On this day in 1633:
Because of his belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, Galileo leaves his home of Florence, Italy, to face the Inquisition in Rome.
And in 2006:
American Christian fundamentalism has degenerated to an entity wishing a return to the Dark Ages, when religion actually controlled government, society and the minds of the masses. It is a movement dependent on the fears and ingrained hatreds of its followers, exploiting emotions and ignorance to further its ultra-conservative goals. Its leaders are false prophets and corrupt high priests preaching the teachings of Jesus but following the examples of Lucifer. They depend on the growing numbers of under educated citizens from which to replenish their ranks, becoming highly successful manipulators of fragile psychologies, using the insecurities and hatreds and hereditary prejudices of their followers to mold ordinary citizens into extremist followers of lies, distortions and manipulations.
Christian fundamentalism preaches about right to life and living in a culture of life but supports the wholesale death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Muslims and Arabs, preferring saving pin-size zygotes rather than actual human beings whose only crimes are living in Iraq and being Iraqi. Salivating at the thought of dead Muslims, these extremists support war crimes and crimes against humanity, turning a blind eye to torture and bombings and illegal kidnappings and rapes and murder, sanctifying the criminality of incompetent American leadership. They are ardent supporters of the debacle called the Iraq War, remaining mute to its atrocities even while having the audacity to preach the teachings of Jesus Christ, the most anti-war political activist to ever exist. It has often been said that these people are the biggest hypocrites on the face of the Earth.
Fundamentalists would have no problem eviscerating a women’s right to free choice and having complete control over her body, preferring the rights and freedoms of cell size structures over those of adult human beings. It seems making women once again subservient to paternalistic structures, where they can be readily controlled and subjugated, due to the threats presented on insecure males by the wiser half of humanity, is again on the agenda. Never satisfied with the emancipation of women, fundamentalists seek male control over their bodies and lives, wishing a return to days when women were dependent to and slaves of men, acting out their roles as baby factories and housewives, just as the Bible and their god command.
They have declared war upon homosexuals, thinking these people deranged deviants from Hell, acting in direct response to the literal interpretation of the thousands year old Bible (though conveniently forgetting the other many literal rules and interpretations that would undoubtedly condemn them as well), doing everything in their power to eliminate any rights gays might have. A tremendous fear of gay marriage do they possess, even though in most likelihood these activities will never affect their daily lives. Again, preaching the tolerance and acceptance of Jesus, they hypocritically hate and prejudge those different than themselves, becoming the most intolerant and bigoted people in the nation. Their ignorance is only superceded by their idiocy; their hypocrisy knows no bounds. Blind Christian fundamentalists remain to their hypocrisy and to the complete opposite actions they perform relative to the teachings of their Lord Jesus Christ.
Christian fundamentalists want to destroy the separation of church and state, allowing the reintroduction of the Dark Ages into modern times. They seek to destroy knowledge and education by introducing children to myth and fantasy wrapped around pseudo-science, renaming creationism “intelligent design,” a concept of religion at complete odds with reality and truth. They seek to condition children that the planet is only 6,500 years old, that man lived alongside dinosaurs, and that 6.5 billion humans are direct descendants from Adam and Eve, two creations popped out by God in their complete and evolved human form, failing to take into account the dynamics of evolution or the abundant evidence of our slow and gradual progression from mammal to ape to human.
Fundamentalists wish that four billion years of Earth’s history be erased from memory, replaced with a six-day creation story that has no basis in reality. They conveniently fail to report the entire findings of paleontologists and archeologists. They wish to teach children that woman was born from a single male rib, out of an entire body (what does that say about the superiority of man over woman, or the supposed inferiority of woman to men?), and that it was woman, in her deeply flawed and corrupted ways, that was the cause of eternal banishment from Eden (what does that say about the Church leaders’ trust in women’s psychology?)
Extremists wish to become the American Taliban, banning progress and all its freedom-engendering virtues. They are the book burners and music banners, the censors of enlightened programming and movies and the persecutors of knowledge. They wish to rob children of real enlightened education, wishing to teach the myths of primitive peoples upon modern minds. They wish to fight science, just like their predecessors have since time immemorial, because in science and knowledge they see a threat to their continued control of millions, for its findings continue to destroy their cherished myths and fables and tales of primitive thought. In science and knowledge they see the enemy that will birth their extinction. It is science that has exposed the illusions and fantasies of control, the impotent attempts at grasping at straws, at retaining power over human beings.
Their kind has tried to silence progress ever since science and knowledge began to question dogma. They fear it, loathe it and hate it, their fright apparent in the stench running out their pores, in the desperate attempts at suppressing human progress, in their attempts to stop enlightenment. With each myth or belief or act of faith eviscerated by our accumulated knowledge their power over us erodes further, their voices trembling and lies growing, their vague attempts at retaining their fantasies growing ever more desperate. In their literal interpretation of the Bible they fail to understand progress or the reality of the human condition, preferring to live in ignorance and unenlightened belief, choosing the faith of the never seen over the reality of the always present.
Wherever they live their hypocrisy is readily apparent, as always preaching Jesus while living Satan, hiding behind the cross while seeking Hell for others, becoming bigots and engines of hatred while hiding inside monolithic Houses of God, cheering tax cuts for the wealthy while wanting to destroy social services, wanting to erect walls to keep the poor, weak and hungry from seeking a better life. They support war while preaching peace, purposefully making themselves ignorant to death and mass murder committed in their name, all the while carrying the cross and Bible in their hands. They praise the Almighty yet raise their hands higher to the Almighty Dollar. They say they want a culture of life yet support the death penalty, but cannot allow the right of individual’s afflicting with terminal pain and suffering to die with dignity. Intolerant of other religions and other belief structures, of diverse peoples and those different than themselves, extremists can accept only their way of life, becoming the opposite of what their founder told us to do.
The threat posed by Fundamentalism, whether in the Middle East or in America, is as strong as ever, yet progressive thought will not be defeated. The natural progression of human civilization is away from ignorance and fear of the unknown and towards knowledge of the world around us.
–From "The Poisoning of the Well" by Manuel Valenzuela