Just because something is repeated over and over again does not make it true.  The same is true here with the Crusades. In reality, the Crusades were wars of self-defense against the Muslims.  Here are the real facts:

Every historian knows that Muhammad was kicked out of Mecca for preaching his new religion.  After raising an army in Medina, he returned and sacked Mecca razing it to the ground.  Thereafter, his new army garnered much military strength and went on to conquer the entire surrounding area.  By the time Muhammad died, his armies had conquered the whole area of land we know today as the “Fertile Crescent.”

After Muhammad’s death, Islam spread even more rapidly.  In just 100 years (657 A.D. – 757 A.D.), the conquering armies of Islam decimated everything in their path from Afghanistan to North Africa.  They then invaded Europe and seized many islands.  They were going for full world conquest.  In a short span of time, Islam conquered the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, and two-thirds of the Byzantine Empire, the last major empire on earth.  Over a thousand years of war without batting an eye.  One can begin to see why the Crusades were called.

During all of this time, while some Catholic kings may have defended their countries, the Catholic Church herself never retaliated at all but just prayed for peace and hoped the Muslim aggression would stop.  However, around the year 1094 A.D, due to the devastation of the Byzantine Empire, Commodore Alexius the 1st called on the pope and the Catholic Church for help in complete desperation.  The pope prayed about it for a long time and eventually decided to “come to the aid of our brothers in the East.”  THAT was the reason the Crusades were started.  An answer to the Emperor’s plea.

Occasionally, thousands of innocent and unarmed Christians were massacred by Muslims while processing on pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  In addition, more than half of all Christian lands had been seized by Islamic armies.  So, the Church also sought to take back the Holy Land in order to create a safe passage for innocent pilgrims processing there.  They also wanted to protect Christians around the world.  For all of these reasons, the Crusades were called.

Unlike Islam, the Catholic Church had been a mostly peaceful religion and had done more good for the world than anyone else.  I’m not saying that Christians were perfect or that abuses didn’t happen during the Crusades because they did, but they were started as wars of self-defense and as a response to the request of Emperor Alexius I.  The Crusades had nothing to do with an “aggressive, power hungry church” who killed peaceful people of other religions or anyone who disagreed with the Catholic religion.  That is huge myth which in not historical, not tenable, and not true.