Tag Archive | Religion

On this day May 8, 1963

In Huế, South Vietnam, soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam opened fire into a crowd of Buddhists protesting against a government ban on the flying of the Buddhist flag on Vesākha, killing nine and sparking the Buddhist crisis.

Buddhism Flag

The incident spurred a protest movement by Buddhists against the religious discrimination perpetrated by the Roman Catholic-dominated Diệm regime, known as the Buddhist crisis, and widespread large-scale civil disobedience among the South Vietnamese.

On November 1, 1963, after six months of tension and growing opposition to the regime, generals from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam conducted a coup, which saw the removal and assassination of Ngô Đình Diệm. Read More…

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On this day July 26, 1953

Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle orders an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek, Arizona, which becomes known as the Short Creek Raid.

Schoolhouse of 1953 Short Creek Raid

Schoolhouse of 1953 Short Creek Raid

The Short Creek raid was the largest mass arrest of polygamists in American history. At the time, it was described as “the largest mass arrest of men and women in modern American history.”

Just before dawn on July 26, 1953, 102 Arizona state police officers and soldiers from the Arizona National Guard entered Short Creek. The community—which was composed of approximately 400 Mormon fundamentalists—had been tipped off about the planned raid and were found singing hymns in the schoolhouse while the children played outside. Read More…

On this day July 15, 1099

Christian soldiers take the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem after a week siege.

Throughout the siege, attacks were made on the walls, but each one was repulsed. The Genoese troops, led by commander Guglielmo Embriaco, had previously dismantled the ships in which the Genoeses came to the Holy Land; Embriaco, using the ship’s wood, made some siege towers.

These were rolled up to the walls on the night of July 14 much to the surprise and concern of the garrison. On the morning of July 15, Godfrey’s tower reached his section of the walls near the northeast corner gate, and according to the Gesta two Flemish knights from Tournai named Lethalde and Engelbert were the first to cross into the city, followed by Godfrey, his brother Eustace, Tancred, and their men. Raymond’s tower was at first stopped by a ditch, but as the other crusaders had already entered, the Muslim guarding the gate surrendered to Raymond. Read More…

Two mosques under attack in Lahore, Pakistan

Nearly 100 people are killed and 120 more injured in two attacks in Lahore, Pakistan. Two mosques, Dar-ul-Zikr and Bait-ul-Noor, of the minority Ahmadiyya Muslim Community came under attack in a hostage situation after firing and grenades.

At least 98 people were killed and more than 120 were injured in the two attacks which occurred nearly simultaneously. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, as well as their Punjab wing, claimed responsibility for the attacks and were also blamed by the Pakistani Police.

The perpetrators lobbed grenades and started firing as they attacked two mosques of the minority Ahmadi sect in different residential neighbourhoods. Security officers were then involved in a gun battle with fighters ouside one of the mosques in Garhi Shahu district. The near simultaneous attacks were at Darul Zikr, Garhi Shahu and Bait-al Noor Lahore Model Town, 15 km apart. Read More…

On this day May 23, 1498

Girolamo Savonarola is burned at the stake in Florence, Italy, on the orders of Pope Alexander VI.

On May 13, 1497, the rigorous Father Savonarola was excommunicated by Pope Alexander VI, and in 1498, Alexander demanded his arrest and execution. On April 8, a crowd attacked the Convent of San Marco.

A bloody struggle ensued, during which several of Savonarola’s guards and religious supporters were killed. Savonarola surrendered along with Fra Domenico da Pescia and Fra Silvestro, his two closest associates. Savonarola was faced with charges such as heresy, uttering prophecies, sedition, and other crimes, called religious errors by the Borgia pope.

During the next few weeks all three were tortured on the rack, the torturers sparing only Savonarola’s right arm in order that he might be able to sign his confession. All three signed confessions, Savonarola doing so sometime prior to May 8. Read More…

On this day May 15, 1252

Pope Innocent IV issued the papal bull ad extirpanda, authorizing the use of torture on heretics during the Medieval Inquisition.

The bull argued that as heretics are “murderers of souls as well as robbers of God’s sacraments and of the Christian faith…”, they are “to be coerced—as are thieves and bandits—into confessing their errors and accusing others, although one must stop short of danger to life or limb.” The following parameters were placed on the use of torture:

  • that it did not cause loss of life or limb (citra membri diminutionem et mortis periculum)
  • that it was used only once
  • that the Inquisitor deemed the evidence against the accused to be virtually certain.

The requirement that torture only be used once was effectively meaningless in practice as it was interpreted as authorizing torture with each new piece of evidence that was produced and by considering most practices to be a continuation (rather than repetition) of the torture session (non ad modum iterationis sed continuationis). Read More…

Belgium passes ban on burka

Preceding Sarkozy’s government, lawmakers in Belgium voted almost unanimously to ban public wearing of full face veils on Friday.

The proposal received 134 votes in the lower house of federal parliament with two abstentions and nobody opposing. Under the new rule, any clothing that fully obscures the face will be prohibited in public areas such as parks; anyone who ignores it will be fined $20 to $35 and/or a jail sentence of up to a week. Exceptions could be made during certain festivals, or if the wearer has police permission to use the veil.

The proposal will now go to the Belgian Senate, where it is expected not to be blocked; some reports suggest it could become full law in June or July. Read More…