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Peace and Christianity

Politics of polarization and fear lead us to classify and categorize. Liberals are secular and the Christian Right has become an influential voting block at the very time that the Democrats can’t muster a coherent policy. Yet Christ waved no political flags and would belong to no political party. His teachings of tolerance and nonviolence are as timely as tomorrow’s headlines.

The most distressing thing about the rise to power of the Christian Right is not that they use Biblical teachings to govern policy-making. It is not the idea that prayer in school may return or that abortions may be limited. It is, as Thomas Merton wrote from his Trappist monastery around 1960, “that the facade of Christianity … has perhaps little or nothing behind it, and that what was once called Christian Society is more purely and simply a materialistic neopaganism with a Christian veneer.”

Merton’s writings were censored by the Catholic Church as communistic, much in the same way that opposition voices are now attempting to be censored under the banner of antipatriotic. In the end, Merton’s teaching prevailed and the peace movement of the 1960s flourished. Let’s pray that Christ’s teachings prevail over Christian dogma.



Mark Smith

Grass Valley





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