It was with great regret that I learned of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He was a great jurist, and an even greater Christian. He was a stalwart warrior for the truth and fought for the textual interpretation of the Constitution over against the “living” view of the Constitution.
I’ve always appreciated his stance in the face of tornado-like cultural winds, but I’ve also come to appreciate his ability to communicate. He reminds me of a slightly acerbic version of G. K. Chesterton, lacerating foolishness with a poetic style of writing that few judges at any level have ever possessed. He could make you smile as you read his opinions; that is rare. But he could also speak. He was eloquent in his description of the Constitution. This particular speech is a great example of his views contrasting the conservative vs. socialist views.
His strong Christianity was not as well known, but still present. He was a faithful Roman Catholic until the day he died. His was not only a Christianity of the mind but also of the heart (as this story tells). As with all great Christians, his beliefs transcended denominational boundaries; he loved hearing the gospel and wanted the news of Christ’s death and the resurrection proclaimed to unbelievers no matter who presented it, as this letter written to a Presbyterian pastor indicates.
Finally, he was a prophet. He understood the times better than most and could tell where the United States is headed in the future apart from reformation. Prophets are rarely appreciated (a brief look at twitter regarding his death will vindicate that statement), but he didn’t care. In fact he didn’t see himself as a great man, but as a sinner who hoped in God’s mercy and believed it was his responsibility to stand for truth wherever God placed him. This exhortation he gave to a group of believers in Denver is a fitting way to summarize his Christianity
“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed. Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. We are fools for Christ’s sake. We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world. If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”
May God raise up many more like him in the coming age. May he rest in peace.