In yesterday’s meditation, we spoke about idolatry. Thomas Merton offered some insights about idolatry in our day that, with time, have proven to be powerfully prophetic.
In a letter to Henry Miller in 1962, Merton spoke about spurious religious energy. Said he: The religion of religious people tends at times to poke out a monster head just when you are beginning to calm down and get reassured. The religion of half-religious people doesn’t tend: it bristles with heads.
Is gun ownership a kind of religion for some “half-religious people” in America today? And is the NRA its church?
Merton goes on: This is the greatest orgy of idolatry the world has ever known and it is not generally thought by believers that idolatry is the greatest and fundamental sin. Thomas Aquinas said that in yesterday’s DM.
Merton continues: Anyone who sells out to even a small, inoffensive, bargain cheap idol has alienated himself and put himself into the statue and has to act like it, which is he has to be dead. An idol like an AR 15 is neither small nor inoffensive but potentially dangerous.
Does one render oneself dead to conscience and common sense to worship such an idol—especially when one is in a powerful position be it senator or supreme court judge? Merton concludes: The time is short and all the idols are moving….Strange that the individual is the only power that is left.
Get big money out of big politics and gun shooting will diminish. And this incudes the members of the Supreme Court who play “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” while second amendment zealots play lethal games pretending the founders of this country wanted everyone to have access to AR 15 murder weapons. And access to large, dark monies from the NRA church.
Where are the so-called “originalists” on the Supreme Court when we need them? Don’t they know the difference between a musket (the only weapon the writers of the constitutions knew about) and an AR15?
Are people not smart enough to distinguish between guns for hunting deer and rabbits and ducks and guns for hunting human beings? That assault weapons for war readily available for 18-year-olds whose brains are not fully developed yet might be dangerous to children and others when the buyer is beset by revenge, grievances, racial animosities, self-hatred and the rest?
This is evil. Idolatry is an evil. Do politicians and the judges they appoint know these things? Maybe we need new kinds of politicians and new kinds of judges, the sooner the better.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, A Way To God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey, pp. 203f.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree that getting big, dark money out of politics would break the idolatry of assault weapons in America? And that, in Merton’s understanding, to worship idols, including a gun, one has to be dead like the idol itself?
A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey
In A Way to God, Fox explores Merton’s pioneering work in interfaith, his essential teachings on mixing contemplation and action, and how the vision of Meister Eckhart profoundly influenced Merton in what Fox calls his Creation Spirituality journey.
“This wise and marvelous book will profoundly inspire all those who love Merton and want to know him more deeply.” — Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism
Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart
Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in 500 years.” — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author of Kissing Sleeping Beauty Goodbye.