I”ll admit that I have always been a bit of an “unconventional” thinker – lots of different things fascinate me. I read articles and books on things that interest me. Sometimes, I end up seeing weird connections – my thinking takes me way off of the beaten path (Paul hates taking me to mystery movies – I almost always figure out whodunnit about 5 minutes into the picture). Today I’m going to invite you to follow me down my rabbit hole…..
When I was a young and impressionable girl, I became fascinated with Anne Boleyn and her love affair with Henry VIII – back then, she struck me as a tragic romantic heroine (the movie “Anne of the Thousand Days” came out when I was in junior high). My friends and I used to read the Jean Plaidy novels about Elizabethan England – maybe it was the dresses that we liked; who knows? I was one of those girls who loved princesses and fairy tales.
I also liked the story of the American Revolution, and I was fortunate enough to have some really fantastic teachers who brought that part of our country’s history alive for me. The movie “1776” came out when I was in junior high, and my love of the musical score made me want to learn more about that time period as well.
Then there were movies like “A Man for All Seasons“, which examined the political turmoil behind the scenes of the Anne Boleyn/Henry VIII drama, and the lengths to which one man with a great deal of power was willing to go for what he wanted, and how he was willing to get rid of anyone who stood in his way, including men of great integrity.
There have been many books, movies, and TV series written about that particular time in history – it’s got all of the things that you need for a great story: love, murder, intrigue, clashes of will, etc. What they haven’t made as many movies about is the tumultuous period AFTER Henry VIII got his wish – the bloody aftermath that nearly tore a country apart at the seams.
I’ve often thought that it was their memory of what was - for them – fairly recent history that influenced our Founding Fathers to make sure that one of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution was that of Freedom of (or more technically, FROM) Religion.
Their recent ancestors had seen a country literally go to war with both itself and the Roman Catholic Church as the result of one man’s lust. At the same time, the Protestant Reformation had made its way across Europe, and had reached England’s shores.
One or more advisors got the bright idea to suggest to Henry VIII that he could name himself the “Supreme Head of the Church in England” – which would allow him to both grant himself an annulment from Queen Catherine (thus freeing him to marry Anne Boleyn) and allow the State to keep all of the money and property which had heretofore belonged to the Catholic Church.
This new and unfettered power had far-reaching effects, and many heads quite literally rolled as a result when people in England refused to accept the new State religion. Many people had their titles and/or property taken away from them as well, if they didn’t do what the King/State wanted them to do.
I’ve often thought that the ramifications of that ill-fated love affair rippled all the way across the Atlantic to a fledgling nation more than 250 years later. Our founding fathers knew how vitally important it was that people be allowed to practice their respective faiths without fear of persecution from their government.
I’ve watched the unfolding events of this past week with more than a passing interest – President Obama seems genuinely stunned at the vehement response that has occurred as a result of his decision to require all healthcare providers to provide various means of birth control. He just doesn’t seem to think that this is – to use VP Biden’s now infamous words – “a big f***in’ deal”.
Frankly, I’m not surprised at HIS surprise; let’s face it, the man didn’t spend his formative years growing up in the United States – he was literally half a world away. I wouldn’t expect someone who was in a non-American elementary school in a foreign country to have learned about American History.
Even when he moved back to the US as a young teen, he came back to a state that had only been part of the United States for just a few years more than he had been alive – I’m sure that “American History” was quite a different course in Hawaii than it was in Virginia or Pennsylvania.
Those of us who have never known anything different have sort of taken our freedom from religious persecution as something of a given. It isn’t until you take the time to look around at the rest of the world that you start to understand what a truly unique gift we were given by our Founding Fathers when they insisted upon inclusion of that protection in the First Amendment in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
Which is why people of ALL persuasions – on both sides of the aisle – are so up in arms over an edict handed down by those in power, essentially telling us that the government has the power to compel a group of people to betray their religious convictions because it is what the STATE demands.
What is especially egregious is that there are religious groups (e.g. Muslims, Amish) that have already been exempted from having to participate in Obamacare BY VIRTUE OF THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AGAINST IT.
The man who claims to be a “Constitutional Scholar” certainly appears to be demonstrating that he’s, well….not.
Mr. Obama and his administration are trying to walk this back, but the damage has been done. People are hopefully seeing what a destructive force Obamacare could be; I only hope that the Supreme Court Justices are paying attention – the Executive Branch tipped their hand on this one.
Thank goodness for our Founding Fathers’ understanding of what human beings will do when they have too much unchecked power, and their wisdom in constructing a document that has – thus far – ensured that another Henry VIII will never be able to destroy this country because of a personal lust for money, love, or power.
May it always continue to be that way in this nation that I love so very much.
[Cross-posted at RedState]
[Update 02/08/12]: Thanks to Pundit and Pundette for linking this article!
[Update 02/10/12]: Thanks to Chris Wysocki for linking me over at WyBlog!