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Today's Question
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How was the Spanish Inquisition a 'real life saver' ?
- - -
May 27, 2007
Editorial Note:
this question is actually Part 2 of an answer,
Part 1 of this answer is in the Q&A entitled:
Is the History Channel correct about the evil Spanish Inquisition?
published on May 20, 2007

Dear Rev. Know-It-All,

You closed last week's Q&A (it was my question) with the insane cliff hanger "... so I'll continue next week by explaining how the Inquisition in Spain was a real life saver.

Now you've gone too far! 


Ivan der Vatsap

Dear Ivan,

Let's look at this from a different perspective. 

The Spanish Inquisition killed perhaps 3,000 people in the two hundred year period from 1500 to 1700.  That’s about 15 a year.  By our perspective that's horrible.  But it is not the hundreds of thousands claimed by some.

China executes about 8,000 a year according to Amnesty international.

The USA executed 59 people in 2004, 29 in Texas.  So, by that measure, the government of Texas is more bloodthirsty than the Spanish Inquisition!  No one expects the government of Texas!

You, dear Mr. der Vatsap, are a victim of the Back Legend (look it up on the web), a disinformation campaign waged by the English in her wars with Spain. 

Here is a good example of the disinformation with which you and I have grown up. 

Queen Mary Tudor who ruled England from 1553-1558 is called Bloody Mary for having executed 283 Protestants as heretics.  Her little sister, Queen Elizabeth, a Protestant who succeeded her, is called Good Queen Bess.  She, however, executed 800 Catholics for trying to have Mass said.  If Bloody Mary was bloodthirsty, her little sister, Queen Elizabeth, was more than twice as bloodthirsty.

Another example: on September 11, 1649 Oliver Cromwell, the English dictator killed 3,500 Irish Catholics in the Massacre of Drogheda, burning women and children alive in St. Mary’s church, all in an attempt to establish Presbyterianism and wipe out Irish Catholicism.  He killed more in an afternoon than the Spanish Inquisition did in 200 years, and went right on with the killing.

In the end, he had killed or exiled one quarter, perhaps one third, of the entire population of Ireland and taken 75% of the land, but I never hear anyone say, “Oh, those bloodthirsty Presbyterians.”  I know Presbyterians.  They are very nice people.  They tend to keep their yards clean. 

So why all this hoo hah about the Spanish inquisition? 

The Bible says that darkness hates the light.  In this country and culture in which we find ourselves, darkness hates Catholic Christianity.

Let’s make a list.  Oliver Cromwell, maybe a million, about 40-60,000 people a year died on the altars of pre Columbian Mexico and central America.  Since 1960, 2 million people in Sudan, mostly Catholics, have died for refusing to convert to Islam.  That is way more than died in the Crusades and the Inquisition put together!  Let’s look at the modern religions that deny the existence of God. 

Communism is responsible for 100 million CIVILIAN deaths, China accounting for 65 million of those.  These are not the result of war, but of state murder.  I refer you to the Black Book of Communism, easily found on the web.  Who knows how many Nazism killed?  One good estimate puts the total at 20,946,000, not including battle casualties! 

At 15 a year, the Spanish inquisitors seem like slackers.

What is the point of all this? 

Simply this: the Spanish Inquisition was a form of due process that put the brakes on the human urge to kill in the name of religion, godly or godless.  In Spain you could not be summarily executed.  You had to be examined by a qualified legal team. 

Here’s a good example: In Europe outside of Spain at least 44,000 people were executed for witchcraft.  In Spain it is possible that fewer than 10 people were executed for witchcraft because the Inquisition didn't believe in that nonsense.  In fact, 1,500 people accused of witchcraft in the Basque country were freed by the Inquisition.

In the 1600's wars of religion killed about a third of the population of Germany alone.

You know how many died in Spain?  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada. 

Spain was about the safest place to be during the wars of religion.  Spanish soldiers and inquisitors did a number on the Netherlands, I must admit, but in Spain the inquisition had done its homework and the wars never started.

So what’s my point? 

Christianity is supposed to be a nonviolent religion, as least the way Jesus intended it to be.

Believe it or not, the Spanish Inquisition actually made it less violent than it was in some places.

Don’t believe everything you see on TV.

In Spain, at least, the inquisition was a life saver, no matter what Mel Brooks thinks. 

Yours truly,

Rev. Know-It-All

Editorial Note:
this question is actually Part 2 of an answer,
Part 1 of this answer is in the Q&A entitled:
Is the History Channel correct about the evil Spanish Inquisition?
published on May 20, 2007

The Question Was
- - -
How was the Spanish Inquisition a 'real life saver' ?
The Reverend Know-It-All
is a parody of
Mr. Know-It-All,
the alter ego of Bullwinkle,
a carton character created
by Jay Ward (1920-1989).

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