This thread evolved out of the ‘Is Catholicism Pagan’ thread. In that discussion, James has raised a flurry of issues, all of which deserve their own thread. For this reason, I decided to separate out this topic to give it better attention.
When it comes to the war on terrorism, I happen to agree with you. That is why I said that we may disagree over how the war is conducted, but we all agree that America has the right to defend herself against radical Islam.
I raised this point because it seems that most Evangelicals and conservative Protestants are die-hard Bush supporters who favored the action in Iraq.
I am not denying that atrocities occured during the Crusades. One especially unfortunate incident was the sacking of Constantinople, which severely damaged the relations between the Eastern and Western Church (when the Crusades were originally called to defend the East). What I am saying, is that the Catholic West had the right to take up arms against the Muslims. Almost every war has its own atrocities. These are unfortunate, but it does not mean that the war or its aims are wrong.
I believe your characterization of the Spanish Inquisition is factually incorrect. The crime in the Inquisition was not being a Jew, or maintaining Jewishness, but feigning conversion to Catholicism. Many of the Marranos were Jews who pretended to convert to the Catholic faith in order to undermine the Church. The most famous example was the Archbishop of Toledo, who turned out to be a false-believer.
How would you like it if Catholics pretended to convert to your Church, rose to positions of prominence within your faith, and then began subverting the teachings of that Church? That is essentially what happened with the Marranos. Marranos clergy were teaching children false doctrine and preaching it from the pulpit. Belief in Jesus Christ was under attack by the Marranos.
When the Spaniards realized what was going on, many Jews were lynched or brutalized by angry mobs. The purpose of the Inquisition was actually to determine whether Jewish converts were genuine or not in order to protect the genuine converts from violence. Infact, one of the Grand Inquisitors (Tomas de Torquemada) was a Marranos Jew.
The claim that persons who repented were also killed is simply untrue. Please provide substantiation for that claim.