Skip to comments.Solzhenitsyn Mourned Bastille Day. So Should All Christians.
Posted on 07/14/2015 12:46:03 PM PDT by markomalley
Tuesday, July 14 probably passes without much fanfare in your home, but the date, Bastille Day, marks the beginning of the greatest organized persecution of Christians since the Emperor Diocletian. This day, the beginning of the French Revolution, also planted the seeds for the murderous ideologies of socialism and nationalism that would poison the next two centuries, murdering millions of believers and other innocent civilians. Between them, those two political movements racked up quite a body count: In Death By Government, scholar R. J. Rummel pointed out that
during the first 88 years of this century, almost 170,000,000 men, women and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed, or worked to death; or buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed, or killed in any other of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens or foreigners.
But the first such modern genocide in the West took place in France, beginning in 1793. It was undertaken by modern, progressive apostles of Enlightenment and aimed at pious peasants in the Vendée region of France. By its end up to 300,000 civilians had been killed by the armies of the Republic.
This story is little discussed in France. Indeed, a devout historian who teaches at a French university once told me, We are not to mention the Vendée. Anyone who brings up what was done there has no prospect of an academic career. So we keep silent.
It is mostly in the Vendée itself that memories linger, which may explain why that part of France to this day remains more religious and more conservative than any other region. The local government opened a museum marking these atrocities on their 200th anniversary in 1993 with a visit by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who noted during his eloquent address that the mass murders of Christians in Russia were directly inspired by those in the Vendée. The Bolsheviks, he said, modeled themselves on the French revolutionaries, and Lenin himself pointed to the Vendée massacres as the right way to deal with Christian resistance.
It was ordinary farmers of the Vendée and Brittany regions who rose up in 1793 against the middle-class radicals in Paris who controlled the country. The ideologues of the Revolution had already
When the Parisians came to take away their sons for the army, the Vendeans finally fought back and launched a counter-revolution in the name of God and King. It quickly spread across the northwest of France, tying down the governments professional armies fighting untrained bands of devout guerillas, many of them armed only with muskets suited to hunting.
As Sophie Masson herself a descendant of rebels who fought in the Vendée resistance has written:
The atrocities multiplied, the exterminations systematic and initiated from the very top, and carried out with glee at the bottom. At least 300,000 people were massacred during that time, and those of the intruders who refused to do the job were either shot or discredited utterly. But still the people resisted. Still there were those who hid in the forests and ambushed, who fought as bravely as lions but were butchered like pigs when they were caught. No quarter was given; all the leaders were shot, beheaded or hanged. Many were not even allowed to rest in peace; the body of the last leader was cut up and distributed to scientists; his head was pickled in a jar, the brain examined to see where the seed of rebellion lay in the mind of a savage.
Not one is to be left alive. Women are reproductive furrows who must be ploughed under. Only wolves must be left to roam that land. Fire, blood, death are needed to preserve liberty. Their instruments of fanaticism and superstition must be smashed. These were some of the words the Convention used in speaking of the Vendée. Their tame scientists dreamed up all kinds of new ideas the poisoning of flour and alcohol and water supplies, the setting up of a tannery in Angers which would specialise in the treatment of human skins; the investigation of methods of burning large numbers of people in large ovens so their fat could be rendered down efficiently. One of the Republican generals, Carrier, was scornful of such research: these modern methods would take too long. Better to use more time-honoured methods of massacre: the mass drownings of naked men, women and children, often tied together in what he called republican marriages, off specially constructed boats towed out to the middle of the Loire and then sunk; the mass bayoneting of men, women and children; the smashing of babies heads against walls; the slaughter of prisoners using cannons; the most grisly and disgusting tortures; the burning and pillaging of villages, towns and churches.
The persecution only really ended when Napoleon came to power in 1799 and needed peace at home so that he could launch his wars of conquest. He patched together a modus vivendi with the pope, and the Vendée quieted down.
Of course, it wasnt supposed to work out this way. The Revolution had begun with a financial crisis, and promised to pare back an absolutist monarchy, perhaps along British lines. King Louis XVI was a kindly if not terribly competent king. He had lifted the lingering, disgraceful legal penalties against Protestants and Jews imposed by his ancestors during a more intolerant age. He bankrupted his kingdom bankrolling the American Revolution. (In gratitude, the U.S. Congress hung a portrait of the monarch in the Capitol, and named a southern county Bourbon. Thats where the whiskey was invented.) The French legislators who met in 1789 for the first time in over a century intended at first to reform their government, not replace it.
And some reforms were certainly needed: As Tocqueville would observe, the ruthless centralization imposed by Louis XIV and XV had hollowed out French political life and concentrated power over the lives of citizens almost entirely in Paris, in the hands of technocrats. Predictably, theyd made a mess of things.
Unlike its sister kingdom across the channel, France had no sitting parliament, no common law protecting its subjects from arbitrary arrest, and an economy largely driven not by free citizens but the state. The French church, while still in communion with Rome, was largely controlled by the kings who appointed its bishops and set its policies. Indeed, the kings of France, Portugal and Spain had arranged in 1767 for the suppression of the Jesuits whose loyalty to Rome and rejection of the Divine Right of Kings made them suspect, and whose defense of the rights of Indians got in the way of progress.
The educational vacuum created by the destruction of this order was quickly (and ironically) filled by Enlightenment philosophes. The first generation to rise without the Jesuits would come of age in 1789. The abuses that would mark the Revolution including mass executions of priests and nuns were endorsed by intellectuals schooled on the slanderous pamphlets of Diderot, full of pornographic falsehoods about the secret lives of monks and nuns.
Indeed, theres a chilling similarity between the anti-clerical literature that prepared the public for the looting of monasteries and the anti-Semitic canards that were spread by the Nazis. The euphemism that was used to describe stealing monastic property for the state secularization found its echo in the 1930s in the term the German government employed for robbing the Jews: aryanization. Since the Jews are indeed a priestly people, it is not surprising that such satanic parallels exist. Just as fascists excused their atrocities by pointing to Jewish prominence in the financial sphere and the press, leftists still defend the persecution of the Church by pointing to her political influence. We shouldnt let them get away with it. I wait in vain for the historian who will write a comprehensive comparison of anti-Semitism and anti-clericalism.
In 1989, I helped organize a funeral Mass for all the Revolutions victims. We invited the French consul-general, but he pleaded a prior engagement. In the Vendée itself, a French friend told me, some people still wear black armbands on their countrys national holiday, and regard the Revolutions tricolor as black Americans do the Confederate battle flag. As we tremble for the future of religious liberty in America, lets remember those who died defending freedom and faith before us. God forbid that well have to follow in their footsteps.
“...during the first 88 years of this century, almost 170,000,000 men, women and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed, or worked to death; or buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed, or killed in any other of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens or foreigners.”
That sounds horrendous, but at the funeral of Gerald Ford, George W Bush told the world that racism was the worst possible thing, so that puts that in perspective.
Excellent post! Thanks for sharing.
Boy, some of the conditions described in the article sound just like what we are facing today in this country. Thanks for posting!
Incredible article! Thank you. What do I get from this article? Every Christian should be armed to the teeth!
Indeed—The hair on the back of my neck was standing up while I read it.
How else do you get rid of a Monarchy? You cant vote them out, they wont go away. And the Roman church fully supported the monarchy.
When someone claims a right to rule your life, you have to deal with them somehow.
Bastille day is a good thing.
Don’t know much about history do you?
Time after time...
NEVER give up your guns
Clearly, you have to brutally kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians! After all, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. /s /s /s
I do indeed. And I know that prior to the Revolution, the Catholic church in France had a right to 10% of every farmers crop,,, period.
Do you believe France would be better off had they kept their absolute monarchy?
Do you believe the way they went about abolishing their monarchy was anything other than purely evil?
I’m always in favor of a Monarchy being removed. And I laugh at how monarchist apologists love to fawn about how benevolent they were.
The bottom line is that the Monarchy was absolute. The Roman church supported this and said his right to rule came from God, not from the people.
This is reason enough to revolt. And there was no way to do it that wouldn’t become bloody, not in Europe.
And much of the blame should be laid at the feet of the Vatican and the French Monarchy. Had they not engaged in their unholy enterprise and ruled by force rather than consent, the revolution would have never happened.
Claim to rue over others? You pays your money, you takes your chances.
A monarchy claims the right to rule over you and direct your life. It takes your crop and gives it to the Church.
The church says the monarch represents God and need not answer to the people. The church provides is soldiers to be the kings bodyguard.
Other than violence, I can see no other way to overthrow this situation besides begging the king to relinquish his claim to power.
Russeau’s Noble Savage is the worst relic of that period. The environmental movement, anti-western thought, foreign-policy, class warfare is all derived from the idea that idyllic life existed save where European’s corrupted it with Christianity science and civilization.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.