10 June 2010

Quote for the day

"During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after doing its duty in but a lazy and indolent way for eight hundred years, gathered up its halters, thumbscrews, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry. Who discovered that there was no such thing as a witch -- the priest, the parson? No, these never discover anything. At Salem, the parson clung pathetically to his witch text after the laity had abandoned it in remorse and tears for the crimes and cruelties it has persuaded them to do. The parson wanted more blood, more shame, more brutalities; it was the unconsecrated laity that stayed his hand. In Scotland the parson killed the witch after the magistrate had pronounced her innocent; and when the merciful legislature proposed to sweep the hideous laws against witches from the statute book, it was the parson who came imploring, with tears and imprecations, that they be suffered to stand. There are no witches. The [Biblical] witch text remains; only the practice has changed. Hell fire is gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them remain."

Mark Twain

14 Comments:

Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Nice quote posting Mr.Infidel ... never read that (nor much Twain either). Alot of folk's have completely blocked that out in history or dont know of any of it (Nazi's are popular today, everybody is a Nazi now, as you can see, even our President). It was a pretty brutal time, even for a so called atheist, just denying God in those time's could get you nailed, a simple natural blemish, birth mark, mole or a number of other thing's could get you fried. I have a bunch of documentation of the trial's in America as well as abroad, and have visited the torture chamber's even when I stayed in England, the method's of torture were incredible .... they make folk's like these Islamic extremeist's look by boyscout's, and Hitler like a humanitarian! I remember reading one case where (perhap's you read it, since you read alot) about a half a dozen nun's were at an outdoor table and bench, kind of what we see as a picnic table ... a black cat one day walked along under their table .... all of them were executed, based on ... it was said that the cat was their "familiar", which was supposedly where witches spirit would transfer to to hide or similar. What's hilarious these day's is (well almost 2 decade's ago) when visiting Salem, Ma, (not Oregon) they used to have a witch on a broomstick logo on the police car's .... a nd witch folklore and shop's are a tourist attraction!

Later Guy .........

10 June, 2010 05:25  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

One more tad I wanted to point out if I may .... back in those dayz, you were fucked if you do or dont .... in other word's .... once "marked" for target ... kiss your pagan ass goodbye (or even if you were christian for that matter, they indiscriminately killed and tortured all, it was as popular as visiting an amusement park) ... and count on a slow and horrible death if you "dont" confess, so graphic ... I wont even try to say some of the method's here in your comment's block. Once you were targeted .... in many cases the best thing to do was confess, just to get it over with and die as soon as you can, resisting would get you endless torture, all documented and eye witnessed until you did confess .... and the proceedure's were let's just say ...."rough".

10 June, 2010 05:32  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

The nun story is hardly surprising given how the interrogations used to work. In many cases, even a confession was not enough to end the torture unless you also "named your accomplices" -- that is, denounced other people who would also then be arrested and tortured. People would name anyone they could think of, just to end their own suffering. So if one nun was arrested, she might well have ended up denouncing the others.

And yes, I know all about those torture methods and execution methods -- the one field where the Dark Ages was truly inventive.....

10 June, 2010 06:10  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Indeed as far as "naming your accomplice's", another fact, and continued torture after a confession, I read plenty of that in trial/ transcript's as well. And just imagine ... this was ALL legal ... and fully supported by the christian church, and as common as the daily 6 O'clock news, that is one of the era's that christian's alway's ignore and just blank out. What we today consider as violent, radical, or any other extremity is mild compared to the past .... very mild actually.

10 June, 2010 07:23  
Anonymous rita said...

Is that quote from the new autobiographies of Mark Twain?

"More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them remain."

Ironic... just waiting to be reconstituted with a little Holy Water, like the blood of Jesus that Ron Wyatt found on the Ark of the Covenant. :)

10 June, 2010 07:35  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I don't have the book it's from in front of me, but it's not the new autobiography -- it was published quite a while ago.

The Dominionists would like to bring all those death penalties back -- for things like fornication, heresy, and no doubt witchcraft as well.

10 June, 2010 09:16  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

During the Salem witch hunts, one way of determining if a woman was a witch was to throw her into a pond. Trial by Swimming:

A method that was used up until the 19th century. Accused witches were bound and thrown into water to see if they would float or sink. It was believed that the guilty floated while the innocent sank.

The accused witch was bound by either the right thumb to the right toe, or right thumb to left toe and plunged into a river or lake. Innocence seldom mattered, for the victim often sank and drowned before he or she could be pulled out. Sometimes the accused had no chance at all to survive, because he or she was sewn into a sack before being tossed into the water.

Our local pub here in Boston's North End is named for an Irish woman who was the last person hanged on Boston Common for being a witch.

Her story is here.

10 June, 2010 09:16  
Anonymous rita said...

I thought you might find this interesting.:)

10 June, 2010 11:13  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

No doubt if all those law's came back for thing's like fornification, heresy or whatever, that would clean up all the right wing fundamentalist's, for over half of them would be executed for all their affair's and cheating and all the other crap they get busted doing.

I better shut the Hell up, I'm off today and dont have anything better to do .... Later ......

10 June, 2010 11:51  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Shaw: One can only be startled at Ms. Glover's linguistic dedication, refusing to speak English even when on trial for her life! In truth, though, in those days Catholics were probably considered hardly less evil than witches.

Rita: That link doesn't show me the article, only the "donut" of ads surrounding it. When I get home I'll see if Firefox works better.

RC: Good point. As Dan Savage once said, "If they want to stone the gays to death, fine, but first stone the adulterers (and he listed a whole bunch of Republican politicians) and by the time it's my turn, they'll be out of rocks."

10 June, 2010 12:38  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

BTW Mr.Infidel .... that posting link from Ms.Rita didnt work for me either ........

10 June, 2010 14:24  
Blogger Tim said...

Seems to me Cheney would have been a hit back then. Him and his daughter would love to water board everyone they think are suspicious. Those bastards at gitmo would have confessed to being witches too.

10 June, 2010 16:20  
Anonymous rita said...

well Darn! The link didn't work for me either. It's off topic for this post, but, it was an article claiming the restaurant in Portland that refused service to the cop is doing better then ever. Go figure!

10 June, 2010 19:40  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Tim: Cheney may well wish he had lived in those days, but even he would have been a bleeding-heart liberal by their standards.

Rita: the restaurant in Portland that refused service to the cop is doing better then ever.

Disappointing. I'd hoped for better from my city.

11 June, 2010 05:15  

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