Orange County News - Aug 29, 2005Antonin Scalia, On Faith: Lessons from an American Believer

It is enormously important, I think, for Christians to learn early and remember long that lesson of “dif­ferentness”; to recognize that what is perfectly lawful, and perfectly permissible, for everyone else—even our very close non-Christian friends—is not necessarily lawful and permissible for us. That the ways of Christ and the ways of the world—even the world of Main Street America—are not the same, and we should not expect them to be. That possessing and expressing a worldview and a code of moral behavior that are com­fortably in conformance with what prevails in the respectable secular circles in which we live and work is no assurance of goodness and virtue. That Christ makes some special demands upon us that occasion­ally require us to be out of step. It is only if one has that sense of differentness—not animosity toward others in any sense, but differentness—that one has a chance of being strong enough to obey the teachings of Christ on many matters…for example, rules of sexual morality.

The divergence of Christian teaching from the mo­rality of the general society seems especially obvious (and especially blatant) today. Just turn on the tube any night, or walk up to any newsstand. But it would be wrong to think that this divergence between the ways of the world and Christian teaching is new. To the contrary, it is as old as the faith itself. And it sets that Christian apart not only from utterly decadent societies such as Sodom and Gomorrah, but even from purportedly moral societies, as Israel itself was when he was crucified. Christ said, “You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake.” He said at the Last Supper:

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love what is its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.