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Cognitive Dissonance, Thomas More, and Jurisprudence

As a follow-up to this post:

Most of you know that Thomas Moe is a saint.  He refused to sign an oath stating that King Henry VII's marriage was valid.  Signing the oath would have violated God's law.  It would have been perfectly legal under man's law. He didn't want to violate his conscience.  He died for his beliefs.  What a hero!

Thomas Aquinas also burned at least five Lutherans at the stake.  Burning Lutherans at the stake was perfectly legal under man's law.  Under God's law, too, I presume.

Isn't is fascinating that Thomas More is heralded as a hero of the rule of law?  It should be. 

Yet it's not.  Cognitive dissonance.  You hear a lot about the Thomas More as depicted in A Man for All Seasons.  Yet people call me incredible when I tell them that Saint Thomas Moore burned people alive for believing in a different theology than he believed in.  Oh, it's true.  He did.

Cognitive dissonance.  We can't believe that a man who burned people alive was a hero of the law.  We can't believe that someone who burned others alive was a good man. 

We'll just pretend those five charred bodies don't exist.  We'll let their memories pass through the wind like screams in the night. 

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