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Life at № 42

Religious radicalisation before there was ISIS: Reports of the West’s Enlightenment have been greatly exaggerated.

curas-fascistas

Catholic seminarians in late 1930’s Pamplona taking up arms for what the church itself called a Crusade. The crusade involved overthrowing the democratically elected 2nd Republic. Catholicism became omnipresent in Spanish life. The church controlled everything. From the length and style of bathing suits, to the concession of Certificates of Good Conduct- a document necessary if you wanted to apply for a job or even a passport. And all that just a few decades ago, not centuries.

franquismo-banador-multa

Getting the measurements wrong meant an on the spot fine of the equivalent to €240 in today’s money, being added to a list of offenders and the publication of your name in the newspaper. Second time offenders were sent for treatment at re-education camps/mental asylums.

Everyone was expected to have a little book called Normas de Decencia Cristiana. Here you can see one from 1958. Page 36 decries coeducation. Chapter XIII, page 37 is titled Veraneo (summer holidays). It begins with “It is said the summer is the winter of the soul. It is when the devil and the flesh do most harm to the soul…” Chapter XX is the woman’s role in public and professional life with point 189 being sexes should be segregated whenever possible.

During this period LGBT people were harassed and arrested. In the picture below is a classification manual showing a homosexual delinquent. Birth control was illegal and so was divorce.

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 And here’s an arrest record from 1976. Crime: Homosexuality. That’s just two years before I was born.

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Badajoz Prison for Effeminate Homosexuals (*Masculine* gays were sent to a separate prison in Huelva)

El Museo Extremeño de Arte Contemporáneo expone setenta piezas en Madrid

And here’s one for the ladies. A 1970 advert. The message: Your husband only hits you because you don’t have a drink ready for him when he gets home after a long day of work!

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64 comments on “Religious radicalisation before there was ISIS: Reports of the West’s Enlightenment have been greatly exaggerated.

  1. makagutu
    November 29, 2016

    Many Europeans and Americans are very quick to demonize Isis and Muslim when there is this beautiful history of the Christian church!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. tildeb
    November 29, 2016

    Totalitarianism is a fundamental aspect of religion… at its core, this idea of total submission to some set of central controlling tenets is always urged by the pious.

    However…

    … this aspect doesn’t make Christianity – that this is the comparative branch (Christianity versus Islam) that Pink is claiming to be equivalent by raising two sects (Catholicism versus Daesh). Fraternal in some ways, yes, and with many aspects of totalitarianism shown, but not the same, not equivalent.

    And here’s why:

    There is no equivalency throughout Christianity that is the same in Islam in a very important and central way, namely, that Christianity does not assume that scripture is The Perfect Word of God – an instruction book – and that how closely one lives according to its rules and regulations demonstrates one’s faithful position in the religion. One can be considered a very good Christian and utterly reject, say, the instructions laid out in Deuteronomy.

    This is the point that is constantly waved away in the name of Poof!ing into existence this false equivalency Pink is determined to stand by and yet is so important a difference in reality: whereas Christianity can undergo significant liberalization and still remain true to its central tenets*, Islam** cannot survive.

    This difference matters.

    * that there is only one true God; that God exists in the form of a Trinity, or three gods in one; that God is omnipresent and omniscient; and that God is sovereign and holy. In addition, a core principle is the belief that Jesus was the Son of God but became a man and was sent to earth to save mankind from death and sin. The Bible is a collection of books that guides the believer through revelation.

    ** There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet. That means the Koran is an instruction book to be followed literally and by submission if one wishes to be considered a good Muslim.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good try, but the math is all wrong there. What you lay out is perspective bias at its worst- which has now somehow become acceptable because Sam Harris does it. The math is still wrong.
      One can’t say a True Muslim is only one who follows the Koran literally, but a True Christian can be someone who only follows 20% of the tenets of the religion.
      The reason you can’t is you’re arbitrarily setting that standard. Many Muslims don’t adhere to anywhere near all tenets of their religion and are still Muslims. Meanwhile Torquemada was one of those pushers of True Belief, and I don’t mean regarding Islam.

      Liked by 1 person

      • makagutu
        November 29, 2016

        I thought the Inquisition was about who didn’t believe correctly? Or am I misinformed? If tildeb is to be believed, the schism, the Inquisition was not about who believed what.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Doesn’t end at the inquisition. Excommunication is still alive and well. Until two weeks ago women who had abortions were automatically excommunicated. Some churches refuse communion to people who are divorced. Others won’t allow an openly gay person to be a godparent. Some refuse communion to politicians who don’t publicly oppose abortion. Adherence to dogma is highly important in various Orthodox groups. Just look at the Amish or Mennonites.

        Liked by 1 person

      • makagutu
        November 29, 2016

        That brings to mind Poland and her abortion laws and Jesus as King of nation and Mary as queen.

        Liked by 2 people

      • tildeb
        November 29, 2016

        Maybe this will help: bad Catholics, meaning those who do not consider the bible as the perfect word of god but who follow some selected tenets of Catholic dogma and some bits of scripture are not considered bad Christians by those from all other Christian sects. Bad Muslims, meaning those who do not think the Koran is the Perfect Word of God (TM), who cherry pick which bits to follow and which ones to ignore, are worthy of widespread contempt from all Islamic sects.

        A Christian who tries to follow every dictate from scripture is almost universally held by all other Christians as batshit crazy, a wingnut, someone mentally unbalanced. A Muslim who follows every dictate from scripture is almost universally held by all other Muslims as very holy. That the maths that matter.

        Like

      • There’s another wrong presumption there. If the vast majority of Muslims in France (a whopping 70%) don’t go to mosque at all, why aren’t there widespread calls for something to happen to them by the rest of the Muslim world? Excommunication? Beheadings? I’m not hearing it.

        Like

      • tildeb
        November 29, 2016

        Why do you think going to mosque is equivalent to being a good Muslim?

        Liked by 1 person

      • We’re talking about adherence to (orthodox/hardline) religious tenets. My argument is Muslims are as capable as Christians of being lax with religion. And even that as soon as they’re given the chance they’re prepared to dismiss the lot. Consider this picture of an Egyptian beach in the days of Nasser:

        Meanwhile the Christian women of Spain were reading little booklets on swimsuit length regulations.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Scottie
    November 29, 2016

    One thing that scares me is the high number of prominent fundamentalist Christians that want to install and enforce their religion into the entire society , government , and personal life, of the USA. They can’t see how it is dangerous and wrong. They can’t see the beauty in separation of church and state. In fact while they scream constant fears of Sharia law of other faiths , they see no problem with Sharia christian laws. They see a theocracy and forced worship as a good thing. It scares me because they have suddenly just gained a lot of political power and access. Hugs

    Liked by 4 people

    • What many people seem to miss is how far Christianity has gone in imposing itself on (supposedly) secular laws. From the prohibition of work on Sundays (blue laws), to prohibitions of abortion or birth control or homosexuality- these are all examples of Political Militant Christianity imposing itself. But people are used to it so they rationalise the whole thing. It is in fact our very own Shariah, even though we just call it the law.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Scottie
        November 29, 2016

        So true. It is scary that we now have to fight to remain a secular government. I do not know if the majority has the drive, the ambition of the minority religious sectors. Even though they are a minority the religious fundamentalist will put their entire life into seeing their god and their church doctrine made law. Hugs

        Like

      • acflory
        February 15, 2017

        I don’t think it’s ever possible to have a complete separation between ‘church’ and state, not if the prevailing culture is predominantly religious. Those beliefs and biases will inform how the culture and its laws evolve. To have true separation, everyone would have to be atheist.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely true, but we must set the groundwork for it and push it as a concept- otherwise we don’t progress.

        Like

      • acflory
        February 15, 2017

        Push atheism? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? Or do you mean push the idea of separation?

        Like

      • I mean scepticism 😀

        Like

      • acflory
        February 16, 2017

        Meh…could we call it logic instead? Or reason? Scepticism has attracted some very unpleasant connotations in the last decade or so – i.e. ignorant disbelief. I cringe every time I hear the word. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Clare Flourish
    November 29, 2016

    How did they assign people to the “Effeminate” or “masculine” groups?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Scottie
      November 29, 2016

      Can I choose to change from one to the other on odd or even calendar days? Be cause in my head when younger it was hard to figure out. Now I am old I just gave up and am sort of in a space by myself. 🙂 LOL Love it. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

      • Clare Flourish
        November 29, 2016

        A friend of mine, using these words, said sometimes he was “top” and sometimes “bottom”, and in different relationships he would feel the erogenous zones on his body change.

        Liked by 2 people

    • I too was interested in that 🙂
      The rationale was to avoid prison sex. They (wrongly) believed that a person’s manner was linked to their sexual role. So a flamboyant person was presumed “girl” and sent to a special prison. As you can probably imagine, prison sex was not stopped.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Clare Flourish
        November 29, 2016

        Didn’t anyone tell them??

        Liked by 1 person

      • When prejudices are too deeply ingrained, evidence stops mattering. In 2005 (that’s just over a decade ago) a Spanish professor testified in congress that gay men were (all) the sons of alcoholic men and domineering women. Such is the power of myth and propaganda.

        Liked by 2 people

      • inspiredbythedivine1
        November 29, 2016

        “In 2005 (that’s jst over a decade ago)..” Oh, yeah. Bet ya can’t prove it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • metan
        November 29, 2016

        Looking at that picture, the Badajoz prison was a panopticon, where the cells are around the walls with an observation tower in the middle. The prisoners can’t see the guards but know that at any time the guards could be watching them. These style of prisons were used as much as a psychological weapon as a cage.

        Of course that just means if there was prison sex still going on under such conditions it would have been quick, and risky!

        Liked by 1 person

      • inspiredbythedivine1
        November 29, 2016

        Just like my teenage years.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Everyone’s teenage years!

        Liked by 1 person

      • metan
        November 29, 2016

        😂

        Liked by 1 person

      • metan
        November 29, 2016

        No need for the panopticon anymore, they could just give all prisoners constant access to fakebook and monitor them from there. No need to search for poor behaviour, it will be shared willingly…

        Liked by 1 person

      • inspiredbythedivine1
        November 30, 2016

        Very true.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Now it’s been turned into a museum of modern art 🙂

        Like

      • metan
        November 29, 2016

        And all I can imagine is the art displayed around the walls and if your appreciation for it doesn’t seem sufficient the guards in the tower will deal with you on your way out… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Scottie
    November 29, 2016

    Thank you Clare you are a delight to chat with. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ron
    November 30, 2016

    It’s 2016, not 1930 or 1976, and the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Migration patterns are from Islamic theocracies towards western nations, not the other way around. In most western democracies, gays can get married or enter into civil unions. In Islamic nations, they still get punished and/or executed. In western nations, women have equal legal standing. In Islamic nations they don’t. etc. etc.

    Like

    • That’s a sort of ridiculous generalization. The issue at hand is theocracy, no separation between church and state- not which religion gets to impose itself on the state. Right now women in Ireland can’t get abortions. Even women on Northern Irish UK territory can’t get abortions. Gay marriage is also banned in Northern Ireland *because of religion*.
      The solution is and has always been separating religion from political power. It worked in Egypt, Turkey and most recently Morocco . And it definitely worked in Spain. So it works independant of the majority religion practiced in a country.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ron
        December 1, 2016

        Fair enough. But I’m not sure abortion is a useful metric here because Northern Ireland is a secular society operating under a written constitution. And according to a recent poll, a sizable majority of respondents wants to relax the rules on abortion (though Interestingly enough, women are slightly less inclined to relax the rules than men).

        Like

      • The reason it’s the *ideal* metric is we have secular law being hijacked and basically made into our very own version of Sharia. Blanket prohibitions (the Christian Right’s favourite method) are an imposition on all of society. By prohibiting abortion all women, of all religions and atheists, are obliged to follow Catholic doctrine on abortion.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ron
        December 2, 2016

        My disagreement stems from the fact that there’s no unified position on abortion and contraception within Christendom. Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy may stand firmly opposed to both, but protestant views are more diverse. Hardcore evangelicals align with Catholics on abortion but maintain the use of birth control is a matter of conscience. Mainline denominations go one step further in that many oppose legislation restricting abortions. I agree with your take on Catholicism, but my disagreement on using abortion as a barometer is that the issue revolves around two conflicting rights: the unborn child’s right to life vs. the woman’s right to decline parenthood. So anti-abortion views can’t be attributed entirely to religious beliefs because there are non-religious people opposed to abortion, as well.

        Moreover, there’s no unified position on abortion and contraception within Christendom. While Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy stand firmly opposed to both, protestant views are more diverse. Most sects maintain the use of birth control should remain a matter of conscience. Evangelicals oppose abortion with few exceptions, but mainline denominations are more liberal and tend to oppose legislation restricting them entirely.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, but into that equation you have to factor in the reference is to Northern Ireland. The pivotal factors being firstly a Catholic population of over 88%, and then political circumstances whereby religious orthodoxy and personal identity are intertwined. So in essence, religion becomes secular law- even if we don’t call it Sharia, it’s our very own pale Sharia. Do you know when divorce became legal in Malta?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ron
        December 3, 2016

        I guess my first question would be: What proportion of the population in either country adheres strictly to all the tenets of their faith? And perhaps more importantly: To what extent do their personal religious beliefs influence public policy?

        Going over your examples:

        In Malta, Catholicism is the enshrined state religion. Yet 53% of the population voted “yes” to allowing divorce. Even if we assume all non-Catholics voted “yes” that still leaves 41% of Catholics who don’t support Church policy on divorce. Moreover, the law was approved— which suggests the Church has no major influence over secular law.

        In Ireland, the poll I linked to earlier reveals that 75% of the respondents do not subscribe to Church policy on abortion. And once again, even if we assumed that all of Northern Ireland (i.e. ~28% of the population) is Catholic and apportioned all of the “against” plus all of the “don’t know” votes (26%) to Catholics… we’d still end up with at least 2% of Catholics who do not support Church doctrine. (Though I suspect that number is substantially higher.)

        I suppose one could argue that ingrained religious values still influence social mores at some subconscious level in all societies. But that’s a whole different topic.

        In any case, I advocate for a strict separation of church and state.

        Like

      • Unless your intent is to formulate an argument whereby Catholic positions on abortion or homosexuality were made law in Catholic Northern Ireland because of Buddhism, Islam or Mithraism- all you’re doing is playing rhetorical word games. The substance of the matter is rather obvious.
        Until just a few years ago Catholic culture made divorce unacceptable in Maltese society. Simple as that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ron
        December 3, 2016

        Yes. But my point is that Christian influence on secular law has gradually waned throughout Europe and North America. And I’d like to eradicate what’s left while keeping other religions at bay. Do you object to that goal?

        Like

      • Of course I’m your ally in that goal. My point is that despite the fact we separated church and state over 200 years ago officially, we’re not quite there practically. So in essence we have our own sharia.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ron
        December 2, 2016

        Please disregard the first three sentences of my last response. My comment got mangled during a copy/paste edit between the WordPress reply box and notepad.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Linn
    November 30, 2016

    Interesting and frightening to think of how little time has passed since then, and depressing to think of how easily this could happen again. Worldwide, there is no denying that Islam is a major cause of many atrocities, but in the western world, I’ve always feared Christianity more. Mainly because fundamentalist Christians are so good at sneaking their crazy views into politics when everyone is focused on Muslims.

    Fundamentalist Christian politicians are also good at getting atheist “dudebros” to support them by attacking gays, feminists (dudebros don’t care about abortion, but they’re longing for reasons to attack feminism) and immigrants.
    In my experience, the outspoken Islamists are quite straightforward about the crazy stuff they believe.
    The fundamentalist Christians in Europe however, have been losing their power the last century and as such, they have learned to lie out of necessity.
    They know the “dudebros”, other atheists and moderate Christians feel uncomfortable with all the god and sin stuff, so they have to skip those words.

    Where the crazy Islamists will f.ex outright say that good godfearing women should always obey men and homosexuality is a sin against god , the crazy Christians will simply mention how feminism has gone too far in granting women abortion and muslims are a threat against our good Christian values. To get the dudebros on board they will also make a mention of liberals or SJWs and talk about how “those uppity gays should be happy they aren’t arrested anymore, their icky pride marches is an attack on heterosexuals”.
    By putting god out of the way, and only focusing on the hatred, they’re able to get policies through that no muslim ever could.
    (Only talking about Europe now, in USA they don’t even have to cover up the god and sin stuff appearantly).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Much of what you mention has been on my mind a lot lately. Both in terms of semantics and of realities. There is undoubtedly a strange regrouping going on; the Christian Right is re-branding. And in the process also rebranding their enemies of choice. It used to be that gays and feminists were lesser people, not good enough to be part of society at large and the “establishment”. Now that we’ve finally made a place for ourselves in the mainstream, they’ve decided mainstream means *elite*. And the elite must be destroyed. Exhausting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linn
        November 30, 2016

        That’s true. I’ve noticed one of you regular posters is constantly rambling on about the elite.
        I’ve been “enjoying” a comment section recently about flat earth that contains 2 genuine flat earthers (all their posts about other topics over several years shows that they’re serious and not simply trolls). Whenever someone shows them how the curvature of the earth can be easily proven, the flat earther accuse them of being part of the elite, because everyone with an education have been brainwashed and is now part of the elite.
        The right wingers are similar to those flat earthers in claiming that liberals have been brainwashed by education. Having knowledge and an education is seen as a bad thing now and it scares me.

        Coming back to religion, I’m also reminded of how christians here in Norway are often seen as sweet and innocent, even while they’re spouting crazy stuff.
        We have a christian political party over here that have minimal support, but still have a lot to say in politics (because of the way our political system works, but I’ll spare you the details on that).
        An author here named Are Kalvø wrote a short causerie several years ago about this political party where he mentioned how those christian politicians are always viewed as sweet and cuddly, even when they say things that would have lead to an uproar if they were muslims.
        When one of their politicians wants to give homosexuals therapy or when they spout on about supporting traditional family values, they simply get a pat on the head with a “that’s nice dear” like they’re little children. No one sees them as a threat.

        As a sidenote: That same author wrote an absolutely hilarious book about the story of Jesus resurrecting in Lørenskog in Norway. The book was called Bibelen 2 (the Bible 2) and had some utterly ridiculous illustrations. Loved it.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Cara
    November 30, 2016

    That’s right, a nice glass of cognac will keep your husband from hitting you (and if cognac doesn’t do it, drink his good scotch instead!)

    I went to Catholic high school (graduated 1995) in Brooklyn, NY, and as a senior was required to take something called “Christian marriage”, taught by a nun (who had never been married to a man) who once said the way to calm down an angry husband was by preparing a nice roast for dinner.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Cara
    November 30, 2016

    Isis & Donald Trump may be making headlines for backwards ideas about women, but they didn’t invent such ideas. The Roman Catholic Church (where it’s almost 2017 & a woman STILL can’t say Mass even though women run countries/Fortune 500 Companies/households without a man) has been in the misogyny business for centuries.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. appletonavenue
    December 5, 2016

    Some of this is startling, but Christians have been fighting Muslims since the beginning of time. Although you won’t get a Catholic to admit to the 100s of wars fought over the centuries. Not to mention the proselytizing. And here we are, still at it, as the years the US has spent at war with Islam (oops, I mean ‘terrorists’) proves.

    I didn’t know the Church was arming priests in 1930 to overthrow the government. Wow. And imprisoning gay men as recently as the 1970s? What is it about people that some will hate anything different. Is it a moral flaw? Are those of us who are accepting of otherness. When will people learn that “different” does not mean “wrong.”

    I had always wanted to live in Spain. Not so much any more. I can’t imagine their position on Atheists!

    As an aside: In the late 50s my mom already had 5 children, and the latest pregnancy caused a lot of damage. When she broached the subject of birth control to her doctor, he looked at her and said, “Mrs. N, you’re a Catholic!” She had three more children and suffered from a prolapsed uterus for more than 15 years!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. PrayThroughHistory
    February 15, 2017

    thank you for this piece of history! The power of religion is horribly destructive because it attaches G-d’s name to abuse. Take care!

    Like

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