In James Reston’s book, Dogs of God, he discusses the inquisition, the defeat of the moors, and Christopher Columbus. In the way that only Mr. Reston can write, with such articulation you almost feel like you have been there during that time. I published a comment back in August about another book that he wrote called the Defenders of the Faith. http://mikeschultzblog.com/defenders-of-the-faith/ Dogs of God’s time frame precedes that time that the Defenders of the Faith talks about. It goes into great detail in how the moors were defeated and expelled from Spain after a 500 year stronghold. If you remember the train and bombings in Madrid a few years ago one of the Al Qaeda spokesmen said that the expulsion of the moors from Spain was really not that long ago, even though it was over 500 years ago. Although it is not considered part of the crusades it was still a holy war between the Muslims and Christianity.
Of course, as any war will do, it will drain the coffers of the government and through an unexpected event called the inquisition King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella saw an opportunity of how to increase their revenue. The easiest way was too confiscate the lands and possessions of those who were burnt at the stake in the name of God, especially the Jews who were ordered to convert or leave the country. A lot converted but were under constant scrutiny that they lead a certain lifestyle and not adhere to any of the old Jewish customs, and if they were found out observing any of those customs they were accused of faking a conversion so that they would not have to leave the country and were brought before the inquisitors and invariably were found guilty and condemned to death by the great inquisitor Thomas De Torquemada who thought his calling was to purify the church. And of course as any barbarian, Torquemada, would try to show people what a nice person he was, and if you would confess and have a true conversion on the gallows they would strangle you before they burnt. you. It is like saying that Adolf Hitler was a nice guy because he never kicked his dog. It is a time in history that the Vatican promised to look into in 1998 and in 2004 came out with their sanitized statement that it wasn’t really as bad as some people say.
And so we as Americans look at Christopher Columbus’s journey to the new world in a romanticized version and are never taught of what happened prior to the remarkable voyage. For instance that when they first landed in the island we believe was Española that the natives were light skinned and the women were beautiful and also naked and also infected with syphilis, a disease that they had built up an immunity to but the Europeans had not. It was a disease that would eventually infect kings and many in the Vatican.
I highly recommend that you read any of James Reston’s books for the detail along with the unimaginable amount of research and the great gift that he has in taking a dark time in church history to make you feel ashamed at times for being a believer and a few pages later you are proud to be a member of the church were people willingly laid their lives down for the cause of Jesus Christ.
My next book that I am getting ready to read by him is Warriors of God. Mr. Reston did inform me that he is now working on a book about Martin Luther. I am looking forward to it.
Here is an old recording of Swing low sweet Chariot.