Thursday, September 30, 2010

Who's Your Daddy?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Faith Worth Dying For

A Faith Worth Dying For

I've dated Charlemagne, St. John, Henry VIII and John Adams. Yes, I Realize They are Dead.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

History Resources on the Web

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Don't Let it Fester Henry. Don't Let it Fester...

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Quick Note on Making Money from Your Blog.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Concubine, Saint, Whore and Martyr: The Changing Image of Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn, the second wife of the infamous Henry VIII, is the perfect example how a person's image can change with time. Born the third child of Sir Thomas Boleyn and Elizabeth Howard (the daughter of the Duke of Norfolk), she was sent to be a Lady in Waiting to the Archduchess Margaret.  Fate, however, would not leave Anne in Continental Europe, but the education, style and wit she learned helped her land Henry VIII.
"She blinded me with science."

The rest of her story is infamous.  Henry fell madly in love with her, tried to divorce his present wife Catherine of Aragon and when the pope wouldn't grant him a divorce, Henry broke away from the Catholic church and married Anne anyway.  During her life Anne was very unpopular and many, including the Spanish ambassador, would only call her "The Concubine."  After her beheading, she was still considered the king's whore and concubine until the ascension of her daughter Elizabeth to the English throne.  Elizabeth adored her mother and during her reign, Anne became a saint and martyr for the Protestant Reformation.  

Today, Anne Boleyn is Henry's most famous wife and there has been an explosion of books, movies and television programs about the beheaded queen.  Depending on who you read or ask, everyone has a different opinion.  Some believe that Anne was power hungry and would have done anything to become queen, others believe she was simply a victim of her father and Henry.  If I didn't know any better, I would think that we weren't talking about the same person, except historical figures are often portrayed as heroes or villains, saints or sinners.  Just look at George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.  Both owned slaves, had mistresses, and other failings, yet they are considered American saints.  While we may realize the world isn't all black and white people, we fail to allow our historical characters to live in the gray.

In the book, "Anne Boleyn:  Henry VIII's Obsession" by Elizabeth Norton the author allows Anne to live in the gray.  She portrays Anne not as a sinner or saint, but simply as an ambitious woman who sought to better herself.  Today Anne Boleyn may have been a CEO, Congresswoman or trail lawyer, but in the 16th century her options were limited.  I urge all of you to rethink your opinions on someone from history and allow them to live in the gray. No one is absolutely evil or perfect not even our beloved or not so beloved historical figures.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Muslim and Catholic Kinship

Have some tea and relax.
 Last night I was reading the Progressive Catholic magazine Commonweal and stumbled upon an interesting blog excerpt from Paul Moses.  Moses's blog "Wrong Then, Wrong Now,"  explores the similarities between the Anti-Catholicism of the 19th century with Islamophobia today.  Researching old newspapers, Moses stumbled upon several incidences of Anti-Catholicism that eerily compare with today's current events.

In 1880 William R. Grace, a Catholic, was running for mayor of New York City.  Protestant clergy across the city were warning that if Grace became mayor, New York would be controlled by the Vatican and democracy would perish.  Sound familiar?  Just turn on the radio or television and you will hear similar ideas about Islam.  I love our great country, but it is time we become more secure in our identity and not be so threatened by other cultures and religions.  Vive l'Etats Unis.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Mosque Near Ground Zero

It seems everyone has an opinion about the proposed mosque near ground zero.  Some say it is disrespectful of the many people who died by the hands of Muslim terrorists, while others feel that building a mosque so close to ground zero is no big deal.  After all, this is America right?

I agree, this is a free country and Muslims should be able to build a mosque wherever they chose.  However, I am left asking the question, "Why is it that the United States, a land of immigrants, hates immigrants so much?"  While I am appalled at countries like France who ban headscarves and other ethnic dress, they aren't a nation of immigrants.  Until the latter part of the 20th century, the population of many Western European countries were homogeneous.

Since colonial times, new arrivals such as the Germans in Pennsylvania to the Latin Americans and Middle Easterners today have not been welcomed.  Is it because new immigrants have a different language, customs or religion, which scares Americans or is it something deeper?  Derrick Bell, the first tenured law professor at Harvard Law School, believes that people of color and immigrants will only be treated better if there is a motive to do so.  The Civil Rights Act, which was passed in the 1960's to undermine Soviet claims of racism, seems to support this assertion.

Whatever the reason for America's intolerance of immigrants, we should strive as a nation to welcome the less fortunate, support immigration reforms, address issues that cause people to leave their homelands and for goodness sake let them build a mosque near ground zero!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

History is the Opiate of the Masses

Voltaire may have pretty hair, but he was wrong!

Joseph Cropsey, an emeritus professor at the University of Chicago, states that history not religion is the opiate of the masses. When I first heard this as a senior history major at Butler University, I thought he must be crazy. Throughout high school and college, I was taught that the Enlightenment had saved us from the opiate of religion, not history. Voltaire and his Enlightenment cronies had freed us from the cult of the Virgin Mary and religious superstition. Religion and God were for the weak and reason will free us from despotic kings and the bondage of religious tyranny.

After class I went back to my dorm room and lied on my bed thinking. On a cool autumn day, I began thinking of Hitler and Stalin. Both didn't use God or religion to brain wash people to commit atrocities, instead they used "bad" history to justify their actions.  The point of this blog publicize the "bad" history that politicians, the news media and special interest groups use to manipulate us. I hope you will join me for this exciting journey in discovering the truth about the past.
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