For balance, and also because I found it fascinating, some comments on the origins and methods of the Inquisition. Modern pagan thought seems to be that the “burning times” have been exaggerated and sensationalized, but 50,000 dead is no small change. Of course, if the methods discussed in that post were indeed typical, it’s doubtful many of those caught up in that net were legitimate witches.
It’s not so much organized religion which is a problem, as religion mated with government. Or perhaps any utopian, moralistic ideology embedded in government. As erudito points out, Stalin’s purges were reminescent in many ways of the witch trials. And communism has often been characterized as a religion – most recently, in my own reading, by Jung.
This serves to confirm my feeling that government, if it is to be at all virtous, must steer clear of grandiose visions and god-given missions. No matter how seemingly noble. In light of this, statements such as:
So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
are not encouraging. Of course, as a British commentator on public radio commented this morning, American leaders have always been given to that sort of grand posturing. It’s a wonder we’ve stayed as free as we have, as long as we have. I’ll take a leader who proclaims “It is the policy of the United States, to continue muddling along, and to keep our appointments as best we can, and to get a decent amount of sleep and maybe get a round of golf in this weekend, if it doesn’t rain.” any day.