that the notion of “Biblical Literalism” sprang up in defense of Slavery — meaning that the slave holding mentality is still with us to this day every time someone “takes the Bible literally” to defend Creationism or bash LGBT+ folk.

6. Native American Cultural Cleansing (c. 1500s –  c. 1800s)

It’s no secret that Christians did everything they could to eradicate the Native American traditions via boarding schools. You might just live in an alternative reality if you deny that. In 1872, the “Christanizaiton” of the Native Americans was still ongoing. Early Christian colonists referred to them as “devils” and “heathens,” and ever since the first Catholic Spaniard set foot in the New World, were working to wipe any last trace of their culture from the face of the world. And this is to say nothing of the brutality they visited on Native Americans in the form of violence and murder.

5. Thirty Years’ War (1618 – 1648)

The Thirty Years’ War led to the Treaty of Westphalia, which is the single genesis for the modern state as we know it. But the Thirty Years’ War is also known for being one of the bloodiest religious wars in Europe’s history, when Catholics and Protestants turned their blades on one another and decimated a full 20-40% of Europe’s population. There were witch hunts and mass burnings throughout Germany, and the period is generally regarded as the peak of European Witch Hunting, itself another popular Christian pastime. About the same time, Catholics sacked the city of Magdeburg and slew about 30,000 Protestants; according to the poet Fredrich Shiller, “In a single church fifty women were found beheaded, and infants still sucking the breasts of their lifeless mothers.”

4. The Inquisition (c. 1100 to Present)

I know what you’re thinking — to the present? Yep. The Office of the Inquisition still exists today; in 1965 they made it the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. They stopped their formal Inquisition duties sometime after the Napoleonic Wars, but up until that time, the Inquisition was in full swing, hunting down Jews, Heretics, and Witches. There were actually several Inquisitions, but the most famous is the Spanish Inquisition, whose brutality needs no introduction. When you think of Christian violence in the name of Christ, there’s a reason the horrors of the Inquisition spring to mind first.

3. The Albigensian Crusade (1209-1229)

The Albigensian Crusade happened in Southern France and was an effort of the early Church to stamp out a competing ideology — in this case, Catharism. It ran from 1209 to 1229, spanning 20 brutal years. At heart, Catharism was a form of gnosticism, and was labeled a Manichean heresy by the church. It kick-started with the Massacre at Béziers, where the Church massacred the entire population.

 2. The First and Second Crusade (1096 – 1102; 1147 – 1149)

I’m listing the First and Second Crusade here for another reason than the typical one. Right wing Christians like to claim that the Crusades were a “defensive” conflict, which is all well and good, but it overlooks the violence done against Jewish people in Europe at that time — executed, of course, by Christians. After all, the Christians were liberating the Holy Land from the “Christ Killers,” which, if you look above, I noted is a common slur against Jewish people. There was plenty of violence in political cluster that would later become Germany, for example. Accusations of ritual murder flourished and brutal religious violence was the retort; the Rhineland Massacres were just some examples of it.

1. Hypatia and the Library at Alexandria (415)

Hypatia was the last librarian at the Library of Alexandria. She incurred the wrath of a Christian Preacher named Peter; one day, on her way to the Library, Peter and a mob of hysterical Christians ambushed her and flayed her alive. They then proceeded to burn down the greatest reservoir of knowledge in the Classical World up to that point, performing what Carl Sagan described as “radical brain surgery.” Hypaita wasn’t the first pagan that Christians killed; in 356, Pagan ceremonies were punishable by death in Christian kingdoms, and Christian Emperor Theodosius would decree that children playing with pagan statues should be executed.

But Wait, There’s More …

This list is far from exhaustive, you can find more here. I didn’t even touch on the Catholic-sponsored Death Camps in Vietnam. I instead tried to call attention to some of the lesser known instances, as well shine a light on some of the better known ones. It’s important to remember that no one religion has a claim on moral superiority, but anyone claiming that Christianity is less violent than Islam is a graduate from the David Barton school of Alternative History World building.

Josh Kilburn is a writer, author, blogger, and freelancer with a Bachelor’s degree who lives in the buckle of the Rust Belt.

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103 COMMENTS

  1. Well don't this just rot ya socks! Been saying for years, Religion in the bane of all mankind. So many deaths under that cloak we call religion. In reality would not mankind be better off if Religion was never invented? Makes one wonder. But let's call a spade a spade here! The only Religion hell bent of continuing the murder of fellow human beings in this present day is Islam? The barbaric ideology know as Islam has one agenda, and that is domination or the World, 100's of years ago they tried, thus inciting a thing known as the Crusades, they failed then but now they are back and with a vengeance of succeeding this time.

    • Your view on only Islam being the only threat is lacking of knowledge and rings of entitlement. Today Chriatianity killing women due to their belief on abortion, killing lgbt people due to sexual orientation and gender identity, the list goes on. Islam and christianity are both responsible for atrocities. It seems the hardest thing for people to do is see beyond the lenses of their own bias.

    • Go n read proper history before picking on Islam which excited from the Prophet Adam As …Christians altered the bible n Jews have their racist Talmud that caused problems The Quran the only scripture not altered and still in original came to save humanity .The Prophet Muhammad SAW was sent as mercy onto entire universe ,mankind not just Muslims…Go read the Quran with intention of guiding u

      • Cassim, sorry, but if you think the Quran is unaltered then you need to learn more about your religion. There are several variants of Islam, each interpreting the Quran differently, and they war against each other. Which is the correct one?

        Although we can be pretty certain Muhammad existed, we have no way of knowing which of the writings come from him. They were collected together many years later and were corrupted by self-interest, rumor, and illiteracy… just as the Bible was. It's what people do. It clearly steals many passages from the Torah and Bible.

        Muhammad died in the year 632, but the first account of his life wasn't written until 120 years later by Ibn Ishaq. That account was lost and was attempted to be recreated later by Ibn Hisham who died in 834. There is no agreed-upon account of how Muhammad's followers assembled the Koran, or his various sayings. He left no instructions on how to continue his leadership, so when he died quarrels broke out among various groups.

        There is a story that so many people were killed in their constant fighting (religion of peace!) that there was fear that his teachings would be lost, so every living witness, and "pieces of paper, stones, palm leaves, shoulder-blades, ribs and bits of leather" on which sayings had been scribbled, were to be given to Zaid ibn Thabit. But nobody can substantiate this — some say it was Ali, the founder of Shiism, some say it was Caliph Uthman who ordered this. In the end Uthman decided what should stay in and what shouldn't and ordered all competing versions to be destroyed. But early Arabic wasn't standardised and the same text could be read quite different ways, so even if all the bits and pieces were actually collected (doubtful), there would be so much ambiguity that nobody could say for sure what the originals truly meant.

        It's even worse for the Hadith. One of the most famous of the six compilers, Bukhari, died 238 years after the death of Muhammad. Of the 300,000 attestations he accumulated in a lifetime devoted to the project, he ruled that 200,000 of them were fake. Eventually he reduced what he judged to possibly be genuine, to 10,000 hadith out of the illiterate mess of half-remembered oral stories more than 2 centuries after the time they relate to.

    • Gotta love our monotheist friends. As a pagan i will not say we are angels . But as mostly local entities we kept our damage local and mostly got along . The monotheists past and recent are centraly organised , that and seem to have a bloodlust. More people have died as result of Christianity and islam than any other religions before or since. Like i said gotta love or monotheist friends .

    • Yeah, every sect of Christianity thinks they are the one and only true form. The problem is that there are roughly 800 major variants of Christianity — each insisting it's the only one that is right. Unfortunately almost all of the Bible is fake or a retelling of ancient myths. Why on Earth would you let that rule your life?

      If there is a god then the only reliable testament is the world around you — the plants, animals, physics, mathematics. Books of myth are written by fallible, superstitious humans. Why would you entrust your life to that?

      All religious people should become biologists, physicists, mathematicians, astronomers studying the real world… but they don't. They instead bury themselves in a man-made book, which, apart from cherry-picked bits and pieces that they use to support their prejudices, they don't even bother to read!!!

      Your god is invisible, untouchable, unmeasurable, with no verifiable evidence — that is the very definition of imaginary.

  2. Christianity was never the religion of choice. It was forced on people from the very start. It was believe or die. Charlemagne killed tens of thousands of his people and others because they did not follow his bible. He killed them for eating meat during lent, not praying at the prescribed times, their clothing, and so many other things. Christianity was never the religion of choice, it was believe or die.

  3. Not to mention in the 1970s native American women were secretly put under than having hysterectomy without their knowledge as well as a native American protest around that time that killed over a hundred people. Fast forward to now,and native women and girls as young as 8 are being kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery! If they run,they are killed. This is happening now for over a decade yet NO ONE is talking about this and most of these “buyers” are Christian!!!! Plus, has any one seen or heard of churches or The Vatican donating money and helping to stop the Amazon rainforest fires and the massive extinction of just about every living animal? Or helping to get rid of the plastic in our fucking oceans…NO! Why, because they talk a good talk,but when it comes to it, they rather speak about Jesus instead living the way he wants them too! I have actually met satanists who do more environment work AND call what is happening to native people a genocide and an atrocity to the women. Now, when a satanist makes more of an impact than a christian,I began to worry!!!!

  4. The Separation of Church and State starts in Mass. Bay Colony, my Puritan ancestors charged a church tax on all residents to pay for the up keep of the Puritan Churches and clergy. The American Baptists fought that requirement before the American Revolution. We need to keep this as any group that has power will use it against others.

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