It is a deadly combination when fear and arrogance come together in America. Thomas Merton, the great Catholic theologian, said that “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether they are worthy.” This particular thread of Christian thought has been buried in an avalanche of judgment and division coming from people who call themselves Christians but behave like Pharisees toward anyone who is not of the same faith or does not follow the rules as they set and practice them. Merton’s words address one of the greatest sins of humanity: judging and demonizing others. No “side” of any argument, no party, and certainly no religious community is right to do that, but people forget (or never learn from) the atrocities of history that result when fear and arrogance gain a political platform. Donald Trump today tweeted something to the effect that the NFL should “force” players to stand for the anthem. That word “force” ought to give us pause when uttered by the leader of the free world. Sadly, I don’t see much evidence in history that a society’s being “forewarned” is enough to avoid carnage and catastrophe.
From the Thomas Merton Center web site: