Where is our Man for All Seasons?

For many who object to the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex unions, it's not as much about "marriage" as it is about free speech.  Will people of deeply held religious beliefs, for example, be able to express opposition to the State's new definition of marriage without "punishment"?  Was Friday's ruling the first step in eventually silencing the dissenters?

Those with strong beliefs in the inerrancy of the Bible, especially ministers of Evangelical churches, may want to familiarize themselves with the 1966 film A Man for All Seasons.  This biographical depiction of the life of "the ultimate man of conscience," Sir Thomas More, in 16th-century England may give insight into what could be coming for those inside the church – and those who hold strong biblical beliefs in their daily work and personal lives.

The film is, at its core, a live-by-the-rules-of-the-state vs. honor-God story.  The line in the sand comes on the issue of marriage.  In More's case, as a minister of the state, he is compelled to show his public approval of the annulment of King Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that the king may marry Anne Boleyn (the former wife was not able to produce an heir to the throne).  Henry wants More to bestow his "blessing" on Henry's decision to make himself "Supreme Head of the Church of England" – what the king decrees in the areas of faith and righteousness will thus be the law of the land.

Here are several lines lifted from the film (and posted at the IMDb website) that may strike a chord with those who might have to give up liberty in their stand against Friday's marriage ruling by the Supreme Court:

Sir Thomas More: [in his prison cell] ... If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that abhorrence, anger, pride, and stupidity commonly profit far beyond charity, modesty, justice, and thought, perhaps we must stand fast a little -- even at the risk of being heroes...

Sir Thomas More: I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.

Sir Thomas More: I am the king's true subject, and I pray for him and all the realm. I do none harm. I say none harm. I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, then in good faith, I long not to live. Nevertheless, it is not for the Supremacy that you have sought my blood, but because I would not bend to the marriage!

The Duke of Norfolk: Oh confound all this. I'm not a scholar, I don't know whether the marriage was lawful or not but dammit, Thomas, look at these names! Why can't you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!

Sir Thomas More: And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?

Granted, these quotes depict a very ominous time in England's late medieval period, and its relevance to today's America is perhaps just symbolic and not prophetic, but this additional quote from the film about England not being Spain (read: Inquisition), is quite interesting:

Cromwell: The King wants Sir Thomas to bless his marriage. If Sir Thomas appeared at the wedding, now, it might save us all a lot of trouble.

The Duke of Norfolk: Aaahh, he won't attend the wedding.

Cromwell: If I were you, I'd try and persuade him. I really would try... if I were you.

The Duke of Norfolk: Cromwell, are you threatening me?

Cromwell: My dear Norfolk... this isn't Spain. This is England.

For more pertinent quotes from A Man for All Seasons, please go here.

For many who object to the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex unions, it's not as much about "marriage" as it is about free speech.  Will people of deeply held religious beliefs, for example, be able to express opposition to the State's new definition of marriage without "punishment"?  Was Friday's ruling the first step in eventually silencing the dissenters?

Those with strong beliefs in the inerrancy of the Bible, especially ministers of Evangelical churches, may want to familiarize themselves with the 1966 film A Man for All Seasons.  This biographical depiction of the life of "the ultimate man of conscience," Sir Thomas More, in 16th-century England may give insight into what could be coming for those inside the church – and those who hold strong biblical beliefs in their daily work and personal lives.

The film is, at its core, a live-by-the-rules-of-the-state vs. honor-God story.  The line in the sand comes on the issue of marriage.  In More's case, as a minister of the state, he is compelled to show his public approval of the annulment of King Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that the king may marry Anne Boleyn (the former wife was not able to produce an heir to the throne).  Henry wants More to bestow his "blessing" on Henry's decision to make himself "Supreme Head of the Church of England" – what the king decrees in the areas of faith and righteousness will thus be the law of the land.

Here are several lines lifted from the film (and posted at the IMDb website) that may strike a chord with those who might have to give up liberty in their stand against Friday's marriage ruling by the Supreme Court:

Sir Thomas More: [in his prison cell] ... If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that abhorrence, anger, pride, and stupidity commonly profit far beyond charity, modesty, justice, and thought, perhaps we must stand fast a little -- even at the risk of being heroes...

Sir Thomas More: I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.

Sir Thomas More: I am the king's true subject, and I pray for him and all the realm. I do none harm. I say none harm. I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, then in good faith, I long not to live. Nevertheless, it is not for the Supremacy that you have sought my blood, but because I would not bend to the marriage!

The Duke of Norfolk: Oh confound all this. I'm not a scholar, I don't know whether the marriage was lawful or not but dammit, Thomas, look at these names! Why can't you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!

Sir Thomas More: And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?

Granted, these quotes depict a very ominous time in England's late medieval period, and its relevance to today's America is perhaps just symbolic and not prophetic, but this additional quote from the film about England not being Spain (read: Inquisition), is quite interesting:

Cromwell: The King wants Sir Thomas to bless his marriage. If Sir Thomas appeared at the wedding, now, it might save us all a lot of trouble.

The Duke of Norfolk: Aaahh, he won't attend the wedding.

Cromwell: If I were you, I'd try and persuade him. I really would try... if I were you.

The Duke of Norfolk: Cromwell, are you threatening me?

Cromwell: My dear Norfolk... this isn't Spain. This is England.

For more pertinent quotes from A Man for All Seasons, please go here.