Digest of terms

crusade

now a generic term for vigorous campaigning in support of a particular cause, originally a European Christian military initiative to re-establish control over Jerusalem and surrounding land. The medieval crusades, under papal auspices and leadership of kings and knights, left scars on the Muslim world that have persisted into the present, the West being demonized as crusaders in the rhetoric of Muslim extremists. There is evident tragic irony that the cross of suffering at the heart of Christianity became an expeditionary badge for force to be used against Muslims, and subsequently against other non-Christians and Christian heretics. Crusading finds some equivalence in jihad,but contrastssharply with the example ofJesus.Holy warring is a potent motivation which demonises its foes as enemies of God, thereby justifying their conquest, or even elimination (biblical precedence for which is apparent in accounts of the Israelites' 'entry into the Promised Land'). A hymn like 'Onward Christian soldiers' may still be sung, but many today have become suspicious of that kind of language. It lives on in the name of the Salvation Army where its weapons are gifts and its foes human neediness.

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