LEVY: Revisiting Henry VIII

It may have been just a movie. But, sometimes even Hollywood can cause a conservative to think. Such was the case when, in the 1966 epic “A Man For All Seasons”, Paul Schofield played a principled Sir Thomas Moore engaged in an intellectual death match with Robert Shaw’s King Henry VIII. 

Moore believed that there was only one Church. And, it was only that church in Rome, founded by St. Peter which could claim the crown of Christendom. Henry VIII, blinded by his lust and obsessed by his desire for a son, had a different idea. 

So, Henry had Parliament declare that he, not the “anointed” descendent of St. Peter, was the representative of Christendom in England. As such, Henry, not The Pope, was to be God’s representative of the Trinity in Britain and other areas where England ruled. Henry’s new Church of England, would henceforth rule his society and, not incidentally, grant him an appropriate annulment or divorce. 

The problem, as seen through the eyes of Sir Thomas Moore was that government, by its edict, was changing reality. If it was true that Jesus anointed St. Peter who, in turn, created the Church; and if St. Peter, by divine assignment, provided for the succession of the Pope’s rule, then there was no right of government to declare that succession invalid. To do so, in his eyes, would be to deny God, Himself.  

To paraphrase Moore, “If the world is round and an Act of Parliament declares it to be flat, does the Act make it so?” That inquiry led to Moore’s execution. Still, we are compelled to ask it even today. And when we do, the result, albeit more civilized, remains the same ― cancellation of those who dare to question authority.  

Today we ask, “If Congress, the Supreme Court or even the NCAA declares a woman to be a man, does it make it so?” If those in authority insist that a man who, by whim or even after deep reflection, decides to call himself “trans” is actually a “woman,” have we changed his genes or, in the sight of God transformed him from Adam to Eve? Even if a surgeon utilizes the skill of his scalpel, have we done anything more than cosmetic surgery? 

Until today, the battle between Sir Thomas Moore and Henry VIII was perhaps the ultimate battle between principle and frivolity. But, today, just as Henry tried to remake England with his own religion, so the “progressive” liberals are trying to replace a predominantly Christian America, with a Secular Humanist religion centered on an omnipotent government. 

Just like Sir Thomas and Henry, we battle to the relevance of our existence about who will oversee our natural human right to be free. Sir Thomas would argue that our rights are handed down by God and only subject to the morality imposed by God. Henry, on the other hand, would argue that, as king, he is the final arbiter of rights. In effect, by declaring himself to have greater authority than that given by Jesus to St. Peter, Henry declared himself to be God and demanded that his subjects give him the deference formerly reserved for the Deity. Our government, today, is demanding nothing less. 

Anyone who questions the indoctrination of kindergarten children into a new, androgynous social order becomes a “non-person.” They become outcasts banned from the public square. As Brian Stelter of CNN and Lester Holt of NBC believe, argument often “does not have two sides.” Theirs was the same argument Henry made as he ordered Sir Thomas Moore beheaded. Neither will the new government god tolerate questioning its authority. Like Sir Thomas, today’s heretics are subject to “cancellation:” 

What Sir Thomas Moore feared was a new world order based upon non-reality but backed by law. In Henry’s time, there was a need for a divorce and a male heir to the throne. In our time, there is a perceived need to divorce gender entirely, replacing weak women with biological men and calling them “women.” It both defies reality and dismisses dissent so that reality is lost to a false government edict. Indeed, the frivolous World of Henry VIII is now, also our own. The question for us is whether we will create a new Enlightenment which will transcend government dogma and reintroduce logic. 

Robert M. Levy is a resident of Moore County