Wednesday, February 01, 2006

in response to the state of the union address


"I have learned that an age in which politicians talk about peace is an age in which everybody expects war: the great men of the earth would not talk of peace so much if they did not secretly believe it possible, with one more war, to annihilate their enemies forever. Always, "after just one more war" it will dawn, the new era of love: but first everybody who is hated must be eliminated. For hate, you see, is the mother of their kind of love.

Unfortunately the love that is to be born out of hate will never be born. Hatred is sterile; it breeds nothing but the image of its own empty fury, its own nothingness. Love cannot come of emptiness. It is full of reality. Hatred destroys the real being of man in fighting the fiction which it calls "the enemy." For man is concrete and alive, but "the enemy" is a subjective abstraction. A society that kills real men in order to deliver itself from the phantasm of a paranoid delusion is already possessed by the demon of destructiveness because it has made itself incapable of love. It refuses, a priori, to love. It is dedicated not to concrete relations of man with man, but only to abstractions about politics, economics, psychology, and even, sometimes, religion.."

thomas merton

2 comments:

geoff said...

nice one, jodester. sobering and timely.

it made me think again about the sermon on the mount. it seems to me that this "sermon" is an increasingly potent place to see the world from right now.

i still can't believe the president raised this scripture up in his speech when he said, "the violent will not inherit the earth." did he mean to bring our attention to the most stunning pacifist statement in human history? he was either being foolish or he's ill informed about the text. who writes these speeches? was he alligning himself with Jesus or just taking the moral high ground about ways of killing/doing violence (we make war in civil ways while they are barbarians). it seems to me Jesus doesn't give room for honorable violence.

at the end of the day i have no particular dislike for GWB but i do take offense when Jesus is brought in as a character witness or guest star for a speech that has very little to do with the kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven.

i hope the next president leaves the sermon on the mount out of the next 'state of the union' talkie-bits...

sorry about the long comment, jodie. i got carried away...thanks for the merton post.

Will said...

Beautiful.