Jack and Elizabeth's Daughter, Jeanne

Just about 500 + 1 years ago this month, Isabella, Jacque's wife, went into labor and had a daughter named Jeanne. She, by all accounts almost made it to 20 years of age but there is no telling for sure as age didn't seem to count for much at that time.

Jeanne lived in the midst of Normandy and toward the tail end of one of those century long wars over religion and kings and when burn at the stake, today, it was just another example of the horrors that are unleashed when religious laws trump civil law or - and this was the particular case - when there is no real civil law - just what the church has in mind.

The d'Arc family lived on a farm and was not poor by those standards - actually owning land.  Jacques was also a civil servant in the off season; a type of civil work that if you will - tax collector if you won't.  He farmed and worked for the village -  Domrémy to be exact. If he lived in Wisconsin he would be one of those folks who are loved or hated - farm owning family man who got a civil salary.

Jeanne lived a fanciful life, having seen St. Michael as a vision who commanded her to become involved in the 100 years war which she did. Jeanne's story of rising to lead the army to toss out the Duke of Bedford's occupation is well known and when captured she was tried for heresy and in one of the best documented kangaroo courts of all time, found guilty and burned alive.

Over the weekend I had a few respites in front of the TV for the news programs - all politics all the time and was struck by how many of the "religious" zealots feel themselves to be persecuted martyrs like Jeanne.  The lead 'armies' and invoke God and good with a mission to drive out and "take back" their land and drive out the occupiers.  They are deathly afraid of Muslim law and that somehow or another our system has already been sold out to it and those who did it are just lying in wait to spring the judicial trap shut.  To counter it, they seem to be wanting to put forth their brand of religious law in its place just to protect us.  One invoked "Jeanne" in calling for all of us to lead the army of right. 

All this religious stuff; all these modern religious wars.  Driving a country to regain its Christian (Judeo Christian by the way is a faux term - we were founded under no such principles - indeed quite the contrary) roots by driving out any other's religious foothold in politics - well its just zany and a crazy way of thinking.

Jeanne's story is pretty well documented and remarkable even if half true. The age and events of her time were titanic struggles between church and state, state and state, and the insignificance of he ordinary person.  It is her birthday today and here/now 501 years later she is still well known and her story well told. To think that our persecuted political types would mention their 'struggle' in the same sentence as Jeanne's is to cheapen real martyrs to an extent unrecognizable.