Across the American landscape, warfare has erupted. From what was once thought to be simple friction between two vastly different Churches cohabiting within the same continent, new crusades, the American Crusades, have come roaring onto the scene.
But who are these warring factions? In this piece, I will do my best to objectively inform you of the true nature of the two rival faiths in America, the Church of the Elephant and the Temple of the Donkey.
We begin with the faith that holds the current advantage in the conflict, the Church of the Elephant. In the theology of the Church of the Elephant, there exist three primary deities: Liberty, Terminus and Capital. Liberty is the god of the divine law — the rights and freedoms that are given to each individual — and the firstborn of the American gods. Terminus, the brother of Liberty, is the god of moderation and limitation. Finally comes Capital, who is the wife of Liberty and goddess of the fertile chaos that makes up the free market.
The Church is a decentralized faith, hyper-focused on individual interpretation of the will of the gods. Though there is a rough framework to their rites and theology, there can often be great varieties of interpretation. This individualization of faith often leads to sects and orders of varying radicalism and fervency cropping up in Church lands. Liberty and Capital are the most likely to have these radical sects, which demand everything from a return to birthright membership in the faith to stripping Terminus of domains that are claimed to belong to Capital.
In terms of military strength, the Church of the Elephant tends toward a focus on quality and smaller engagements. Numerous military orders, such as the Knights of Liberty and the Federal Order, distinguish themselves consistently in smaller scale victories. However, the Church of the Elephant’s military forces fall into the same trap as the Carthaginian general Hannibal in that they can win but fail to understand how to use that victory.
Shifting to the opposite side of the war, we come to the Temple of the Donkey. The Temple has worshipped a wide variety of gods throughout its history, but the most prominent at this time is the deity known as the Intersectional, followed by the goddess Equity and the rising god Socia.
First among the Temple’s divine figures is the peculiar figure known as the Intersectional. Though often depicted as male, female and even gender-neutral, the Intersectional has a distinctly masculine symbolism because of its role as the divine origin of societal order rather than the feminine symbolism of fertile generation. This divine figure aides in determining the piety of individuals in society and presides over the punishment of the sinful.
Second for the Temple is the goddess Equity, rumored lost sibling of Liberty and patroness of the oppressed. Finally we arrive at Socia, a reincarnated deity, who is the lover of Equity and the red god of change.
While the Church is decentralized and individual-focused, the Temple is centralized and community-focused. The rise to prominence of Intersectional, Equity and Socia has actually produced a partial splinter of their faith, but the older gods hold little sway with the loudest of the faithful. These deities have actually encouraged a more diverse range of converts in recent years, resulting in a wide array of followers accepting the dogmas of the Temple.
However, it would seem that their growth has coincided with a rising moralism and tendency toward the public shaming and punishment of sinners. We are too close in time to know if this is simply coincidental or directly causal.
The Temple’s military is much more focused on dense formations of large quantities and hammer blow strikes. Many great victories in recent memory have been won thanks to the sheer number of Temple troops and their variety of armament and tactics. It is much rarer for single military orders or units to distinguish themselves in Temple armies, and so larger formations like the Red Raider Regiment and the Amazonian Armor Corps are more well known. However, the major downfall of the Temple forces is how often they continuously underestimate their opponents in the Church.
With that final bit of description, I am afraid that I must close my report on the American Crusades for now as I am limited by time and word count. There is much more I could cover, such as the most decorated military units or the propaganda campaigns of both faiths, but this will have to suffice for now. I hope this piece has delivered a better understanding of the conflict on our continent or, failing that, entertained you.
Colin Lang is a senior history and Philosophy, Politics and the Public double major. He is a staff writer for the Newswire from Westlake, Ohio.