With apologies to C&C Music Factory, there are things that really make you go hmmm.
Or in some cases, huh?
We live in such a pop culture world, one where people who have never seen a Monty Python sketch, but can actually quote verbatim lines from many of the sketches (like the Parrot sketch). One such thing is “no one expects the Spanish Inquisition”.
In reality, the Spanish Inquisition made appointments. They would give a 30 day notice of when they were going to arrive to question a person. The questioning in question was to find out if a person in a particular parish was Jewish or Muslim.
The Inquisition was originally intended in large part to ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from Judaism and Islam. This regulation of the faith of the newly converted was intensified after the royal decrees issued in 1492 and 1501 ordering Jews and Muslims to convert or leave.
The Inquisition itself began in the 13th Century, after the reclaiming of Granada.
The Spanish Inquisition can be seen as an answer to the multi-religious nature of Spanish society following the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim Moors. After invading in 711, large areas of the Iberian Peninsula were ruled by Muslims until 1250, when they were restricted to Granada, which fell in 1492. However, the Reconquista did not result in the total expulsion of Muslims from Spain, since they, along with Jews, were tolerated by the ruling Christian elite. Large cities, especially Seville, Valladolid and Barcelona, had significant Jewish populations centered in Juderia, but in the coming years the Muslims were increasingly subjugated by alienation and torture. The Jews, who had previously thrived under Muslim rule, now suffered similar maltreatment.
Post-reconquest medieval Spain has been characterized by Americo Castro and some other Iberianists as a society of “convivencia”, that is relatively peaceful co-existence, albeit punctuated by occasional conflict among the ruling Catholics and the Jews and Muslims. However, as Henry Kamen notes, “so-called convivencia was always a relationship between unequals.” Despite their legal inequality, there was a long tradition of Jewish service to the crown of Aragon and Jews occupied many important posts, both religious and political. Castile itself had an unofficial rabbi. Ferdinand’s father John II named the Jewish Abiathar Crescas to be Court Astronomer.
Nevertheless, in some parts of Spain towards the end of the 14th century, there was a wave of violent anti-Judaism, encouraged by the preaching of Ferrand Martinez, Archdeacon of Ecija. In the pogroms of June 1391 in Seville, hundreds of Jews were killed, and the synagogue was completely destroyed. The number of people killed was also high in other cities, such as Córdoba, Valencia and Barcelona.
The Inquisition focused on more than just Jews and Muslims, but also witchcraft, bigamy, sodomy, blasphemy and Freemasonry. Why that last was a focus is because Francisco Javier de Mier y Campillo, the Inquisitor General of the Spanish Inquisition and the Bishop of Almería, suppressed Freemasonry and denounced the lodges as “societies which lead to atheism, to sedition and to all errors and crimes.” Interestingly, while the aspect of the Inquisition has changed, it still exists. There has also been much historical revision of the Inquisition, as one author tried to point out that they were not nearly as cruel as originally portrayed.
Another Spanish custom among Catholics is a garb worn by penitents during the Catholic Holy Week. This garb has the unfortunate distinction of looking exactly like a KKK garb.
The capirote is a hood traditionally worn by Spanish Catholic penitents, still worn in Holy Week processions. It looks exactly like a KKK hood. During the Inquisition it was used to humiliate the condemned and indicate their impending fate. No one is entirely sure how a Spanish Catholic hat came to be adopted by a Protestant White supremacist society in the southern USA, though some claim the white, ghost-like headwear is symbolic of the spirits of the confederate troops killed in the American Civil War.
Rather unfortunate, indeed. On another sort of related note, KKK in Korean means LOL. Also, Superman really was involved in a drop in KKK recruitment after the Second World War. The radio series Adventures of Superman, needed a new villain and the KKK fit the bill. Within four weeks of airing, recruitment in the KKK in Florida dropped to zero.