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.