Evil and the Deadly Sins of the (once) Supreme Court

Three judges who objected to the Dobbs decision called it embarrassing.  And it is.  And will be for all time.  An insult to the Supreme Court itself, to jurisprudence, to all the decent judges who created Row vs Wade 49 years ago and Casey as well.  

Progressive Faith Leaders, including Jamie Manson of Catholics for Choice and the National Catholic Reporter, share thoughts on abortion. Originally posted to YouTube by Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

It will unravel America, since our system depends on respect for jurisprudence and that includes the once Supreme Court.  Just as Hildegard of Bingen, as we saw yesterday, pictures the anti-Christ as five beasts (yes, five—as in five Supreme Court judges) gnawing at the ropes that keep society together.

Let us examine the sins of the Dobbs decision using my method in examining and transforming evil, a method that blends Eastern and Western wisdom, honoring the 7 chakras named in the East and the 7 capital sins named in the West.  I employ this method in my book on Evil, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.

We have already made note of the seventh chakra which is about building community through sharing and building up of light.  The very tone of Alito’s document, as one historian has pointed out, is ugly to the core.  There is no attempt to reach out to others or make common ground or even to put out feelings that are positive.  Instead, the authors declare all past judges “egregiously” wrong—which is another way of saying only Alito is right.

“Arrogance/The Rising Tide” Statue by Jason deCaires Taylor on corporate denial of climate crisis. Photo by Maureen Barlin on Flickr.

This takes us to chakra # 1 which is about Arrogance.  Arrogance oozes out from this document in its tone as well as its ridiculous arguments—that the word “abortion” is not in the constitution.  Neither is the word “assault weapons” or “AR-15”—but the same court has no problem putting such weapons in the hands of 18 year olds.  And in addition this week, nullifying a New York law of 111 years that forbids hidden weapons on the streets of New York and elsewhere.

Arrogance is what drives a once supreme court to dismiss the concern of 72% of American citizens (including 43% of Republicans) who do not want Roe overturned. 

Arrogance is what drives a supreme court to refuse to cite women or listen to their stories of suffering when rape happens, incest happens, or miscarriages happen or circumstances are such that they cannot afford to bring another child into the world.

Arrogance is men telling women or the government telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.

Arrogance is born of what Hildegard calls “drying up” and “carelessness”—not caring and ignoring the cries of others.  Ignorance born of lack of curiosity is a deadly sin of omission associated with arrogance.

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 199-236.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: The empty chambers of the “Un-Supreme Court”. Photo by Jackie Hope on Unsplash.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you see arrogance at play in Alito’s and other Supreme Court judges’ Dobbs decision?  How so?

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33 thoughts on “Evil and the Deadly Sins of the (once) Supreme Court”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today our Queries for Contemplation are “Do you see arrogance at play in Alito’s and other Supreme Court judges’ Dobbs decision?” and “How so?” In that these are the two issues that are most immediately pressing for women:
    Arrogance is what drives a supreme court to refuse to cite women or listen to their stories of suffering when rape happens, incest happens, or miscarriages happen or circumstances are such that they cannot afford to bring another child into the world.
    Arrogance is men telling women or the government telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.

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    It’s a schizoform world, Matthew, where a attuned soul can literally drown in daily moral outrage over its multiple evils, splits, and divisive manifestations — with an assist from CNN (Constantly Negative News). As for schizoid splits, take your pick: mind from body, head from heart, spirit from matter, spirit from soul, sacred from secular, leaders from the body politic, sense from insensibility, laws from justice. Dare I go on? “My name is Legion, for we are many” cried the multiple voices from the demon possessed man, which only Jesus himself had the power to cast out. Though not personally dispirited, like others, I don’t have that kind of deliverance power. Who does? All I can be, like others, is one light in a very dark valley. Seems Jesus spent most of his energies not on laws, lawmakers, corrupt judges and lawbreakers, but comforting the recipients of injustice, healing the infirm, and consoling the disenfranchised. And where does the revelation say that nations shall be delivered wholesale from their evils? Unfortunately it does not, only the called, those sovereignly elect, always a minority. Except maybe, “on the Great Day of the Lord,” whenever that is. Am shaking my head more than ever these days.

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      As for arrogance, allow me to respond to my own comment above, as talking to oneself in theses difficult times may become more the norm for many: That is, near as I can tell, while the providential government of the universe may be visible to each awakened soul, history reveals that it is ordained to a heavenly, not a temporal fulfillment.

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        I do not understand your reference to history ordaining a heavenly fulfillment, not a temporary one, unless you are citing the Bible as history. You may well be correct. I do agree that it is useless to drown in despair and that we must each be a light as best we can. The Word for yesterday from gratefulness.org spoke of hope as making a path where there was not one before. I just don’t see the Christ or God coming to the rescue. We have been taught over and over again what we must do, and if we do not as a community, then we may face extinction. We too often as individuals and communities choose death, not life.

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          Hi, Sue. The word was “temporal “ not “temporary,” Sue. Meaning, ‘of this earth,’ of space and time as opposed to the eternal realm.

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            So sorry, Joe, I did get that but mis-spelled my response. I am trying to recover from COVID, not very successfully it seems. There is something called COVID brain. I do usually understand the difference between eternal and temporal. I guess that in a non-dual world, they might be one. Or not. And I am still not sure of a heavenly resolution. Your thoughtful writings are very much appreciated.

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      I understand your viewpoint, Joe. I’m glad you are there. As a writer, I have always looked for points of agreement, rather than points of disagreement. My plays often show a building of community and understanding between characters holding different beliefs. We need people who heal divisions. We need people who espouse the beliefs you put forward. However, right now–as in the days of the Hebrew prophets–we need prophets who point out the slide toward authoritarianism and totalitarianism of the Supreme Court and the extremist wing of the Republican party. Matthew defines prophets, as “mystics in action.” There is room for both paths–yours, mine, and others. Let me share my morning’s reflections here: https://www.mickishelton.com/what-i-m-thinking

      I was also very moved this morning by Sue Safford’s thoughts yesterday in these meditations. I hope she doesn’t mind that I quote them here: “The most insidious aspect of these laws in Texas and Florida, for instance, to me is the reliance on tattling against one’s neighbors. This is a famous technique for dictators and has worked well in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The Stasi secret police in East Germany were infamous for the completeness of their records on just about everyone. We are in parlous times, but there have always been dangerous and challenging times throughout history.”

      There are real and present dangers that must be responded to at this time as this country slides into authoritarianism of a dark time. I quote from 1st Corinthians 12: 4-11: “4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are different ministries, but the same Lord.”

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        Thank you for noticing, Michele, and for your fine and inspiring writing. I do think that we may well have to go back to the original Way as a truly subversive movement. I have always found Jesus supremely subversive, including the tongue in cheek answer to render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s. The Sermon on the Mount can be considered a subversive commentary on the unjust systems extant then and today. Of course, this is an interpretation, and one that Jim Wallis has expanded in his book “Christ in Crisis”. It will become more and more dangerous to speak out and resist the tide of darkness, but I think that is what we are called to do, each in our own way.

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        Thanks for the response, Michele, and the informative link. Mystically informed social activism certainly has its place. Yet it also has it’s limitations. The lifespan of democracies is relatively short-lived In history, inclining toward far-right thinking, autocratic leadership, and in some instances dictatorship. Our democracy, it seems, is well on its terminal way of unraveling. An active, informed, and energized electorate (which we don’t and haven’t had for some time) can stem the tide. I hope it happens, but realistically it’s not in the forecast. There are some who still think, in an illusory way, that humanity can reverse the momentum of climate change. That train left the station several years ago. Eternal truths are not for everyone, and certainly not for governments and judiciaries. How long will it take to realize that the relationship between justice and the judicial system is one of pure coincidence. Justice, like truth and spiritual awakening do happen, but only to relatively few. None are clearly or immediately apprehended except by those who have made themselves loving, pure of heart, and poor of spirit. And in today’s world, mystics and propers may be selling, but not many are buying. I don’t make the rules, I just see the patterns.

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    Jeanette Metler

    What I see in Alito and the other supreme court judges… is an active tyrannical display of the misuse and abuse of power… due to a self-asserting, exaggerated consciousness of superior birth and position.

    This kind of arrogance is not new… for throughout the history of humanity we have seen and continue to see this lordly dictatorship, play itself out in various ways, within all governing bodies and institutions… which leads to the destructive unravelling of democracies, justice, and the rights and freedoms of all people, deemed inferior.

    This arrogance, in various degrees of expression, not only plays itself out in these arenas… but it also plays itself out in all of our relationships… within our relationships with our partners, our parents, our families, our friends, our co-workers, ourselves, and our relationships with all of nature and creation… as well as our relationship with God.

    This arrogance is an expression and manifestation of war… all be it much more subtly disguised in its often unconscious methodical, calculated and stealth movements. This war expressed outwardly, is but a reflection of a deeper internal war with diverse aspects within oneself… that have been rejected and denied.

    Hence the importance of these dark times humanity finds itself in the midst of… which is drawing the collective consciousness of humanity, into the descent of deep soul shadow work… commonly known by the mystics, as the dark night of the soul.

    Turning to the mystics, whom have descended into the depths of this soul shadow work… our pathway into this landscape will be a little easier to navigate… as they have left us signposts, through the writings of their own testimonies, their own soul’s journey… which can be of comfort, consolation and wise counsel… within this collective dark night of the soul that we are all in the midst of… which it seems, eventually leads to the unfolding, evolving, emergence of something beyond warring, opposing, divisive dualities.

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    Jeanette Metler

    To engage in this deep shadow work, perhaps a deeper question to ask of yourself, involving abortion is… in what ways have you, yourself aborted the unfolding, evolving emergence of the core of your true soul-self and the Original Blessings of this. In moments of your own arrogance, how have you aborted the opportunity to accept and love unconditionally… or aborted the opportunity to show compassionate understanding… or aborted the opportunity to offer mercy, doing something to alleviate another’s pain or suffering… or aborted the opportunity to offer forgiveness, when unjustly wronged in someway. No one is free from arrogance… however, we daily can make choices that will untangle ourselves from its influence.

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      I would only add that I need the patience (of Job) to live in this dark time and to wait for the clearing of the darkness around us as the Light shall surely dawn.

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        The Supreme Court decision returned abortion issues decisions to each of the states. The states now have the authority to address these serious concerns. Rather than focus on the Supreme Court, begin to advocate on the abortion issue with your representatives at the state level. So, call your state legislature if you wish to advocate for change at the state level. Expend your energy at the local level where you may have more influence and more success in promoting your position, whatever it is. Also remember that women and men still have ample opportunity to prevent pregnancy. To take no action to prevent pregnancy is irresponsible. Keep in mind that since the advocacy of abortion “rights” by Sanger, the African American population in the US has remained at approximately 14%. Is there any relationship between the advocacy for abortions and the African American population data?

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    Yes Matthew, the history of the sin of arrogance is closely related to the spiritual sin of egocentricity, separation from the Being of God, our Creator~Source, in patriarchy throughout human history with its’ consequent destructiveness to All creation and life, including Mother Earth, and ongoing terrible suffering, especially on human beings, our Creator’s special children. Since we are all evolving reincarnating souls, we carry not only the blessings and wisdom of our past lives/ancestors, but also the wounds and some of the guilt of our past evolutionary history that need continued healing, mercy, and compassionate love. We obviously still have brothers and sisters (mainly men) who are still in lower stages of evolution with their ignorance, egocentricity, arrogance, and unhealed woundedness continuing to be destructive toward themselves, others, Mother Nature, and therefore towards God and God’s sacred Creation. As people of genuine spiritual faith/trust and lightworkers, we must continue our spiritual journeys and evolution of our eternal loving souls with one another knowing that God ‘s Spirit of Love~Compassion~Wisdom~Truth~Mercy~Healing~Peace~Justice~Joy~Creativity… is always Present within/among us helping all of us to continue healing, evolving and serving in God’s Diverse (All Creation is unique) Loving Oneness on earth, in our spiritual multidimensions, and in our multiverse Cosmos ~ our Beloved Cosmic Christ Consciousness….

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    Abortion is understandably a divisive issue, for it gets to the heart of our shared responsibilities as an interdependent species, and call to compassion. It’s just as wrong to label all those opposed to abortion as right wing conservatives, as it is to label all those who support abortion as godless liberals. Questions of when a fetus is a separate human being, when a soul is present, etc. will never be answered to everyone’s satisfaction. Scientifically (biologically) one can argue that at conception the process is initiated in whole. That this could be considered a sacred mystery, formed over four billion years of evolution and outside of mere human comprehension, is understandable. Also understandable is the reality of the tremendous burden that many disadvantaged, poor, and racially marginalized women face from unintended pregnancies. In a prefect world abortion would not need to be illegal, because it would be unthinkable. But that’s not the world we live in.

    Whether or not one agrees with court’s ruling, the manner in which the decision was reached justifies outrage – no consideration for life after birth that is sorely lacking. Yesterday’s meditation said it well – if it was about babies, we would have comprehensive maternal health care, universal preschool, expanded parental leave, free child care, etc. The tone of the ruling does not portend well for the future. We can only hope that the forces of compassion, mercy and concern for the welfare of all will prevail.

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      I would say that it has deliberately been made a divisive issue by those wishing to get and keep power in every possible way and by every possible means. People who genuinely believe abortion is wrong have been weaponized and manipulated by cynical politicians. Those of us who choose life in all its complexity have been targeted as murderers. Doctors have been murdered in the name of “life”. Most people, if left alone, I think would say bearing a child is a personal choice. Alas, the right to privacy has been completely violated, and death is the choice. Politicians who do not even understand the difference between ending a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy and abortion are now free to implement their prejudices and hatred of women, especially poor women and women of racial minorities. My cousin, who almost died with 2 ectopic pregnancies, in some places would now be allowed to die. Arrogance does not even begin to describe the desecrations.

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    Isabel Stanley

    As a woman, I find it necessary to mourn my demotion in worth as a citizen of the US before I feel able to philosophize on the particulars of my demotion.

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    Certainly arrogance. And is it any surprise given what the arrogance of the one who spawned (some of) them into their positions. It’s putrid. But I think the more difficult question is, what is at the root of the arrogance? Isn’t it fear and insecurity? Isn’t it only those things that can precipitate those feelings in the rest of us? Namely, fear that comes from the recognition that their positions in their world are shifting. Unfortunately, there’s either very little awareness or little regard for the fact that we still want (and need) them at the table, even if not from a command spot. Folks, this is the tragedy, the pain from which they currently have power to shift to others-of-us. And until they understand this shift is happening, with or without their approval, they’ll continue to wreak havoc for the rest of us. But it won’t change their fate. Let’s find faith in knowing they’re far worse off than we are, and at some point, will lose their power privileges.

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    The unraveling has been going on for a while, exacerbated by an ex-president who flouted the law with impunity before, during, and after being in office. Someone wrote that people eventually get used to corruption in government and then just amuse themselves by discussing who are the best liars. We seem to be at that point, which is truly death for democracy. Someone recently wrote here that perhaps some person not aborted due to the new draconian restrictions might prove to be a valued leader; I might as easily speculate as to what history might have looked like had Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and numerous other murderers been aborted. We must deal with what is right in front of us, as people always have, calling on all our spiritual sources and without knowing any outcomes.

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      I appreciate Matthew’s DM immensely as well as everyone’s thoughtful/soulful comments. I was surprised and happy to learn from the video describing the beliefs about abortion in Judaism, Islam and Catholicism. I didn’t know that there was a Catholics for Choice organization. I wonder if the Pope took this into consideration when he endorsed the Supreme Court’s decision.

      I think that there is a problematic underlying issue in most citizens’ understanding of democracy. When someone wins an election for public office we automatically say that they are now ‘in power’. We should be saying that they are ‘in service’. Many toxic males [and females] might change their minds about running for office if they were expected to take fully into account the complex task of serving the whole community, rich and poor, male and female, young and old, the environment and future generations.

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        Alas, the whole concept of public service seems to be quite dead, and power and the violence needed to secure it are alive and well. I have seen it falter and essentially expire in my lifetime. And with it go integrity, morality, and a sense of the beloved community. I pray to be wrong. I think that democracy is too hard for us spoiled and entitled Americans, and there may have to be a real fight to bring it back. I pray to be wrong.

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    Thank you Matthew and all responders for creating this conversation so rich in solidarity and insight!

    Surely arrogance got the upper hand in such complete, entrenched refusal by the six, to hear the agony of
    those who will lose and now are losing so very much – especially black and brown women and girls, poor
    women and girls, and people who might not identify as women or girls, but who could also find themselves in
    grave need of abortions.

    I was going to say something here about the Abysmal Court, but I feel our nation has been so profoundly
    defrauded by the start of the process of outlawing abortion that I cannot honestly refer to the institution from
    which sprang the decision as a court. It’s a den of robbers. Similar to the one noted by Jesus when he
    interrupted the corrupt status quo of the Temple by turning over the tables. I believe that what he meant
    when he used the phrase “den of robbers” was that some of the elite “religious” leaders (not all of the religious
    leaders) were hiding behind their religious and legal trappings in order to rob the people, economically and
    spiritually. Such hiding out in the symbolic center of religion and law is a powerful form of manipulation, that
    preys insidiously on our human innocence and desire to trust others.

    As our country appears to be slipping deeper into fascistic practices, it seems the costume party must go on.

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    Of course they are arrogant. It’s a fascist trait—the arrogance and bloated ego that claims sole possession of right.
    Thomas’ solo concurring opinion recommends “[ . . . [reconsidering] all this court’s substantive due process precedents, including *Griswold” [a precedent that holds that the Constitution protects *privacy in marital relations* from state restrictions — which will enable state legislatures to outlaw the sale and possession of contraceptives], “Lawrence” [a precedent that holds laws restricting *homosexual behavior* unconstitutional], and “Obergefell” [the precedent that holds *homosexual marriage* a constitutional right] . . . ”

    What this means is that Thomas is recommending to the court that all of the above be overturned so that if the state you live in holds that a man has the right of marital rape, it IS constitutional and allowed; if a married couple chooses to limit the size of its family, contraception can again become illegal–along with anything else the state claims can or cannot happen within the marital relationship, both in and out of the bedroom. It means that homosexuality will again be “illegal” and carry prison terms which will, of course put a legal stamp of approval on attacks against homosexual people by those who object to their orientation.
    Further, Thomas writes: ” . . . we could consider whether ANY [my emphasis] of the rights announced in this court’s substantive due process cases are ‘privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States’ protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. . . . ”
    (And if you want your blood to instantly chill, read the definition of “substantive due process,” which thomas here urges be found illegetimate.)
    This means that Thomas is urging the Extreme “court” (and since John Roberts is a puppet, the court BELONGS to Thomas) to essentially strike ALL PRIVILEGES PREVIOUSLY GRANTED BY THE COURT UNDER A14, which has the de facto effect of a “court’s” total repeal of a duly ratified constitutional amendment, independent of any legislative or representative opinion or act. (Read Amendment 14 to see what that’s going to do to you.)
    I have predicted this repeatedly on this page and others as a result of the Roe overturning even as many continue a blithe and unrealistic faith in “majority” or “the will of the people,” failing entirely to note that this has already disappeared.
    For those not familiar with laws, court procedure, and the importance of precedence, you need to educate yourself:
    What THAT means is that the Gang of Hacks, SIX PEOPLE, steadily installing a de facto state religion, will autonomously decide what your rights are.

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