Red-Rod and the Inquisitor 1

We frequently post articles to demonstrate that religion as such is a profound evil, corrupting common sense, reason, and morality. 

Today, a story.

It comes from John Lothrop Motley’s magnificent history, The Rise of the Dutch Republic.

Peter Titelmann was an officer of the atrociously cruel Spanish Inquisition when Phillip II was King of Spain (1554-1517).

The inquisitor Titelmann certainly deserved his terrible  reputation. Men called him Saul the Persecutor, and it was well known that he had been originally tainted with the heresy which he had for many years been furiously chastising.

The heresy was Protestantism. (For a story of Protestant cruelty see our post Calvin: a chapter in the terrible history of Christianity, April 25, 2010.)

He executed his infamous functions throughout Flanders, Donay, and Tournay, the most thriving and populous portions of the Netherlands, with a swiftness, precision, and even with a jocularity which hardly seemed human. There was a kind of grim humour about the man. Contemporary chronicles give a picture of him as of some grotesque yet terrible goblin, careering through the country by night or day, alone, on horseback, smiting the trembling peasants on the head with a great club, spreading dismay far and wide, dragging suspected persons from their firesides or their beds, and thrusting them into dungeons, arresting, torturing, strangling, burning, with hardly the shadow of warrant, information, or process.

The secular sheriff, familiarly called Red-Rod, from the colour of his wand of office, meeting this inquisitor Titelmann one day upon the high road, thus wonderingly addressed him: –

“How can you venture to go about alone, or at most with an attendant or two, arresting people on every side, while I dare not attempt to execute my office, except at the head of a strong force, armed in proof; and then only at the peril of my life?”

“Ah! Red-Rod,” answered Peter, jocosely, “you deal with bad people. I have nothing to fear, for I seize only the innocent and virtuous, who make no resistance, and let themselves be taken like lambs. ”

“Mighty well,” said the other; “but if you arrest all the good people and I all the bad, ’tis difficult to say who in the world is to escape chastisement.”

Posted under Christianity, Crime, History, Netherlands, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Thursday, August 30, 2012

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  • liz

    This must be the basis for “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. There must have been many who would have liked to remove his head with that club as he went galloping by.