I see that the Lantern Theater Company produced Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons a little while ago. And I have a question.
I mean the play is about Sir Thomas More and his opposition to the divorce of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Henry, of course, was not the most admirable of kings, and his reasons for wanting a divorce (the pair had produced no surviving sons and he was hot to trot for Anne Boleyn) were right in keeping with his personality.
But seriously. You’re going to hold up More as a paragon of principle because he was so opposed to divorce that he was executed?
It’s difficult for me to comprehend lionizing anyone, in this day and age, for his opposition to divorce.
And perhaps it’s worth looking at the rest of his record.
For example, he was accused of using torture on what he considered “heretics” (of course, those “heretics” may have defined themselves somewhat differently). More’s defense to the torture charge was that he had only tortured a child in front of his parents and a “feeble-minded” man.
Well, then, I’m glad we cleared that up.
Oh, and he loved to sentence Protestants to burning at the stake, including a couple men for distributing English translations of the Bible. Can’t have hoi polloi seeing what the Bible really says, can we? Only the duly authorized priests can can interpret the Bible for the common folk.
In short, I don’t see Sir Thomas More as being worthy of special praise.
If you pick and choose the events in a person’s life, you can turn anybody into a saint.
Ok, maybe not me. But you get the point.