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Op-Ed

Auto-da-fé: An act of faith

July 1, 2022

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast fate, I track down footnotes, to see if I can learn something — anything — for sure.

Robert Kahn

By Robert Kahn

Deputy editor emeritus, Courthouse News

When I taught high school band on an Indian reservation, the shop teacher’s classroom was next door. The late, lamented John Lidback volunteered to serve in our military services in three wars: World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He was way older than me. I loved that guy.

Politically, we were as far apart as Alice and the Red Queen but, because our country had not degenerated yet to the state in which we find ourselves now, we became pals.

As we unlocked our classrooms in the mornings, John would greet me with a question: “Hey, Kahn, what do you know for sure?”

Made me stop and think.

But there’s no need to think anymore, I guess, thanks to the auto-da-fé imposed upon us on June 24 by our Supreme Court.

We’re a fascist Christian nation now, a nation of informers, rewarded not by secret payoffs, like the Stasi and KGB did in the old days, but by public, tax-dollar payoffs of $10,000 a head to snitches who inform upon their wives, or sisters, or mothers, or schoolteachers, or rape victims, who try to sneak out of Texas to have an abortion.

I used to think that auto-da-fé had a simple definition: burning a heretic at the stake for violating whatever passed as Christian doctrine at the time.

Turns out, though, that auto-da-fé is Portuguese for “an act of faith.”

That’s the best description of our corrupt Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This ruling enshrined six fascists’ Christian “faith” as the Law of the Land.

This was not a judicial ruling: It was a fatwa against women and doctors.

In it, Clarence Thomas said right out loud that he’d also like to overturn the Supreme Court’s refusal to bar the use of contraceptives (Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 1965); legalizing same-sex marriage Obergefell v. Hodges,(576, U.S. 644, 2015); and decriminalizing sodomy (Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 2003.) 

He indicated afterward that he’d also like to take a look at New York Times v. Sullivan, a foundational protection of a free press.

Yet in all these targets of Clarence’s wrath, appealing to his own, call-it-Christian “faith,” he never brought up the Supreme Court’s ruling in Loving v. Virginia(388 U.S. 1, 1967, unanimous) which overturned state laws against “miscegenation”: biracial marriages.

Do you know why Clarence didn’t mention Loving? (What a great abbreviation.) It’s because in that case, Clarence had some skin in the game.

This week the Supreme Court said it would not hear a case challenging Times v. Sullivan. Thomas, however, dissented in part, saying he’d like to take another look at the “actual malice” standard, writing: “This case is one of many showing how New York Times and its progeny have allowed media organizations and interest groups ‘to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity.’”

Well, Clarence, when you’ve got some skin in the game, we see it’s a pretty thin skin.

The Supreme Court today loves to slap down other people, but when it comes to themselves, “faith” rules the game.

What a sham.

You know what, Clarence, Sam, Neil, Brett, Amy, and John Roberts? I wouldn’t trust a one of you to feed my dogs. I don’t care what your “faith” tells you to do, as you “interpret” it.

These Christian fascists are no different, and no better, than an Islamic council issuing fatwas against women and doctors, or hunting down and burning witches.

Don’t believe in witches, you medieval “jurists,” Alito, Thomas, and the rest of you? O, yes you do. You are the witches. Take off your black robes and what are you?

The Spanish Inquisition.

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