The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedDietrich Bonhoeffer
Title QuotedLetters and Papers from Prison
Date (Year/Month/Day)1968/01/10
Imprint[S.l.] : Simon & Schuster. 1953
QuotationBonhoeffer says, "It is only when one sees the anger and wrath of God hanging like grim realities over the heads of one's enemies that one can know something of what it means to love and forgive them." This is the key to the dishonesty of Styron's treatment of Nat Turner. Styron "enjoys" wrath as an indulgence which is not seen as having anything serious to do with religion whatever. Religion suddenly appears on the last page as a suggested preposterous reconciliation (in purely sentimental terms). To treat a prophet of wrath while having no idea of the meaning of wrath, and reduce that wrath to the same level as masturbation fantasies! The whole thing is an affront to the Negro"”though it is well-meant, even "sympathetic." It reduced me finally to desperation! How can white people do anything but cheat and delude the Negro, when that is only part of their own crass self-delusion and bad faith!
JournalThe Other Side of the Mountain: The End of the Journey. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 7, 1967-1968.; Edited by Patrick Hart, O.C.S.O. / San Francisco : Harper Collins. 1998, p. 37
Link to Merton's Copy