Justice Antonin Scalia: The Devil is ‘Getting People Not to Believe in Him or in God’

We’ve known for a long time that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia bases his legal decisions on what the Constitution’s original writers would have wanted, regardless of what society may think or believe today. (Somehow, in his mind, that legal theory can apply to technologies that only became available in the past few years as well as social changes that couldn’t have been anticipated when our nation was founded.)

In an interview with New York Magazine‘s Jennifer Senior that’s getting a lot of press today, we “learn” that Scalia’s not just conservative, he’s a conservative Catholic who believes in the Devil:

Can we talk about your drafting process–
[Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.

You do?
Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.

Every Catholic believes this? There’s a wide variety of Catholics out there …
If you are faithful to Catholic dogma, that is certainly a large part of it.

Have you seen evidence of the Devil lately?
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.

No.
It’s because he’s smart.

So what’s he doing now?
What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.

That has really painful implications for atheists. Are you sure that’s the ­Devil’s work?
I didn’t say atheists are the Devil’s work.

Well, you’re saying the Devil is ­persuading people to not believe in God. Couldn’t there be other reasons to not believe?
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.

Right.
What happened to him?

He just got wilier.
He got wilier.

Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?
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.

It’s no surprise that Scalia is deluded or that he has contempt for those who don’t believe as he does. Indeed, 70% of Americans believe in the Devil, according to a 2007 Gallup poll, putting Scalia square in the majority.

But maybe that’s the most shocking thing of all. I expect the American public to believe in nonsense, but I want our elected and appointed officials to know better. Especially for those on the Supreme Court, whose entire job rests on their ability to have good judgment, Scalia shows us that even he, arguably the most powerful voice on the Court, can be swayed by a story as obviously fictional as the Christian myth. Shouldn’t he instead be the type of person who takes a common belief, looks for the evidence, and ultimately sends the message to the masses that they’ve been duped this whole time?

If only.

It’s all the more demoralizing when you consider how five of the other justices, all Roman Catholics, may also believe in the Devil.

If anything, this should really put to rest all those ideas about how Scalia is some “intellectual giant” on the Court.

Though, if you read another part of the interview, one could make the case that Scalia ought to reconsider his own Devil-belief:

I am something of a contrarian, I suppose. I feel less comfortable when everybody agrees with me. I say, “I better reexamine my position!” I probably believe that the worst opinions in my court have been unanimous. Because there’s nobody on the other side pointing out all the flaws.

By that logic, Scalia ought to be coming out as an atheist very soon.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    Reading this, I get the impression that Scalia believes in a Wile E. Coyote-style Devil.

    Perhaps this Devil is a Super-Genius that has access to AcmeTM products, like the Acme Disbelieving God PowderTM or the Acme Painted Train Tunnel of Atheism MuralTM.

    • Randy Meyer

      In that scenario then….. the Road Runner is God??

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Jesus, actually. *ponders* I could see it as a metaphor. Well played, WB.

        • Randy Meyer

          I don’t know. Wile E. Coyote constantly plummets to his death off cliffs, constantly blows himself up with TNT and basically survives anything that could kill anyone else. I think HE is our Messiah!!

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Ah, but he fulfills his promise to come back from the dead. Totally unJesuslike!

  • flyb

    What a freak. It’s wishful thinking for us if we hope the court rules against government prayers.

  • LesterBallard

    Gotta hope him and Thomas fall ill before Obama leaves office. Not terribly seriously ill, but ill enough that they retire.

    • Randy Meyer

      One could say that they are already ill in the head. Too bad that does not qualify.

    • Pseudonym

      Hiring a couple of Supreme Court justices who are favourable to corrupy lobbying and NSA spying doesn’t sound like an improvement to me.

      • LesterBallard

        Yeah, you’re right. They’re all equally bad.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      It’s pretty clear that Scalia at least is putting off retiring in hopes of a Republican taking office. The foul little git can’t even try to not stack the deck.

  • kielc

    His comments on Da Debbil are as incoherent as his legal rulings. The man isn’t qualified to decide what to have for dinner, much less matters of constitutional law.

    • AttFinch42

      As dissatisfying as it is that there are “adherents” on the bench, that isn’t what truly upsets me.
      As an Atheist in the US, I have gotten used to plenty of otherwise intelligent people* having some sort of belief in the supernatural. It is scary and completely disheartening but it is nonetheless a fact of life here. What terrifies me about this interview is this section:

      Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?
      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.

      Not only is Scalia making an asinine argument for belief but he is using massive logical fallacies to argue his point. He is sitting on what is effectively the most powerful court on the planet and is purported to be the most intelligent of the justices. Yet here, in one paragraph, he uses at least four different fallacies and thereby violating literally the first rule you learn in your first semester of Law school.

      It doesn’t surprise me that there are folks-of-faith on the bench but if you are going to hold a position of power like his you damn well better have a thoughtful, nuanced, and logically supported argument to defend your faith. Not some dime-store argument I could hear from any high school dropout with a bible.

      * No, Scalia isn’t in this category

      • Brian K

        At no point does he say popular opinion proves the devil’s existence, he’s said his faith doesn’t make him unusual. We can’t go arbitrarily screaming “fallacy!” At everyone we disagree with. That puts us on the same footing as those who say “God agrees with me”.

        • AttFinch42

          While I would argue that that is precisely his implication, ad populum wasn’t one of the fallacies I counted. I concede that he doesn’t actually come out and say the idea’s popularity makes it true.

  • ORAXX

    I wonder if Scalia grasps the idea that people who don’t believe in God, don’t believe in the devil either? That’s probably too much for him to get his head around.

    • Randy Meyer

      It’s too much for any God-believer to wrap his/her head around.

  • David Pearce

    To be fair, believing in the devil is no less crazy than believing in god. And I’m pretty sure that in Catholicism it is part of the orthodox dogma, so it would probably be more surprising if he didn’t believe in the devil. And you have to give him points for honesty, admitting at the end that there are plenty of people out there smarter than him!!

    • Robin

      I think this fairy god made up a devil to use as a scapegoat. With a god like the bible has, there really is no need for a devil, he was killing all through the whole book. And the ones he didn’t kill he made pretty miserable and fearful. Who needs a devil when ya got a god like that?

  • decathelite

    Can we talk about your drafting process–
    [Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.

    I’ll bet he learned that after looking in a mirror.

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    The greatest trick The Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he wasn’t Justice Scalia.

    • NonCompassionateLiberal

      Yeah, I too was thinking, that besides being influenced by religious B.S., Scalia fell back on a quote from a movie.

      • Pseudonym

        To be fair, it was an extremely good movie.

        • NonCompassionateLiberal

          Oh yes, I’ve watched it a few times!

          • The Vampire In Pig’s Skin

            What movie was it though?

            • Nancy Shrew

              The Usual Suspects.

            • NonCompassionateLiberal

              “The Usual Suspects” with Kevin Spacey, Benicio Del Toro.

      • trj

        It was Baudelaire who came up with that quote originally.

        • NonCompassionateLiberal

          Thanks for the extra info.

  • TCC

    This is reminding me a lot of The Crucible, of Danforth saying, “Have you seen the devil, Mr. Proctor?” and of Hale exclaiming (upon hearing that Elizabeth Proctor does not believe in witches), “Surely you do not fly in the face of the gospel!” There’s a reason that the interviewer looked at you as though you were strange, Mr. Scalia – you believe this stuff and you’re in a position of power. That’s a truly scary thought.

    • Buckley

      If the times we right, I think he’d fell quite at home in Puritan Massachusetts, except for the part about being Catholic…they’d have burnt him at the stake for that. The Native Americans were thought to be in league with Satan at the time of the Salem Witchcraft Trials and were aided by Jesuits in Catholic Canada. The Puritans didn’t like Catholics.

  • Christian

    “…bases his legal decisions on what the Constitution’s original writers would have wanted…”

    Were he to apply the same logical method to the reading of the Bible, he might fairly quickly conclude that it’s a list of metaphors with the intent of teaching moral lessons to the reader. Not to be taken literally…

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Well, he doesn’t actually apply that method to his Constitutional readings. It’s his excuse. The method he actually uses is, “If I can invoke Constitutionalism Originalism, I do. If I cannot, I conveniently forget it exists.”

      Scalia flat-out said that there was no argument that could make him rule in favor of same-sex marriage. That statement alone disqualifies him from his position, because it’s an admission that he intends to ignore any case that makes his wee-wee feel bad.

      • smrnda

        So much for being open to both sides of an argument.

        Yeah, he basically thinks that the actual intent of the founders must be followed with anything, meaning that I guess free speech only applies to media that existed in the 18th century. The guy’s a nut who should have never been a candidate.

  • Randy Meyer

    According to Family Guy, it’s not the Devil you have to worry about. It’s the Super Devil.

    I wonder if he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Holiday Armadillo too?

  • Anna

    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. … What happened to him?

    Gee, it sounds like he was almost on the right track for a minute. Too bad he didn’t follow that thought to its logical conclusion.

    • Buckley

      I know, the proof of his non-existence is right in front of him in that statement…and then he steps on his Dogma…Such wonderful logic…”The Devil was all over the New Testament, but now he’s not, which leads me to the logical conclusion…that he’s playing world hide-and-seek, and therefor exists even though we haven’t seen him in a while…” LOL

      • Scott F

        The fact that we don’t see him is actually PROOF that he exists. I can imagine how people of only middling intelligence might not be able to see that.

  • Cher

    So, it doesn’t occur to him that it isn’t that the Devil isn’t busy possessing people — we’ve just finally figured out that those “possessed people” were only suffering from mental illness. This mental midget is on the Supreme Court?

  • McFidget

    Honestly this reads like a conversation you might have with the sort of barely coherent guy who comes up to you in the pub asking for cigarettes. He’s a supreme court justice? Really?

  • the moother

    It’s laughable to live in a country where the supreme court is infected by god-bots.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      And not even ones smart enough to be subtle, but who are defended by major news networks anyway.

  • Mario Strada

    I do believe in the devil

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    One of the most amazing things that I have learned from Scalia is that the the founding fathers were apparently all secret catholics who agreed completely with him on social issues.

    • Opinionated Catholic

      Scalia would never say that I suspect

      • Raising_Rlyeh

        He wouldn’t say it, but he seems to know that the founding fathers would agree with him completely on the way he rules on cases.

  • busterggi

    Seriously, persons with the power of a SC judge should not believe in a monster hiding under their beds.

  • Murray Studer

    That’s funny, because I don’t believe in God also means I don’t believe in the Devil, so if the Devil is trying to get people not to believe in God, then his plan backfired on him.

    • UWIR

      Huh?

      • Murray Studer

        If the devil takes away your ability to believe in god, then by logic he also takes away your ability to believe in the devil, so his plan to take your soul backfires because he would have also taken away your ability to believe in the soul, heaven and hell. Therefore, he gets nothing out of it.

        • UWIR

          There are still a few premises that need to be presented, there. Does one have to believe in hell to go there? I don’t think most Christians think so.

  • baal

    I, as an atheist, do not think it’s rational to expect a fair hearing in front of this man. His public adherance to his faith brings into doubt his ability to set aside my atheism and to decide rulings based on the law and the cannons of judicial ethics.

    • Opinionated Catholic

      Actually Scalia has shown quite a bit he follows the law and does not let his Faith dictate

      • baal

        Go read the piece in the NYmag link. You have to do a lot more than flat assertion to change my mind.

        • Opinionated Catholic

          Really I have actually read his opinions. Lets take for instance the partial abortion case. Scalia and thomas strongly telegraphed that too bad no one brought a commerce clause argument. In other word depsite Both Thomas and Scalia finding abortion personally abhorent it appears they might have entertained a comerce clause challenge to the law. However because it appears even the attorneys might have had preconceived notions. Too bad for their clients.

          Also needless to say a cases like Employment Division v. Smith hwere Scalia opinon threw the religious folks into a fit.

          • smrnda

            He only threw minority religious folks into a fit. Though it was an abstract ‘law above religious liberty’ case, I really think that the fact that it was a minority religion sealed the deal.

            All said, the justices of the supreme court are supposed to be totally objective in interpreting the law, and no sensible person can think that is possible. The quantity of justices is kind of a measure of hoping some will be more so than others, but it’s a highly flawed system.

            • Opinionated Catholic

              There was nothing abstract about it. Scalia knew the effect it would have on non minority relgions

              • smrnda

                I meant that I suspect that if the issue had affected a Catholic, he might have decided otherwise on an issue involving religious liberty and the law. My point is that people can pretend to be reasoning by abstract legal principles alone, but that the concrete details including who is affected, definitely affect their decisions. People can try to be objective, but we all fail eventually.

              • Oswald Carnes

                People who admit to being catholic should be shunned.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Try it this way:

                  People who admit to being atheists should be shunned.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Scalia has flat out said that he will not consider at least one argument that runs contrary to his faith. So no.

        • Stev84

          He also said that politicians who are not willing to carry out the Vatican’s commands and vote according to Catholic doctrine should resign.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Please tell me that this is a joke.

      • AxeGrrl

        Uh,……….

        And that’s what it boils down to. Antonin Scalia, a devout Roman Catholic, wants to protest the notion that the symbol of Christianity is somehow inherently religious.

        This is surprisingly common among conservative Christians who seek government sponsorship. The Ten Commandments, they say, aren’t really religious, so there’s no problem with the government promoting them.

        The Unambiguous Meaning Of A Cross

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/07/25/how-justice-antonin-scalia-is-imposing-catholic-morality-in-the-supreme-court-and-getting-away-with-it/

        Also worth reading. The takeaway from this is that “Originalism” doesn’t actually exist as a philosophy of Constitutional interpretation, because it’s irrelevant. All it is is a rationalization for certain behaviors by whomever claims to be an Originalist.

  • C Peterson

    For a man in his position who made the claim that Loki was running around corrupting people, or that Cthulhu was running around corrupting people, or that vampires were killing Americans, a way would be found to remove him from office. Yet he can make the same claim about another imaginary creature (two, counting God) and get away with it. Ridiculous!

    • Mitch

      How dare you blaspheme against Dread Cthulhu! His slumber will end, and from the sea He shall rise!

      • advancedatheist

        H.P. Lovecraft, the hero of nerdy adult virgin men everywhere.

        • Mitch

          Haha, fair enough.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Given Lovecraft’s propensity for making up reasons why people different from him were inferior to him, I’m surprised you don’t appreciate him more.

          • advancedatheist

            I don’t deny that I come from the gutter. I imagine Lovecraft shared H.L. Mencken’s disdain for the “wrong” sort of British-American tribe I come from, namely, the North Britons/Scots-Irish ruffians who settled in the Southern highlands and adjacent regions and became the ancestors of the hillbillies, rednecks and crackers. But Lovecraft and Mencken had both died before the U.S. government realized that the Southern white population had a lot of undeveloped cognitive potential, probably as a result of the IQ testing of draftees during the Second World War. Many poor white Southerners wound up working in the space program, regardless of the fact that they grew up as shoeless farm boys, because they had the cognitive goods to benefit from higher education and training, and they could figure out how to make the rockets work.

        • baal

          I might be nerdy but I’m far from a virgin. If you knew what I did on weekends you’d run screaming from the room.

          I love his writing for its shear over the top insanity and as a running gag to counter christian assertions that share about the same amount of validity.

          I sincerely hope you don’t also love Lovecraft and the craft of love or I’ll have to reconsider both.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Do… do you keep a pictorial blog, maybe?

            Lovecraft stories are fuckaciously boring, but they have amazing payoffs. I’d slog through one and then get a thrill at the very end that would last for weeks. A big exception to that was the part preceding the climax in At The Mountains of Madness where the protagonist returns to base camp to find his entire team slaughtered by alien monstrosities, and he feels pity for both sides because the circumstances are such that he knows the aliens couldn’t possibly have realized what was going on when they woke up surrounded by monstrous-looking, panicking humans and maddened sled dogs.

            • baal

              My weekends get posted now and then but I’m not sharing where. I don’t take photos of the lovecraftian activities, however.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                *sad puppy eyes*

                Wait… you imply that those are two different things. Sounds fishy.

        • John

          Given some of your remarks about women, I suspect that’s a bit of a pot-kettle situation.

          • Spuddie

            Or and admission of fandom. =)

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Afraid not. If he was a fan, he’d likely have noticed that I was referring to Lovecraft’s raving hatred of “mixed breeds” and minorities, rather than his overall dehumanizing contempt for poor rural people. Google Lovecraft’s poem about “niggers” and you’ll see all you’ll ever need, though you’ve likely noticed it in the stories.

              I came back here to apologize to AA, because I couldn’t remember him actually writing anything racist, then I saw the response…

      • UWIR

        If someone claims to have met Cthulhu, there are two main possibilities:

        Cthulu doesn’t exist and they haven’t met Cthulu, in which case they’re insane

        Cthulu does exist and they have met him, in which case they’re insane

    • Art_Vandelay

      That’s exactly right. In a rational society, it would be absolutely ludicrous for a man who walks around thinking “Isn’t the Devil wily?” to be able to make decisions regarding our civil liberties. Yet, here we are. Don’t blame Scalia for being a loon though. Every person belonging to this cult of Christianity that affects this country is guilty for willfully choosing ignorance and protecting these whack jobs instead of resigning them to the sidelines where they should be while the critical thinkers get to make the big boy decisions.

  • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

    Scalia is forgetting an important detail: It’s not just the devil who was all over the place in the Bible but is now invisible, but also god. Why aren’t we seeing resurrections, pillars of fire, and splitting seas anymore? Why has god gone into hiding, too? Is god also trying to trick people into not believing and going to Hell?

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      IIRC, that’s the reason Jesus used parables–NOT to make complex theology easier for rubes to understand, as modern Christians mistakenly think he did (and as they then try to emulate with astonishingly awful “parables” they make up on their own), but rather to make it harder for people to understand what he was talking about so only the right people would understand, embrace what he was saying, and get forgiveness. (Matthew 13:13-15, also Mark 4:12).

    • Ron

      Word on the street has it the big G checked into rehab to deal with his unresolved anger management issues.

      • Kevin_Of_Bangor

        He is busy trying to bang Janet but Jesus keeps calling.

  • Rain

    It’s because he’s smart.

    Yeah, you don’t see no fancy devil stuff anymore because he’s too smart. Way smarter than he used to be in the olden days. Brilliant legal mind there.

    I didn’t say atheists are the Devil’s work.

    Yeah, you never said nothin like that at all. How dumb of anyone to think so! A brilliant legal “gotcha” by the brilliant legal mind.

  • Timothy R Alexander

    “I mean Jesus christ believed in the devil.”

    Well, I guess that proves it. Sorry about the disbelief and all. Dumbass

    • Persephone

      Harry Potter believed in Lord Voldemort.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        All three comments here are complete win, but I wuvs yours most of all.

    • UWIR

      Plus, Jesus believed in Jesus. Checkmate!

  • Denis Robert

    He believes in the Devil so much that he’s ended up emulating him…

  • ufo42

    The devil is so wily that he’s taken on the appearance and position of a bonehead Supreme Court justice named Scalia! :)

    • Guest

      Ah, I get the Wile E. Coyote reference now. I read that post before this one.

  • advancedatheist

    The satan belief never needed self-styled satanists to promote it. Christians have done the job all too well.

    In fact, christians have done their job more than too well. By attributing all this awesomeness to satan, why do christians then act surprised when some people begin to wonder if satan can successfully defy god because he has his own power base? Christian propaganda about satan even suggests the idea that satan represents an alternative point of view which might have some things in its favor.

    • anniewhoo

      Well, if I were a character in the bible and had to meet up with either god or the devil, I’d go with the devil. I’d have a better chance at getting out alive.

  • Opinionated Catholic

    Great Interview. I actually think Scalia would like to go clarify what he mean about the meaning of words but again a glimpse why he is such a favorite when he speaks at Law Schools

    • baal

      You mean when he goes out of his way to attempt to belittle gay men?

      • Opinionated Catholic

        Where did he belitle gay men?

        • baal

          When doesn’t he? for one instance, see here.

    • smrnda

      I can’t see what he said in this case of substance. He argues that the devil exists in spite of the lack of evidence for the devil.

      Yeah, he clarifies a bit, but he says nothing you can’t get out of a Catechism book, and given how much you have to clarify to define say, mathematical terms, his talk about the devil is person-in-the-street average, nothing special.

  • Opinionated Catholic

    ” Justice Antonin Scalia bases his legal decisions on what the Constitution’s original writers would have wanted, regardless of what society may think or believe today. (Somehow, in his mind, that legal theory can apply to technologies that only became available in the past few years as well as social changes that couldn’t have been anticipated when our nation was founded.)”

    Scalia has a radical theory that such changedshould be made by the Congress o rby amendment . NOT by unelected Judges with life long tenure and their law clerks that are too many years from having to deal with acne issues

    Hey Originalism Atheists SPEAK up. I know u have to be out there since I know several even within the bible belt :)

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      He isn’t actually an Originalist. He invokes Originalism when it’s convenient, and ignores it when it runs counter to his personal beliefs.

      • Opinionated Catholic

        Every Justice on the court is a tad inconsistent at times with their overarching theory. I thought one of the more interesting parts of this interview was Scalia attempting to adress it

        • Spuddie

          You are assuming every justice has an “overarching theory”.

          For the most part, they rule according to their interpretations of the law on a given subject and set of facts. You are implying that partisan behavior from the Supreme Court is the norm. Far from it. It is neither expected nor part of the job.

          Scalia on the other hand, being an intellectual midget just looks for justifying the results he wants and makes crap up. He votes and writes for a specific partisan end. It makes his decisions inherently suspect on their face.

    • smrnda

      Originalism is a logically inconsistent position since it requires perfect knowledge of the intent of people who are long dead. It also tends to read into legislation things that are not actually in the text.

    • UWIR

      While I sympathize with the idea that Hemant’s treatment of originalism is overly dismissive, you are doing rather poorly as an advocate. Your post is barely readable, and legally flawed. Amendments are proposed by Congress, but they are not passed by Congress; they are passed by the states. And judges are chosen through democratic processes.

    • Spuddie

      Scalia is trying to ignore 200 years of the Supreme Court doing its job. It is a radical theory only that he is trying to undermine his own authority.

      He makes shit up about “original intent” of the Founders as if it has legal weight greater than legal precedent and modern interpretations of the Constitution. He makes up whatever comes to mind what “original intent” was.

      All in all, its always an excuse to tow whatever conservative line is out there for the case before him. He has zero consistency in his rulings beyond trying to achieve partisan results

  • UWIR

    Justice Antonin Scalia: The Devil is ‘Getting People Not to Believe in Him or in God’

    I think that it’s sad that Scalia believes in ancient superstitions and is controlled by groundless fears. It really is okay to say “to not believe”, Scalia. That “don’t split the infinitive” stuff is nonsense.

  • Msironen

    The whole Devil doctrine makes no sense to me, since it absolutely undermines anything and everything else Christianity teaches. If you believe that there is a supernatural trickster/deceiver, there can be no belief that isn’t subject to the possibility of being a deception.

    I think many believers would claim that there are a number of things that the Devil cannot say/do (such as invoking something holy like “Jesus’ name” or some such thing) so we can know some things (such as us having been redeemed by Jesus’ death on the cross) but this just shows they are stuck on the very first level of analysis; all of these supposed limitations of the Devil could just be another deception of his.

    I would go as far to say that if there is a supernatural being that for some reason enjoys sowing confusion and misery, it would almost certainly be the originator of most if not all religion (being well capable of predicting all the religious strife).

  • AxeGrrl

    I, just……wow.

  • # zbowman

    So the reason that the age of video cameras and youtube and peer review has no evidence for the Devil…is that the Devil’s gotten smarter. The sheer lack of evidence shows how powerful he is, and how good at hiding!

    I’m sure I’ve heard this line of thinking from 9/11 truthers and David Icke believers, too.

  • IAmAGuest

    “Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.”

    Many more intelligent people than you or me has been and is nazis, racist, sexist, rapists, murderers, dictators, slave owners, ignorant… fucktards.

  • God’s Starship

    The thing I never get about the Devil is that he’s supposedly god’s enemy, undermining his works on earth, while simultaneously doing him a big favor by taking the souls fickle god doesn’t want in his special kingdom.

  • Ton_Chrysoprase

    I don’t get that he is referred to as an intellectual. This vague appeal to an unspecified authority is as vacuous as arguments can get. But then again there seems to be a tendency of late to confound genius with a lazy mindset that slowly and loudly repeats simple narratives and heuristics and thus appear to convey intellectual consistency.

    • baal

      I didn’t agree with Scalia’s earlier stuff but much of it was brilliantly written. In the last 3 years or so, he’s been on one Koch Bros. fueled junket after another and has turned into a Faux News personality. He simply doesn’t care to spend the effort to appear reasonable anymore. He’s take a long walk off a short pier into the right wing loony fringe.

      • Ton_Chrysoprase

        I’ll have to take your word for it. My acquaintance with his utterances is more recent and underwhelming.

  • Duane

    What’s worse, all the members of the Supreme Court seem to believe in the American Justice system, and think that the Supreme Court has some legitimate place in it.

  • CultOfReason

    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.

    [Justice Antonin Scalia], what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. (From Billy Madison)

  • De Burke

    How… How is this man a judge? Surely anyone he convicts could appeal on the basis that the presiding judge was mentally incompetent. After all, if he believes in the literal existence of Satan with no proof what’s to stop him from believing the in the guilt of a defendant with no proof?

    • Spuddie

      When you are a Supreme, there are no appeals. No accountability except to history and your doctor.

  • Kodie

    Can we talk about your drafting process–

    [Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.

    I don’t really understand. Someone is asking intelligent interview questions about what a Supreme Court Justice’s job is like and how he does it, and he answers a line of inquiry about his process with a secretive confessional babble about the devil, and then the interviewer proceeds with this detour seriously. It’s just very strange.

    Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?

    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?

    “You’re looking at me as though I’m weird.” Yes I am, you whack-a-doo! I am looking at all of the grown-ups in America who believe in the devil as though they are weird, but you have a rare authority to make important decisions for all of us, and you live in a deluded fantasy world. I think it’s terribly frightening to rest important decision on someone who does believe in the devil – is it scarier than the devil? Yes, the devil isn’t real.

    This is the same concept as people who think atheists should shut up if we don’t believe in it and let the people who do believe in peace. This isn’t peace. This is an example of un-peace. This is where the question of what’s real and what isn’t comes into effect: people; believers with power. Then we can say, god isn’t real, the devil isn’t real, but Supreme Court Justices are real.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      It says a lot about how religious privilege affects society that his behavior didn’t even seem odd for even a theist to me at first. But it is, it’s more than odd even; it’s downright creepy. This is how obsessive conspiracy theorists act.

      It isn’t even a stretch, based on just this interview and nothing else, to assume that Scalia is going senile and paranoid and has decided that the Devil is everywhere and out to drag him down. His actual argument is that the lack of evidence is itself positive evidence; again, that’s what conspiracy theorists say.

      Plus, the Devil’s entire reason for being what he is falls apart if he is not actively attacking humans. Someone so psychotic as to harm all humanity, for all eternity, over his grievance with God, and so close to effectively omniscient as to carry out the deeds and plans ascribed to him, is not going to suddenly sit back entirely and hope that victims come to him on the assumption that becoming his victim is the default position.

      Scalia is saying that the Devil is lazy, stupid and unmotivated. And he claims to know Catholic doctrine?

  • Matt D

    The “devil” is always powerful enough when it suits their needs, isn’t he? It’s like the perfect patsy, actually.

  • Matt D

    I think it’s time to splice some “Church Lady” clips from SNL with Scalia’s comments. Nothing like a little humor to diffuse an awkward situation!

  • Spuddie

    I still don’t get where they get the whole “intellectual giant” thing about Scalia. He has penned some of the most intellectually dishonest, doublespeaking, arbitrary crap to ever come out of SCOTUS.

  • BoGardiner

    This excerpt omitted the next sentence, which is actually the line that struck me the most.

    The reporter’s next comment was: “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’s reply: “I was offended by that. I really was.”

    So, right after he essentially said to this reporter’s face that she was led by the Devil, he sternly tells her he is “offended” by her surprise at his saying so. What could more blatantly exemplify how saturated Americans are in their Christian majority privilege?

  • idahogie

    “The Devil is ‘Getting People Not to Believe in Him or in God”

    The devil kind of reminds me of the Republicans. The GOP is trying to get people not to believe in the GOP or the Democrats. They are happy when people give up and declare that they’re all corrupt or equally inefficient.

    • OutWest Landowner

      And the godless Democrats remind me of the ACLU and their LGBT lobby.

      • idahogie

        And I have a stalker. A very stupid one.

        • OutWest Landowner

          Oh Danny boy. Behave yourself with your insults. Us smarter people have higher paying jobs than you do and will do everything we can to oppose your godless liberal takeover of our peaceful community.

          • idahogie

            See? What an idiot.

            • OutWest Landowner

              So your great liberal mind is left to a quivering mass of flabbergasted insults. Too bad you are going to be furloughed by the government shutdown foisted on our country by your messiah squatter of the Whitehouse. I won’t be.

              • idahogie

                Jesus … how do you get rid of such a moronic stalker? Anyone have any advice?

                • OutWest Landowner

                  Exactly like this. Since you thought it was great to insult, slander, and bully all the folks in our community that was against the posts to our local news organizations you made to further your immoral cause, I am enjoying letting you feel the same pressure. Since I know your liberal approach to indecent debate, I expect to receive only insult and lies from you. Agree to behave and I will do the same. I doubt you are capable of doing so.

                • idahogie

                  Keep it up, you ass. You’re only making yourself look like a bigger ignorant fool.

                • OutWest Landowner

                  Oww, that hurts… your creditability – LMAO.

                • OutWest Landowner

                  How hilarious, an avowed atheist invoking the name of our Lord.

      • RobMcCune

        Sadly the Democrats aren’t godless, though it’s good to hear that they remind you of other good things.

  • diogeneslamp0

    Uh, Mr. Devil? Justice Antonin Scalia sez he’s got all your plans figurd out. Could u plz give him ass cancer? Kthnx!

    [Tweeted from Diogeneslamp0]

  • Mario Rodgers

    “I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession all over the place.” Of course! It’s got to be that and not the fact that demons don’t exist!

    Moron.

  • TommyNIK

    Some of his responses sound like something a grade school child would say, and that’s exactly who I would say is being interviewed if I didn’t know it was a SCOTUS justice.

  • diogeneslamp0

    What’s disgusting about Scalia is what’s disgusting about creationism in general. It isn’t really the supernatural beliefs– so he believes in a horned goat-hoofed man running in the woods, so what? What I loathe about this is that he’s playing psychoanalyst and anthropologist. He knows what you’re thinking and what your life is like even without evidence.

    The presumptuousness of this a**hole: “Are you so out of touch with most of America… You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America.” The correct response to that is, “&!%$ you, you senile a**hole, how the hell would you know anything about “mainstream America”? The circles you travel in are corrupt junkets paid for by fascist billionaires like the Kochs. How dare you call some middle-class journalist “out of touch”? You travel around the world on the private jets of your corporate patrons whom you paid back so handsomely in the Citizens United decision– those are your circles. You wouldn’t know mainstream America if it bit on your corrupt a**.”

    The fact that this corrupt pol (that’s what he is) thinks he’s an excellent judge of character, and he can freakin read minds, is a goddamn problem for the whole USA. A judge needs to be a good judge of character. But a judge who’s a terrible judge of character AND is so egomaniacal that he thinks he’s a good judge of character is a curse on our whole country.

    • Heidi McClure

      I was with you right up until the fat shaming. Not cool.

      • diogeneslamp0

        Fair enough criticism. Edited to remove offensive language. Next time I will leave it out.

  • tonylocn

    “I am the Devil. My power is almost equal to God. My mission is to corrupt the human race. I’ll make some pigs jump off a cliff.”
    Is there not some kind of Satanic training manual?

  • Manny Hernandez

    Scalia would be happier in Iran or Saudi Arabia (and so would we, for that matter) . I guess when he saw The Exorcist he though it was a documentary. This is sad and should shame us all.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Why don’t people stop, think for two seconds, and realize that the Devil has an incredibly implausible raison d’etre from every angle, even if God were real?

  • Michael j Walsh

    I’d say Justice Antonin Scalia has a book to publish and a load of debts to clear and that’s why he’s talking such a load of gibberish. The man just needs cash.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      I agree that he’s laying out gibberish bait for fundamentalists, but what debts would he have?

  • Rob

    Justice Scalia is as hypocritical as anybody else. He claims to be an originalist, but ignores it if i doesn’t suit his agenda. He says he is a strong Catholic, bu approves of the death penalty which the Catholic Church is firmly against.

  • Rob

    Alos, in he interview, Justice Scalia gets a Biblical sory wrong. He says that the devil caused a herd of pigs to jump off a cliff. The story is that Jesus casted the demons out of a man and into the herd of pigs, who then leap off a cliff. Seems to me it was Jesus, not the devil that caused this mass porcine suicide.


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