Idolatry and national institutions

Today the United States celebrates independence day. But it is important to look at any nationalist celebration with the eyes of faith.

On November 30, 1964, Thomas Merton wrote:

 The Christian faith enables or should enable a man to stand back from society and its institutions, to realize that they are all under the inscrutable judgment of God and therefore we can never give an unreserved assent to the policies, the programs and the organizations of men or to official interpretations of the historic process. To do so is idolatry. The same kind of idolatry that was refused by the early martyrs, who would not burn incense to the emperor.

 Thomas Merton, A Vow of Conversation,  p. 105

Merton also wrote a scathing warning about democracy which I quote in this blog last year here.

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One response to “Idolatry and national institutions

  1. This is a big AMEN to Thomas Merton’s reflection.

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