Dear Chief Justice Roberts,

I write you as a fellow American and fellow human being concerned about voting rights.  Your Court, having endangered American democracy by allowing dark money to flood our elections, is now discussing dismantling what is left of voting rights laws. 

We who believe in freedom cannot rest. Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.

I also write you as your elder and as a priest for over 53 years because I am deeply worried about your soul.

We cannot forget your gutting the civil rights act in two previous cases decided by SCOTUS with you as 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 assure 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 voting clerks are being tossed aside in favor of state legislature’s choosing their own vote counters who can actually overturn election results that they don’t like.

“A mob beats Freedom Riders in Birmingham. This picture was reclaimed by the FBI from a local journalist who also was beaten and whose camera was smashed.” Photo by reporter Tommy Langston of the Birmingham Post-Herald. Wikimedia Commons, Public domain.

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: Does it not rip your heart wide open and make your head spin?  This re-writing of what is left of our democracy?

As Supreme Court chief justice, you have been given great powers and responsibilities.  If you are seeing the news (on other than Fox news, of course) and seeing what the rest of us are seeing, do you not feel a deep, deep complicity in all this abuse of our democracy that is going on in state houses?  Is there remorse in your soul as you watch the fruits of your labor at work in our country today?

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Photo by Jack Skinner on Unsplash.

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 commit to a public undoing of your sins that truly imperil 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 prescribe 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 threatens to impact hundreds of millions of people for generations to come.


Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 224, xxiii-xxvii.

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

Banner image: Voting Rights are Human Rights. Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

What are your concerns resulting from the recent hearing of SCOTUS about a state’s right to take decisions about elections away from the judiciary and put it in the hands of politicians?  What might come of that?

Recommended Reading

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

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12 thoughts on “A Letter to Chief Justice Roberts on Voting Rights  ”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you share with us a letter which you wrote to Chief Justice Roberts, concerning voting rights. You write to him saying that he is responsible for some 350 million Americans, but that it is the minorities in this country that will be hurt the most by the voting law changes. You voice concerns resulting from the recent hearing of SCOTUS, about a state’s right to take decisions about elections away from the judiciary and put it in the hands of politicians who are biased and are bent on having their candidates win. The question is what can WE do about it? First of all, you have modeled one response we can all make, and that is to write letters to the powers that be. But I feel there is something wrong with a branch of the government that the people don’t even get to vote for–and they have no term limits; their jobs are insured for life. Therefore WE can’t vote them out of office if we don’t feel they are serving their 350 million Americans right. I have an idea… Why not also work for voters rights in view of the supreme court; so that we too can determine their fate !?!

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    Matthew, thank you for your justly righteous and truthful letter to Chief Justice Roberts. Hopefully, he’ll read it and help move his conscience and actions if he truly claims to be a Christian and Supreme Court Justice! Creation Spirituality includes justice and prophetically speaking truth to power which you demonstrate for us again! God bless your long life’s ministry for the Loving~Wisdom~Peace~Justice~Healing~Creative~Oneness… universal mystical tradition of Creation Spirituality….

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    Strangely I find myself thinking of H. G. Wells fictional story, The Time Traveler. It’s a fictional tale about the de-evolution of humanity, based on heirarchal institutions, with a wrarped vision of natural selection, enforced in dominating and powerful ways… which inevitably leads to the loss of what it truly means to be human. Life it seems, is becoming stranger than fiction. Perhaps Well’s book was more about a prophetic warning, identifying the dangers lurking in the wounded psychy of these heirarchal and patriarcal institutions and the organized order of their stagnating, disintegrating reversal processes of de-evolution… which we see today, being afflicted upon those deemed as other and less than, by those disillusioned, seeing themselves as being the chosen ones, which has blinded their conscience, as to what it is to be truly human. Will the voice of the prophet and the truth spoken, remove the scales from their eyes, or create a crack in their heart so that the light may enter into their dormant human conscience, or will it awaken them consciously to the inherent goodness and beauty hidden within the depths of their soul… remains to be seen. This is the hope, the passionate longing and desire of the persevering truth-teller, rooted in compassion and a love tempered with justice, whom is dedicated and committed to seeing the unfolding, evolving emergence of what it is to become and be sacred human, manifesting itself from within us all.

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    Our democracy is in danger from within resulting from decades of work by organized folks intent on expanding power and preserving the hierarchical, patriarchal, wealth driven , white first society we have labored under for centuries. There is nothing Christian about this. Power sometimes prevails over love. Can love prevail this time?

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    Beautiful, powerful, moral. Your voice is always right on and refreshing. It is tragically ironic that our supreme court is incapable of supreme vision. The corruption of power is so corrosive to the values of once-idealistic people.

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    I agree that the Supreme Court’s decisions have been shameful, scandalous, and unchristian–un-any faith that teaches love. But this is not the first time that the Supreme Court has acted outrageously, The Dred Scott decision up to recent times has been considered the most egregious miscarriage of justice by the Supreme Court and helped lead to the Civil War, according to historians.

    I have said before and I do believe that it has gone too far, as have many states, in the suppression of civil rights and imposition of the “values” of Christian nationalism. I am waiting for efforts to cancel Dr. King’s holiday. There are not enough words to describe how sick and warped are the disrespect and attempts to cancel all those brave people who fought and died for voting rights. I guess this is what is meant by cancel culture. But if not enough people care deeply about democracy for all and just huddle inside their own needs and the needs of their tribe, then we don’t deserve democracy. We should be ashamed when we look at the brave people in Iran and Russia and China and other autocratic regimes, who are putting their lives on the line for freedom.

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    This group of seditionists is not a “court.”
    “Chief Justice” Roberts has no interest whatsoever in protecting voting rights. Quite the contrary.
    This Gang of Hacks was placed by the oligarch machine, not to “change” the law, but to entirely rewrite the Constitution by fiat to suit the needs of the .01% of 1% of the population of the United States.
    They are there to rewrite the Constitution to suit a strangling theocracy that loathes the democratic republic and will do everything, including suppressing the vote and denying rights to groups they intend to dominate in perpetuity, to wit: Women, Minorities, and anyone who doesn’t like their definition of religion.
    This vile thing is NOT a court.
    It is the spearhead of rightwing effort to supplant democracy with theocratic totalitarianism, and it’s pointless at this late hour to “fear” for America—it’s already gone.

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    martina nicholson

    So many of us feel this way, but you have articulated it so beautifully and clearly. I hope the voters sweep the fascists out of office, and that new vision and a new sense of justice and democracy come to those right-wing justices. I really like the idea of sackcloth and ashes. “There is something greater than Jonah, here!”

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