Monday, October 15, 2007

Back in the old days, way back before all these annoying laws about individual rights and international treaties and some bizarre notion of universal equality, there were a group of guys who were sent east to take care of business.

They were the Knights Templar; ass-kickin’ monks, European bad boys who joined the Crusades to protect high value Christian assets in the Holy Land. They showed up and showed the Infidel who was the boss of bosses down Jerusalem way. The Templars were devout true believers who read the Good Book but found when the stuff hits the fan, turning the other cheek was a mugs game and you could get the job done better by sticking a dagger up the other guy’s strap, then heading down the ol’ pilgrim trail with a trunk full of his goodies.

These dudes weren’t just knights, they were connected knights. Thanks to their fundamentalist C.E.O., Bernard de Clairvaux (who, when he got out of the death and plunder business got a sweet appointment to sainthood), the Knights Templar got a fat, no bid contract from Pope Honorius II and zero oversight—except from the Pope, who was too busy deciding a lot of other decisions to worry about a bunch of gung-ho contractors just doing their job.

Things were going great, the Templars were getting rich and powerful, they were given land and titles, and it was all good. Then, as occupations often go, the Muslim world united, there was more and more Christian factionalism, and by the early 14th Century the Templars, along with the rest of the Christian crusaders, had their rear ends kicked all the back to Europe. (Don’t worry about this happening again. First; America is farther from Jerusalem than Europe. More importantly, no one in the Bush administration has ever read any history, so it can’t repeat itself, right?) Eventually the Templars lost their patron (he either died or lost the mid-term) and the Knights were going to be brought up on charges. But word was leaked and the Templars loaded their enormous wealth on their enormous fleet of ships and were never seen again.

Some say they went underground and were part of that DaVinci Code nonsense where they hid a pregnant Mary Magdalene somewhere in southern France, and right now the great-great-great-great-great grandson of Jesus himself is buying a baguette and some brie in a little shop on Rue de Nutjob.

Then there’s a theory they came to America. Think like a Templar for a minute: you have a lot of money, you’re real smart, you’re a devout fundamentalist, and you have an empty land in which to prosper. You just didn’t figure closet atheists like Jefferson and Washington would end up in charge when the new nation formed.


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