Failure to live by high ideals

In his Utopia Sir Thomas More described a land where “everyone was free to practise what religion he liked, and to try and convert other people to his own faith, provided he did it quietly and politely, by rational argument.”

Yet More was a tireless persecutor of Protestants. A writ for Thomas Bilney’s burning was quickly procured from More, who despatched him to the flames with a heartless joke remarking the proper course would have been to “burn him first and procure a writ afterwards”.

“Husbandmen, artists, tradespeople and even noblemen felt the cruel fangs of the clergy and of Sir Thomas More,” wrote hsitorian Merle d’Aubigne

More defended the burning of heretics (A Dialogue concerning Heresies) as just an necessary.

More couldn’t even be polite let alone tolerant as his ideal suggested. He called Tyndale, one of the greatest of Englishman,

“a beast discharging filthy foam of blasphemies out of his brutish beastly mouth “- a “railing ribald” – a “drowsy drudge that has drunken deep in the devil’s dregs” – because he translated the New Testament into English from Greek.

 

 

 

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