Friday, October 24, 2008

PEACE of WESTPHALIA ~~~ October 24, 1648
Just a short posting today— to commemorate the signing of the peace treaty of Munster on October 24, 1648. It was one of two peace treaties comprising the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years’ War in Germany and the Eighty Years’ War between Spain and the Netherlands. "The Peace of Westphalia resulted from the first modern diplomatic congress and initiated a new order in central Europe based on the concept of state sovereignty." Wikipedia

Separation of Church and State and the practice of religious tolerance in the West may have been a direct result of the cruel intolerance manifested during both those wars, particularly the Thirty Years’ War.

This ideal separates us from our earlier history and from much of the rest of the world, particularly the Sharia law of Islam. Traditionally it had been universally agreed that if religion meant anything at all, then it was the most important element of the social fabric and needed to be incorporated into the civil law. Certainly Constantine the Great would never have agreed to any separation of Church and State. (More about Constantine next week)

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Titian in the Frari (Venezia)