Sir Thomas More and Morality
Bill Claycomb (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sun May 10 13:56:39 1998
In a recent message to the list, I saw a reference to Sir Thomas More,
and realized the excellent example he set for us to follow. Indeed, I
have seen Scout training sessions which included clips from the movie,
as examples of Leadership and Ethics. An excellent subject to raise in
the course of the current debate!
> You who persecute homosexuals as though they were devils should read
> "A Man for All Season" ... or rent the movie. Like Sir Thomas Moore,
> I will warn you that if you "cut down all the laws in pursuit of the
> devil, what will protect you when the devil turns 'round about." I
> think Scouting is learning this lesson the hard way.
Persecution and the "pursuit of homosexuals" are not what the Boy Scouts
are concerned with, nor is it what they are doing. Rather, the
opposite. The complaints against the Boy Scouts reguard the avoidance
or refusal to associate with them. More precisely, it is the refusal to
be associated with or thereby endorse their immoral conduct. Sir Thomas
More did the same thing, by refusing to endorse the immoral conduct of
the King. Even though he was required by law and the duties of his
office to do so, More stood his ground, and eventually paid the ultimate
price for his beliefs.
The King's was the minority, immoral opinion , yet politically
controlling; like homosexuality appears to be now in so many areas.
More died rather than submit to the tyranny of his day which would have
him endorse that which he considered a sin. Who indeed is following his
example in this situation?
King Henry was trying to force others to endorse the conduct of third
parties which they considered to be immoral. He was trying to force
More to violate his conscience by submitting to his coercion and
associating himself with immoral conduct. Is this what is to happen to
the Boy Scouts, even though the scouts, like More, have "done none
> In pursuit of homosexuals, you are breaking rules... rules of decency
> and laws against hatred and discrimination. As a result, you are
> finding it difficult to stand in the winds that blow against you.
> Communities turn against you. Courts rule against you. To paraphrase
> another source, "you are reaping the whirlwind."
I believe the More quote referenced in the first part of the preceding
paragraph is the following (from the movie):
"This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast. Man's
laws, not God's. And if you cut them down--and you're just the man to do
it--do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would
It remains a matter of personal belief as to who could stand upright in
the winds that would blow.
More did not lose his head over minority rights and fashionable
political correctness, he lost it by standing by his beliefs, and
against actions which he considered immoral. While I don't advocate
losing heads, I believe that standing by beliefs is one of the hardest
things to do, especially in the face of foes such as those faced by More
- courts, ruling parties, peer pressure.