Word Smith: Crusade

Atrocities of the first crusades

Hang head in shame

Rape, plunder, murder

Peter the Hermit preaching mercy to the Crusaders who ignored him

All in the name of the Church


Similar to the removal of terms, statues, historical references, and stories which might be offensive to someone in society today, there are those with campaigns afoot which want to rid our vocabulary of the word, Crusade.

The images are ubiquitous in museums in Europe and the Middle East, as part of their history and wars with troubling objectives: make the citizens Christian, or kill them. Similar to symbols of the Civil War and slavery, there must be a way to 1) acknowledge the past, 2) talk about its significance in the way we think and act today and 3) find a way to move on. Eliminating images or words does not do the deed, but perhaps it is time to eliminate the use of the mascot, Crusader, from our religious schools, at least.

It’s time to mend, not extol the virtues of wars gone awry nor revel in the bloody past, chain mail and all. What do your say?

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