Today in European history: the Knights Templar order is purged (1307)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
The Knights Templar are the more famous of the two major Christian military orders that were founded during the Crusades; the other, the Knights Hospitaller, we’ve already looked at a bit more closely in talking about the failed Ottoman siege of Malta in 1565. The…

May 18: a bad date for the Crusades

You know how we know that May 18 was a terrible date for the Crusades? Because I can say “May 18 was a terrible date for the Crusades” and not even include the Crusades-related massacre that happened in the German city of Worms on this date in 1096. That’s pretty bad. But we should include… Continue reading May 18: a bad date for the Crusades

Netanyahu and his American evangelical fans

My newest piece for LobeLog (co-authored with Jim Lobe) highlights a recent poll of US opinion on Israel and the Israel-Palestine issue, conducted by University of Maryland and Brookings scholar Shibley Telhami. Telhami’s survey used two samples: one to represent the general public, and then an over-sample of self-professed evangelical Christians, in order to gauge… Continue reading Netanyahu and his American evangelical fans

It goes back further than that

Joshua Keating turns to recent history to explain why Eastern European countries have been so downright hostile to inbound Syrian refugees: So what accounts for this hostility in the countries that Donald Rumsfeld once called “new Europe”? For one thing, Eastern Europe (I’m using the term to distinguish these countries from places like Germany and… Continue reading It goes back further than that

Bearing false witness

For religious folks of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic persuasion, lying is generally treated as a sin. The most succinct and famous religious law in the Abrahamic tradition is the Ten Commandments, and one of them reads (NASB): “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” If the Ten Commandments version isn’t your bag (the phrasing leaves… Continue reading Bearing false witness

No, Vladimir Putin is not a cartoon super-villain, and he’s not the Defender of the Faith either

The American political right increasingly resembles a barely-stitched together collection of single- or narrow-issue interest groups, all united by hatred of Barack Obama, History’s Greatest Monster At Least Until the Next Democratic President, or, more accurately, hatred of scary liberal monsters hiding under the bed, waiting for the chance to make off with their wallets,… Continue reading No, Vladimir Putin is not a cartoon super-villain, and he’s not the Defender of the Faith either