By: Rev. Jermano
The Fathers of America; one a Contemplative to the Order of Trappists Monks, and the other a Religious Civil Rights Activist both struggling for Equal Rights and dissolving the images of racism, and war converged on the central theme of nonviolence. Their struggle at that time was but an acknowledgment of the human consciousness in understanding the diverging complexities between poverty, racism, religion and war.
They lived at the same period of time during the 1960’s and Vietnam War. Thomas Merton took upon the belief that in order to be Christ like we had to be images of the Master embracing poverty instead of dividing it. Militaries have always been to establish and assert their power in assuring that their bread is their loaves, and loath those who are breadless. Merton’s vows of poverty and ideals toward seeking less went in opposition to those who had no choice between seeking poverty because of the forced discrimination imposed upon Black Society.
And while the education of Merton’s attempt to beckon white society to seek an end to the Wars in Vietnam, the harsh realities from Black America with its profound suffering brought the men together. Both echoed the need for nonviolence and pursed that course as a fundamental prerequisite toward engaging men and women in our society.
While Merton wrote books to educate while embracing the inner mentis of the religious experience as the example toward ending violence and working to end racism, Martin embraced the outer dimension of the conscious mentis by voicing and preaching to end war and racism through the auspices of nonviolent protest.
Both were successful in their quest to end violence through the religious activity of nonviolence and the war was ultimately quashed.
But as Martin was assassinated, and Merton died accidentally in his search for the serious compos didactic, their personage and presence slipped away with no one to fill in their shoes as apathy and unconcern bloomed in the halls for Monastic Commitments. Prison expansionism boomed with higher percentages of Black Americans who were convicted of crimes because they believed and took up arms offered by the Republican NRA for their profits of doom. Is it a wonder why society tends to repeat its past mistakes when our beloved leave our presence?
And in this hour time of 911 baby cry's in their cribs with mobile planes of widdle taddle-goo-e-doodles we have been taken as fools to believe buildings fall from planes that suddenly are more powerful and stronger than missiles, giving cause to not lesser acts of violence but more. ..Not just toward goat herders in Afghanistan but toward Saddam Hussein who we created by selling military WMD that were never found.
And while our planet heats up because of global warming and Oil becomes a sought after commodity we support people who would suggest nonviolence is a failure.
Our country has been consumed by a military apparatus that would point its very arsenal at its own people. Never mind the riots and uprising in Tibet, when murders at school and riots and uprising seem to be a normal occurrence in the United States.
And while the divisions in America appear to be widening the cracks in our society it is clear the military is using its might and intimidation to stop proceedings of impeachment of their Administration. They refuse to not take responsibility for the killing of innocent people subjected to their illusions and threats of terror while they target an imaginary enemy while murdering real innocent people.
We are held in captivation to the Military Industrial Complex. It gives real meaning to the Trappists Order, of being prisoners and slaves to the very work we as a nation have embarked upon in not creating. Yet what have we created? The beast is upon us, and where do we go and what do we do?
We need to educate and support The University of Nonviolence and carry on the works of Rev. Martin Luther King and Thomas Merton.
We need to take value in our nonviolent careers as being essential parts of our working society. We can never think nonviolence is a passive promise or dream. It is as real as bombs falling from the skies. We need people to embrace our society that has known and experienced the past rewards of nonviolence that proved successful, while embarking upon a new world that holds values of nonviolence as the emblem and goal to sustaining and developing our world.
When we have more who speak out against war and violence and racism, we enter the Elysium of reality to life and its meaning. Those who embark upon war and violence lose their footing and motive toward peace, because their hypocrisy has constrained the conscious samaritan.
Thomas Merton said:
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 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.
We believe that the truth is invincible, and then we do not attack others to preserve it. Those who genuinely serve the truth are gentle with it and humble. The truth need only be spoken and its force can be felt. When we defend the so-called truth by violence, we are not serving the truth but ourselves. We turn to violence because we are aware at some level of consciousness that the truth is not in us and we are, therefore, insecure with what we propose as the truth.
Those we define as our enemies are often not our enemies but simply those we cannot control, those who take options in life we did not, those who see an aspect of the truth to which we are blind. This is not to assume that there are no wicked people in the world; it is merely state that there are far fewer than we suspect. Many of those we declare wicked are not wicked, but different.
Fear is the root cause of war. With bigger and bigger weapons we will continue to dominate and be dominated. Nonviolence requires spiritual maturity. This is why prayer is an important element in the achievement of nonviolence. The reason why nonviolence fails to work on many occasions is because others sense correctly that beneath the surface of the nonviolence there is a hidden belligerence, a desire to control or, at the very least, an assumption of moral superiority and self-righteousness.
Nonviolence is a humble approach to life, seeking to purify the self from the vanity that gets in the way of our happiness and the greed that makes us violent with one another. Two assumptions by those who advocate violence: that I am separate from the other, and that I can hurt the other without injuring myself. Violence seems advantageous: if I don’t guard my interests, another will take them. Scarcity thus dictates a felt need to protect American interests
Rev. King said:
I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. President Kennedy said on one occasion, "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." The world must hear this. I pray to God that will hear this before it is too late, because today we’re fighting a war.
It has strengthened the military-industrial complex; it has strengthened the forces of reaction in our nation. It has put us against the self-determination of a vast majority of the Vietnamese people, and put us in the position of protecting a corrupt regime that is stacked against the poor.
It has played havoc with our domestic destinies.This day we are spending five hundred thousand dollars to kill every Vietcong soldier. Every time we kill one we spend about five hundred thousand dollars while we spend only fifty-three dollars a year for every person characterized as poverty-stricken in the so-called poverty program, which is not even a good skirmish against poverty.
Not only that, it has put us in a position of appearing to the world as an arrogant nation. And here we are ten thousand miles away from home fighting for the so-called freedom of the Vietnamese people when we have not even put our own house in order. And we force young black men and young white men to fight and kill in brutal solidarity. Yet when they come back home that can hardly live on the same block together.
The judgment of God is upon us today. And we could go right down the line and see that something must be done—and something must be done quickly. We have alienated ourselves from other nations so we end up morally and politically isolated in the world. There is not a single major ally of the United States of America that would dare send a troop to Vietnam, and so the only friends that we have now are a few client-nations like Taiwan,Thailand,South Korea and a few others.
This is where we are. "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind," and the best way to start is to put an end to war in Vietnam, because if it continues, we will inevitably come to the point of confronting China which could lead the whole world to nuclear annihilation. It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence.
And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat would be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not imagine.
In Jesus's time the people were convinced their God would come with the sword of many Armies to put down the Roman Empire that controlled their very lives. They were wrong when Jesus told them to love thine enemies and turn the other cheek as his message and sermons also spoke of the committed ideals to nonviolence. In this day and time perhaps the people are celebrating that their God finally came with more than the coalition of the willing, but has the power to ensure war never loses its place in history. Let us remember their God is not Jesus, Merton, Martin , or Gandhi. These 4 men have proved that the only war worth dying for, is the unjust war on nonviolence.