Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia believes in the devil.
You believe in heaven and hell?
Oh, of course I do. Don’t you believe in heaven and hell?
Does that mean I’m not going?
[Laughing.] Unfortunately not!
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.
But you don’t have to be a Catholic to get into heaven? Or believe in it?
Of course not!
Oh. So you don’t know where I’m going. Thank God.
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?
Can we talk about your drafting process—
[Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.
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.
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.
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.
Jesus fucking christ. I’m speechless.
The power of speech returns to me. That interview by Scalia is pure religiously driven anti-intellectualism — he short-circuits reasoned thought about an issue to fall back on dogma, the doctrine of the Catholic church, and on popular opinion — hey, lots of good Catholics believe in the devil, therefore my belief is justified.
The Catholic church also believes witches should be killed. Does he believe in witches, then, and does he agree that they deserve the death penalty? If a million Catholics thought it was a good idea to strangle a puppy before breakfast, would Scalia be making daily trips to the animal shelter?
This view of Scalia’s is the antithesis of mine. When I was a church-going kid, the final straw for me was going through confirmation classes and being told that good Lutherans had to believe in every word of the Nicene creed. I did not say, “I’m a good Lutheran, therefore I believe this.” I looked critically at what I was asked to believe, judged whether it was true and reasonable, and decided, “I do not believe any of this, therefore I am not a Lutheran.” Or a Christian of any kind, for that matter.
Scalia is a mindless ape. Why is he on the Supreme Court again? Oh, yeah, he was appointed by that senile evil goon, Reagan.