If you search online for Giordano Bruno you'll come across some extraordinary articles that attempt to justify his execution by the Inquisition. Justifying the burning to death of a man because his beliefs are different to yours seems to me unjustifiable.
For those unfamiliar with Bruno, he was a troublemaker in Renaissance Europe, he said and wrote stuff that upset the status quo. As an obviously intelligent but poor child he was educated by monks, then inducted into the monastery. He soon wearied of the superstition and idolatry, removed pictures of saints from his cell, questioned some of the supernatural aspects of the teachings of the church. This misbehavior lead to him having to flee the monastery before he was brought before the feared Inquisition. The rest of his life was spent wandering the world, often in favour with the aristocracy because of his brilliant mind and prodigious memory, other times hounded out of cities and countries because his views were considered heretical. Among these beliefs were the idea that the Earth revolved around the sun, that the stars were other suns that might have other planets revolving around them, that the universe was probably infinite and Earth definitely not the centre of it. Obviously this sort of thinking was intolerable to a church that relied on the idea that humans were the children of a god who was particularly interested in them.
I find it astounding that religious thinking has changed so little since 1600. I find it ridiculous and appalling.
So these articles that speak in favour of his execution, some written by the devout, others by people who call themselves scholars, are disturbing in many ways. The most obvious way is that any scholar who can't count to ten and somewhere in that number find the commandment that says killing is bad in no way deserves the title of scholar. The devout who haven't read their New Testament far enough to come across the turning the other cheek reference are in no way devout. That modern, civilized humans can identify with the Inquisition is just disturbing.
The thing these articles hold in common is the belief that the church is the victim of unfair criticism, that some sort of campaign to undermine its authority is behind any historical reference to Bruno. I would have thought the victim in this case was the bloke who was imprisoned and tortured for seven years, then tied to a stake to be burned to death, I'll say that again, burned to death, I'd have thought that bloke might have been the victim. That he was murdered for saying and writing stuff, not for any violent acts, makes it even more inexcusable. That it occurred in 1600 makes it understandable, those were turbulent times, and the church was out of control, a brutal and vicious entity that protected its corporate privilege at any price. That people in 2015 still try to justify that brutality simply freaks me out. The sort of people who write these articles are still medieval in thought, they frighten me.
One of Bruno's statements that upset the church was that the church followed the people, that it adjusted its teachings to fit in with what the people were up to understanding, to fit in with the narrow thinking and superstitions of the masses. The orthodoxy was created by the ignorant, then enforced by the church. Pick up a newspaper today and see if that has changed over the last four hundred years, if any major religion isn't still beholden to the ignorant.
Bruno was tortured so brutally for so long that he was unable to walk unassisted to his execution. His tongue was bound so he couldn't say any more of those words that upset the church so much. That he turned away from the crucifix was seen as proof of his devilry.
Bruno was both courageous and brilliant. He was a hero. Most of what he thought and taught has since been accepted as common knowledge. This planet is not the centre of this universe. The church, any church, is a corrupt organisation more concerned with itself than any god or the welfare of the people. Attempting to justify his murder is so obviously ridiculous that when I came across a large number of articles making that attempt I was shocked.
Bruno was the victim, the church the criminal, no amount of words can alter that. Freedom of speech is an essential human right, anyone who would kill people for exercising that right is stuck in the Dark Ages.