A New History of the Crusades Obama Should Read

Steve Weidenkopf, lecturer at Christendom College’s graduate program, has written a readable, story-like book that provides a blow-by-blow account of the Crusades that simultaneously counters many of the myths that have sprung up around them. Yet he does so without ignoring the crusaders’ missteps. In the process, he makes a major contribution to addressing the myth of “fundamentalist” religious war—which perpetuates the idea that any war undertaken in the name of a faith must be prima facie wrong. A more reasonable standard would be the principles of the Just War tradition.

In The Glory of the Crusades, Weidenkopf explains how the Crusades marked an innovation in the Church’s approach to lay spirituality. Pope “Urban’s summons to Jerusalem was a ‘universal call to holiness’ oriented specifically at the laity, who otherwise believed the only sure way to contribute to their salvation was to renounce the world and enter the monastery.” Many of the crusaders professed sincere faith, and “took the cross,” though they stood to lose a great deal of wealth, if not their lives. Indeed, in the First Crusade, begun in 1096, there was an 80 percent casualty rate.

Taking seriously the faith of the crusaders, Weidenkopf deals especially well with the myths that the Crusades were land grabs or wars of conversion. The crusaders did not insist on converting those living under their control; rather they fought to defend the Christians already living in the Holy Land and those making pilgrimages there. And as for the colonization or imperialism myth, it is debunked by the reality that the crusaders held only a few cities at any one time and left hardly enough troops to maintain the garrisons let alone expand an empire. The vast majority of the survivors returned home, battered and poorer for their efforts.

Glory of the CrusadesWeidenkopf also fully explicates the many blunders the crusaders made such as the sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. He exposes their often poor management and leadership, explaining their failures and successes by painting an earthy, human picture of the personages involved. He notes that, “Unlike modern armies with a unified command structure and highly organized bureaucracies of support, medieval armies were organized by personal relationships” particularly relationships between “individual warriors and individual rulers.” Because of the highly personal nature of medieval military organization, when leadership was lacking or poor, the whole effort floundered mightily.

By embracing the faith of the crusading movement, The Glory of the Crusades contributes a helpful angle to address the oft-lobbed slander that “religion causes war” and that religious violence is uniquely deplorable while secular violence is unassailable.

Today it is unfashionable if not morally unacceptable to be motivated by faith commitments, so

when I first learned about the Crusades and their various missteps, I was glad. Hearing about the many instances where Christians betrayed one another or made treaties with Muslim leaders over conquered lands, I rejoiced, thinking: “Good! The tension between Eastern and Western Christians and the Christian-Muslim treaties show clearly that this wasn’t a war motivated by religion; rather, it was about resources, just as all wars are, secular or otherwise. The Crusades were therefore no worse than any other war; and Christians are no more inherently war-prone than any other people.”

Reading this book has made me rethink some of that. If the crusades weren’t mere territorial expansions, then some other understanding of this movement is in order.

If the men who participated in the crusades were motivated largely by real appreciation for the holy sites of the Christian faith and the safety of indigenous Christians and pilgrims, then in it was indeed a defensive religious war. The proposition that must be rejected is that fighting in the name of faith is inherently problematic or flat-out wrong, despite how frowned upon faith commitments are today in secular democracies.

As Weidenkopf makes abundantly clear, the medieval world was a good deal different from our modern system. There were no nation-states but only kingdoms and lords held in a delicate balance of peace that often broke into war among the worldly princes; the unifying feature of the whole of Europe was not its geo-political authorities, but its faith—“Christendom,” the force of which has sustained Europe still today in its cultural unity regardless of how very scrupulously the EU constitution attempts to skirt around it.

The idea that faith provided cultural coherence in a land without nation-states is very foreign to the modern Western mind. Today the cultural unity organized around “America” or “democracy” is considered valid and primary. Faith is seen as valid only tenuously and certainly second in importance to the nation-state. This difference allows many commenters to blithely decry religious violence as the reprehensible action of “extremists,” while turning an uncritical eye to the ethics of wars waged by states in the name of “democracy.”

So the distinction between “religious violence” and other violence turns out to be a red herring. The standard that makes such acts acceptable or unacceptable is not the name in which the conflicts are waged, but rather the adherence to Just War tenets: is there a just cause for the war? Is it defensive in nature? Is violence used as a last resort? Is there proportionate cause? Is there a reasonable chance of success? Are the principles of justice within war followed such as attacking only combatants?

To use the Just War standard quickly and decisively explains why terrorism is wrong whether it is perpetrated in the name of God, Allah, Stalin, America or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The Glory of the Crusades would greatly benefit from a lengthier section on Just War theory, a conceptual analysis which the book lacks. Still, the historical narrative Weidenkopf provides is saturated with so much appreciation of the Catholic Faith that it challenges the reader who would deny carte blanche the value of faith as such. It also provides a solid foundation of facts to weigh in a judgment about whether or not the Crusades (individually or as a whole) constituted a just war or set of wars.

Weidenkopf’s book certainly offers a description that gives just cause to the crusaders: the unprovoked attacks of Christian pilgrims and priests in the Holy Land. However, the question of proportionality and the lack of a coherent military strategy gave the Western efforts little prospect of lasting success, which is one of the criterion for reasonability in Just War. And while it is true that the crusaders were following standard medieval warfare practices in the slaughter of inhabitants of a conquered city and in executing certain prisoners of war, the normalization of the time period fails to make it morally acceptable, even if it renders their actions more understandable. These were certainly instances where the principles of ius in bello (justice within war) were violated even if the case of ius ad bellum (justice in going to war) holds water.

Peering through the lens of Just War, the jury is still out on the Crusades as a whole. Modern man condemns them, but also misunderstands them. Many holy men and women such as St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Louis were involved in fighting, preaching or otherwise supporting the various war efforts. The causes for crusading are generally reasonable; the behavior within the Crusades was often questionable or downright faulty.

Regardless, rhetorical use of the Crusades to bludgeon Christians, as President Obama did at the National Prayer Breakfast when he mentioned them as a counterbalance to his criticisms of ISIS, is out-of-line. We should indeed always remain aware of our own sins, which is hopefully all the president was suggesting, but perpetuating the error that any violence undertaken in the name of a faith is wrong is unhelpful and unacceptable, especially while he has unapologetically waged war in the name of the state that violates ius in bellum—such as in the case of drone bombing civilian targets–just as much as any of the crusaders’ actions did. The morality of war doesn’t stand or fall on the entity in whose name it is waged, but on its adherence to just war principles. The state can be every bit as guilty as any faith, so the Crusades cannot be used to unfairly malign religion.

To read Weidenkopf’s account is to read the story of a people of faith defending what mattered most to them, while mishandling some key situations along the way, as humans are wont to do. So give this book a read, contemplate the question of justice and war, and reconsider what crusading meant to the Crusaders because many of the modern myths only hold water by projecting newly invented standards back onto people with standards of their own, even if they didn’t always live up to them.

Editor’s note: The image above is a detail from “The Mighty King of Chivalry, Richard the Lionhearted” painted by Fortunino Matania (1881-1963).

Stephanie Pacheco

By

Stephanie Pacheco is a convert and freelance writer in Northern Virginia. She holds a B.A. with distinction in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia and an M.A. summa cum laude in Theological Studies from Christendom College.

  • ForChristAlone

    No one should take anything Obama says or “thinks” seriously. The man is a fraud.

    • Objectivetruth

      Agreed, FCA. And that is key to understanding Obama. Theologians wince when they see him attempt to discuss Christianity, it’s from a third grader’s understanding. The emperor has no clothes.

      • Siwash

        I’m in Illinois. A good many of us here, prior to his apotheosis as World Savior, recognized him as a quid nunc with an exaggerated view of his worth.

      • Jacqueleen

        Because, Communists are Atheists….Obama is using the disguise of being a Christian for the prime reason that if it were known that he is a Commie, he would never have been elected. Furthermore, he is not a Muslim because he knows that he will be killed before dark once they found out that he is a homosexual. Yes, that’s right, he is not only a fraud but he is a disordered mental case sitting in the Oval Office.

        Attention all voters…beware of the silver tongued serpent. Do your homework and research the candidate and his/her past….then decide who to vote for….iNSANE PEOPLE DO THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN HOPES THAT THEY WILL OBTAIN A DIFFERENT OUTCOME. Are you one of those stupid voters?

    • AcceptingReality

      Or at the very least he shouldn’t be taken seriously because he has a myopic tunnel vision brought on by contempt for the Christian faith and the US Constitution.

    • Asmondius

      Unfortunately, he also wields great power and we have two years to bear yet.

      • publiusnj

        651 days to be precise. Even that, though, may be too many days for the Common Weal.

        • Asmondius

          Where is Monica Lewinski when we need her?

          • Veritas

            LOL!

          • Vinny

            He wouldn’t know anything about it until he reads it in the paper.

          • Jacqueleen

            Even Monica is saying, “Yuk….kkkk!”

      • ForChristAlone

        Not to fear…I am organizing OEPs at various places around the country (Obama Exit Parties).

        • Asmondius

          Perhaps a potentate in a small country would lure him into early retirement. He’s already got the role down.

    • fredx2

      Clinton said something similar after 9-11. Strange how Democrats have become anti-us, eagerly accepting each creepy propaganda point that gets hurled against us, regardless of its truth.

    • me, myself & I r all here

      have some compassion, he is obviously suffering from his horrible upbringing, his exposure to a corrupt America, the weather underground has given him asthma, his Kenyan roots have deeply affected his outlook on the world….. If we only knew this year’s ago, oh, wait, we did? never mind…… back to the bunker w Punxsutawney Phil….

      • ForChristAlone

        too funny, me

      • former atheist

        Compassion yes, BUT his errors MUST be corrected as soon as possible; otherwise he will continue with his mistaken interpretation of history and further impose his mistakes on others who are content to remain willfully-ignorant

    • BillinJax

      The ONE THING we have come to understand must be taken SERIOUSLY is his promise to use his presidency and the democratic party to stack the government with radical secular progressive and forcefully use it to fundamentally change America regardless of the constitution, the legislature, the courts or the will of the people. And anyone who doesn’t see that his plan has been very successful and those who helped make it possible are quite content to continue to push his agenda to destroy our Republic are politically blind, without moral conscience, or simply do not give a damn for America in the first place.

  • Nel

    Regardless, rhetorical use of the Crusades to bludgeon Christians, as President Obama did at the National Prayer Breakfast when he mentioned them as a counterbalance to his criticisms of ISIS, is out-of-line.

    ‘Out of line’ is neither a compound noun nor a compound adjective and should not be hyphenated. Why do ‘good’ writers not know the rules of hyphenation?

    Now I’ll go back and try to continue reading the article. But really… where’s the proofreader?

  • 4kidsandacat

    This is brilliant! My homeschooled children are studying the Crusades and this book would be a great help. They also heard Obama’s comments at the National Prayer Breakfast and even with what little they knew at the time, were still quite distressed about what he said. If children can see the fallacy in his arguments, what is wrong with adults?

    • Seamrog

      I remember when he uttered the prayer:

      “God bless planned parenthood.”

      And got a standing ovation.

      • St JD George

        That moment in time is burned indelibly in my memory. That, and his cold political calculus in “coming out” for SSM as if it were an epiphany.

  • publiusnj

    There is a wing of the Versailles Palace off the main “sense of the visit” that has 19th Century paintings depicting the Crusades. The paintings portray the Crusades as heroic acts by Christian knights responding to the assault by Islam upon the Eastern Christians as well as upon Christian pilgrims. This is the view of the Crusades on which I (a Baby Boomer with a totally Catholic Education) was brought up but it has become unfashionable since the 1960s. Indeed, my grammar school’s sports teams were known as “the Crusaders.” The Crusades were looked upon positively even among Protestants in the US as recently as WWII when Dwight Eisenhower dedicated his troops to a Crusade in Europe. The current bad view of the Crusades is largely a result of 1960s revisionism.

    To me, the most important ingredient missing from the review (but I hope not from the book reviewed) is any discussion of the clear call by the Comnenus emperor of Constantinople for Western support in his effort to push back the Muslim jihadist invaders of what was left of the Byzantine Empire. War had gone back and forth in Anatolia (home to many of the churches written to by Paul, btw) for perhaps a hundred years and the Byzantines had been able to maintain their position until their defeat at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 AD. Thereafter, the Christian position in its homelands of “Asia Minor and the Levant” was increasingly tenuous and the Emperor then asked the Pope for aid from Western christians despite the then very recent 1054 AD ecclesiastical rupture of East and West. The West responded with the Crusades and that response was no more an evil act than the West’s response to other jihadists of more recent vintage.

    • Asmondius

      It is so very ironic that perhaps the greatest wart on the history of the eastern Crusades is not belligerence toward non-Christians but the sack of Constantinople.

      • publiusnj

        You are correct that the Venetians who detoured the Crusaders into the Sack of Constantinople as a way to pay for their transport to the Holy Land went way over the top in reaction to some bad treatment they themselves had suffered at the hands of the Byzantines. There were undoubted complexities, some infinitely less defensible than others, in this series of more than 8 separate wars over the course of 193 years. The sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, it should be remembered, was almost as distant from the First Crusade as the Spanish American War is from today

    • fredx2

      You might consider what is going on now a new set of crusades. A loose confederation of half hearted Western armies is responding to massive Muslim abuse of, murder of, Christians in their territories. Just like the original crusades, no nation state is really devoted to the cause. Obama merely half heartedly puts portions of our military into the fight, at the least cost to us. even as approximately 170,000 Christians have been murdered, and driven from their homelands. Radical Islam is on the march, and once again, just as we did a thousand years ago, we are groping towards some sort of solution.

      • publiusnj

        I do not think it is true that “a loose confederation of half hearted Western armies is responding to massive Muslim abuse of, murder of, Christians in their territories….” The only time our country has identified the religious minority victims of ISIS by religious identity was back last Summer when the victims were Yezidis and NOT Christians. One of the consequences of the radical interpretation of the First Amendment prevalent in Christian Majority America is that we profess indifference to the fate of christians anywhere in the World, not just in the US. The Muslim jihadists understand this.

        Indeed, they use Obama’s hostility toward Christians as part of their bloodcurdling shtick. On Feb. 5 at that first prayer breakfast, Obama spoke of the Crusades as a terrible thing done in the name of Christ, without referencing the fact that the Crusades were really a reaction of the Christians to 400 years of unremitting jihad waged from Tours in the Northwest to Iraq in the Southeast. Picking up on Obama’s cue, the ISIS jihadists on Feb. 15 then called the 21 Coptic Christians they were beheading “crusaders.” Obama hasn’t mentioned that the Copt victims were Christians nor that the jihadists were wrong to claim they were somehow crusaders.

      • Jacqueleen

        Please remove the veil from your eyes. The Crusaders had nothing to gain for their sacrifice but to die for their Lord and Savior. They fought to protect the Christians and the Holiest of Places in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel. The fraud will lie about everything….it is a distraction from his underhanded executive orders that are flowing out of the Oval Office as if they were coming off a printing press.

        Diminishing Christianity is part of the program necessary to achieve the NWO. The enigma is that the Muslims are blinded by their own desire to rule the world that they cannot see that they are being used to achieve the assemblance of large bodies of land, thus the open borders forming the North American Union, etc. Then, the elimination of Israel will form the Arab Union in the Middle East.

        Obama is being paid handsomely to achieve all this and the demonrats and some repukelicans have sold their souls to enable his actions. The solution is to Pray. Pray. Pray.

    • Fwertheimer

      Our conceptions of the crusades aswell as the inquisition are from the 19th century. For ex. through French historian J. Michelet. These points of views are republican, anti-clerical, anti-monarchist. It is actually only since the 70s with the great scholar R.Smith, that the true facts have been put straight.

  • jacobhalo

    Obama is not a Christian. He is a Muslim. Muslims who convert to Christianity change their first name to a Christian name. Yes, ForChristalone, Obama is a fraud.

    • Seamrog

      I honestly don’t know what he is, but I do know this:

      With everything he does – every action – he mocks Christians, and mocks Americans.

      His actions speak far louder than his poisoned rhetoric.

      • publiusnj

        Until the White House, there was no period of time in Obama’s life in which he was more the little prince than when he was listening to his beloved Evening Call to prayer at his step father’s Indonesian home. Back then he had servants and had not been exposed to any prejudice that he may have found at the Punahou School. Even though Punahou was a school for Hawaii’s most privileged kids, Obama still was the slightly foreign outsider. No wonder he chose the Choom Gang.

        • Seamrog

          And Frank Marshall Davis.

      • fredx2

        He’s a Christian of the Episocopal variety, the kind of Christian that considers himself superior for being highly critical of Christians, and refusing to see faults in other religions.

        • St JD George

          He sees the world through his mother’s eyes, as an anthropologist. Everything he says and does for public consumption is packaged for impression, not heartfelt. Some think he is a great orator when he reads from a teleprompter, but it is so painfully obvious how ill tempered and ill formed he is when he goes off script.

          • The_Monk

            I agree. And the heavy reliance on a teleprompter makes me think he doesn’t really have a core belief system. Contrast his mumbling/bumbling speech with Sen. Ted Cruz who can run on for hours just on the strength of his core beliefs….

            • Fwertheimer

              He is just in the republican masonic tradition. Anticlerical and liberal.

        • Jacqueleen

          Obama is a pathological liar.

    • Stephen_Phelan

      He’s probably not a Muslim. Think of his faith in terms of concentric circles.

      – In the center is himself, pictured in a thoughtful pose.
      – The next circle is academic postmodern pragmatism – words only mean what we want them to mean, so we don’t so much lie as let others believe their own meanings of the words we’re using and use them to get what we want. We know what we really mean. The point is to feel the right way about the right things and smirk at those who disagree. Arguing/reasoning is pointless, since we’re the only ones capable of understanding the nuances of… blah, blah blah.
      – Next level might be Islam. He certainly speaks of it more naturally and affectionately than he does Christianity. But this nonsense about him being a secret Muslim because Muslims can lie and hide their faith to advance Islam… Obama is not clever, focused, disciplined or passionate about anything to pull this off. He is about himself, and he’s a Leftist. He is remarkably intellectually lazy.
      – Next may be a little bit of Christianity, but really, he could care less. He doesn’t go to church unless he gets accused of not going to church. All he has ever found in Christ is affirmation of his own policy positions.

      It’s about him. Period.

      • CR89

        Exactly. He worships the god he sees in the mirror. The tongue-bathers who surround him only add to his self-regard.

    • Jacqueleen

      I totally disagree….Obama is a Communist/Atheist. If you knew he is a Commie would you have voted for him (hypothetical question?) The answer is loudly, NO! Nor would anyone else. He was raised by Communists and his early development mentor was Frank Marshall Davis, a well known Communist Official in the Commie Party and his good friend, Bill Ayers is a Commie. Then, it can be said that Obama is sympathetic towards the Muslims but also knows that if he proclaims to be a Muslim he will be dead before darkness falls for being a homosexual. He is using the Muslims to obtain the One World Order Status that he is being paid handsomely to achieve by his handlers. The Muslims are fools for not realizing that they are being used. The Handlers want only 350,000,000 in the entire world…sooooooo, my Muslims friends, you along with many Christians, Jews, Hindues, etc. will be annihilated by the ruthless band of ruling class thugs. THEY KNOW WHAT IS GOOD FOR US, DON’T YOU KNOW?

  • Keith Cameron

    Having studied the Crusades for many years (out of fascination, not any religious zeal) I am often mystified by the shear ignorance espoused by our President and his Muslim compatriots who wield it as a club.

    A proper reintroduction of the subject into primary school education is desperately needed.

    • fredx2

      But we can’t do it. We have created a system where those tiny minorities who are willing to kick up a fuss are given the status of rulers of the rest of us. For the first time in history, the near insane are the ones directing what is to be taught in our schools.

  • Asmondius

    You’ll find that many modern detractors of Christianity who use the Crusades as a weapon are victims of what I term the ‘Flintstones’ Method of Historical Analysis’.
    .
    This method is predicated upon the sincere belief that everything in the past was exactly as it is now, only the technology was cruder (i.e., Nero had a bowling ball made of marble). Thus the Crusaders ‘stole’ land from Muslims, the various popes personally directed the Crusades, everyone in the Middle East were originally members of the Islamic faith, etc..
    .
    Please pray for those who are seemingly trapped in this ignorant state of mind.

    • fredx2

      Since we have purposely made our young people historical illiterates, they will believe anything Hollywood tells them. For the first time in the long rise of humanity out of the swamps, we are making the children stupider than the previous generation.

      • Jacqueleen

        Stupid people don’t revolt.

  • St JD George

    So many passages to chose from, but none better than Matthew:
    Mat 24:3-5,10-11 …”Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered, “Watch out that no one deceives you, for many will come in my name,.. At that time many will turn away from the faith… and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

    • Siwash

      Ain’t this true! I keep thinking of Bob Dylan’s song with the refrain “sometimes Satan, comes as a Man of Peace.”

  • HartPonder

    Check out Historan Thomas F. Madden who wrote in his book, The Concise History of the Crusades, who pointed out that each crusade was the direct result of a Muslim conquest or invasion. Professor Madden also has an impressive audio lecture program on Catholic topics such as the Inquisition, which Madden demonstrates is another example of rewriting history…

  • St JD George

    Has anybody prayed for the anointed one opens his heart to the Holy Spirit? I do, and I’ll freely admit that I fight the demons of sincerity. Possibly a correlation in why the prayer’s aren’t answered is because I don’t believe he’ll change. I’m also fighting to detach myself from that which I can’t control as much as I can, and attach myself to things that I can make a positive difference.
    I followed the recent story about Lauren Hill and was deeply touched by her faith, her love for Christ, and her joyful approach to life until her passing last night. What an incredible inspiration she was.
    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/college/othercolleges/2015/04/10/lauren-hill-dead/25564669/

  • Secundius

    What do you mean what Obama could learn. The were 18 Crusades, and the Holy Roman Catholic Empire didn’t learn a DAMN THING…

    • Objectivetruth

      Hmmmm……now here’s a new and interesting sub bridge dweller making its first appearance……..

  • Nordic Breed

    Presentism is a sin, politically inspired, a tool of the devil to undermine the Body of Christ. It serves its neighbor, political correctness, as a tool to control the masses and destroy freedom of conscience. It’s good to know there is a reliable book out on the Crusades. Growing up attending Catholic schools in the 1950s, we were all taught that the Crusades were a necessary response to the aggression of the Muslims against Christianity and the Holy Land. We didn’t learn Just War theory/principles in those days, but it would have been a great opportunity to teach it. In any case, the re-writing of history is sickening because the agenda is so transparently an attempt to crush the Church.

  • Walter Clarke

    The fact is before the Crusades knights were assigned Penance for the evils of killing in war we know this from books of penances from the era. However, suddenly war and killing in combat and slaughtering the innocent or the prisoner became the penance the novelty of that must be acknowledge before any serious discussion of the morality of the Crusades can honestly begin and this removes seems to indicate that this book fails to that yet again.

  • Lane Cobble

    Not schooled in the actual details of the “Just War” Theory, the offensive/defensive dichotomy is virtually a false one when dealing with evil versus good. Our Lord and Savior demands, both in the Old and New Testaments that we strike down evil, regardless of whether it is “attacking” us. Evil always attacks, it always seeks dominance and the destruction of Good, of Light, of God’s Reign in the world. An “innocent” adult Muslim preaching foulness and darkness but not “attacking” us is a completely false understanding of how evil and heresy works.

    Evil, the people who act upon it, and those who profess it, must be confronted. And yes, that even means at times they must be buried, attacked and cut down in an offensive action. Because Evil is never, ever just sitting there minding its own business. Evil is always on the offensive, so any “offensive” action on the part of Christians who are seeking to fight Evil in this world is not offensive at all, but a Righteous, Brave, and Holy action.

    Beware of falling into the lie and deception of pacifism, or of being so fearful, so filled with a desire to avoid all accusations of wrongdoing from the secular world (or other over-sensitive Christians). Standing up for God’s Law and His Truth, for Christ, is ALWAYS right, even if we make some little mistakes along the way. We are not called to hand-wring and sit around doing nothing because we are doubtful we can do it perfectly. Perfection belongs only to God Himself. We do out best, but act, and do not dilly-dally.

    God doesn’t call for carefulness in being His, He calls for abandon, wild abandon. If that means being wildly humble, taking an extreme vow of poverty, then that is your call, your cross. If it means being wildly ferocious and burying evil people (yes, even in an “offensive” way — remember, don’t accept the secular definition of “offensive” and “defensive”… Christ went on the offensive, and He did so ofttimes in the Old Testament as well)… then that is your calling, to be a warrior not only in spirit but physically as well.

    There is no one equation that can be fit upon every and all Christians, a course of action that must be followed, that we must all march in line with, as though Christianity were fascist and meant to create people who react the exact same way in every situation. Some are called to be lambs. Others lions. The Lion and the Lamb. Not some lukewarm, grey and insipid in-between.

    • Objectivetruth

      Beautiful post!

      • CR89

        Seconded. Quite homiletic.

  • Ruth Rocker

    In today’s world, regardless of whether one is familiar with history or not, the only “religious war” that seems to be allowed to continue unabated is the one muslims are waging on Christians. The idiot-in-chief never seems to get around to mentioning that when bashing Christians. Idiot.

  • Linda Dokey

    Very Good Article! THANK YOU for explaining so clearly. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS!

  • Randall Ward

    A book about the Crusades is not enough; the book should have a short history of the Middle East from 650 AD to 1000 AD, to show why there were the Crusades were needed.
    Information is not obamas problem. Hatred is his problem.

  • former atheist

    Sadly, there are politicians everywhere who try to dabble in history, while immersed in a contagious wilfull ignorance. They fail to realise what REALLY happened in the Crusades.

    The atheist mafia has ensured that the world is continually fed MYTH after MYTH and the Crusaders are routinely portrayed as a horde of barbarians from a backward and superstitious Europe errupting into the (supposedly) cultured and urbane world of the eleventh century Near East.

    For theTRUTH about the Crusades here are a few added suggestions:

    – by Professor Thomas F. Madden, Department of History St Louis University Missouri:
    “A Concise History of the Crusades” “The Crusades: The Essential Readings”; “The
    Fourth Crusade”;
    – by Prof of History, Jonathan Riley-Smith,Cambridge University:”The Oxford
    Illustrated History of the Crusades”(2001) “The Oxford History of the
    Crusades”(2000); “The Crusades:A Short History”(1987);

    – by Dr. Rodney Stark: “God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades” (2009)

    BUT the authors above and Walter Leitsch (Professor of East European
    History, University of Vienna) – who have spent decades in researching medieval history, describe how history has been cynically perverted to suit the POLITICAL crusades of POLEMICISTS who harbour irrational hatred against Western Civilization and the Catholic Church.

    These authors take head on MYTH after MYTH and DISMANTLE them:

    Dr Rodney Stark dismantles myth after myth surrounding the Crusades, and makes
    the case that the Crusades not only had a place, but were in fact absolutely JUSTIFIABLE SELF-DEFENCE and were a RESPONSE to very large Christian
    populations pleading for rescue from the violently aggressive Moslem marauders.

    Vast stretches of once-Christian lands were now in Muslim hands. Alexius Comnenus now made his public plea to the Pope to liberate the huge Christian territories in
    Asia Minor that had so recently been brutally crushed, devastated and annexed
    by the followers of the crescent… Turks, who had also assumed control of Syria/Palestine, now imposed a most brutal repression in that region; and
    perpetrated horrific sufferings on native Christian populations in that region.
    Christian kingdoms of Armenia, Georgia and Byzantium were threatened with
    extinction, and Muslim armies fought with Christians in Sicily and other
    Mediterranean lands.

    In a space of thirty-five years the violent Moslem aggressors had seized control of
    Christian territories larger than the entire area of France, and now stood poised on the very doorstep of Europe:

    By 1683 the marauding hordes were already at the very gates of Vienna. Never before had the Christians found themselves in such a critical position of potential annihilation

    Were it not for Polish King, Jan Sobieski and his army, Vienna would have been comprehensively defeated.

    So this was yet another occasion when the Crusaders were actually PROVOKED into
    action of SELF-DEFENCE.

    Contrary to modern popularised MYTHS, each Crusade was a RESPONSE of SELF-DEFENCE against violent invasion and brutal repression by Moslem invaders.

    NOTE: Mythmakers and willfully- ignorant bigots who have difficulty justifying the
    Crusades should (logically) then have even GREATER difficulty in justifying the
    Allies coming to the rescue of countries invaded by Hitler.

    • former atheist

      Sadly, there are politicians everywhere who try to dabble in history, while immersed in a contagious wilfull ignorance. They fail to realise what REALLY happened in the Crusades.

      The atheist mafia has ensured that the world is continually fed MYTH after MYTH and the Crusaders are routinely portrayed as a horde of barbarians from a
      backward and superstitious Europe errupting into the (supposedly) cultured and urbane world of the eleventh century Near East.

      For theTRUTH about the Crusades here are a few added suggestions:

      – by Professor Thomas F. Madden, Department of History St Louis University Missouri: “A Concise History of the Crusades” “The Crusades: The Essential Readings”; “The Fourth Crusade”;
      – by Prof of History, Jonathan Riley-Smith,Cambridge University:”The Oxford
      Illustrated History of the Crusades”(2001) “The Oxford History of the Crusades”(2000); “The Crusades:A Short History”(1987);

      – by Dr. Rodney Stark: “God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades” (2009)

      BUT the authors above and Walter Leitsch (Professor of East European
      History, University of Vienna) – who have spent decades in researching medieval
      history, describe how history has been cynically perverted to suit the POLITICAL crusades of POLEMICISTS who harbour irrational hatred against Western Civilization and the Catholic Church.

      These authors take head on MYTH after MYTH and DISMANTLE them:

      Dr Rodney Stark dismantles myth after myth surrounding the Crusades, and makes the case that the Crusades not only had a place, but were in fact
      absolutely JUSTIFIABLE SELF-DEFENCE and were a RESPONSE to very large
      Christian populations pleading for rescue from the violently aggressive Moslem marauders.

      Vast stretches of once-Christian lands were now in Muslim hands. Alexius
      Comnenus now made his public plea to the Pope to liberate the huge
      Christian territories in Asia Minor that had so recently been brutally crushed, devastated and annexed by the followers of the crescent… Turks, who had also assumed control of Syria/Palestine, now imposed a most brutal repression in that region; and perpetrated horrific sufferings on native Christian populations in that region.Christian kingdoms of Armenia, Georgia and Byzantium were threatened with extinction, and Muslim armies fought with Christians in Sicily and other
      Mediterranean lands.

      In a space of just thirty-five years the violent Moslem aggressors had seized control of Christian territories larger than the entire area of France, and now stood poised on the very doorstep of Europe:

      By 1683 the marauding hordes were already at the very gates of Vienna.
      Never before had the Christians found themselves in such a critical position of potential annihilation Were it not for Polish King, Jan Sobieski and his army, Vienna would have been comprehensively defeated.

      So this was yet another occasion when the Crusaders were actually PROVOKED into action of SELF-DEFENCE.

      Contrary to modern popularised MYTHS, each Crusade was in fact a RESPONSE of SELF-DEFENCE against violent invasion and brutal repression by Moslem
      invaders.

      NOTE: Myth-makers and willfully- ignorant bigots who have difficulty justifying the
      Crusades should (logically) then have even GREATER difficulty in justifying the
      Allies coming to the rescue of countries invaded by Hitler.

  • Greg Papadatos

    I hope that the book is better written than this review. There are numerous grammar and diction errors. I winced as I read them, and then winced again when I saw that the writer has a Master’s Degree.

    In her eagerness to deflect criticism from “religion,” the writer downplays a great deal of war-related evil. Yes, it may be improper to judge religious wars by a different standard, as opposed to secular wars, but is also quite improper to refer to the massacres of civilians and the sacks of Christian cities as mere “blunders” or “mishandling some key situations along the way.”

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