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Akbar's Dream and the Right to Tax-Exempt Worship *

Emperor Akbar, the Muslim leader of India, has had a revelation: "Let men worship as they will." Under Muslim rule, non-Muslims must pay a special tax to continue their worship, but Emperor Akbar has lifted the tax. He believes in the tolerance of different religions, even those he would consider as pagan. He allows Hindus who had been forced to convert to Islam to return to Hinduism if they wish it. As a result he has become very popular amongst the Hindus. Even Tennyson will write a favorable poem entitled "Akbar's Dream". Akbar is the third of what will be a long line of Mughal emperors. In time the emperors will lose control of their vast empire but they will retain their riches and influence. In the modern day, the word "Mughal" has been transformed into "mogul". It means "a rich and powerful person." Apparently it also means "an influential person" since the religious tax did not return until ISIS recently reintroduced the tax. Any who refuses to pay the tax is beheaded. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It may seem medieval to execute a person for not paying a tax, but try not paying your taxes. Soon the sheriff will show up at your door and if you resist him too strenuously, he will shoot you. Often pastors will not speak their minds on certain subjects for fear of losing their congregation's tax exempt status. Without donations, a church can't pay the mortgage or the light bill. The IRS can hassle church donors by questioning whether their donations are tax deductible or not. According to an IRS pamphlet (see below), a church has automatic tax-exempt status but many congregations can apply for a 501c3 status so that tax deductible donations will be hassle-free. (What a convenience!) Unfortunately, like signing a contract with Satan, the devil is in the details. Because of a condition placed in the law by Lyndon B. Johnson, a 501c3 organization limits their right to free speech when they apply. The solution is for churches not to apply but then they lose that nifty pre-approval status for their donations. (WARNING: I am not a lawyer. I don't even play one on TV.) [7] [8] [9] </p>

The Laws of War and Musketeer Roll Call

The city of Maastricht (MAH-strict) has been a center of trade since the Middle Ages. In the 16th century it is also a militarily strategic city. Fortifications have been built as the Spaniards lay siege to this city held by Dutch rebels. Tunnels are dug under the fortifications so that sappers can set charges. The Dutch set fires in the tunnels to suck out the oxygen and suffocate the sappers. Also boiling water is poured down the tunnels with the obvious result. Then, 500 Spaniards are killed when one of their own charges goes off before it is set in place. It is exhausting and bloody work. As the Dutch are sleeping, the Spanish troops find a breech in the wall and attack. Without a formal surrender, the laws of war at this time allow the Spaniards to loot with impunity, but as the Spanish did at Antwerp, they needed no excuse to loot. [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, the main character in the novel "The Three Musketeers" is a man named d'Artagnan (tar-TAN-yon). The character is based on a real life musketeer who died at a different Siege of Maastricht in 1673. I can say without fear of contradiction that the man's real life was quite exciting but bears little resemblance to the character in the novel or in the movies. Regarding any international law of war, the nations have been trying to work something out since biblical times. Passages in Deuteronomy lay out rules such as not destroying fruit trees because they cannot run away from the battle. The Catholic Church has tried to define what a just war is, and after the 30 Year's War (and the 80 Year's War) they will define more rules for war. In fact, the four Geneva Convention treaties beginning in 1864 grew out of this need to limit the abuses we see in war. Of course, those who do not sign on to the treaties do not get the benefits and that was the whole debate on whether the jihadists at Gitmo could claim rights under the Geneva Conventions. (Technically: no. Practically: yes because on the modern battlefield it is too complex to treat the enemy in various ways depending on what their country signed or not.) [12] [13] [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1579, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Akbar's Dream. Seven Pillar of Wisdom. “As Tennyson reminds us, the emperor 'let men worship as they will,' lifting restrictions on non-Muslims, issuing (and enforcing) edicts enjoining tolerance and faith-blind justice, and openly paying respect to Hinduism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism in addition to obeying the teachings of the Islamic faith in which he had been raised.”
  2. Mughal Emperor Akbar, Akbar The Great. MughalHistory.com (2012). Retrieved on 21 May 2015.
  3. Fatehpur Sikri, Emperor Akbar, Mughal Emperor, Agra, Jami Masjid, Buland Darwaza Mughal architecture in India.. IndiaProfile.com (2012). Retrieved on 21 May 2015. “Akbar was so enthusiastic about this mosque that he occasionally swept the floor and gave azan (call for prayer). On June 26, 1579, Akbar even read the khutba himself, a great innovation, earlier attempted only the Timur and Mirza Ulugh Beg.”
  4. Mughal emperors - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 May 2015. “The Mughal emperors were a branch of the Timurid dynasty who built and ruled the Mughal Empire in South Asia, mainly corresponding to the modern countries of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, from the early 16th century to the early 18th century.”
  5. Akbar - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 May 2015. “To unify the vast Mughal state, Akbar established a centralised system of administration throughout his empire and adopted a policy of conciliating conquered rulers through marriage and diplomacy. In order to preserve peace and order in a religiously and culturally diverse empire, he adopted policies that won him the support of his non-Muslim subjects.”
  6. Jizya - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 May 2015. “The tax is no longer imposed by nation states in the Islamic world. However, armed groups such as ISIS enforce it in some areas they have captured. In the 21st century, it is widely regarded as being at odds with contemporary secular conceptions of citizen's civil rights and equality before the law, although there have been occasional reports of religious minorities in conflict zones and areas subject to political instability being forced to pay jizya.”
  7. mogul - definition of mogul. The Free Dictionary (2015). Retrieved on 21 May 2015. “A very rich or powerful person; a magnate.”
  8. 501(c) organization - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 21 May 2015. “A 501(c)(3) organization or 501c3 organization, also colloquially known as a 501c3, is a United States nonprofit organization that has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service to be tax-exempt under the terms of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Most charitable non-profits in the United States that Americans commonly know of, and often make donations to, are 501c3 organizations.”
  9. Tax guide for churches and religious organizations (PDF). IRS (OFFICIAL SITE). “Although there is no requirement to do so, many churches seek recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS because such recognition assures church leaders, members, and contributors that the church is recognized as exempt and qualifies for related tax benefits. For example, contributors to a church that has been recognized as tax exempt would know that their contributions generally are tax-deductible.”
  10. Siege of Maastricht (1579) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 May 2015. “In the night of 29 June Farnese managed to get into the city while the exhausted defenders were asleep. Since the city had not surrendered after the walls had been breached, 16th-century law of war gave the victors the right to loot the conquered city.”
  11. Law of war - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 May 2015. “The law of war is a legal term of art that refers to the aspect of public international law concerning acceptable justifications to engage in war (jus ad bellum) and the limits to acceptable wartime conduct (jus in bello or International humanitarian law).”
  12. En Garde! Historian Claims To Have Found d'Artagnan. Geneanet (20 November 2008). Retrieved on 21 May 2015. “During the siege the bodies of French officers were buried in the nearest Catholic church and recently discovered documents revealed that d'Artagnan's camp was close to Wolder. This almost certainly meant that he was buried in Saint Peter and Paul Church, Ms Bordaz said.”
  13. Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 21 May 2015. “Charles Ogier de Batz de Castelmore, Comte d'Artagnan (c. 1611 - 25 June 1673) served Louis XIV as captain of the Musketeers of the Guard and died at the Siege of Maastricht in the Franco-Dutch War. A fictionalized account of his life by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras formed the basis for the d'Artagnan Romances of Alexandre Dumas, most famously including The Three Musketeers.”
  14. Geneva Conventions - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 21 May 2015. “The singular term Geneva Convention usually denotes the agreements of 1949, negotiated in the aftermath of the Second World War (1939-45), which updated the terms of the first three treaties (1864, 1906, 1929), and added a fourth.”

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