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Yr. Atheist Tourist: The Defenestration Of Prague [View All]

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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-19-08 12:08 PM
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Yr. Atheist Tourist: The Defenestration Of Prague
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Edited on Thu Jun-19-08 12:18 PM by onager
As most of you know, since I have shamelessly bragged about it all over DU, last week I had my quarterly Vacation From Egypt. I spent 4 days in Vienna and 4 days in Prague. (The way this works: every quarter of the year I have to go somewhere on vacation. My employer does not care where I go, but pays round-trip airfare from Cairo to London.)

Over in the Skeptics group I talked about touring the Vienna Technical Museum on my birthday, which probably shows why I never re-married...

But in Prague, one of my personal highlights was seeing the actual window where The Defenestration Of Prague happened.

For the whole story, just Google that term. But basically, in 1618, the Pope and the staunch Catholic Habsburg rulers of Prague decided to crack down on Protestants and other free-thinkers. They were messing with the Sacred Religious Franchise.

The Pope sent 2 emissaries to meet with the Czechs in Prague Castle. The Czechs unceremoniously tossed the Pope's reps out of a window.

They survived, which brings us to the funniest part of the story:

The Catholics claimed they were lowered to safety by some convenient angels who happened to be hanging around Prague Castle.

The Czechs said their survival was considerably more...earthy. They only survived because they landed in a large pile of horse shit. How's THAT for a metaphor?


The punch line of that story is,unfortunately, not funny at all. The Defenestration Of Prague led to the Thirty Years War which dragged on until 1648 and devastated Europe, especially Germany.

Like all gawking tourists in Prague, I spent a lot of time chomping on outstanding pork products and guzzling Giant Cheap Beers in Old Town Square.

The square is dominated by a statue of Jan Huss and his followers. Those of us who stayed awake in freshman history remember Huss as the reformer who was protesting Catholicism a century before Luther. Huss went to a convocation in Rome under a passport guaranteeing safe passage. So naturally he was burned at the stake by the Pope.

Huss's statue may be the most censored work of art in history. From 1938-1945, the Nazi occupiers of Czechoslovakia draped the statue with swastika banners to hide it. During the Communist era, it was swaddled in black cloth.

Putting narrow religionism to one side, the Huss statue represents the power of thinking for yourself.

I don't think I need to rant one second more on that subject. Not in this group!
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