Modern-Day Groups with Sinister Origins

In the thread “Innocent words with disturbing etymologies”, someone mentioned the term “Assassin”–which has as its origin a group of medieval Isma’lis who used terrorist-style killing of enemies by individual murderers as a tactic; they were so good at this, that the pejorative term used to describe them “hashishin”, or eaters of the drg hashish - became our word for any sort of individualized murderer for a cause.

However, of course, the group is still around - led by the Aga Khan:

Despite their medieval infamy, they are nowadays comparatively harmless and inoffensive.

Another example of this sort of thing is the Anabaptists–nowadays, they are as inoffensive a sect as you could find–but it was not always so:ünster_Rebellion

Any other examples of this sort of thing?

I read the thread title as “Modern-Day Groups with Sinister Organs”, which brought to mind Procol Harum (although they weren’t the first thing I thought of).

The Inquisition is still around.

Awesome. :smiley: That’s exactly the sort of thing I was thinking of.

IIRC, there were one or two Orders of the RCC which were founded as assassins during the Reformation.

(For those who don’t know: the “Heretics” burned at the stake were Protestants).

I didn’t expect that.

Nobody expects that.

Spanish or Portuguese?

They are mostly faded and forgotten, but a lot of fraternal organizations had questionable roots, organizing one immigrant or minority population or another for better jobs, wages, treatment or just to beat hell out of that other immigrant population. A number of those organized in the northern states from 1900-1930 or so were openly Socialist or Communist societies. German Turnverein groups still exist in many cities, and they had their… questionable eras with strong ties to National Socialism.

And, of course, there’s the Noble Order of Red Men, organized to celebrate the wisdom and strength of Injuns… and open, until quite recently, only to white males.

It’s run by a German now. Because it’s not like they’ve ever taken things too far.

Well, not sinister, but the Seventh Day Adventists are the modern descendants of the Millerite Church that believed that the End of the World was upon us. In 1833

To explain further, the most common Anabaptists you’re likely to see in the US are Mennonites and Amish. They completely rejected the the violence of the other Anabaptists and are pacifists.

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For an interesting history, the Knights Hospitaller, a medieval order used to maintain Christian control of the Holy Land, are still around as an international aid organization.

The Shriners origin is shrouded in mystery but believed to have been an offshoot of the Knights Templar who sacrificed babies to Baphomet.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Branch Davidians are also descendants of the Millerite movement.

If you believe Philip the Fair. :wink: Not sure I would consider him exactly impartial in the matter. :smiley:

Or it was founded in New York in 1870 by a guy who was really into Arabian Nights cosplay.

Close enough, right?

Not exactly “sinister” to the free-wheeling libertines of the Dope, but:

Global silverware giant Oneida Limited grew out of the Oneida Community, a utopian religious community most famous for advocating “free love,” seeing “exclusive wedlock as an unhealthy institution,” and so on.