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Humanist Fellowship of San Diego Message Board › Antonin Scalia: Capitalism Requires 'Traditional Christian Virtues' To Succeed

Antonin Scalia: Capitalism Requires 'Traditional Christian Virtues' To Succeed

A former member
Post #: 34
Reprinted from HuffPost:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made an appearance at the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas on Friday, where he claimed that the success of capitalism was deeply tied to the nation's religious values.

"While I would not argue that capitalism as an economic system is inherently more Christian than socialism ... it does seem to me that capitalism is more dependent on Christianity than socialism is," Scalia, a devout Catholic, said during his speech, according to the Houston Chronicle. "For in order for capitalism to work -- in order for it to produce a good and a stable society -- the traditional Christian virtues are essential."

Scalia went on to suggest that expanding government involvement in charity came at the expense of the power of Christian churches.

"The governmentalization of charity affects not just the donor but also the recipient. What was once asked as a favor is now demanded as an entitlement," he said. "The transformation of charity into legal entitlement has produced donors without love and recipients without gratitude. ... It's not my place or my purpose to criticize these developments, only to observe that they do not suggest the expanding role of government is good for Christianity."

During a later question-and-answer session, the Chronicle reported that Scalia railed against the Constitution's establishment clause, which declares that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

"The most disreputable area of our law is the establishment clause," he said, responding to a question about "the greatest miscarriage of constitutional justice" during his tenure. "A violation of the establishment clause that does not affect someone's free exercise -- there is no reason why you should have standing."

Scalia has long believed that the establishment clause shouldn't disqualify religious beliefs from being given a voice in the public square, including in schools. In one of his more notable opinions on the issue, Scalia argued in Edwards v. Aguillard that the constitutional clause shouldn't be used to forbid legislators from acting "upon their religious convictions." In his dissent, Scalia defended the constitutionality of Louisiana’s Creation Science Act, which held that any public school curriculum that taught evolution must be accompanied by creationism.

Read more from on Scalia's speech over at the Houston Chronicle.
A former member
Post #: 35
Apparently the Sermon on the Mount was deleted from Scalia's Bible, or maybe I was never privy to the "Holy Bible: The Capitalist Edition". Scalia is probably referring to the cultural, Protestant work ethic. I have always felt that Jesus was more of a Socialist... but maybe that's because Capitalism wasn't an option back in ancient Judea? [a little sarcasm]

Does Scalia believe in the miracles, virgin birth, resurrection, etc??? It is one thing to talk about Christianity as a cultural phenomenon, but something entirely different to believe the fundamental theology.
Wilfredo P.
user 11974495
Chula Vista, CA
Post #: 170

Perhaps Scalia should read Matthew 25:34-46: Feed the hungry! Clothe the naked! Give water to the thirsty! Welcome strangers! Care for the sick! Visit the imprisoned!

But then again, Scalia is a Catholic, and most Catholics know little about the Bible.

Jesus had no wealth. He had no possessions. He was (allegedly) born in a manager, not a palace. His mother, Mary, did not have wealth. They both lived simply. What did Jesus think of the idea of the rich giving to the poor?

"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. (Matthew 19:21-22)


Group Organizer
Menlo Park, CA
Post #: 93
Thanks Mike for posting this. I'm not surprised, but still disappointed.
A former member
Post #: 36
"The governmentalization of charity affects not just the donor but also the recipient. What was once asked as a favor is now demanded as an entitlement," he [Scalia] said.

Kinda the same way I feel about my taxes although I never felt like my taxes were a "favor". Perhaps at Scalia's social/economic level , taxes are seen as favors... they get them all back with interest!
A former member
Post #: 35
Let's take a look at this entitlement. But first, look what Scalia's summarizing statement is: expanding government is reducing the POWER of Christianity. Well said! And how wonderful! If the only way for Christianity to maintain its powerful hold over people is to hold the purse strings that control the survival of the poor--you must convert to our beliefs to get basic food, housing, or health care--then it is a weak message indeed. And if the churches are doing what they do to get gratitude, shame on them. I think there should be a certain amount of entitlement. Being poor is demeaning enough. I went through a tough time where my only way to make it was to rely on food stamps. The woman who was my contact treated me like trash. I was shocked; she used to be one of my best clients. When she finally LOOKED at me and recognized me as her veterinarian, her entire demeanor changed, and she became the bubbly, friendly person I knew at the clinic. Before, she was cold, closed, unseeing, as if I were made of cardboard. Who in their right mind would be grateful for that kind of treatment? But I'd take it any day over a pasted on Christian smile served up with a dollop of superstitious extortion--my supposed soul for food. Let me ask this: if Christian charity is such a great thing, why is it losing its power? That implies that people are choosing government assistance religious-based handouts. Is this true?
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