Day By Day

Friday, September 25, 2009

This Day In History

Today is national comic book day, so everyone go out there and improve your reading skills [at least that's what education "experts" say reading comics does for you -- that is, if you have the reading abilities of a three-year old].

On this day in 1513 Vasco Nunez de Balboa stood upon a peak in Darien and first saw the Pacific Ocean. There is so much to say about this fascinating and, to be frank, repulsive character, but I have not the time today. Read his Wikipedia entry here.

And on this day in 1555 the Peace of Augsburg was signed bringing to an end the long conflict between the Habsburg emperor Charles V, and the Schmalkaldic League. This document established the principle that local rulers could determine the formal religious affiliation of the people who resided in their realms and marked the first formal recognition by a Catholic monarch of the legitimacy of a Protestant faith [the Lutheran Church] and the ideal of a united Christendom in the West was forever abandoned.

On this day in 1890 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [Mormons] issued a "manifesto" prohibiting polygamy. The reason, the Supreme Court [in Davis v. Beason] had ruled unanimously that a territorial law denying the right of citizenship to practitioners of non-traditional marriage was constitutional. In addition Congress was refusing to grant Utah statehood until it abandoned the practice of polygamy. This court ruling has never been overturned, although a contrary ruling was issued in Romer v Evans in 1996. The two cases have never been reconciled. This is a potentially explosive issue, especially since Sharia law specifically endorses polygamy and there is a push on in Muslim communities to gain formal recognition of Islamic legal principles.

On this day in 1982 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, George Emil Banks, a Camp Hill prison guard, slaughtered thirteen people including five of his own children. He claimed that it was a statement against racism. Later in life he declared war on Monica Lewinsky.