Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave the commencement address at his daughter’s high school. In his speech, he made fun of a lot of graduation clichés like, “Never compromise your principles,” and, “To thine own self be true.” However, one part of his speech may have revealed more about his religious right leanings than we previously knew.
Humanity has been around for at least some 5,000 years or so, and I doubt that the basic challenges as confronted are any worse now, or alas even much different, from what they ever were.
Did he just out himself as a young-earth creationist? Scalia is one of the most conservative members of the Supreme Court and a known member of the religious right. Having a faith, in and of itself, should not disqualify anybody from anything, even if it’s a strong faith. However, when that faith affects your work, especially if you’re in charge of interpreting the U.S. Constitution, then it’s a problem.
How do we know this has happened? In 1987, he opposed the majority decision of Edwards v. Aguillard, the case that ruled teaching creationism in schools was a violation of the separation of church and state. In his dissent on that case, Scalia said that all that mattered was the state legislators believed in creation science. Whether they were right or wrong was irrelevant, as was the fact that many supporters had religious motivations. All that was needed for constitutional purposes was a belief that creationism is science.
So, it’s not too much of a stretch to believe that he thinks the Earth is only 6,000 years old or so, and that belief affects his judgment (no pun intended). Sadly, this is a fringe view, but the young-earth creationists have gotten extremely loud, which makes things worse for everyone because they’re creating a controversy that shouldn’t be there. People like Ken Hamm and places like the Institute for Creation Research have manufactured this huge controversy over evolution, and it’s hurting our education system and our lawmaking processes.
Besides being a young-earth creationist, Scalia believes that the devil is a real person and is convincing people to believe in him instead of the Christian god, according to Think Progress. Mentioning young-earth creationism at a commencement address, though, even one at a religious school, makes him sound unfit to be a Supreme Court justice. At best, it makes him sound ridiculous, because of his position as a Supreme Court justice.