The Thomas Merton Center strives to be a coalition-building organization that follows the principles of Thomas Merton and the other great architects of non-violent resistant to encourage people to learn, grow and work in the pursuit of social justice and peace and to ensure the dignity of all human beings. We strive to achieve this vision in a supportive, nurturing, and facilitating manner.
Who is Thomas Merton?
The Thomas Merton Center was named after Thomas Merton, a trappist monk, (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968) who was a 20th century contemplative writer and mystic, and greatly concerned about peace and justice issues.
A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, Merton was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion who was intensely involved with peace and justice issues of his era. In 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood and given the name Father Louis.
Merton wrote more than 70 books, mostly on peace, nature, spirituality, social justice, and pacifism, as well as scores of essays and reviews on issues of our times. This includes his best-selling,well-known autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948).Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding. He pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama, the Japanese writer D.T. Suzuki, and the world-renowned Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.
When the organization was founded, members chose the name Thomas Merton Center because they believed this humble monk embodied the deep peace and social justice values that they believed in. Thomas Merton’s name still resonates today and helps guide the Center in its’ fullfillment of our peace and justice mission and vision.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES / VALUE STATEMENTS:
The Thomas Merton Center:
- Supports the uniqueness, wholeness, dignity and freedoms of all people.
- Enthusiastically advocates for the rights of all people as they may fully participate and contribute to the pursuit of peace, social and environmental justice.
- Views all human beings as having equal and unconditional value.
- Supports the pursuit of peace and justice in a nonviolent manner.
- Engages in peaceful and nonviolent demonstrations.
- Emphasizes cooperation in getting things done through peaceful and nonviolent acts.
- Proactively supports and advocates that prisoners are entitled to basic human rights and humane treatment.
- Educates others about economic justice and labor solidarity.
- Takes every opportunity to educate and advocate for the basic civil rights of all people.
- Proactively addresses oppression in its many forms.
- Advocates for the right to educate others for the basic civil rights of people.
WE PLEDGE TO SUPPORT THESE BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS:
- The right to life, liberty and security of all persons.
- The right to recognize the work of human rights defenders who act in a nonviolent way to end inequality and discrimination and oppression.
- The right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
- The right to peacefully convene, organize and assemble together with the aim of addressing common concerns.
- The right to petition social institutions for just and humane treatment.
- The right of solidarity in pursuit of peace and justice.
- The right to educate and raise awareness in issues and trends that ensure a safe and just world.
- The right to a safe, healthy and economically balanced environment as a human right.