Thursday, November 18, 2010
The Spanish Inquisition
The Spanish Inquisition is a universal insult against Christianity. It was an evil organization used to persecute Jews and anyone who didn't agree with the Catholic faith. It was headed up by Tomas de Torquemada, a monk who wanted to purify Christianity in Spain.
Jews are people who follow the teachings of Moses and the Hebrew prophets, which were given by God. Some believe Jesus Christ was the Messiah, but some do not. Jews have been, for centuries, the scapegoats for everything. Jews were blamed for Germany's problems during the world wars. Many were killed during World War Two for being Jewish. Jews were blamed for the Black Plague, which killed a third of Europe's population. They have been blamed for poisoning wells and killing children (who hadn't even been missing in the first place.) These stories are lies, designed to hurt a nation.
Torquemada was the confessor to Queen Isabella, meaning she told him her sins and he told her how to atone for them. It is said that when she was young, he made her promise to purify the Church if she could. During the first years of her reign, the Queen wasn't interested in it. She was already busy with trying to establish her rule. But eventually, she decided to purify the Church. It is one of the few blots on her name, and it is one of the worst she could have ever created.
Earlier in Spain's history, many Jews had been forced to convert to Christianity. They were called conversos. They were accused by the Inquisition to still secretly be Jews. Some of them were, while others were 100% Christians. The Inquisition weren't allowed to touch Jews, but conversos were a whole other matter. Neighbors spied on each other, some out of fear, some out of love for their religion, some out of dislike for their neighbors. One man was so zealous that he climbed onto his roof and checked to make sure all his neighbors had fires burning on Friday, which was when Jews couldn't light fires because it was the Sabbath and they couldn't work. When someone was arrested, they would be put in a jail cell for weeks. Three times, someone would come and ask them to confess. This was difficult, especially since they didn't know what they'd been accused of. Finally, they would be interrogated. If they were able to guess what they'd done wrong, they wouldn't be punished. But for those who couldn't guess it right, they would be tortured until they confessed, or got it right. Many innocent people were tortured for something they hadn't done. If they were really unfortunate, though, they would be burned at the stake. Sometimes, the Inquisition would be merciful and the person would be strangled to dead before they were burned. There is no evidence that Queen Isabella ever attended one of these burnings. Perhaps, if she had, she might have stopped the Inquisition.
Eventually, the Inquisition went after the Jews. But instead of killing them, the Inquisition forced them to leave Spain. Many people lost their homes because of a man who wanted to purify the church he claimed to represent. Despite the fact he claimed to represent the Church, he wasn't really obeying God's commands. God said to love our enemies, not set them on fire, torture them or treat them cruelly. Maybe Torqumada should have read his bible a little more often. He might have seen the verse that said "Treat others as you would like to be treated".
Still, many Jews were killed. Several were accused of crucifying a child and cutting out its heart, then mixing it with a communion wafer to make a magic potion that make Christians go mad and die. Does that sound positively ridiculous, or is it just me? Also, no Christian child had been reported missing recently. Still, eight people were killed because of this.
Toward the end of his life, Torquemada could survey a land filled with only Christians. He lived to a ripe old age, although he had many enemies. He died in 1498. However, the Inquisition was only ended in 1834 although few people were executed anymore. In 1836, a mob gathered and scattered his bones in the dirt of the graveyard where he was buried. I find that satisfying. Hopefully, the bones of Tomas de Torquemada, murderer of thousands of innocent people, still lie unfound.