(CNS News) — In honor of the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket, who was murdered because he defended the Christian faith against intrusions by the state, President Trump issued a proclamation for today, Dec. 29, declaring St. Thomas a “lion of religious liberty” whose “martyrdom changed the course of history.”
St. Thomas, then Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered by several knights loyal to King Henry II on Dec. 29, 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,’” President Trump said in his proclamation.
“When the crown attempted to encroach upon the affairs of the house of God through the Constitutions of Clarendon, Thomas refused to sign the offending document,” reads the proclamation. “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, Archbishop Becket responded, ‘God is the supreme ruler, above Kings’ and ‘we ought to obey God rather than men.’” read more