GIORDANO BRUNO – POET, PHILOSOPHER AND FREE THINKER
Recently Republicans, Conservative Christians and other pusillanimous propagandists, snake oil sellers and believers in myths, lies and sundry bullshit vehemently criticized President Obama for citing a few Christian acts of terrorism in a speech. It’s as if these preposterous pundits would like to put a KKK coat of whitewash over historical fact. Of course, rewriting history is one of the fortes of the Republican Party and Conservative Christians, who conveniently ignore the fact that the Communists and Hitler’s fascists employed the same bait and switch methodology. That’s a fine tradition to uphold.
Well, they aren’t going to rewrite this historical fact. On this day in 1500 Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for his audacity to challenge the established Catholic dogma. He was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, poet, mathematician and astrologer and a considerable thorn in the side of the Catholic Church. His cosmological theories, which went even further than the heretical Copernican model, proposed that the stars were distant suns surrounded by their own planets, and that it was possible that these planets could even host life of their own. This proposal of this theory, known as cosmic pluralism, but even more so other radical ideas he had about the very foundation of Catholic religious beliefs led to his having to flee Italy in 1576. He spent time in France, Switzerland, Germany and England before returning to Italy where he was eventually arrested and imprisoned in 1592, and sent to Rome for trial the following year. Bruno’s trial lasted seven years during which time he was kept in various prisons. He was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition on charges which included his denial of several of the core Catholic doctrines, including belief in the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the virginity of Mary, and Transubstantiation. That alone was like waving a red flag in front of the Catholic Church’s obstinate and almighty bull. His cosmological views were just another cord of wood to throw on the fire. Of course, the Inquisition found him guilty on all counts, and in 1600 he was burned alive at the stake in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori. So much for freedom of speech, free thinking and challenging the established dogma of the religious bigots in power. Sound familiar?
In the more open and supposedly tolerant times of the modern world, Bruno is regarded as a martyr for science, though it should be emphasized that his astronomical views were at most a minor component of the theological and philosophical beliefs that led to his trial. He had written and said enough other unacceptable things as to seal his fate when viewed from the intolerant and ignorant Christian dogma of his world. Bruno’s case though is still considered to be a landmark in the history of free thought and the future of the emerging sciences. More simply put, the morons of the Catholic Church were completely wrong and Bruno was right. It makes you wonder who the real heretics were.
And that idea that Christians have committed acts of terrorism, as President Obama pointed out in his speech, in the light of today’s historical event 515 years ago, is an undeniable fact, and sadly one that seems to go way over the heads of those bobble brained Republican critics. Bruno’s fate is little different than the fate of the Jordanian pilot, or any of the other headless unbelievers perversely executed by the Islamic State. History makes for strange bedfellows when you move beyond trying to rewrite it for an ever ignorant, pandering and gullible Conservative drove of pigs just waiting to slop up the bullshit…
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