Today is the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket. He was put to death by King Henry II of England on Dec. 29, 1170, for refusing to sign the Constitutions of Clarendon, a document rendering the church subservient to the crown.
To recognize his contribution to religious freedom, President Donald J. Trump released a proclamation today retelling of the high price paid for American freedoms.
“Before the Magna Carta was drafted, before the right to free exercise of religion was enshrined as America’s first freedom in our glorious Constitution, Thomas gave his life so that, as he said, ‘the Church will attain liberty and peace,'” President Trump says in the decree.
Becket was a statesman, a scholar, a chancellor, a priest, an archbishop and a lion of religious liberty. The son of a London sheriff and once described as “a low‑born clerk” by the king who had him killed, Becket became the leader of the church in England because of his stand.
When the furious King Henry II threatened to hold him in contempt of royal authority and questioned why this “poor and humble” priest would dare defy him, Becket responded, “God is the supreme ruler, above kings” and “we ought to obey God rather than men.”
As a result, Becket was forced to forfeit all his property and flee his own country. Years later, after the intervention of the pope, he was allowed to return—and continued to resist the king’s oppressive interferences into the life of the church. Finally, the king had enough of Becket’s defense of religious faith and reportedly exclaimed: “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”
The king’s knights responded by riding to Canterbury Cathedral to deliver Becket an ultimatum: Give in to the king’s demands or die.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Charisma News