“A society without religion cannot prosper. A nation without faith cannot endure – because justice, goodness, and peace cannot prevail without the grace of God.” – President Donald J. Trump, Dec. 28, 2020
President Trump released a proclamation on Monday marking the 850th anniversary of the death of Thomas Becket, an English archbishop and saint who was killed by knights of King Henry II in 1170.
“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,'” Trump wrote in a statement.
In his proclamation, Trump made a call to “end religious persecution worldwide.”
According to the BBC, Becket was an archbishop born around 1120 who frequently clashed with Henry over the rights and independence of the Catholic Church. His life and assassination have been the subject of countless artistic works, including famous plays by Alfred Tennyson and Jean Anouilh.
“Thomas Becket’s martyrdom changed the course of history,” Trump’s statement read. “It eventually brought about numerous constitutional limitations on the power of the state over the Church across the West. In England, Becket’s murder led to the Magna Carta’s declaration 45 years later that: ‘[T]he English church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished and its liberties unimpaired.'”
At the end of his proclamation, the president wrote, “A society without religion cannot prosper. A nation without faith cannot endure – because justice, goodness, and peace cannot prevail without the grace of God.”