Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Omnishambles (05/01/14)
TITLE: The Kingdom of God on Earth
By Gregory Kane
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
"So we're all agreed?" The question was not really a question. The council had debated long and hard over whether to recognise Christianity as the official religion of their small republic. It would distance them from the encroaching sectarianism that characterised their immediate neighbours. After all, nearly 98% of their population called themselves Christians, with an impressive 63% being found in a place of worship on any given Sunday morning. Moreover, subscribing to a state religion would do away with all those tiresome complaints about prayer in schools, religious programming in the media, and acquiescence to the Bible in the judicial process. The decision was a win-win for all concerned and the council moved swiftly to ratify the accompanying legislation. Shortly after, T. K. Mada, the council president, mounted the podium on the steps of Liberation Plaza and led the appreciative crowd in a prayer of national reconsecration.
The first to fall foul of the new regulations were Jews and Muslims. Primary religious observance, the code stated, should take place on the first day of the week, the Lord's Day. Other religious groups, including Seventh Day Adventists, were encouraged to shift their day of worship to Sunday. Should they insist on retaining their traditional practices, their meetings were to be held quietly with no disruption to the general public.
Initially, an uneasy compromise ensued. Then, four months after the "Jesus Act" was passed, a noisy procession left the Al-Hira mosque and attempted to reach the council buildings. The situation quickly escalated, riot police were called out, tear gas was employed, and some shots were exchanged. A policewoman was killed in the altercation and her death featured as the lead story in that evening's news. Around midnight, members of the public stormed the Al-Hira mosque and burned it to the ground. Further disturbances were recorded and, over the next two days, seven of the nation's mosques were destroyed together with three synagogues and one Hindu Temple.
"We need to see this as a sign from above." Tor Mada scowled at the sea of protests filling the council chamber. "We are a nation that recognises Jesus Christ as the only true God. We have tolerated these people and given them opportunity to come to faith. But now we have reaped the whirlwind of their blasphemies and pernicious idolatry. I say that we would be better off without the lot of them!"
The Alhambra Decree was published seven days later, expelling all Jews, Hindus and Muslims. Any goods left behind were confiscated while their businesses quietly passed into the hands of those seen as loyal to the council. A small number chose to convert to Christianity, accepting religious instruction and undergoing baptism. These maranos, as they came to be called, were permitted to live and trade as before. However, suspicion grew that some might be practising their former beliefs in secret, so the Holy Office for the Propagation of the Faith was set up to police all such religious observance.
An economic boom followed and this was widely regarded as God's approval on the council's decision to root out the evil of religious pluralism. Taking upon himself the title of Grand Inquisitor, Tor Mada responded aggressively to anything that struck him as blasphemous or derogatory to the Christian faith. One commercial television station was shut down after it aired programming from National Geographic Channel that promoted the theory of human evolution. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses were given the same ultimatum as Jews and Muslims: either conform or get out. Modern translations of the Bible were confiscated and then pulped, with only the Authorised Version permitted. Subsequent legislation even banned women from speaking during church services when men were present.
The 'Kingdom of God on Earth' never made it through to its second decade. Refugees, whether political, religious, or economic, fled to surrounding nations and spread horrific tales of dissidents being burned at the stake. When Tor Mada threatened to unleash a Holy War against the ungodly, the neighbouring states did not hesitate. Fifty thousand troops poured across the border, seized the capital, and arrested everyone in the council.
The statue of Jesus that had dominated Liberation Plaza was thrown down. The interim president declared that the crumbled stone should be left untouched, a poignant reminder of the folly of theocracy. God could rule in Heaven but not, it seemed, on Earth.
Author's note: it has often been remarked that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. If you think that the above could never happen, take a look at the story of Jan Matthys in Münster, Girolamo Savonarola in Florence, and Tomás de Torquemada in Spain.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.