April 13th, 2019

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The Right Honourable Sir

UTOPIA and THOMAS MORE:  (starting with wiki) -

There are several religions on the island: moon-worshipers, sun-worshipers, planet-worshipers, ancestor-worshipers and monotheists, but each is tolerant of the others. Only atheists are despised (but allowed) in Utopia, as they are seen as representing a danger to the state: since they do not believe in any punishment or reward after this life, they have no reason to share the communistic life of Utopia, and will break the laws for their own gain. They are not banished, but are encouraged to talk out their erroneous beliefs with the priests until they are convinced of their error. Raphael says that through his teachings Christianity was beginning to take hold in Utopia. The toleration of all other religious ideas is enshrined in a universal prayer all the Utopians recite.

Yet, the puzzle is that some of the practices and institutions of the Utopians, such as the ease of divorce, euthanasia and both married priests and female priests, seem to be polar opposites of More's beliefs and the teachings of the Catholic Church of which he was a devout member. Another often cited apparent contradiction is that of the religious tolerance of Utopia contrasted with his persecution of Protestants as Lord Chancellor.

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More was neither a demon or a saint - or both - I think.  We should just look at him as being caught in a different, earlier time; and have compassion on him, as we have compassion on more primitive animals, or on anyone who acted in ways that were not crimes until our day,  for all of us, like the stars, derive from a common seed. 
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Cat Stevens: Another Successful Outsider

Cat Stevens was born in England, to a Greek Orthodox Father and a Baptist mother, and was sent to a Catholic school. He appreciated skiffle and the Beatles, as well as Americans who had inspired the Beatles. This means he must have been influenced by George Harrison's guitar. George Harrison was born in Liverpool of an Irish Catholic mom and a Scots-Irish dad, ('Harrison'), and went on to have a religious enlightenment of a Buddhist sort. After Cat Stevens, (not his birthname), experienced prolonged tuberculosis, he stopped playing his Skiffle/pop/rock style, and proceeded in a spiritual, folk, searching direction. His songs are really comparable to songs of George in his early solo career. Eventually, Cat Steven's search led him to convert to Islam, thinking that music could be made into a kind of prayer. (If that's mainly what he based his conversion on, then I feel he was being naive). He left popdom, but returned to it occasionally. He even used the non-Muslim name, 'Cat Stevens', when he made one of his final albums. But, he was a genius of an artist, that many fans later felt was a real loss, because of his virtual departure. I think he still will have something to offer in the future, in some way, other than via private religion.

I have enjoyed some of his albums in the past. I don't own any. Tea for the Tillerman (1970) and Teaser and the Firecat (1971), were masterpieces. He also wrote several songs that made it big for other artists. He is interesting to read about. And, I would like to have a complete set of his works, just to follow the music's development, from start to finish. One of my favourite Love Songs, ever, is, "Rubylove." He has so many styles in his music. Although I have loved, "Peace Train," and many others, I have also ignored him because he was a little too laid back, as well. But, if I can get to a new apartment where I can actually SING again, I would really love to sing to Cat Stevens then.