People do crazy things in the name of their god. While believing in a higher power itself is no crime, the acts that are committed are often appalling and unforgivable. The most heinous of acts performed under the umbrella of religion are listed below.
1. The Crusades – The Crusades were religion-led military campaigns to spread Christianity to the other parts of the world. The Catholic church behind the leadership of the pope attempted to convert various different religions to Catholicism. For nearly 200 years, from 1095 to 1291, Christians attacked the Muslim, Baltic, and Greek Orthodox Christians in the name of the Catholic church. The Crusades began as an attempt to reclaim the Holy Land from its Muslim inhabitants, but it quickly transformed into a power struggle. The pope used many different tools to motivate good Christians into serving in the war, including new ideas like plenary indulgence, where all of a person’s sins were forgiven simply by fighting in the “Holy” War. Any man who had committed a sin, now had a way to escape eternal damnation. Indulgences were soon available for purchase at the Catholic church too. The church used propaganda and hustled atonement to get military support and money.
2. The Salem Witch Trials – The Salem Witch trials showed Christianity at its worst. The Catholic church manipulated the common people through vapid, mass hysteria. They used the threat of witchcraft to quiet rebellions through the torturous trials that occurred in response to them. The Salem Witch trials were possibly the most misused appropriation of government resources in the history of America. The trials which originated as a small group of women feigning being possessed by demons to discredit and remove one of the leaders in their village. Their deception led to more citizens bringing forth trials that were started simply by telling the right people of that they were being possessed by others. Because the Puritan faith was so religious and so afraid of Satanic influences, they allowed paranoia to cause them to kill each other in the name of the law. And, more people died during the tests that determined whether someone was using witchcraft than when they were actually convicted. One of the more common tests was to tie the accused to a log and throw it into the nearest river. If the log sank and the accused drowned, then the person was deemed innocent. If it floated, however, then the person was proclaimed to be guilty and was summarily hanged or burned at the stake.
3. The Holocaust – The Holocaust became a massive attempt at gentrification based on racism against Jewish people, however its roots grew from hatred based on religion. Adolf Hitler was just a war veteran that failed to be elected as a leader and was imprisoned for his radical beliefs. After being freed, he united people with promises of a better Germany. He promised to restore Germany to prominence and sold the people a picture of Aryan-featured, Christian people running the country. Under the guise of being a good Christian, Hitler killed and experimented on so many Jewish people that only one-third of their population survived.
4. The Klu Klux Klan – Similarly to the Holocaust, the Ku Klux Klan were a “Christian” group that focused their hate towards a specific group, and tortured and killed them mercilessly. When they first joined, it was to suppress the black vote of freedmen in the late 1800′s. They moved on to violence to repress social tension in the South and Midwest. And finally, they tried to suppress the Civil Rights movement. They burned, raped, castrated, and hung African Americans to terrorize them into submission for years after the four hundred years of slavery.
5. Islamic Terrorism – The Muslims that have engaged in terrorism believe that they are in divinely sanctioned warfare against apostates, and thus the killing that occurs because of their actions are acceptable and forgiven by Allah. They have kidnapped and beheaded people publicly. They engage in suicide bombings and were behind the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City, the subway bombings in London, and countless other atrocities across the world.
6. Catholic Priests – The amount of abuse that was subjected onto their followers and then covered up by the Catholic church was horrifying. For decades and maybe a century, the Catholic church has known of sexual assaults that were made by their priests, and allowed them to keep their position and move from church to church as they abused different children in their changing congregations. It is one of the most terrifying misuses of trust that has ever existed.