First… the history lesson
“…The Dechristianisation of France during the French Revolution is a conventional description of a campaign, conducted by various Robespierre-era governments of France beginning with the start of the French Revolution in 1789, in order to eliminate any symbol that might be associated with the past, especially the monarchy….”
Fr. Penn explains the Anti-Christ as anyone who is against Christ and is actively trying to harm the Body of Christ. According to him, there have been many evil figures over the years who truly fit deserve the classification as “anti-Christ” (Nero, Hitler, Stalin, etc).
This is a perfectly logical time to insert a remarkable bit of history that is constantly over-looked, especially in this country, where the tea party types have this absurd love affair with the French Revolution, because it was inspired by Jefferson. What they have a tendency to ignore is that one of the primary focuses of the French Revolution was to “Dechristianize” France.
This is terribly important when trying to understand the ignorant pandering blather of the tea parties who prefer to worship the Founding Fathers, rather than Our Father. These same people lament the loss of traditional values in this country, wringing their hands, and beating their chests as they pull out their hair and sprinkle ashes on their face. The problem with such nonsense is the fact that they fail to recognize the fact that the secularization of Europe was begun by the revolutionaries in France who were inspired and supported by Thomas Jefferson and a whole host of others.
Jefferson worked with Maximilien Robespierre (whom The Pink Flamingo thinks is one of the great monsters of history). Together they hammered out the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
“…He was a member of the National Assembly which passed the Declaration of the Rights of Man on August 26, 1789, based upon the model of the American Bill of Rights, and benefiting from the assistance of Thomas Jefferson who was at the time, American Ambassador to France….”
“...As the champion of the French Revolution, Jefferson was an ardent believer in, and prophet of civil religion.That is, he sought to animate an apparently secular and political idea of liberty being the true god by breathing into it the kinds of emotions with which religion had been invested in the Age of Faith.Of this religion, Thomas Jefferson was not just a mere prophet but also a pope.“He possessed the magisterium of liberty.He could define heresy and excommunicate heretics.”Thomas Jefferson was an ardent, impassioned defender of the French Revolution believing that the French Revolution was the continuation and fulfillment of the American one, both being manifestations of a kindred spirit of liberty.To fail to acknowledge that the French Revolution was an integral part of the holy cause of liberty, along with the American Revolution, was heresy, and the heretic had to be driven from public life….”
It started out as a very good thing, giving white men basic human rights. Nothing was mentioned about slavery nor women. The problem was not in the Declaration of the Rights of Man, but in the fact that evil men used it to persecute the church and murder thousands of Christians in France.
It is terribly important to understand that the primary “Founders” of this nation were NOT Christians. Nothing could be more telling that what happened in France.
“...The programme of dechristianization waged against Catholicism, and eventually against all forms of Christianity, included:
confiscation of church lands, which were to be the security for the new Assignat currency
removal of statues, plates and other iconography from places of worship
destruction of crosses, bells and other external signs of worship
the institution of revolutionary and civic cults, including the Cult of Reason and subsequently the Cult of the Supreme Being,
the enactment of a law on October 21, 1793 making all nonjuring priests and all persons who harboured them liable to death on sight.
The climax was reached with the celebration of the Goddess “Reason” in Notre Dame Cathedral on 10 November 1793.
The dechristianization campaign can be seen as the logical extension of the materialist philosophies of some leaders of the enlightenment, while for others with more prosaic concerns it was an opportunity to unleash resentments against the Church and clergy….”
All of this led to what some consider the first instance of modern genocide. It was also the birth of modern Europe where Christians are almost persecuted today. During this time, Christians could be executed for wearing a cross. The Pink Flamingo brings up all of this because the genocide against the Catholic Church in Revolutionary France was an indirect result of the American Revolution and an unintended consequence of the meddling of Thomas Jefferson in the affairs of another nation.
“…Under threat of death, imprisonment, military conscription or loss of income, about 20,000 constitutional priests were forced to abdicate or hand over their letters of ordination and 6,000 – 9,000 were coerced to marry, many ceasing their ministerial duties. Some of those who abdicated covertly ministered to the people. By the end of the decade, approximately 30,000 priests were forced to leave France, and thousands who did not leave were executed.Most of France was left without the services of a priest, deprived of/liberated from the sacraments and any nonjuring priest faced the guillotine or deportation to French Guiana.
The March 1793 conscription requiring Vendeans to fill their district’s quota of 300,000 enraged the populace, who took up arms as “The Catholic Army”, “Royal” being added later, and fought for “above all the reopening of their parish churches with their former priests.”A massacre of 6,000 Vendée prisoners, many of them women, took place after the battle of Savenay, along with the drowning of 3,000 Vendée women at Pont-au-Baux and 5,000 Vendée priests, old men, women, and children killed by drowning at the Loire River at Nantes in what was called the “national bath” – tied in groups in barges and then sunk into the Loire.
With these massacres came formal orders for forced evacuation; also, a ‘scorched earth’ policy was initiated: farms were destroyed, crops and forests burned and villages razed. There were many reported atrocities and a campaign of mass killing universally targeted at residents of the Vendée regardless of combatant status, political affiliation, age or gender. By July 1796, the estimated Vendean dead numbered between 117,000 and 500,000, out of a population of around 800,000. Some historians call these mass killings the first modern genocide, specifically because intent to exterminate the Catholic Vendeans was clearly stated, though others have rejected these claims….”
All of this must be seen in the growing divide between Washington, Hamilton, and Adams on one side, and Jefferson, Madison, and Paine on the other. Jefferson, who wrote all the lovely and uplifting sentiment about the rights of man, freedom, liberty, etc. turned a blind eye to the extermination of at least half a million Catholics in France.
“…In reality the deep revulsion against the excesses of the French Revolution (while they were happening) was exclusively a Federalist affair. The Republicans, headed by Jefferson himself, stoutly defended the French Revolution throughout the period when reports of the excesses were reaching America. If possible, anything horrible in the reports from Paris was ascribed by Republicans to the manipulation of the news by the British. In private the esoteric doctrine of the Republican leaders — as revealed by Jefferson to William Short — was that what the Federalists called excesses were really taking place but were entirely justifiable, however drastic, because they were undertaken in the cause of liberty.
The Republicans began to detach themselves from the cause of the French Revolution after 1793, and especially from 1795 on. But this was not because Jefferson and the rest of them were belatedly experiencing some form of revulsion against excesses that they had systematically condoned (often by denying their existence) at the time of their perpetration. The detachment was, rather, the result of a growing perception in 1794-1795 that enthusiasm among the American people for the French Revolution was cooling — not only because of those excesses, which were at their worst during the period when Americans other than Federalists were most enthusiastic about the French Revolution, but also because of developments in the United States itself and in a neighboring territory, Saint-Domingue, or Haiti, and because of Washington’s influence….”
All of this comes full circle, back to The Pink Flamingo’s argument that the tea party “patriots” have some problems with history and their understanding, there-of.
It’s more about the gross factor, that nasty feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know you are on to something, and you don’t like it. The only reason Jefferson finally denounced the French Revolution was NOT because of the mass murders but because the French ended slavery.
Anyone who pays the least bit of attention to the tea party patriots and the minions of the Ron Paul right know they absolutely adore Jefferson.