On 11/3/2013 10:49 AM, John Clark wrote:
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is considered by many to be a intellectual, in fact
the leading intellectual on the Supreme Court,
Of course that "many" consists of bible thumping Tea Baggers, worshipers of Ayn Rand, and
snake handlers who have general contempt for "intellectuals".
and yet we get the following exchange between Jennifer Senior of New York Magazine and
Scalia that happened just 2 weeks ago but could have come straight out of the middle
ages and vividly illustrated what Carl Sagan called "The Demon-Haunted World”.
Incidentally Scalia has said that he disagrees with the idea that religious belief is a
private matter that can be put in a airtight box and has no effect on public life.
Senior: You believe in heaven and hell?
Scalia: Oh, of course I do. Don’t you believe in heaven and hell?
Scalia: Oh, my.
Senior: Does that mean I’m not going?
Scalia: [Laughing.] Unfortunately not!
Senior: Wait, to heaven or hell?
Scalia: It doesn’t mean you’re not going to hell, just because you don’t believe in it.
That’s Catholic doctrine! Everyone is going one place or the other.
Senior: But you don’t have to be a Catholic to get into heaven? Or believe in
Scalia: Of course not!
Senior: Oh. So you don’t know where I’m going. Thank God.
Scalia: I don’t know where you’re going. I don’t even know whether Judas Iscariot is in
hell. I mean, that’s what the pope meant when he said, ‘Who am I to judge?’ He may have
recanted and had severe penance just before he died. Who knows?
Senior: Can we talk about your drafting process –
Scalia: [Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the devil.
Senior: You do?
Scalia: Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic
doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.
Senior: Every Catholic believes this? There’s a wide variety of Catholics out
Scalia: If you are faithful to Catholic dogma, that is certainly a large part
Senior: Have you seen evidence of the devil lately?
Scalia: You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the devil is doing all sorts of things.
He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t
happen very much anymore.
Scalia: It’s because he’s smart.
Senior: So what’s he doing now?
Scalia: What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much
more successful that way.
Senior: That has really painful implications for atheists. Are you sure that’s the –
Scalia: I didn’t say atheists are the devil’s work.
Senior: Well, you’re saying the devil is persuading people to not believe in God.
Couldn’t there be other reasons to not believe?
Scalia: Well, there certainly can be other reasons. But it certainly favors the devil’s
desires. I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession
all over the place. That always puzzled me. What happened to the devil, you know? He
used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament.
Scalia: What happened to him?
Senior: He just got wilier.
Scalia: He got wilier.
Senior: Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the devil?
Scalia: You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with
most of America, most of which believes in the devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in
the devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from
mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the devil! Most
of mankind has believed in the devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people
than you or me have believed in the devil.
Senior: I hope you weren’t sensing contempt from me. It wasn’t your belief that
surprised me so much as how boldly you expressed it.
Scalia: I was offended by that. I really was.
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