Last night I watched Season 4 of the Showtime series, The Tudors. In a show-stopper scene, Henry VIII (played exquisitely by Jonathan Rhys Meyers) blasts the English Parliament for their hateful conduct of his subjects toward one another over religious beliefs. (Remember back to high school world history: At this time England was divided over whether Catholicism or Protestantism should be the “true religion” of the land. Then the Lutherans get in there and stir the pot, too. Lots of bickering. Lots of diabolical plotting. Lots of bloodshed).
Henry VIII wisely saw how this animosity was debilitating his country. He threw a royal fit—exhorting his subjects to be more charitable toward each other. Here’s part of The Tudors speech, some of which contains actual verbiage from the real Henry VIII’s speech given on December 24, 1545.
“What I hate above everything: the interpretations. People interpret the facts to suit themselves…(producing) guile, hypocrisy, and dishonesty.
I come here today to speak with you and set forth my mind. There should be love and concord in the realm. But instead there is discord and dissention in every place.
What love and charity is there among the clergy? When one calls the other heretic…and the other call the other hypocrite…Are these tokens of charities amongst you? Are these signs of fraternal love? The people look for light and you bring them darkness.
And as for the laity, you are not clean of malice and envy, for you slander and rebuke…You take it upon yourselves to judge the clergy by the sole light of your fantastical opinions and vain expositions…
I gave you the Bible in your own tongue. But the word of God has been disputed, rhymed, sung, and jangled in every alehouse and tavern in the realm.
I, who God has appointed Vicar, will see these enormities corrected. Or God shall account me an unprofitable servant.
Therefore, be of charity with one another, like brother and brother. Love and serve God as your sovereign head requires you and I doubt not, love and affinity which I spoke of at the beginning shall never be dissolved or broken between us.”
While I listened to this speech I thought how applicable it is to us today in the U.S.
Lately, because of my blogs, I have been bombarded with a hate-fest from Philadelphia Phillies fans. (I called them morons for holding up derogatory signs of personal attacks of SF Giants players.)
When I turn on the TV, I see ugly political ads. I hear them on the radio. Full of bile. Full of lies.
When I browse the Internet, there are videos on YouTube of a Harvard professor explaining how the banking system is succeeding in systematically tricking and trapping average Americans into financial insolvency with its unethical business practices.
Pick up a newspaper and there’s an article on a guy who bilked billions of dollars from other Americans through an elaborate Ponzi scheme that the SEC chose not to investigate (when it was informed about it). The Feds are now trying to auction off this guy’s stuff (like velvet embroidered slippers for cryin’ out loud!) to recoup a paltry portion of the financial loss.
After hearing Henry VIII’s speech, I thought, WOW, we’re ALL AMERICANS here. We shouldn’t be each other’s enemies.
I think America needs more charity and less hate. I think the U.S. could benefit from a speech like this.
But there is only ONE PROBLEM: There is NO ONE in America in a position of authority with the MORAL AUTHORITY to deliver it.
America needs to GET RID of EVERY PERSON of AUTHORITY (governmental, commerce, financial, judicial, medical, educational, media, religious, etc.) who treats other Americans with disdain and malice.
If we don’t respect our fellow citizens, how can we expect America to continue to be a great nation?