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Claiming ‘Sanctuary’ in a Medieval Church Could Save Your Life—But Lead to Exile

April 18, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

The . “It would be inappropriate in the extreme to carry weapons into the church or to arrest someone or to exercise force within the church.”

In addition, the church was “deeply suspicious about the punishments meted out by secular authority,” he says. Many early church leaders thought the Roman Empire was too concerned with punishing criminals as opposed to “restoring the moral balance between the wrongdoer and God.” Sanctuary was meant to address the latter. If fugitives claiming sanctuary weren’t already Christians, they were supposed to convert.

READ MORE: How Medieval Churches Used Witch Hunts to Gain More Followers

Murder and theft were the most common crimes for which fugitives sought sanctuary in medieval Europe. Once a fugitive entered a cathedral, their pursuers could lie in wait for them outside, but they couldn’t enter to capture anyone. In addition, fugitives couldn’t bring a bow and arrow into the church to attack their pursuers from the windows, or any other weapon that they might use to defend themselves once they left.

While safe inside, fugitives might work out an agreement with the people they wronged in order to leave safely. Yet more often, fugitives had to go straight from sanctuary into permanent exile from their city, region or country. This was especially true in England beginning in the 12th century, when the country legally regulated sanctuary more than any other region in Europe.

According to England’s laws during this period, fugitives who claimed sanctuary had to leave England for the rest of their lives unless they received a royal pardon, which was very difficult to obtain. And unlike most European churches, which didn’t have formal limits on how long a person could claim sanctuary, English people weren’t supposed to stay in sanctuary for more than 40 days.

A short sanctuary followed by exile was still better than a death sentence; and for many people, it was also better than prison. “Jails were a common place to die,” says Elizabeth Allen, an English professor at the University of California, Irvine, who studies sanctuary in medieval England. “You weren’t eating well, you were given often just bread and water and disease was quite common.”

Though English sanctuary was the most heavily-regulated type in Europe, English people didn’t always follow the letter or the spirit of the laws. ln the 14th century, a London woman murdered a priest in a church and then tried …read more


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Is the Trump Administration Helping the Saudis Build a Bomb?

April 18, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

President Donald Trump went dancing with the Saudi royals in
Riyadh, where he tried to sell America’s principles in
exchange for a mess of weapons contracts. Since then, Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo has become Saudi Arabia’s lead PR counsel
in America. The Pentagon is the Saudi regime’s premier

Now Energy Secretary Rick Perry is acting as chief nuclear
procurer for the Saudis. “By ramming through the sale of as
much as $80 billion in nuclear power plants,” The
New York Times warned recently, “the Trump
administration would provide sensitive knowhow and materials to a
government whose de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,
has suggested that he may eventually want a nuclear weapon as a
hedge against Iran and has shown little concern for what the rest
of the world thinks.”

Obviously, Trump has not endorsed a Saudi nuclear weapon.
However, his administration’s ongoing attempt to provide the
Kingdom with nuclear technology raises serious questions about U.S.

The crown prince can’t be
trusted with a bone saw, let alone nuclear weapons.

America’s relationship with Riyadh has long been fraught
with tension, inconsistency, and hypocrisy. The faux friendship
revolves around oil, the lifeblood of the Western economy. However,
the fracking revolution turned the U.S. into an energy
super-supplier, and other hydrocarbon sources have since emerged.
And if Washington stopped routinely sanctioning other governments
for not following its dictates, oil producers such as Iran, Russia,
and Venezuela would be supplying international markets, further
reducing Riyadh’s importance.

American officials like to promote the Saudis’
antediluvian absolute monarchy as the foundation for Middle East
stability. Alas, the price is unrivaled repression. Despite the
crown prince’s reputation as a social reformer, he so far has
not relaxed the Kingdom’s totalitarian political or religious
controls one bit.

And that brutality has not guaranteed stability. Saudi Arabia
looks brittle, an artificial, antiquated governing structure held
together by tyranny and bribery. In time, it will likely lose to
demands for justice, equality, and democracy, which have doomed a
host of other corrupt, brutal, Mideast dictatorships, most recently
Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir.

Outside of the country, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS)
has pursued a wild and reckless strategy of regional domination.
Even Senator Lindsey Graham, perhaps the United States’ most
war-happy lawmaker, has called MbS “crazy,”
“dangerous,” and a “wrecking ball.”

The KSA has backed radical Islamists in Syria, subsidized the
al-Sisi dictatorship in Egypt, kidnapped Lebanon’s prime
minister, used troops to sustain Bahrain’s dictatorial Sunni
monarchy, isolated Qatar, kidnapped and murdered Saudi critics in
foreign nations, invaded Yemen, intensified the Mideast’s
long-running sectarian conflict, and promoted General Khalifa
Haftar’s attack on Libya’s internationally recognized
government. MbS is even willing to court war with …read more

Source: OP-EDS