Ding, dong, Scalia’s dead. I’m happy about it, and I’m not going to apologize – frankly, I’m puzzled by Internet pleas of “Why can’t we all just get along?” Fr. James Martin, SJ (a writer I respect), posted a widely-shared remembrance by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Scalia’s close friend. Martin was dismayed at the negative comments about Scalia, saying if Scalia’s ideological opposite could post fond remembrances, surely we might all learn something from that?
When I posted my immediate reaction to news of Scalia’s death last week, somebody commented, “How does it feel to be filled with so much hate?” That person cited Scalia’s wonderful wife, and his nine children. Ah, yes. The marriage and abundant family Scalia not only went out of his way to ensure others couldn’t have, but so often wrote so colorfully about WHY THEY WERE WRONG to even want such an unnatural thing to begin with. Lawyer friends have said that Scalia influenced their understanding and practice of the law. Which is great, but as a non-lawyer, I’ll crassly say that Scalia’s “originalist” interpretation of the Constitution was pretty convenient for a homophobe. (Not only did the Founding Fathers not explicitly allow same sex couples to marry, they clearly also didn’t intend for women or blacks to have an equal say in government, which must have been a daily irritant for Antonin Scalia.)
If I marry or befriend an asshole, my friendship doesn’t absolve the asshole of his assholery. Also, it’s not out of order for a right-thinking person to question my allegiance – what is my responsibility to ensure my asshole friend doesn’t make others’ lives miserable? Scalia used his position to maintain a world order he thought was right – an order that corresponded not only with his Constitutional interpretation, but with his faith and his preferred traditions (in the 1960’s, Scalia travelled to find Roman Catholic churches that rejected Vatican II changes to the liturgy.)
My family and friends includes several homosexuals, same-sex couples, as well as children of those unions. My extended family includes people who have called Justice Scalia a “patriot,” and several who plan to vote for one of the Presidential candidates who have pledged to roll back same-sex marriage. What. The. Fuck. By all means, let’s be nice to each other, while we stab our family members in the back – and who gives a shit about the kids? (Because family values are what we say they are, damnit.) It’s all just ideas, why can’t we be nice to each other?
Nice is fine when you’ve already got it good. (Family members: I’m voting for people who aren’t promising to dissolve our family. You should be voting for the same people, because we’ve all got plenty of money. And by the way – Chick-fil-A was giving money to groups that were advocating to forcibly remove children from same-sex households. That remains unforgivable in my book. UN-FUCKING-FORGIVABLE, please tell your pastors.)
Sigh. I write that as preface to this… Today, people are talking about what a “disgrace” it is that President Obama isn’t honoring Justice Scalia by attending his funeral Mass. What honor, exactly, does the President owe a deceased Supreme Court Justice? (There’s precedent, but nothing consistent.) Although President Obama attended a memorial service for Scalia at the Supreme Court, that’s not enough for some, including some in my family. Nevermind that Scalia’s family and associates said it wasn’t appropriate for President Obama to attend the burial Mass… WE NEED TO SCORE POINTS FOR OUR SIDE (which we’re forgetting/ignoring also wants to disenfranchise our friends and family members.)
So, yeah. Scalia was a patriot, a hero. “The little man fending off the bulldozer” of leftism. A true hero of the Faith. He was a guy who used his intellect and position to defend and perpetuate societal attitudes from the 1700s. It still amazes me how politically conservative Christians seem comfortable ignoring Scripture passages that command mercy (if Jesus preached today, it seems unlikely he’d vote Republican.) If we’re “nice” to Scalia (who is dead), we betray those Scalia worked so hard to keep down. Maybe those aren’t your people, but they’re mine.