April 25, 2019

THE ORIGINAL CHILDREN’S CRUSADES WERE CREEPY: Their modern incarnation is no different.

It’s hard to separate truth from legend when it comes to the 13th century. But there does seem to be a kernel of truth to the story of the Children’s Crusades.

Stephen of Cloyes was evidently a real person.  And he appears to have been really 12 years old when he claimed to have received a message from God commanding him to lead a peaceful crusade to the Holy Land to convert Muslims to Roman Catholicism.

Stephen is said to have led an army of 30,000 children to Paris, where he demanded and received an audience with King Philip II. But Philip was not impressed with the little squirt. He declined to back Stephen’s grandiose plans. Stephen therefore decided to act without royal backing. Believing that the waters of the Mediterranean would part and that his followers could thus walk to the Holy Land, he led his army to Marseille.

There, the movement came to no good. The waters didn’t part. Legend has it that many were tricked into securing passage on a ship that took them to North Africa instead of the Holy Land, where they were promptly sold into slavery. Tough break, kids.

A similar movement appears to have been led by a boy named Nicholas of Cologne in Germany. There is even less known about it. But it was certainly no more successful.

Today we have Greta Thunberg, a now-16-year-old teenager with Asberger’s syndrome who lectures world leaders about climate change at Davos and at the European Parliament. Her parents really ought to be ashamed.

This week Greta did the British Parliament. And she helped lead traffic-disrupting protests in the London streets.  There is a Greta Thunberg cult out there today.

The only good news is that Theresa May did not show up for Greta’s meeting with British leaders. On other issues, the news about May has not been good lately. But so far at least, she, like King Philip II, is not taking her orders on climate change from a child.

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