Religion Kills

by the Libertarian Defender

In somber remembrance of the religion-inspired slaughter of 9/11/01, today's post will point out just how murderous "God's children" often are. It's frequently been said that more people have been killed in the name of religion than for any other reason. After reading the following, it becomes a very believable assertion.

The Crusades (1095-1291): The Crusades were a series of multiple military actions—mostly sanctioned by the Papacy—that occurred from the 11th to the 13th centuries. Originally, they were Roman Catholic attempts to get the Holy Land from the Muslims, but some were aimed against other Europeans, for example the Fourth Crusade versus Constantinople, the Albigensian Crusade versus the Cathars of southern France, as well as the Northern Crusades. Death toll: Estimates range from 1,000,000 to 5,000,000.

Witch Hunts (1400-1800): Death toll roughly estimated to be between 50,000 and 60,000.

Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834): The Spanish Inquisition was the product of Spain's reconquest from the Muslims and the decision to convert Spanish Jews and Muslims to Christianity. Death toll roughly estimated to be between 8,800 via Torquemada; 32,000 in total.

The second half of the 16th century and the early part of the 17th century brought about one of the worst series of wars that Europe had ever suffered. The early Reformation had been, in hindsight, notably free from bloodshed; that, however, lasted only a little while. It was inevitable that the increasing division between Christian churches in Europe would cause a series of armed conflicts for more than a century. Protestants and Catholics would shed each other's blood in incredible amounts in national wars and civil wars. These battles would eventually shatter the European monarchical traditions. The monarchy was challenged by Protestants dissatisfied with the rule of Catholic kings. The final result of these struggles would be the overthrow and execution of Charles I in England in the mid 17th century, a historical event that permanently changed Europe.

The French Wars of Religion (1562-1598): The French Wars of Religion represented a series of battles between Catholics and Huguenots (Protestants) from the mid 16th century to the Edict of Nantes in 1598, including civil infighting in addition to military operations. Death toll: 2,000,000–4,000,000.

The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648): This was a battle waged mainly in the Central European territory of the Holy Roman Empire, but additionally involving the majority of the main continental powers. It took place for myriad reasons. Although it was from its beginning a religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics, the self-preservation of the Habsburg dynasty was also a key motive behind it. Death toll: 3,000,000–8,000,000.

And, let's not forget the constant battles between the Palestinians and Israelis, or the events of September 11.

For the rest of this article, see the Libertarian Defender.