Reading through world history, it is fascinating to find precedents for the manipulation of public opinion. One of the most effective techniques has been the employment of religious sentiment to sway not only the public, but the kings and nobility. Such tactics bear striking resemblance to the mainstream media’s attacks on American political candidates who claim the religious mantle for purposes of political expediency.
The use of religion to bolster the political legitimacy of the ruling class is as old as the first ancient civilizations, such as Sumer, Akkad, and Egypt. But the relationship between the ecclesiastical caste and the kings has always been tenuous: the king-makers could become the king-breakers. What kings required from religion was two-fold: to instill widespread fear and mortification in the masses, either by the king claiming that he ruled on behalf of god or actually was god, and to give the slaves and helots something to look forward to in the afterlife, after they had been used up by the king and the nobility.
In the case of Catholicism, Constantine’s cynical commandeering of Church doctrine at Nicaea and utilization to form a religious imperialistic order based in Rome led to the inculcation of an internalized slave mentality, to use the language of Nietzsche, throughout Western Europe. The spread of Christianity in some subtle ways eased the barbaric manners of the Romantic, Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, and Nordic peoples and harmonized their societies both within and among them, but in other ways promulgated severe superstitions and cruel practices through the fire-and-brimstone preaching of the ecclesiastics.
Over the course of centuries, it appears that in certain periods individuals penetrated the Pope’s religious dominance by forming sects, cults, and heresies, or otherwise working from within the system by joining monasteries, changing the relationship between rulers and the ruled through esoteric alterations until Protestantism severed the necessity of the priesthood for a person’s ascendance to the Divine in the afterlife.
Since kings found the church to be an indispensable instrument to keep the public cowed and in its place, the churches and monasteries remained well-funded, while the priests’ occasionally absurd demands were mainly humored. The proselytizers, by no means immune to the recognition of their power, and emboldened by all the hubris of a holy quest to transform the world, began making increasing demands upon the royalty for more generous funding and conciliatory political gestures.
In order to placate the priests, and assuage the judgment of God, most kings deigned to acknowledge the sanctity of the church and its eminent place in society. But when certain kings grew weary of the church’s intercessions between his royal person and the laity, they invoked the wrath of the religious dispensers by either shunning the strictures of the contemporary liturgy or by denying them pecuniary tribute and ritual acknowledgment.
Such an occasion marks the reign of King Edwy, who ruled England in 955. His case is most interesting because it displays both the narrow and inconsequential prejudices that were presumed to bind the sovereign and the vindictiveness of the particular Christian monks who took revenge for his deviations from the stipulated order. David Hume relates this fascinating anecdotal case, and is compressed and edited here in order to remain close to the general points:
There was a beautiful princess of the royal blood, called Elgiva, who had made impression on…Edwy; and as he was of an age when the force of the passions first begins to be felt, he had ventured, contrary to the advice of his gravest counsellors, and the remonstrances of the more dignified ecclesiastics, to espouse her; though she was within the degrees of affinity prohibited by the canon law. As the austerity affected by the monks [note, ed.] made them particularly violent on this occasion, Edwy entertained a strong prepossession against them; and seemed, on that account, determined not to second their project of expelling the seculars from all the convents, and of possessing themselves of those rich establishments. War was therefore declared between the king and the monks; and the former soon found reason to repent his provoking such dangerous enemies.
On the day of his coronation, his nobility were assembled in a great hall, and were indulging themselves in that riot and disorder, which, from the example of their German ancestors, had become habitual to the English; when Edwy…retired into the queens apartment, and in that privacy gave reins to his fondness towards his wife, which was only moderately checked by the presence of her mother. Dunstan conjectured the reason of the kings retreat; and carrying along with him Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury…he burst into the apartment, upbraided Edwy with his lasciviousness, probably bestowed on the queen the most opprobrious epithet that can be applied to her sex, and tearing him from her arms, pushed him back, in a disgraceful manner, into the banquet of the nobles. Edwy, though young, and opposed by the prejudices of the people, found an opportunity of taking revenge for this public insult.
[Edwy] questioned Dunstan concerning the administration of the treasury during the reign of his predecessor; and when that minister refused to give any account of money expended, as he affirmed, by orders of the late king, he accused him of malversation in his office and banished him the kingdom. But Dunstan’s cabal was not inactive during his absence; they filled the public with high panegyrics on his sanctity; they exclaimed against the impiety of the king and queen; and having poisoned the minds of the people by these declamations, they proceeded to still more outrageous acts of violence against the royal authority.
Archbishop Odo sent into the palace a party of soldiers, who seized the queen, and, having burned her face with a red-hot iron, in order to destroy that fatal beauty which had seduced Edwy, they carried her by force into Ireland, there to remain in perpetual exile. Edwy, finding it in vain to resist, was obliged to consent to his divorce, which was pronounced by Odo; and catastrophe, still more dismal, awaited the unhappy Elgiva. That amiable princess, being cured of her wounds, and having even obliterated the scars with which Odo had hoped to deface her beauty, returned into England, and was flying to the embraces of the king, whom she still regarded as her husband; when she fell into the hands of a party, whom the primate had sent to intercept her. Nothing but her death could now give security to Odo and the monks; and the most cruel death was requisite to satiate their vengeance. She was hamstringed; and expired a few days after at Gloucester, in the most acute torments.
What we find in this case is the use of religious piety in order to reign in a king who might be presumed to have been too lightly disposed to give financial tribute to the monks. Dunstan, for his part, was canonized as a saint, and a church in his name exists to this day.
It is interesting to briefly note the experience of Edwy’s successor Edward, who can be read more about in Hume’s account. King Edward gave generously to the Christian monks, and though he was noted to be a rapist and murderer according to multiple trustworthy historians, he was lauded by the monks as a pious and dignified ruler, due presumably to his generous gifts bestowed upon the church.
In modern American politics, politicians, and particularly, Republicans can be ruined by falling into disfavor with religious voters. Much like ancient kings, they have played a dangerous double game with the public. While they give lip service to Christianity in order to both placate the demands and inspire the electoral affection of the faithful, the secular church of liberalism that is the mainstream media wisely utilize Alinsky’s fourth rule: “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”
The leftist media attacks on Herman Cain, Clarence Thomas, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and others, alleging sexual impropriety, strongly makes this point. While former President Bill Clinton was an adulterer, a liar, and lascivious creep in the main, he paid the required fealty to the church of liberalism, donning big government largesse on its many non-profit temples, and was thus completely exculpated for his personal peccadilloes (much like the aforementioned King Edward).
Knowing that the religious Republican voter is beheld in the thrall of mysticism, and not ruling his own mind strictly according to the rigorous demands of rationality, as the Founders advised, all the leftwing media have to do is repeatedly insinuate that a Republican candidate has deviated from the straight and narrow path demanded by God, and the aura of his or her personage is despoiled.
As Thomas Jefferson advised: “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”
History may change, but the fundamental nature of human beings alters little. The secular church of liberalism has devised its most consistent religious doctrine yet in the form of Environmentalism. The New Rome seeks to yoke the world with a tithe amounting to trillions of dollars, and unless we rule ourselves with reason in our political preferences, our would-be rulers will oblige.