December 17, 2017

An epic friendship

Scalia_Ginsberg_UP_2015-WLA_3623_710_0

If you can’t disagree ardently with your colleagues about some issues of law and yet personally still be friends, get another job, for Pete’s sake.

• Antonin Scalia, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg

As annoyed as you might be about his zinging dissent, he’s so utterly charming, so amusing, so sometimes outrageous, you can’t help but say, “I’m glad that he’s my friend or he’s my colleague.”

• Ruth Bader Ginsburg, about Antonin Scalia

• • •

Scalia & Ginsburg, riding an elephant together in India, 1996

Scalia & Ginsburg, riding an elephant together in India, 1994

Let’s skip the whole political kerfuffle about what will happen in the Supreme Court now that Justice Antonin Scalia has died. I’d rather spend a few moments delighting in one of the most unlikely friendships in Washington.

“We were best buddies,” Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote after Scalia died on Saturday. The two first served together in the early 1980s on the federal circuit court in Washington, D.C., from which each was chosen to be nominated for the Supreme Court. Despite their vastly different views on the law — Scalia a staunch conservative and Ginsburg a staunch liberal — they never let their intellectual arguments destroy their personal camaraderie.

As Gillian Edevane commented at Mashable: “The two ideological opposites shared an epic friendship, which serves as a worthwhile example not just for policymakers and presidential hopefuls, but for everyone who encounters views vastly different from their own.”

In fact, Ginsburg remarked that Scalia made her better, his well-reasoned arguments forcing her to rise to the challenge of another viewpoint and refine her views. “We disagreed now and then, but when I wrote for the Court and received a Scalia dissent, the opinion ultimately released was notably better than my initial circulation,” Ginsburg once said. “He nailed all the weak spots and gave me just what I needed to strengthen the majority opinion.”

Edevane describes their friendship:

Scalia & Ginsburg at the opera

Scalia & Ginsburg at the opera

Both Ginsburg and Scalia had a deep love of the opera — the pair’s friendship has even been adapted for the stage, in the upcoming Scalia/Ginsburg — but that’s not all. Both were lovers of fine food, and Scalia dined with Ginsburg and her late husband Martin, a renowned chef, every New Year. They also vacationed together and delighted crowds by trading light-hearted barbs during speaking engagements. They found commonalities despite entrenched political beliefs and bridged a divide that seemed impossible from the outside.

“I don’t think they even try to influence each other,” said Lisa Blatt, a former clerk for Ginsburg, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times . “Both of them simply have huge personalities, love the arts, like to laugh and are brilliant.”

A 2013 article in CNN debated whether or not such a lack of personal friendship and collegiality is a factor in the polarization and dysfunction we see in today’s Congress. I don’t know the answer to that, and I’m sure it’s not quite that simple, but isn’t it refreshing to see people — especially people in Washington D.C. — share true respect and friendship, even when they disagree vehemently about the other’s political and legal views?

It’s not just about civility, which in itself would be a welcome relief and significant improvement in today’s climate of the zero sum game. It’s about actually appreciating, respecting, liking, and enjoying others who are different.

You know, “loving my neighbor.”

What a concept.

Comments

  1. I have very mixed feelings about this. On the whole, yes, we should be loving towards everyone. Maybe I should leave it at that.

    But Scalia defended torture.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/12/antonin-scalias-case-for-torture/383730/

    Some people at another blog were discussing Scalia, some of them gay. The gist of it was that it was fine with them if RBG could be friends with Scalia, but she was a Supreme Court Justice, an equal, and her own rights weren’t threatened by him. They personally saw him as an enemy, a threat to their rights if he could have had his way.

    I have friends whose views I abhor on some issues– I can do this because their views don’t threaten me personally. It’d be much harder if they did.

    • Thinking about it some more, I recently saw a YouTube clip where Hillary was told Qaddafi had died and she laughed and said “We came, we saw, he died.” ( you can google it). Qaddafi was for her an evil man ( true enough ) and so someone whose death she could mock on tape. But for a lot of people, including me, there are prominent Americans who seem just as worthy of a war crimes trial as any foreign dictator. I don’t think Qaddaffi’s death should have been mocked, but I also wouldn’t want to be pals with him. No more than I would many American politicians in both parties.

      That’s what bugs me, I guess. Differences of opinion can be about more than marginal tax rates. There are powerful people who have innocent blood on their hands and some of them are American. Where exactly do we draw the line regarding friendship? It’s always been this way– generations back I would guess Senators were friends with each other and some were vehemently opposed to civil rights for blacks. They were in some cases opposed to anti- lynching laws if I recall correctly. But white American politicians were civil with each other– the myths back then was that the Civil War was a tragic war of brother against brother, but after Reconstruction ended we were all one big happy white family.

      I might seem all over the place, but this civility issue has interested me for a very long time, because on the one hand we need it and yet on the other it can be a mask over something really ugly. And no, I don’t think I’m raising extreme cases– in every period of time we have powerful people in DC who favor policies that others see not simply as wrong, but as evil. Where does civility and friendship fit in there?

      • Yes. It’s complicated. Two powerful equals can afford to overlook their obvious and deep disagreements, and have a friendship despite these, because they lack the ability to actually hurt each other in fatal ways. Those with far less power, on the other hand, are a different case altogether. It must have been a wonderful thing that Dives could invite even his powerful political enemies to his sumptuous dinners in his wealthy estate, and enjoy the conviviality of equals with them; but it would be absurd to think that this could ever by a cause of celebration for Lazarus dying outside his gate.

      • If this is true (and I think it is), then there is a real sense in which such friendships and relationships of equals in power do not participate in, and are not a foretaste of, the eschatological Feast to come; that Feast is one in which the powerlessness of the powerless is no impediment to their full inclusion and participation, and the power of the powerful is no advantage. That Feast is one in which the powerful lack the ability to exclude, and to enjoy private relationships within privileged enclosures where the marginalized may not venture.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > I might seem all over the place, but this civility issue has interested me
        > for a very long time, because on the one hand we need it and yet on the
        > other it can be a mask over something really ugly

        I don’t know if I would describe it as a “mask”. We also cannot just constantly chew the moral bone – relentlessly going after perceived moral failures. Is there any honest friendship which does not involve some degree of Charity? The looking past of flaws and failures. Do we needle our Friends every time they say something insensitive, ignorant, racist, angry,…. [that sounds lonely]

        You are far more likely to be able to have a substantive address, at some point, about moral issues with a Friend than you are with an Opponent.

        > we have powerful people in DC who favor policies that others see not simply
        > as wrong, but as evil. Where does civility and friendship fit in there?

        My answer: unless you are in DC, it doesn’t. Attend to one’s own house – or run for elected office. We permit [or use as an excuse?] the distant warring of dragons to distract us too much from nearer concerns; and inhibit both Friendships, and other relationships, *WE* could have. Does it matter if I am a Socialist and the other guy is a Libertarian but we BOTH want the #@^&*$@ crosswalk to the bus stop painted? And you might discover you both really enjoyed the latest Star Wars movie, you both own Pit Bulls, and agree that Founder’s Breakfast Stout is a damn fine beer.

        Aside: I recommend using the word “evil” much less often than we do. Using it is not courageous; for the most part it just terminates conversations and further binds people to their existing positions.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          I don’t know if I would describe it as a “mask”. We also cannot just constantly chew the moral bone – relentlessly going after perceived moral failures.

          Unless you’re a Church Lady or Professional Sin-Sniffer, and we have far too many of those, church and secular.

          Do we needle our Friends every time they say something insensitive, ignorant, racist, angry,…. [that sounds lonely]

          Only if you’re trying to Count Coup on them and Prove Your Moral Superiority.
          Not that different from a Jesus Juke.

        • –> “I recommend using the word “evil” much less often than we do. Using it…for the most part it just terminates conversations and further binds people to their existing positions.”

          Yep. It’s a trump card that’s played way too often.

        • I agree on the personal level, away from DC. I have no interest in having holy wars with people in my daily life– I mentioned that before.

          On ” evil”, if we eliminate it for our fellow Americans then we eliminate it when discussing our terrorist enemies. Fine with me, but you know that won’t happen. So instead we go right back to our American exceptionalist comfort zone, where our enemies of the moment are evil because they kill civilians and torture people and we aren’t,though we torture people and at this moment support the Saudis as they kill civilians in Yemen. And by the way, I actually do think torture is evil and suspect you do as well.

          That’s my point. I suspect that many people who support terrorism or admire terrorists are in fact no different from mainstream Americans. So fine, nobody is evil. Or everyone is to some degree. I could go either way, but civility as an ideal applies to everyone or no one–why should it be applied to Americans who favor torture and not to foreigners wh favor their own ways of committing atrocities?

    • I have very mixed feelings about this. On the whole, yes, we should be loving towards everyone. Maybe I should leave it at that.

      But Scalia defended torture.

      I feel much the same way about Ryrie and dispensationalism. A man is dead, his family and friends mourn. He subjucated thousands, millions, to an abusive dangerous theology that utterly wrecked the church in America.

      It’s hard not to be glad these men aren’t still alive. But how much better would it be if they had repented and corrected themselves.

    • –> “But Scalia defended torture.”

      And Ginsburg defends the killing of unborn babies. (Trump card played…LOL.)

      • I thought of that, but didn’t think it worthwhile to respond to every anticipated reply, So what? It reinforces my point. Neither of them was a fetus or a young woman in need of an abortion, so they could comfortably agree to disagree. Fine, but it’s no great thing, not a sign of the kingdom. I can disagree with my rightwing friends about water boarding and remain friends, but this doesn’t make me a saint, I’m not the one choking on water being poured down my throat.

        So yeah, I’m fine with people not directly involved in some horrific issue remaining friends despite their theoretical disagreements, but this is not remotely close to being saintly.

  2. Donald, If you’re having trouble with what Jesus said about how you should treat your neighbor, just wait till you find out what he said about your enemies.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      I think you are missing at least part of Donald’s point: power matters.

      It is difficult to be **friends** with someone at a different level. I have friends I disagree with – who are atheists, Libertarians, friends who are racist – but they are my peers. And I do not believe what we disagree on is going to somehow crash Western Civilization if unanswered. But it is much more difficult to be **friends** with someone you disagree when that person has power over you – for most people this is going to be a Boss. You cannot disagree with your Boss as you can with your Peer when they say things you believe – or know – to be untrue. At least not unless you are willing to be unemployed.

      You are blessed if you have never experienced this. It has nothing to do with Christ.

      These ‘radical’ friendships are not that uncommon, in my experience, among to prosperous and powerful. Cornel West and Robert George are another public example.

      • Such “radical” friendships are a function of power and privilege, but also of distinctions between the private and public that are a kind of social fiction that we all accept at some level or another; else we would all be in a state of perpetual belligerence. But they are fictions, and they betray our preference for even highly imperfect approximations of peace over justice, where striving for justice would bring strife.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > Such “radical” friendships are a function of power and privilege,

          Perhaps. Friendship is far more likely to occur when people do not feel antagonized. A degree of power provides greater confidence [a kind of comfort], allowing people to move past antagonism.

          One does not try to pet a cornered dog. But it is at least partly on us as to whether we create the corner.

          > else we would all be in a state of perpetual belligerence

          No, I do not believe this. If this were true we would never have gotten to where we are today[*1]. People may be belligerent, that is true, it is also true that they are cooperative. One is not true and the other a fiction. This kind of thinking locks people into powerlessness. If you analyze social networks you can see this flaw in today’s society – the much lower rate of affiliation of all kinds, and the higher levels of distrust, among the least powerful categories. Thus the gateways to power are closed to them – by themselves. This way of perceiving the situation is self-defeating; and a demonstrable failure.

          [*1] The power is on, the toilet flushes, the tap-water is sage, nobody got shot yesterday within a five-mile radius, tens of thousands of driver went safely to and from their home, everybody paid their fare when boarding the bus or the train, etc… There is overwhelming evidence of a cooperative attribute within humanity.

          > and they betray our preference for even highly imperfect approximations of peace over justice,

          You may can call it that. I call it a, largely healthy, accommodation to our circumstances.

          > where striving for justice would bring strife.

          Strife above a certain degree brings poverty. Justice in poverty is a virtue of questionable merit. That kind of Justice only accomplishes the ceding all power to the most rabid belligerent.

          In regards to Advocacy the motto I was taught was: “Do you want to be Right[eous], or do you want to create a Result?” We’ve all heard from Righteous Advocates aplenty. But choosing the Result is the morally superior choice, although it may not be Tidy.

          • Wow, some of you sure know how to complicate a simple point. The question is not what neighborhood Scalia and Ginsburg live in, or whether or not I would ever be able to be their friend in that neighborhood, but the fact that they treated each other with love and neighborliness despite their differences.

            This is a simple celebration of two actual human beings (yes, equals) whose hearts were big enough to welcome each other despite having strong disagreements.

            I think we can all learn from that.

            Period.

          • –> “This is a simple celebration of two actual human beings (yes, equals) whose hearts were big enough to welcome each other despite having strong disagreements.”

            Amen.

            Some people hate Ginsberg. Some people hated Scalia. The point is that these two people seemed to respect and maybe even love each other despite the issues that cause people to hate them.

          • “The point is that these two people seemed to respect and maybe even love each other despite the issues that cause people to hate them.”

            And it is because they knew each other. Those of us outside that relationship only see them as two dimensional characters–Ginsburg the Liberal and Scalia the Conservative. It is so easy to demean someone and make them the dreaded “Other” when we don’t know them at all.

            There is an imago dei within each of us that is worthy of not only respect, but makes someone worthy to know.

            I think it was Charles who has convinced me to read Richard Rohr; from this morning:

            “if you read the Gospel texts carefully, you will see that the only people Jesus seems to ‘exclude’ are those who are excluding others. Exclusion might be described as the core sin. Don’t waste any time rejecting, excluding, eliminating, or punishing anyone or anything else. Everything belongs, including you.”

            Apparently, Ginsburg and Scalia were able to accomplish this with, at least, each other.

          • @Scott,
            Yes. They existed for each other as persons in ways that they didn’t and don’t for us; and did so in open and vocal opposition on many issues. That is very true. It’s wrong for me to minimize the importance of that, as some of my above commenting did.

            As long as we don’t forget that the imago dei also exists in the suspects that Scalia would’ve allowed to be tortured.

          • flatrocker says:

            or the babies that Ginsburg allows to be aborted.

            We all fall short.
            This is why the imago dei in all of us becomes so vital.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Wow, some of you sure know how to complicate a simple point. The question is not what neighborhood Scalia and Ginsburg live in, or whether or not I would ever be able to be their friend in that neighborhood, but the fact that they treated each other with love and neighborliness despite their differences.

            But this Ees POLITICAL Matter.

          • “As long as we don’t forget that the imago dei also exists in the suspects that Scalia would’ve allowed to be tortured.”

            Agreed. And I fall so woefully short in seeing that image in others. You should see me when I drive.

    • Good grief, I live my life exactly the way Ginsberg and Scalia did. I have a close friendship with someone whose views I find appalling. The feeling is mutual. We both know this. So what?

      My point is this is extremely easy for me. My friend isn’t water boarding me or bombing me with American-supplied weapons. I am not aborting him (I am one of those people who suspects abortion is usually wrong, but who wouldn’t outlaw it, so I’d be between Ginsberg and Scalia on that.)

      It should be obvious that is there is no great virtue in this. People of the same social class are nice to each other. That’s normal. It seems odd only because there is so much partisanship in DC right now, but that doesn’t make the Ginsberg/Scalia friendship some harbinger of the Kingdom.

      Now show me a torture victim befriending a torture advocate and we’d have something Christlike to discuss.

      • I think the true story told in “Unbroken” kinda represents that which you seek, a former prisoner tortured in a Japanese POW camp who eventually sought out his main torturer to tell him he forgave him.

  3. Thank you for this, Mike. I have been sad that the death of a faithful public servant, a man of conviction, intellect, and hard work, has been met only with speculation about what his death means for a political process that hasn’t even started yet. Every human being deserves better.

  4. It reminds me of the friendship that Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy had.

    • It also reminds me of the friendship that Ted Kennedy had with Jerry Falwell. Chaplain Mike, thanks for your thoughtful post.

  5. Oddly enough you sometimes find the most bitter enemies in war have the greatest admiration for each other. An excerpt from The Naval War of 1812 by Theodore Roosevelt regarding a particular battle which the Americans won:

    ” but the main element was the superiority in force, the difference in loss being very nearly proportional to it; both sides fought with equal bravery and equal skill. This fact was appreciated by the victors, for at a naval dinner given in New York shortly afterward, one of the toasts offered was: ‘The crew of the Boxer; enemies by law but by gallantry, brothers.’ ”
    I think that has a lot to do with being devolved to the bare essentials, as happens in war, where the differences seem inconsequential and the commonality evident.

  6. Totally why she is Notorious RBG!

  7. Steve Newell says:

    As a society, we have lost the concept of civil discourse. We have reduced many things to “zero sum games” and we cannot engage open dialog that can be respectful. We have isolated ourselves into groups that look and think like us. We have lost the concept of neighborhood and community where we live with differences. I can respect a person while I disagree with their view. Likewise, I can have no respect on a person even while I may agree with his views.

    Both “liberals” and “conservatives” in the political and the theological areas are guilty of this. I refuse to watch either MSNBC or Fox News since both engage in the politics of personal destruction. Just look at the coverage of the passing of Justice Scalia and potential nominee by President Obama, one is cast is evil and the other is cast as good depending on who is talking.

    • Throughout American history, there seems to be two primary concepts: community and individualism. We saw it play out in the era of the settlements and the homesteads, the towns and the cowboys, the city and the country. There’s always a bleed effect, but that seems to be the two primary ideas.

      As a nation we maybe go through patterns between those two, as the pendulum swings. Throughout say the 50s and 60s we cared more about the community, building massive infrastructure and highways and national parks. Now we seem to care more about individualism, eff you I got mine, everyone wants their 100 acres in the suburbs to do whatever they want.

      Now we as a nation have a crumbling infrastructure, a quasi oligarchy in place, an increased wage-production gap, heck even undrinkable water in Flint. It seems the massive individualists won. And on a personal level, growing up entirely on that Indy side of things, I find myself swinging strongly back towards the idea of community, which puts me staunchly at odds with all my friends, all my family, all the social circles I have. We don’t understand each other anymore, and at times, outright loathe each other.

      Fun stuff.

      • Steve Newell says:

        I see a lot of “I have mine, F___ you!” mindset playing out in our society.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          “I Got Mine,
          I Got Mine,
          I DON’T WANT A THING TO CHANGE
          NOW THAT I GOT MINE!”
          — Glenn Frye, “I Got Mine”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        It seems the massive individualists won. And on a personal level, growing up entirely on that Indy side of things, I find myself swinging strongly back towards the idea of community, which puts me staunchly at odds with all my friends, all my family, all the social circles I have.

        “The wheel turns over and over, each House taking its turn upon the Iron Throne. Targeryn, Baratheon, Lannister, Stark, Tyrell, over and over. Each House trying to stop the wheel with themselves on top. Forever.”
        — Tyrion Lannister

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      As a society, we have lost the concept of civil discourse. We have reduced many things to “zero sum games” and we cannot engage open dialog that can be respectful.

      Zero Sum Game =
      Since there is only so much to go around, the only way to get more for me is to take it away from you.
      The only way I can Win is to Make Sure YOU LOSE!

  8. Friendships like this are great and amazing. It’s why I have such respect for GK Chesterton, who had so many differing friendships but was genuinely loved and liked by most everybody.

    That’s a quality I want to have in myself. Unfortunately it’s not something you see in this world that often.

  9. Christiane says:

    ““I don’t think they even try to influence each other,” said Lisa Blatt, a former clerk for Ginsburg, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times . “Both of them simply have huge personalities, love the arts, like to laugh and are brilliant.””

    that’s what I call ‘respect’. . . of COURSE, they disagreed on issues, but they were more than their opinions, and they recognized that fact apparently with joy
    . . . would that our whole Christian family could recognize that we are more than our differences and come together in the peace of Christ

    • Christiane says:

      BTW, I loved this post. I needed to read something like this after the political tensions of the week. It helps restore my perspective. Thanks, Chaplain Mike.

  10. Crazy Chester says:

    This is a great story of friendship. But I wonder if one of the underlying things in their relationship is that in his mind, Justice Scalia thought Justice Ginsburg still looks likes this:

    http://thatswhatshesaid.jezebel.com/reminder-young-ruth-bader-ginsburg-could-get-it-1608383028

  11. Dan from Georgia says:

    Chaplain Mike, thanks for this post. And I agree with one of your comments above. How simple a command from our Lord. And then our sinful nature takes over and we say, “yeah, but Jesus, what about….?”

    Simple.

  12. Christiane says:

    I wonder if ‘equanimity’ is a factor in the ability of some to rise above their differences? To be able to see the bigger picture, to use a wider lens, to have one’s perspective enlarged enough to embrace diversity as a blessing to celebrate instead of something threatening to fear ??

    I keep looking at Our Lord’s teachings and it is there: He had a way of opening our minds to see beyond our safe bubbles and comfort zones . . . He shook us up, and in the process, set us free to be less fearful and more embracing of those around us who were ‘not of our tribe’. . .

    I’m thinking there are other words for ‘equanimity’ . . . maybe a calmness, a peaceful strength . . . all I know is that I want more of it in my life, whatever it is called . . . maybe it is something of that which can be found at the heart of that phrase we know as ‘the peace of Christ’??

  13. Today I went to what was presented to me as a presentation on the book of Revelation at a sister church to the one I have been attending, which is in the process of closing. Both are ELCA Lutheran. It was worse than I anticipated, basically a showing of a John Hagee tape speaking, “preaching”, at an Assembly of God college, end time chart and all. The people attending with me were primarily old folks in their 70’s and 80’s, people I knew from a previous Bible study, people I like personally, the salt of the earth, people close to the Greatest Generation of WW II mentality. They are ignorant and uneducated and fundamentalist, but would stand with you to the death. They ate up John Hagee as if he was the latest word direct from God. Angry word apparently.

    How do I deal with this? I really care about these people and I know that God loves them. They are not about to change, not about to begin thinking for themselves, destined to die in the next ten years or so taking their 1976 mentality to the grave. And it doesn’t really matter. Except it does. Their church is dying too, it just will take a little longer than the one I attended, God love them.

    Do I go back next week for the second Hagee teaching? I studied this 45 years ago and discarded it, since then have discovered it goes back into the early 1800’s as an aberration, but they are not interested in knowing that. They do not care that the great majority of the church at large has put dispensationalism in the balance and found it wanting. It’s certainly not a Lutheran teaching. They are the gullible people who watch Christian televangelists and write out checks from meager income. Do I leave them to their escapist comforts or plant some seeds of what I would call truth and they would call unbelief? I do really like these people. I intend this to be on topic.

    • I find myself in a very similar place, Charles. I love the people at my church but more and more find myself having almost nothing in common with them with regard to how we approach God, the Bible and, most importantly, Jesus; he’s almost a bit player; but yet, we are united through him. I truly believe that and that almost overcomes everything else–almost.

      I, too, am uncertain what to do. I am hesitant to be the one to always be correcting, or at odds with others over, as you say, things that don’t really matter–except they do.

      I’m not sure what to do myself so I certainly am in no position to advise you. I will pray for you, my brother.

      Oh, and thanks for recommending Richard Rohr. He’s a welcome breath of fresh air.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Do I go back next week for the second Hagee teaching? I studied this 45 years ago and discarded it, since then have discovered it goes back into the early 1800’s as an aberration, but they are not interested in knowing that.

      Because now Dispy and Secret Rapture and Any Minute Now is SCRIPTURE(TM), dictated Word-for-Word by GOD in Kynge Jaymes Englyshe and dropped out of Heaven.

      Thank you John Nelson Darby & Hal Lindsay.
      For destroying Protestant Christianity in ‘Murica.

  14. I’ve found this whole thread puzzling, starting with the post. I’ve spent my adult life being friends with people whose views on some issues I thought horrific. There simply isn’t anything virtuous about this beyond some very tiny level. If this is Christ-like, I want my beatification and I want it now.

    I am going to go back to the people I alluded to at the other blog, They all agreed that it was fine if Ginsberg wanted to be friends with Scalia. But some of them were gay and they personally saw Scalia and people like them as threats to their basic rights. For them it was personal. Should they be more forgiving and Christlike? Maybe so, but it sure as heck wasn’t for me to say and I kept my mouth shut. One person didn’t and they did not appreciate being lectured to by a straight person who hadn’t experienced what they had.

    • Okay, I think I understand what you’re saying better in this comment, and I see the angst. Is it okay to be friends with an “enemy” while that “enemy” is harming others, ones that you are supposedly an advocate for? Can it be considered “Christlike” to love and be friendly with people who might be harming others?

      Good questions, if I’ve paraphrased your comment correctly. I think there are some Biblical examples – Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon – instances where people are “friendly” to those who are enemies and doing harm to loved ones. And we could also look at Jesus himself, coming to show his love to people, the same people who will end up killing him.

  15. I think it can be okay to be friends with Scalia, but it can also be corrupting if there is a subtle unconscious bias going on. Suppose one was friends with an advocate of lynching a few generations back. Maybe the unconscious implication there is that lynching is serious, but not that serious.

    But I don’t know where to draw the line. I am friends in my life with Scalia types, but they have no power. I don’t think this matters.

    One thing I am sure of is this. — there is very little virtue in this. I don’t think Ginsberg was wrong, but I don’t see being friends with an ideological opponent as especially noble if you personally aren’t harmed by their views. If it is noble, then I repeat that I want my sainthood awarded now because I’ve done this all my life. But neither Ginsberg nor I are doing anything remotely close to what Jesus did.