Maybe not where you come from, Sigourney, but here in Texas, it gets you more than half-way to the perfect woman. All she needs is a bottle of Shiner Bock in the other hand, and we're all the way there.
Big hair. Yeah, that helps, too.
I'm a professional man, living in the Southwestern United States. This blog is a personal blog and is not directly connected with my professional practice (although I may draw upon my professional experiences, as well as my personal experiences, in writing my blog posts) nor any other business in which I'm involved. This is a place for personal, not professional, opinions.
Maybe not where you come from, Sigourney, but here in Texas, it gets you more than half-way to the perfect woman. All she needs is a bottle of Shiner Bock in the other hand, and we're all the way there.
Big hair. Yeah, that helps, too.
"La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid."
---Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1782) by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.
"Revenge is a dish which is eaten cold."
I always prefer mine served "with some fava beans and a nice chianti."
Someone recently advised a friend of mine to "let sleeping dogs lie." It was issued as a veiled threat, to the effect that if he brought up some past unpleasantness, the other parties to that unpleasantness (and the parties issuing the veiled threat) would make life more unpleasant for him in the present than he ever would for them.
I agree that one should let vicious dogs -- particularly ones stupid enough to sleep in the presence of danger -- lie sleeping until one has the Streetsweeper loaded and pointed at the dogs' heads. Doesn't make sense to pull the trigger until you're ready and your affairs have all been put in proper order. Otherwise, you're letting dogs set your timetable, and that simply would be letting things "go to the dogs," wouldn't it?
No, I agree that one should let dogs sleep, "perchance to dream." Until, that is, you decide the time has come to put an end to all dreams but nightmares. Perhaps at a point where one decides that he or she has nothing left to lose but what he or she is willing to sacrifice in order to "put paid" all outstanding debts of the soul owed by dogs to a man.
Of course, one could always follow the lead of Tony Soprano, who told his psychiatrist in Episode 10 of the show's fifth season: "Revenge is like serving cold cuts." That mangled malapropism may, actually, make more sense. As long as there's plenty of whole wheat bread and spicy brown mustard, all concerned may in fact enjoy the feast and forget its purpose altogether.
At this point, my friend, a Christian, ran smack dab into the wall of his faith.
Here you have the true reason why revenge or vengeance is not allowed to man: it is because vengeance can only work in the evil or disordered properties of fallen nature. But man, being himself a part of fallen nature and subject to its disordered properties, is not allowed to work with them, because it would be stirring up evil in himself, and that is his sin of wrath or revenge. God therefore reserves all vengeance to Himself, not because wrathful revenge is a temper or quality that can have any place in the holy Deity, but because the holy supernatural Deity, being free from all the properties of nature, whence partial love and hatred spring, and being in Himself nothing but an infinity of love, wisdom, and goodness, He alone knows how to overrule the disorders of nature, and so to repay evil with evil, that the highest good may be promoted by it.
---William Law, Anglican Priest and Author, 1686-1761.
Blast! You mean you have to let a perfect Being "repay evil with evil"?
Come to think of it, who better? No means of exacting revenge devised by man could hope to match God's.
Here's what I told my friend: your revenge is that you get to live your life as you are, and they have to live their lives as they are, and all the while they'll think they're getting the better of the deal. And in the end, all of it, whether built by you, them, or some other Bozo on the Bus: it all goes up in flames.
The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play. If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat.
--- Matthew Arnold
What is it to grow old?
Is it to lose the glory of the form,
The luster of the eye?
Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?
—Yes, but not this alone.
Is it to feel our strength—
Not our bloom only, but our strength—decay?
Is it to feel each limb
Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
Each nerve more loosely strung?
Yes, this, and more; but not
Ah, ’tis not what in youth we dreamed ’twould be!
’Tis not to have our life
Mellowed and softened as with sunset glow,
A golden day’s decline.
’Tis not to see the world
As from a height, with rapt prophetic eyes,
And heart profoundly stirred;
And weep, and feel the fullness of the past,
The years that are no more.
It is to spend long days
And not once feel that we were ever young;
It is to add, immured
In the hot prison of the present, month
To month with weary pain.
It is to suffer this,
And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel.
Deep in our hidden heart
Festers the dull remembrance of a change,
But no emotion—none.
It is—last stage of all—
When we are frozen up within, and quite
The phantom of ourselves,
To hear the world applaud the hollow ghost
Which blamed the living man.
That's the pessimist's view of aging. As I discussed not long ago, we need, in the stories we tell ourselves, to find the real, the true, and the false, and "to use our moral imagination to lead ourselves away from cynicism and toward hope." Otherwise, we end up like Arnold: facing aging with the desire to wrap our lips around the tailpipe of a Ford Mustang, gun the engine, and inhale deeply.
A different view of aging is told in the marvelous "little" movie, "Still Mine," written and directed by Michael McGowan and staring James Cromwell and Geneviève Bujold. On one level a story about a stubborn old man's struggle with the suffocating encroachment of federal bureaucracy, on a much deeper level it is the story of the deep and lasting love of a man and woman who remained side-by-side through sixty-one years. It is also a story of family, friendship, and how flawed and ultimately fragile human beings live with, and love, one another through all the barriers that the world, and their own limitations of character, erect. It is the kind of story that gives me faith in the power of love to survive, and, ultimately, to triumph over age and death.
A wonderful twist toward the end was the backdrop of the Mumford and Sons song "After the Storm." The achingly evocative lyrics gave voice to the anti-Arnold story of aging: the body and mind may decay, but as long as there remains grace in your heart, love will prevail.
At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Nora Ephron, who wrote those lines, was going for a laugh. Yet, as William James observed, "a sense of humor is just common sense, dancing." So, is it merely "common sense" that a woman and man who are attracted to each other cannot be friends because "the sex thing" always gets in the way?
I was thinking about this recently in regard to a specific woman who is my friend. Like me, she is married, like me, she takes her marriage vows seriously, and, like me, she feels an undercurrent of emotional attraction for her friend. We share common perspectives on art, politics, literature, music, and faith, and we share a fascination with both the transcendent and the permanent. She and I discuss serious subjects and seem to "get" each other in profound ways. We independently came to the conclusion that we may share the same DNA.
If the common sense perspective of Nora Ephron's character Harry is correct, she and I should not continue to be friends, either because "the sex thing" will eventually lead us to betray our marriage vows or because one or both of our spouses will become jealous of our friendship and assume that it has morphed into an emotional and/or physical affair. According to much "common sense" advice I have read over the years, we should be running away from one another as fast as our legs will carry us. Until quite recently, I might have agreed with that view; however, I now think that it's a one-size-fits-all fallacy.
I do believe that where there is such a bond between friends of the opposite sex, both friends must have a strong moral foundation, whether based on religious or secular beliefs, that would make, for both of them, adultery something to be avoided at all costs. If you don't have this shared belief in common, then I agree that you probably should not (and, likely, would not) be friends in the first place.
I think another essential attribute of both parties is that both possess "virtue," in the sense of making their desires subject to the exercise of their will, rather than being the master of their will. I touched on this briefly a couple of years ago in a post on Aristotle's assertions concerning "excellence." If you act "rightly" because you are "habituated" to acting rightly, then, I believe, you will not betray your beliefs. Of course, there's no guarantee, as evidenced by all those "Date Line" and "48 Hours" shows on network television about members of the clergy committing adultery with members of their "flock."
Most important, I think that both friends must truly love one another, in the sense I tried to discuss (inarticulately, at best) in a previous post on "The Memeing of Love." This type of love focuses not on what the other person does for me, but on what is best for the other person. If Christ tells his apostles that it would be better for them to tie a millstone around their necks and jump into the ocean than to lead another person astray, you begin to get a clue as to what real love of a friend is all about. It is concerned primarily with the good of the friend, not with your own good, although if you share a common conception of "the good," then that should be a common goal. If you truly love another, in the purest sense of the word "love," you would never lead the other to betray their fundamental beliefs (at the risk of their immortal soul, if you possess such a belief) no matter how much you might rationalize your own betrayal of your own beliefs.
You can avoid any of this risk by running away and burning your bridges behind (or in front of) you. You can deprive yourself and your friend of what, in another post, C.S. Lewis described so well: the sharing of the heart's desire, even if "faintly and uncertainly".
Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for?
We live once, I believe. We get one life, and only one life, to get it right. No matter how many times we fail to get it right, we simply have to keep trying. We gain nothing by running away from friendship, even when there exists the danger that "the sex thing" will "get in the way." In doing so, we deny not just ourself the benefits of this chance to explore the heart's desires, but another unique human being the same opportunity. An agreed-upon respect for a boundary that may not be crossed, the command of desire by the will (the possession of virtue, whether by "habituation" or by prayer), and, overwhelmingly most important, possession of "love" for the friend in truest sense, will give lie to Harry's common sense.
Anyone who still reads the nonsense splattered on these pages should feel free to disagree with me. Show me the error of my ways in the comments box below.
Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
---Louisa May Alcott
For me, finding a kindred soul who sees the same beauty I see in a poem, a passage of prose, a piece of music or of art, is a pearl of great price. I spend my days in the service of those who seek only money. I want to spend more of my time with the rare human being who also has a yearning to touch the other in a unique and profound way, who is not embarassed to admit vulnerability, and who recognizes that each precious moment that we waste is wasted for eternity.
Let's peel the layers of our onions, and explore the layers that lie beneath each one.
The old man said, "Nothing is random, nor will anything ever be, whether a long string of perfectly blue days that begin and end in golden dimness, the most seemingly chaotic political acts, the rise of a great city, the crystalline structure of a gem that has never seen the light, the distributions of fortune, what time the milkman gets up, or the position of the electron. Even electrons, supposedly the paragons of unpredictability, do exactly as they are told. Of this, one is certain.
And yet, there is a wonderful anarchy, in that the milkman chooses when to arise, the rat picks the tunnel into which he will dive when the subway comes rushing down the track from Borough Hall, and the snowflake will fall as it will. How can this be? If nothing is random, and everything is predetermined, how can there be free will?
The answer to that is simple. Nothing is predetermined, it is determined, or was determined, or will be determined. No matter, it all happened at once, in less than an instant, and time was invented because we cannot comprehend in one glance the enormous and detailed canvas that we have been given - so we track it, in linear fashion piece by piece. Time however can be easily overcome; not by chasing the light, but by standing back far enough to see it all at once.
The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was, is. Everything that ever will be, is. In all possible combinations. Though we imagine that it is in motion and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful. So any event is intimately and sensibly tied to all others. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue, immobile and accessible.
And, when all is perceived in such a way as to obviate time, justice becomes apparent not as something that will be, but something that is.”
― Mark Helprin, Winter's Tale
As we contemplate the Passion of Christ today, I'm struck by how well C. S. Lewis sees the parallel of the desperate end game of Jesus' life and the human condition. His prayers of anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane are unanswered. He turns to the Church he created, and it condemns Him. Then, the State (Rome) considers his fate, and abandons Him out of political expediency. The final appeal to "the People" He has come to save from themselves results in a demand by them for his death. On the cross, he dies after uttering as His last words an anguished cry at His divine Self's apparent abandonment of His human Self: "Why hast thou forsaken me?"
You see how characteristic, how representative, it all is. The human situation writ large. These are among the things it means to be a man. Every rope breaks when you seize it. Every door is slammed shut as you reach it. To be like the fox at the end of the run; the earthes all staked.
Whether our run ends as a young man or an old one, sooner or later, for every single one of us, "the earthes are all staked." Suffering is our lot because we live on this Earth, and all of us must die. To deny this fearful fact, or to avoid facing it, is the reason many of us live our busy little lives of "quiet desperation," filling up our days with nonessential possessions and activities in the unconscious hope that if we don't think about it, we won't have to deal with it.
As someone much smarter than me in these matters stated in a homily delivered seven years ago, the problem is that we are not made for this world. Certainly, the things of it will never buy us happiness nor make our lives ultimately content. The sooner you realize and accept this, the sooner you'll stop wasting your precious time and really begin to live.
My father died 35 years ago this month, a little less than two weeks before his fifty-first birthday.
65 years ago, in the spring of 1945, he was a hospital corpsman in the US Seventh Fleet, assigned to Military Governance Group G-6 of the U.S. Navy, which was part of the 24th Corp of the US 10th Army that invaded the island of Okinawa. His first assignment during that invasion was to scout the location of a hospital (later designated Hospital #51) to be set up close behind the front lines of the US Army and Marines who were tasked with invading and securing the island by killing all of Japanese defenders (inasmuch as by this stage of the war in the Pacific, it was clear that Japanese troops would not surrender). To secure and protect that hospital location was the responsibility of a platoon of the First Division of the US Marine Corps and my father was to serve as that platoon's corpsman until the hospital was established, after which he would tend to the wounded and assist the surgeons who would staff the hospital.
While my father told me that his unit never intended to be in the thick of combat, they wandered several hundred yards down a road behind enemy lines "and then all hell broke loose." He experienced combat up close and personal and he never forgot it.
I recently purchased the DVD set of the HBO miniseries "The Pacific," which tells the tale of the Marines in WWII who were involved in the island-hopping campaign that eventually ended at Okinawa. The series had a profound effect upon me, in no small measure for bringing to life (or at least, as much as can be accomplished without actually living it) the experiences of my father and hundreds of thousands of other men of his generation. So many stories he told my brothers and me were validated:
I wonder what it would have been like for a 20 year-old man/boy to hear the screams of the wounded and the panicked cries of "Corpsman! I need a f***in' corpsman right now!" And every time you got up to run to the wounded, the Japs threw grenades at you. And when you got there, you'd see nothing below the right knee but a pool of blood expanding with each gushing heartbeat, or intestines sitting in a lap, or "a pile of goo" that used to be a man, all the time the incredible whine, zip, zang, and thwack of bullets and shrapnel enveloping you, as well as the howling and gurgling of the wounded and dying and the enraged shouts of noncoms telling men that if they wanted to live, they had to "get off the f***ing beach, you sons-a-bitches! Get of the beach now!"
I thought a lot about my father as I watched the tales of three men profiled by producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg unfold in the ten weeks that the harrowing miniseries (the most expensive ever made) lasted. The literate, wise-cracking, New Jersey "Cradle Catholic" Robert Leckie was the closest to my Dad in personality, although my father was never as self-destructive as Leckie. Like Leckie, my father possessed a wild steak and had a fun-loving nature, but he also was sent to, and graduated fourth in his class from, Christian Brothers Military Academy in Albany, New York, where my grandparents sent him because he refused to study at public school and where he was captain of the boxing team (in a day when high schools had boxing teams). He was a tough guy, but one who learned self-discipline. Unlike Leckie, he was never busted in rank. Unlike Leckie, he didn't lose his faith during the war (although he did in the decades that followed).
He definitely wasn't similar on the surface to the other main characters, John Basalone, the most decorated noncommissioned officer in US military history, who won the Medal of Honor on Guadalcanal and the Navy Cross (posthumously) on Iwo Jima, or Eugene Sledge, the pious Christian boy from Mobile, Alabama, who kept notes in his Bible that would become a best selling book, and who, in three hard years from his seventeenth to his twentieth years, morphed into a remorseless and highly efficient "Jap Killer." Basalone was a professional soldier and one-of-a-kind, and Sledge's initial Southern gentility and subsequent post-war struggles did not mirror my father's personality or reactions to his war-time experiences. On the other hand, like Basalone, my father was an ordinary man who did what I consider to be extraordfinary things, especially for such a young man, and like Sledge, I think he saw and experienced things that changed him irrevocably.
However, unlike the three men whose experiences the miniseries dramatizes, no one is left to tell my father's stories but those of us who know them only in bits and pieces.
We can tell of my father turning to his platoon's Gunnery Sergeant when his unit faces a dwelling with Japanese inside firing out at Marines through a phalanx of terrified Okinawan civilians lined up in front, and asking, "What do we do, Gunny?" Gunny replies, "What you do, Doc, is you aim low, close your eyes, and empty your clip." My father did what he was ordered and when the firing ceased, and he opened his eyes again, all the civilians and the Japanese soldiers were dead.
We can tell of my father putting a tourniquet on the thigh of a Marine whose leg has been taken off below the knee by a mortar shell, when suddenly the man stops howling and goes wide-eyed. My father turns to see a Japanese soldier, obviously out of ammunition, moving up to bayonet my father in the back. In panic, my father grabs a machete he has lying on his pack by the blade and whacks the Japanese soldier on the helmet with the handle. The wounded Marine yells, "Jesus Christ, Doc, get the f*** out of the way," and as my father jumps back, the downed Marine, who has picked up my father's M-1, shoots the Japanese through the neck and head.
We can tell of a star shell bursting in the black of night to illuminate Okinawans frozen in the field between the Americans and the Japanese, and as the flare flutters down on its parachute, the Marines yelling, "Move! Come here! This way! Move, damn it, move!" Followed by the light of the tracers of Japanese machine guns moving out across the field, seeking to kill those civilians who would rather live than die for the glory of the Emporer, and the hammering of Marine machine guns and their tracers seeking to find the source of the Japanese bullets and save the civilians. The flare dies out. The firing dies down. In the morning, the torn bodies of the civilians litter the field. "Brains draped across the grass, glistening in the morning dew," my father sadly remembered.
We can tell these tales, never as truly or as well as those who lived them, but it is useful that we try. Otherwise, they are lost and so are our memories of the men who lived them. They deserve to be remembered.
A representative sample of all the layers that the film makers sought to plumb: Robert Leckie at the Battle of the the Tenaru River on Guadalcanal.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Defense attorney Leslie Ballin called it the "jury pool from hell."
The group of prospective jurors was summoned to listen to a case of Tennessee trailer park violence.
Right after jury selection began last week, one man got up and left, announcing, "I'm on morphine and I'm higher than a kite."
When the prosecutor asked if anyone had been convicted of a crime, a prospective juror said that he had been arrested and taken to a mental hospital after he almost shot his nephew. He said he was provoked because his nephew just would not come out from under the bed.
Another would-be juror said he had had alcohol problems and was arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover officer. "I should have known something was up," he said. "She had all her teeth."
Another prospect volunteered he probably should not be on the jury: "In my neighborhood, everyone knows that if you get Mr. Ballin (as your lawyer), you're probably guilty." He was not chosen.
The case involved a woman accused of hitting her brother's girlfriend in the face with a brick. Ballin's client was found not guilty.
Who says Tennessee ain't a fun State?
I was walkin' in Memphis.
I was walkin' with my feet ten feet off of Beale.
I was walkin' in Memphis.
But do I really feel the way I feel?
"She's my sister." (SLAP)
"She's my daughter." (SLAP)
"She's my sister(SLAP); She's my daughter(SLAP); She's my sister AND my daughter. Get it?"
"Forget it, Jake, it's Memphis."
One thing about having a professional career that's not a complete bust: the profession is a time vampire. Doctors, lawyers and accountants all understand how what they do for a living sucks minutes out of their lives that they can never recover. You'd better be doing it well and you'd better enjoy it, and there'd better be some overriding reason to do it other than for the money. There will never be enough money to justify the brain damage and the simple, irretrievable loss of time.
In the throes of another hectic week last week, I had to listen to the senior officer of a large client piss and moan about "those damn lawyers" again. The first 250,000 lawyer jokes I heard, I could tolerate. Once I hit 250,001, for some strange reason, I began to tune them out.
Lawyer bashing: It's rampant. It's reflexive. It's popular to honk to your neighbor that lawyers use "loopholes" in the law, or "courtroom tricks," to get the guilty off the hook. They twist words to help heartless businesses screw the common man. They're tools of greedy, selfish interests rather than paragons of virtue who fight for the rights of the "common man."
In other words, they represent clients. Even clients like the idiots who complain about lawyers.
I suppose if my ultimate sense of self-worth depended upon the opinion of strangers, I'd be in deep dog do. Fortunately, I have enough self-love for any two people (another reason that I need all the help from God that "She" can spare), so I consider the disparagement of entire groups of professionals based upon prejudices (rather than knowledge) to be the ignorant blatherings of dunces.
Still, being a member of a despised profession becomes tiresome.
It's not just lawyers that people hate, however, it's the "system" in which they work. What kind of "justice" can be dispensed if it goes to the party with the best advocate that money can buy? Look at O.J. Look at Robert Blake. Look at the myriad of "truly guilty" people who get off because of "clever lawyering." It stinks!
I had a professor in law school who told his students that if we came to law school seeking knowledge of the means to absolute justice, we were in the wrong place. Instead, we should be seeking a PhD in Philosophy or Theology. For most of us, "justice" is the proper functioning of the legal system that human beings have erected to dispense it. If we don't like the system, then we should persuade enough voters to change the system, and "have at it." He'd been teaching at the law school for 50 years, and he hadn't been presented with a viable alternative yet. Eventually, he died waiting.
I agree that abuses by the malpractice bar and the class action bar enrage many people. I recognize that it "seems" unfair when an F. Lee Bailey outfoxes an underpaid, less experienced prosecution team. I'm open to any rational discussion of ways to curb these abuses (such as hiring F. Lee Bailey to proclaim "I come not to defend The Juice, but to bury him!"). However, at some point the ignorance of the average American Idiot about the purpose of the legal system we've adopted in this country and its superiority in preserving the freedoms we take for granted over other systems of "justice" that mankind has heretofore concocted becomes so overwhelming that I can no longer restrain the cry of my teenaged self and utter the ultimate epithet, "Eat My Shorts"!
Many Our Fathers and Hail Marys must then be said for my penance.
You want to live in Japan or England where there are fewer lawyers? Well go live there. Get out of my country, Clyde. If you have a better system in mind to dispense civil and criminal justice, then propose it to the legislators of your choice and "let's have at it." 1,000+ years of common law tradition be damned, let's hear YOUR brilliant idea for resolving civil and criminal disputes without those evil lawyers being involved.
[sound of crickets chirping]
Yeah, lawyers are assholes.
Life's a bitch.
Get over it.
And as long as I'm on a rant-roll: To all the folks I've chatted with over the last few years who think it's simply fine to trample on or ignore the law because they answer to a "higher power," did any of you who claim to be "righteous" ever take to heart the "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's" passage of the New Testament? If you did, did you even understand it? Oh, you did and now you want to argue with me about its meaning. How utterly lawyer-like.
As my response, I'll let a passage from a "lay text," the play and movie "A Man for All Seasons," speak for me. In it, Sir Thomas More responds to demands by his daughter Margaret, her fiance, Roper, and More's wife, Alice, that Moore arrest Richard Rich (who will later betray Moore and bear false witness against him, sealing his doom):
MARGARET Father, that man's bad.
MORE There is no law against that.
ROPER There is! God's law!
MORE Then God can arrest him.
ROPER Sophistication upon sophistication!
MORE No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal.
ROPER Then you set man's law above God's!
MORE No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact-I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of the law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God . . . (He says this last to himself)
ALICE (Exasperated, pointing after RICH) While you talk, he's gone!
MORE And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law!
ROPER So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!
MORE Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
ROPER I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
MORE (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on ROPER) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you-where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? (He leaves him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast-man's laws, not God's-and if you cut them down-and you're just the man to do it-d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.
ROPER I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god.
MORE (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god . . . . (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle . . . I don't know where he is nor what he wants.
ROPER My god wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else!
MORE (Dryly) Are you sure that's God? He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God- And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly!
Of course, More was put to death when the law (both man's AND God's) was ignored by the powerful. That's what happens when you render under to God what is Caesar's, and vice versa.