What The Mean-Spirited Reaction To Justice Antonin Scalia’s Death Reveals About Our Country
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on Saturday. In no time at all, the world took to Twitter as it always does, because everyone feels the need these days to express every thought they have about every single thing.
Despite the fact that Scalia was a real man with an actual family, cruel comments immediately filled social media from those who disagreed with his opinions and beliefs. They claimed that they were happy he was dead, that he will burn in hell now, and that there are other conservatives who need to follow him there.
Antonin Scalia with his wife Maureen Scalia and their 9 children in the 1980s.
When something like this happens, it’s telling about where we are in this country, morally and spiritually.
1. We are hard.
Social media has had a huge hand in making us cold and mean in our ways of dealing with one another. It’s so easy to look at a computer screen and fire off something that will irreparably damage a family, a relationship, a sense of worth. We are rude and have no respect for each other in any way. All sense of civilized discourse is quickly being replaced with bitter and cruel and hateful speech that should make us all cringe. We are being hardened by our lack of face to face interaction, so while we are supposedly more connected than ever, we have never been so out of tune with each other as human beings.
As Christians, we should: Lead the way in kind and respectful communication online. We should not be caught engaging in personal attacks or in rude language or coarse criticism. Yes, this includes our comments about politicians. We can and should express our opinions when it’s important to, but let’s remember that it’s not always important or necessary to post every idea or thought on social media. When we do, and we have something negative to communicate about something, let’s do so in a way that still shows some sense of decency. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26
2. We have a serious lack of respect for human life.
Hashtags like #blacklivesmatter carry no weight at all if we turn around and cheer when an old white guy (who happens to be a Supreme Court Justice) dies. Either life matters, or it doesn’t. We can’t have it both ways. And, the reactions to Scalia’s death show that we have no sense of the value of a human being’s life. It’s a sick way for us to conduct ourselves, and it’s unnatural. In the very core of who we are, we are imprinted with the truth that human life is precious, and every single one means something. But, our abortion culture has undermined that truth so often and for so long that we are acting as if only lives that we deem important, only the humans that think like we do, only the people who we approve of should be mourned in death.
As Christians, we should: Speak of life in terms of something ordained by God and sustained by God. We should always try to see our fellow human beings (even those who don’t agree with us) as made in God’s image, because they are. And, we should always stand up for unborn life. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
3. We have lost all sense of social politeness.
Antonin Scalia has a family. He has friends. People who were close to him are going through a terrible time of grieving and shock. Just a few years ago, almost everyone would put political views aside in order to offer condolences to his family, to respectfully acknowledge the decades of his life that he gave to this country, and to just basically be a decent person.
Instead, people took to social media and said horrible things. This is because we care more about our ourselves and what we feel like doing than we do about how other people are feeling. Polite behavior and civilized interaction with others used to be one way we were morally obligated to be kind to each other. Instead, now politeness is just considered repression of our way-too-frequently-expressed stupid opinions. No one is so important that their personal opinion of Scalia mattered more this weekend than showing proper respect for a respectable man and his grieving family.
As Christians, we should: Always be kind first. Always strive to make people feel comfortable, important, cared for, loved. Express opinions at the appropriate times, but think first about others’ feelings and how we can show love and respect for each other. Politeness isn’t dead in Christianity. We call it hospitality. Be hospitable in person and on social media. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
The bottom line is that our society is getting more godless every day. People have worked hard to push God and Christian beliefs to the very fringes of our culture. The reactions to Scalia’s death are just one way that we are seeing the fruit of these efforts. The more that God is removed from American society, the more we will see godlessness and evil take hold in our country. The days ahead are likely to be difficult ones for Christian people. But, we don’t ever have reason to lose hope. God is faithful, and He is still firmly in control of everything, including the United States of America.