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Might Not Interest You But Before I Vamoose Here Is Something

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Posted by Mike Pearson on April 1, 2002 03:00:02 UTC

Paul wrote:
"Voltaire was shortsighted....Yes, I have read "Candide"
and a few other things, but I don't know what Voltaire
did to/about/with/for/against the civil justice system.
"...When I mentioned perspectives, I mentioned only the
two extremes: One from the very highest level, and the
other from the very lowest...Now, in between those two
extreme poles falls Voltaire and his perspective on the world.
Also between those poles falls your current predicament."

I have read a more concise answer for you but this
gives one episode among many...Voltaire
Pasting fragments from http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7308/infidel.htm
excerpts from
Voltaire - The Incomparable Infidel
By Joseph Lewis


"Every great writer and thinker in France, it has been said, paid a penalty for his daring.
Nearly every one suffered imprisonment. The works of Newton were forbidden publication.
A father, a feeble and sickly man of sixty-five, was accused of murdering his son to prevent
his becoming a Catholic and the entire family was ordered put in irons.
Holy religious orders held solemn services over the body of the dead boy and declared
him a martyr to Catholicism.
While the family was in prison, the father was tried, and although the evidence was utterly
without foundation, he was convicted and condemned. The penalty was death upon the wheel
-- unless he confessed. If he had confessed, there is no telling what the punishment would have been.
The executioners, kissing the cross, inflicted the following tortures upon this innocent man:
They first applied the "question ordinary." They bound him by his wrists to an iron ring in the
stone wall four feet from the ground, and his feet to another ring in the floor. The chains
were then shortened until every joint in his arms and legs was dislocated. The flesh was
stretched to a hideous proportion, the veins ruptured, and the blood ran riot through his
body causing unutterable pain. While applying the torture he was continually questioned.
If he persisted in maintaining his innocence, the chains were further tightened until life itself cried
out for relief. But Jean Calas remained firm in the declaration of his innocence.
Unsuccessful, these religious vultures applied the "question extraordinary." This
consisted in pouring water into his mouth from a horn specially constructed, until his
body, unable to absorb the vast quantity, was swollen to almost twice its size. Even this
frightful torture was not severe enough for Jean Calas to lie to save his life. So he was
carried to the scaffold, his limbs were broken with an iron bar, and he was left to die.
After two agonizing hours he was still alive, and the executioner, with a heart overflowing
with commiseration, strangled him to death! While Jean Calas to the last called God as a
witness to his innocence and asked forgiveness for those who put him to death!
Ingersoll asks what would have happened if these people's hearts had not been
softened by the glad tidings of great joy?
Voltaire heard of this case. His labor in behalf of the remaining members of the family is
now history. He secured a reversal of the verdict and the Catholic Church
stands convicted before the world of this heinous atrocity. During the time that
Voltaire labored in behalf of the outraged family of this innocent man, he says
that "not a smile escaped me without my reproaching myself for it, as for a crime."
Sixteen years later, when he returned to Paris after a forced exile and was
acclaimed by the populace, some one asked who was the man being applauded
and the answer was, "Do you not know that he is the preserver of the Calas?"
In behalf of this case Voltaire wrote his magnificent Treatise on Toleration in
which he pleaded that religious people treat each other with common civility!
He asked that those who worship God by the light of the noonday taper should
bear charitably with those who content themselves with the light of the stars.
And do you know that at the conclusion of this masterful essay
Voltaire prints a letter from a friend admonishing him not to be
the one to intercede in behalf of Calas.
Because of Voltaire's known heresy, his friend feared that he might
prejudice the case! And if Voltaire had not undertaken the arduous task
of vindicating the name of Calas and at the same time exposing to all the
world the menace of religious fanaticism, who, I ask, in all Europe
would have undertaken the task? If Voltaire had followed the advice
of his friend and had taken no step in this matter, how many thousands
of innocent men and women would have suffered a like fate?"

Math isn't everything...if it were, I'd be the second coming of Gauss.

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