Under: Self-defense
3 Apr 2015

 

In the era of modern democracies I grew up in – the thought of defending religious freedom has not come up much since World War II. Then the Nazis decided Jews and other peoples were inferior and proceed to eliminate them. I remember once as a youth telling a Jewish acquaintance a joke in very poor taste and getting admonished about how it could happen again. I took her point to heart but it had not occurred to me – that jokes and other verbal attacks against a people/religion could eventually be seen as ok and the first step to attack a culture or group of people at large.

 

When I was a kid I heard about religious martyrs and thought they were a thing of the past. A religious martyr is one who is persecuted and killed for their religion in the simplest of terms. So if you decide to attack a people because they are a different faith than yourself – you have the makings of martyrdom. Yesterday I heard about an Islamic terrorist group that went into a college and rooted out the Christians and killed them – while letting the Muslims live. We in the USA realized the Islamic extremism was a threat to us since the first attack on our soil in the 1993 World Trade Center bomb attack and subsequent 9-11-2001 attacks.

 

It seems so strange to Americans that in other parts of the world – not everyone has the freedom to practice whatever religion they want without fear of persecution. Our country was founded on this principle and for a long time our oceans have protected us. But in many places in the world one cannot be a true secularist and ignore the issue of faith and power. Even here in the USA, we have liberal media and special interest groups constantly attacking religious people and moral tenets so I’m guessing eventually Christianity take on more of a defensive posture.

 

So without trying to solve the moral dilemma’s of today – I will delve back a bit into history to how Christian’s attempted to defend themselves while making pilgrimages into the Holy Lands. In a nut shell Christians have always lived in the Holy Lands (or Middle East) ever since Jesus. But in the 11th century the Turks and Arabs were raiding Christian pilgrims – necessitating a self-defense response – the Crusades! There was a lot more going on and according the historical revisionists (many Muslims and strangely enough some Christian Protestants), the Crusaders were the bad guys. You can research yourself but the premise of those arguments seem to be that the pilgrims were not attacked and the Crusaders where treasure hunters and immoral people.

 

In this post I am going to speak a bit about the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon – the Knights Templar, who were at the heart of conflicts after the first Crusades and I will contrast these with some similar attacks going on today.  But first here is the beautiful Templar chant – Da Pacem Domine (translation here)

 

 

 

So here is the thing – in 1129 [update: 1118 is the actual date they were formed] the Knights Templar (as they are commonly called) were formed to protect the Holy lands and pilgrims. They were warriors and monks. This was a new concept in the Catholic church but at the time – it seems necessary to sponsor the warrior monastic order as the Turks and both groups of Arabs had not consolidated power but were a danger to pilgrims. Travel to the Holy land was not safe.

 

To be a Templar one had to renounce material goods to the order and already have the tools needed such as horses and weapons. Why would a nobleman do this? To Christians in the middle ages – one was worried about their immortal soul. One sure path sanctioned by Pope was to serve God and the church. The Templar’s were promised the remission of sin for defending Christianity.

 

To my 21st century mind – it seems strange to believe in something to the point that one is willing to die for a cause. We live in the generation of me! But I point this out to make the argument that the Knights Templar were very moral men. In this secular world Christianity is no longer seen as our primary allegiance but rather nationalism is supreme! Even though I say I am a Christian first and then a United States citizen – I depend on my nation to defend this country and and this country’s interests around the globe. After all we are enlightened – right?

 

Back to the Templar’s – in their day they owed their allegiance to the Pope and then the Master of their order. Nationalism was a distant third to the dismay of many world leaders. So an affront to Christianity was foremost on the minds of many medieval Christians when the Pope asked for help.

 



Today we have no such allegiance to one world Christian leader. While the Pope has the largest Christian following – nations do not swear allegiance to him nor any other Christian leader. Back in the medieval times the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople (who asked for the Pope’s help) were Christianity’s leaders.

 

Most democracies today do not represent any one religion (theocracy) so sometimes one group getting killed somewhere does not elicit a national response even though that group may be a majority in that country.  In America 75% of the people identify as Christian but in the liberal media (CBS, NBC, ABC) tend not to frame stories in a religious context. For instance in that story I told you about where Muslim terrorists killed Christians and let the Muslim’s go – the news reported it as the Muslim terrorists killed non-Muslims… no mention in the headline that Christians were targeted.

 

What do I make of the fact that Islamic atrocities are down played in our media? I think secularism is slowly trying to erode our religious freedoms. So progressives or liberals – see morality as a threat. Plainly stating Right and Wrong is out of style. Many of the 75% of American professing Christianity are lukewarm on morality.

 

But on Islamic Terrorism? The liberal/progressive press has re-framed the battle by listing the terrorists as the fringe – not Islamic and Islam is a religion of peace. President Obama consistently says that ISIS is not Islamic – counter to all of the evidence. They (the media) seem to be afraid of Muslims attacking them for calling terrorists Muslim. Well guess what – some Muslims are terrorists and some are terrorists sympathizers evidenced by the cheers I saw from around the world when the World Trade Centers collapsed. So it is a better idea to not only listen to what people say but watch what they do to get a true idea of how they feel.

 

Back in the Knights Templar’s day – if someone attacked them – they went to battle. If Christianity was being attacked – they fought to counter that threat. Of course this is a different time but take one queue form the Templar’s – Stand up for what you believe in.

 

If Christians getting slaughtered elsewhere in the world bothers you – speak up. Do not let your friends, family, acquaintances denigrate the Christians right to exist or down play the story to exclude a plainly Christian attack.

 

One’s own democracy will not stand up for religious freedom in this day and age unless people speak up let everyone know how they feel. Politics of the day always seem to throw up road blocks in the way of what seems right. On Friday, October the 13th in 1307, King Phillip IV of France moved against the Knights Templar Grand Master, Jaques De Molay and arrested all of the Templars in his lands. He (King Phillip) accused them of immoral acts in what was wildly seen as a power play for the Templars wealth – ended up with the Pope ending the order and giving the assets to the Hospitilars (another order). To this day Friday the 13th is still thought to be unlucky.

 

If you are interested in the Templar’s fate – I can recommend, “The Knights Templar Absolution; The Chinon Parchment and the History of the Poor Knights of Christ.” I will link to a different video overview I watched today that will give you the gist of the order. It has two hours of video – broken into eight 15 minute segments. You will find that Christians of the middle ages were not immune to political pressures and with any luck you will agree that Christians needed the Knights Templar at the time to protect Christian interests in the Holy Land.

 

 

So who is defending religious freedom today? Hopefully the citizenry of nations can affect how nations react to challenges around the world. I hate to say it but if you are a Jew or a Christian – it seems to be open season on you. But let me be clear – every religion has the right to peaceably practice their religion. The problem comes in when you have zealots or factions of a religion trying to intimidate others. In that case I suggest that you be vocal about what you see as right and wrong.

 

We are living in a time of democracies as opposed to theocracies in the Western world. So we cannot depend on a religious affiliation to protect us but rather we need to vote/speak/persuade on the behalf of our religious affiliations if we see Christians being persecuted. The lesson we can learn from the Templar’s is to be a warrior for Christ in thought, word and deed. So prayer is still relevant today. Write your congressmen and opine in blogs and news sites if you see Christians being denigrated!

 

So while I know political and religious issues are not my normal fare I cover in the Self-Defense category – voting your moral conscience is every bit as important as learning to fight with your hands and feet. We have to counter Islamic terrorism in our day (ISIS and other groups) as the the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon – the Knights Templar did in their day!


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One Response to “The Knights Templar; Who is Defending Religious Freedom Today?”

  1. Dr. J Says:

    I appreciate your review of this period in history! I tested out of History of Civilization class in college because I am a good test taker so I never learned enough about this period.

    The recent events in Kenya are so horrendous and heartbreaking. Man’s inhumanity to man never seems to end. The wish of a kinder gentler world seems impossible.

    At Calorie:ab, the boss, to protect me, told me I could write about anything except religion and politics! You are a braver man than me, John!