I was watching a documentary about 3rd Century Rome and how persecution of Christians had grown into a massive effort to get rid all Christians. How they were blamed for plagues and what some Christians refer to “act(s) of God.” All I could think of was…
”This is different… how?”
There can be no truthful arguments made that once Constantine made Christians “cool” Christians eventually didn’t turn and do the same to Jews and other groups of people. The Bible used to justify slavery and severe punishment, as well as death, of slaves. Generally both sides in conflict tend to use religion, or anti-religion, to justify what war is: legalized murder. Like how the South and the North quoted biblical passages, the Nazis fashioned belt buckles for their troops “Gott mit uns,” supposed witches hanged.
I could go on but this is no anti pagan of non-pagan screed. Point being humanity has a long, long, LONG history of “if not for those people…”
How’s that working out for us?
I am reminded of an all too common classroom experience where kids ban together against one boy to whom “if not for…” seems to apply. Of course eventually they either move on, move away, or find a bigger threat. Or turn on each other: think of Republicans eating their own on the way to no speaker at all.
Now for an all too obvious point: “if not for…” doesn’t work. Did Jews go away? Christians? Atheists? Pagans? Not even Nazis as we see a resurgence over the decades since WWII.
”Those people…” can be suppressed but rarely disappear. Not a lot of druids around these days but they certainly have been replaced by other targets.
One might even argue such “heretics” eventually morph something more powerful. Fascism, Communism still exist. Catholics too, and protestants split into so many variations it’s hard to count. Mormons were highly persecuted as they traveled west but their faith has grown. Atheists haven’t gone away.
I am reminded of the Star Wars-ism, “Strike me down and…”
Or perhaps a George W. Bush-ism: “Is we learning yet?”
As war has proven there’s a line between toleration and genocide (which war so often is) that should not be crossed, but I doubt that too will never stop. The trick is how to limit it without feeding monsters.
“Inspection” is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 50 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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