I hope everyone had a pleasant Guy Fawkes Day yesterday. While I didn't really celebrate, I did watch a documentary about The Gunpowder Plot
and I must admit that I learned quite a bit. First of all, Guy Fawkes was not the leader of the plot, that role belonged to Robert Catesby. It's just that Fawkes is the one that got caught red-handed. There was a lot of intrigue to the story including how the conspirators got the gunpowder to a spot directly underneath the King's chamber and an anonymous letter to Lord Monteagle warning him not to attend the opening of Parliament on 5 November 1605. It read:My lord out of the love i beare to some of youere frends i have a caer of youer preseruacion therfor i would advyse yowe as yowe tender youer lyf to devys some excuse to shift of youer attendance at this parleament for god and man hath concurred to punishe the wickednes of this tyme and think not slightlye of this advertisement but retyre youre self into youre contri wheare yowe may expect the event in safti for thowghe theare be no appearance of anni stir yet i saye they shall receyve a terrible blowe this parleament and yet they shall not seie who hurts them this cowncel is not to be contemned because it may do yowe good and can do yowe no harme for the dangere is passed as soon as yowe have burnt the letter and i hope god will give yowe the grace to mak good use of it to whose holy proteccion i comend yowe.
Monteagle gave the letter to the Secretary of State, Robert Cecil, who was in charge of rooting out Catholic dissent against the Protestant government. And this caused him to step up security and find Fawkes.
The show gave some good background to the persecution of Catholics and showed The Plot to be an act of religious terrorism. Catholics were not allowed to attend Mass and those who did were called recusants and charged fines. They were seen as potential traitors to the crown. This persecution started under the reign of Queen Elizabeth but abated somewhat under James I. However, James did a 180 and the fines were reinstated and he renounced them all.
Five hundred years later, religious differences are still a major problem. As I watched, I couldn't help but think to myself that this is exactly the reason why the First Amendment of our Constitution reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." History shows quite clearly that people of different religions just love to kill one another, including Christians. I was also reminded that tomorrow is Election Day and we have a candidate for governor that feels that 150-cell blastocysts are human beings just like himself and he feels this way because of his religion. I have to wonder what his program for the state's economy will be when he chases all the stem cell research firms out. I saw the chucklehead on the pedestrian walk over the Beltline this morning pushing a large cross around with a sign attached to it saying "Vote for God" or some such thing. I just wanted to yell at him, "Keep your superstitious religious bullshit out of my government!" What happened to the Golden Rule? How would these straight Christians like it if there was an amendment to our state constitution saying that society hated them and their loving relationships and banned official acknowledgment of them?
Vote NO tomorrow and vote to keep religious wingnuts out of office.