Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in his sleep. Since then, conversations immediately addressed his potential successor, his past decisions, and the possibility of foul play in his death. While all of these subject matters are appropriate conversations to have, I feel like a lot of people, media pundits, and presidential hopefuls simply forgot to pay adequate respect to a man who served 30 years in the highest court of the land.
What has happened to our nation?
I like to think that there was a time in our nation’s history when we wept together at the loss of a faithful man in office. As I think back in my life, it’s hard to remember the last time we, as a nation, wept at the loss of an individual. I guess the last time I can think of is when Ronald Reagan passed away in 2004. It was all over the news and, as a nation, we seemed to feel the sense of loss across the board.
Where has that sense of loss gone?
Mere hours after news of Justice Scalia’s passing, three conversations dominated the news. First, would congress block any of President Obama’s nominations, was there foul play in Scalia’s death, and whether or not people liked some of the rulings Scalia made in his nearly thirty years on the bench. Most of these conversations began with the obligatory tip of the hat to the family and a few sentences of “respect.” Then, they moved on to the “juicy” story.
Worse than that, Twitter swarmed with the vilest of comments from people celebrating…yes, celebrating…Scalia’s passing. I am thankful that on February 13, President Obama ordered that flags be flown at half staff, but did anyone comply? I can’t remember seeing one flown at half mast, and I only knew they had been ordered at half mast because I researched it for this post.
What has happened to us?
Have we lost all respect, honor, and appreciation for those who diligently and faithfully serve our nation? Have we lost all reverence for humanity and empathy for families who are mourning their loss? Are we this conceited, egotistical, and self absorbed?
We Must Pay Respect
As believers in Christ, we should not succumb to the temptation to wallow into this mud pit. There are certainly issues we can debate. We can vehemently support our favorite presidential candidates and we can passionately oppose those we don’t. Still, recognizing that life is inherently valuable, and government officials are ordained by God (Romans 13), we should be respectful.
To those who bash Obama, Congress, and other government officials: Please stop it! You can have informed conversations about the issues without being disrespectful and hateful to the individuals. At the end of the day, elected and public officials serve us. We may not like it, but their job is to serve the people of these United States. That, alone, is worthy of our national respect.
Thank You, Justice Antonin Scalia
Rather than wade into the scum of discussing Scalia’s successor, or who should get to pick that individual, I simply want to say: Thank you. Thank you to those bloggers, media pundits, and social media users who resisted the temptation to dishonor a servant of the United States of America.
Thank you to the family of Justice Antonin Scalia. You no doubt supported, sustained, and endured the difficulty that comes with a man serving his country for thirty years. You made sacrifices of time, energy, and personal liberty to serve your country. Thank You. Our hearts and prayers go out to you as you mourn your loss.
Finally, to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, thank you for your willingness to sit on the bench and serve. Thank you for fighting for constitutional purity and for bearing the weight of the judgement of the highest court in our land. You served these United States of America faithfully for thiry years and for that we all owe you our deepest gratitude.
Thank you, Justice Antonin Scalia.