The Common Good

Christians Must Find a More Christ-like Symbol than 'Crusaders'

091120-crusadersImagine for a minute the fallout were a Muslim high school in America to choose for its mascot "the Jihadists."

In that light, how do you think Muslims (or Jews) view Christian schools whose mascot is "the Crusaders?"

I'm no expert on interfaith reconciliation, but it occurs to me that perhaps minimally, Christian schools should pick a new mascot if theirs is based on the bloody 200-year assault on Muslims -- a series of events that would sour relations between the two faiths for centuries to come.

Consisting of nine campaigns from 1095 to 1291, the Crusades were waged by Western European Christians mainly to seize control of Muslim lands, especially The Holy Land. In fact, "crusades" literally translates "war of the cross." The Church sanctioned and even blessed these campaigns, offering Crusaders penance for past sins to kill their enemies on behalf of their faith. Muslims and Jews were told to convert or die, and unspeakable atrocities were performed in the name of religion. Conservative estimates put the number of dead well into the millions.

In his three-volume A History of The Crusades, British historian Sir Stephen Runciman summed it up this way: "High ideals were besmirched by cruelty and greed

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