Dear Chief Justice Roberts,
I write you as a fellow American and fellow human being and as a fellow Christian on this day of the March On For Voting Rights. I also write you as your elder and as a priest for over 53 years. I write you because I am deeply worried about your soul.
I am speaking of your leadership in gutting the Civil Rights Act in two cases that your Supreme Court ruled on in your years of being Chief Justice. I presume you are witnessing, as I and 350 million other Americans are, the tsunami of efforts in state legislatures around the country to reinvent our election laws to ensure that people of color, as in the days of Jim Crow that preceded the Civil Rights Voting Act of 1965, find it as difficult as possible to vote. Even the counting of the votes by neutral and professional voting clerks are being tossed aside in favor of state legislatures’ choosing their own vote counters. And leaving to themselves the right to actually overturn election results that they don’t like.
Given this destruction of American democracy and this affront to everything the civil rights movement accomplished sixty years ago with all of its martyrs and brave marchers and thousands who suffered beatings and jailings and even death to bring about an advance in justice and democracy, I wonder what you are thinking as you watch the news these days. Do you see what I see? Does it not rip your heart wide open and make your head spin? Do you take responsibility for your actions and your sins in tossing the hard-earned Civil Rights Act of 1965 and making way for this avalanche of democratic horrors, this re-writing of what is left of our democracy?
Yes, I am worried for your soul. As Supreme Court Chief Justice, you have been given great powers and responsibilities. All this has happened on your watch and under your leadership. I cannot imagine that, if you are seeing the news (on other than Fox news of course) and seeing what the rest of us are seeing, you do not feel a deep, deep complicity in all this abuse of our democracy that is going on in state houses, thanks to two decisions you effected. Is there remorse in your soul as you watch the fruits of your labor at work in our country today?
I wonder where your conscience is at. It is not enough, as a public figure with a public responsibility to protect the Constitution under which 350 million of us live, that you go to a private confession to be forgiven sins like this. You need to contribute to a public undoing of your unjust decision-making that is truly imperiling the future of American democracy. Maybe some sackcloth and ashes are in order, as was the case in our religion 1700 years ago. That is the penance I would subscribe for you, were you to come to confession to me. Or something equally compelling. Like resigning from your job.
I pray for you and your soul and for the future of democracy in America and that judges cleanse their souls of bigotry, racism and unjust decision-making that turns the clock back and impacts hundreds of millions of people for generations to come. And do so publicly.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox
See Matthew Fox, The Reinvention of Work.
Also see Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Also see Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society
Banner Image: The Roberts Court, April 23, 2021 Seated from left to right: Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Standing from left to right: Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett. Photograph by Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States. On Wikimedia Commons.
For the transcript of Matthew’s video teaching, click HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood For Our Time
Thomas Aquinas said, “To live well is to work well,” and in this bold call for the revitalization of daily work, Fox shares his vision of a world where our personal and professional lives are celebrated in harmony–a world where the self is not sacrificed for a job but is sanctified by authentic “soul work.”
“Fox approaches the level of poetry in describing the reciprocity that must be present between one’s inner and outer work…[A]n important road map to social change.” ~~ National Catholic Reporter
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.
“Wisdom, Grace, Love” – a 3-part online lecture series by Caroline Myss, Andrew Harvey, and Matthew Fox, September 8, 15, and 22, 3:00-4:30 pm Pacific (GMT/UTC-7). Learn more HERE.