Nearly five hundred eighty-four years ago, on May 30, 1431, a nineteen year old girl was burned at the stake for heresy, after a church trial that was far more political in nature than religious. This girl is known throughout the world as St. Joan of Arc. She’s been reflected in works of art and literature and is a patron Saint of France.
And… it was her image which overlay itself on my brain when I heard the news that the Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kasahbeh, had been executed by being burned alive. To my mind it was a miscalculation of the greatest proportion. By choosing this method of execution ISIS not only reinforced their evil nature, they also demonstrated their absolute lack of understanding of Western culture… the very thing they claim to be fighting against.
Joan of Arc was not canonized because she involved herself in politics, leading battles for Charles VII, King of France, but because of her absolute faith and piety, even at the stake. While there is something dramatic about a young woman riding into battle wearing men’s clothes, her real allure comes from the courage she showed up until the very end.
“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”
Joan of Arc
Throughout history there is one great truth, one belief found as part of every philosophy, every religious creed (more versions of the Golden Rule at Religioustolerance.org):
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version.
"...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.", Leviticus 19:18
"None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths."
We must not sacrifice tolerance and we must continue to demand and fight for tolerance from the world in general. It is for this that we fight… for this that St. Joan of Arc fought… for this that Moaz al-Kasasbeh gave his own life.