How should Christians respond to the Kavanaugh hearing?
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to determine the validity of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. On July 9, President Donald Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy. Following last week’s hearing, the F.B.I. has decided to launch an investigation into Dr. Ford’s allegations.
At the invitation of America’s editors, Simcha Fisher and Bill McGarvey, two columnists for the magazine, discussed the hearing and more via email. The following text, which has been edited for length and clarity, is their correspondence.
It’s nice to “meet” you despite the unfortunate circumstances.
In the interest of transparency, I have to confess that a lot of what I will share with you here comes straight from the reactions I shared with friends via text both during and just after the Ford/Kavanaugh hearing. It was riveting to watch in real time and I find that 24 hours later my reactions remain the same.
I really think what we witnessed on Thursday was the death of a certain male prerogative that has been chipped away at—very intensely and imperfectly but long past due—over the past year. Judge Kavanaugh is understandably indignant about accusations he can’t disprove but the indignation, anger and bluster he displayed in that hearing will work less and less effectively moving forward in U.S. political discourse. Women’s voices and experiences are going to be heard and understood in ways that we have not seen previously in our culture.
Kavanaugh is incredibly bright and politically savvy, but I found Dr. Ford to be highly credible and genuine. Obviously, none of this would be sufficient in a court of law, but this wasn’t a trial, it was a job interview. We know statistically that the number of women who make false sexual assault allegations is very small. We also know that the way she chose to cope with the incident—not discussing it with anyone at the time out of shame, etc—also fits the profile for experiences like this. The fact that she had spoken of this incident in therapy and with friends over the past six years also undercuts any notion that she is simply grinding a political ax.
What we witnessed on Thursday was the death of a certain male prerogative that has been chipped away at—very intensely and imperfectly but long past due.
No one should get any joy out watching Judge Kavanaugh’s world collapse around him. My overwhelming sense was that he has been working tirelessly his entire adult life to become a Supreme Court Justice and he’s incensed that someone dared to throw a banana peel at his feet when he was an inch from the finish line. These allegations clearly don’t fit with the narrative he’s constructed about his life: great husband and father, devout Catholic, hard working, first-class legal credentials. I think the narratives most of us construct for our lives suffer under the weight of our shadow selves. The reality is that all of his positive attributes can still be true without negating the possibility that he was capable of some seriously bad behavior as a young man. If the numerous accounts from classmates about his heavy drinking habits continue to mount and are credible I think we may have located the missing link connecting the two very different descriptions of Judge Kavanaugh presented on Thursday.
In her testimony, Dr. Ford admitted to wondering if coming forward “would just be jumping in front of a train that was headed to where it was headed anyway and that I would just be personally annihilated.” The image that will linger for me from Thursday’s hearing will not be of Dr. Ford’s calm, rational and historic testimony. It will be of Judge Kavanaugh, red-faced with sanctimonious contempt and anger as the prosecutor Rachel Mitchell gamely tried to navigate his seething fury. It’s as if he’s realizing that the train he was once comfortably riding on is now hurtling down the track headed straight for him and the world he’d grown up in.
You’re absolutely right to focus on the conversations you're having with friends, rather than on the legal or political ramifications of this ongoing debacle because those conversations are the only thing that are in our control.
I mean, we can call our reps, but when’s the last time you felt truly represented by an elected official? I can’t even remember the last time I actually voted for someone, rather than reluctantly discerning the somewhat-less-horrible candidate. And frankly, I’m convinced that most of the Democrats are just as ruthlessly manipulative as the GOP right now, and no one actually cares about the truth.
The truth for us regular citizens is that we are mostly powerless most of the time, as far as what happens in Washington. Maybe that’s cynical, but it sure is how it feels. No one represents me. As a woman, it has been sort of darkly fascinating to see so many men suddenly get a glimpse of that familiar sensation of outraged helplessness that so many women endure without question. It’s like the whole country is a teenage girl and Congress is an entitled frat boy. Ugh.
Anyway, as a Christian, I’m focusing on the conversations I have with people. Most victims of sexual assault never tell anyone, not 35 years later, not ever. So I’m trying to present myself as someone it would be safe and helpful to confide in. I don’t know what else to do.
Loved what you said about members of Congress, Simcha, and how they’re finally getting a sense of the “outraged helplessness” that is a constant in many women’s lives. That was on stark display in the footage of a woman confronting Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator. “Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me,” said 23-year-old protester Maria Gallagher. This is not simply a passing political moment; it reflects a tectonic shift in U.S. social and cultural life. The deeply insular male experience you describe reminded me of something Hannah Gadsby addressed specifically to men in the audience of her Netflix special, “Nannette”: “I am not a man hater. But I am afraid of men. If I am the only woman in a room full of men I am afraid. But if you think that’s unusual you are not speaking to the women in your life!”
As a woman, it has been sort of darkly fascinating to see so many men suddenly get a glimpse of that familiar sensation of outraged helplessness that so many women endure.
I understand your frustration but I have to disagree with you in terms of political engagement. If I waited for candidates who perfectly reflected the diamond-like facets of all my political beliefs, I would never be able to engage politically at all. If that were the standard we would forever be on the sidelines waiting for our political savior to arrive. I think that’s an abdication of our duties and responsibilities as citizens, not to mention as Christians who are called to work for a more just society. Trust me Simcha, I have no illusions that Democrats are somehow politically pure. They’re politicians and the work of the “affairs of the cities” is messy to put it mildly.
It’s not about Democrats or Republicans for me, it’s about treating accusations like this seriously. I actually think both Ford and Kavanaugh deserve that. I like the way an old friend from college, who is now a lawyer, put it in a text earlier today. “If he didn’t do it, damn, I think he would WANT an investigation. He wants his new title to be JUSTICE, for crying out loud!”
Hey, Bill -
Yeah, that’s 2018 for you. “Make America Strange Bedfellows Again,” I guess! It stinks to see otherwise decent people making the deliberate choice to be callous in the face of suffering because they think it’s somehow good for unborn babies to make rape jokes. But it’s been heartening to see so many people wake up from their comfortable ideological slumbers and realize that Christians will never have a political home.
I totally agree that it’s bigger than Democrats vs. Republicans. But anyone who truly wants change has to look hard at themselves. That’s just how it works. Liberals could do themselves (not to mention women!) a great service by being more consistent about predators in their own ranks. I see Roman Polanski has a new film coming out. Bill Clinton is still thriving. Ted Kennedy was practically canonized. I don’t look to politicians to reform society, but they sure could help by being more consistent.
Part of the problem is that the imbalance of power between men and women is so ingrained, women themselves don’t always recognize it as an injustice. Someone asked, “What would you do if men had a 9:00 curfew?” and I immediately thought, with joy and longing, “Oh, I would go for a walk!” How pathetic is that? We all have some awakening to do.
With dread. If the Democrats could do this to a very decent man, what is in our future. All should read https://thefederalist.com/2018/09/28/senates-ritual-defamation-brett-kavanaugh-threatens-every-american/
This is a conversation between two liberal writers. Let's not pretend otherwise.
J, Simcha writes often to encourage natural family planning and is consistently pro-life on abortion issues. I have no idea how you can refer to her as a liberal.
Interesting response. You seem to see official Catholic teaching as incompatible with being politically liberal. I was looking for insight from her political comments. Her main negative comment about liberals was they were hypocritical about sexual harassment not their policies. I thought her most egregious comment was "no one actually cares about the truth" as if she does and others don't.
she has a right to have her own thoughts and to make her own decisions. she can even take the position that her position is the 'best.' i am a liberal but there are many topics and solutions which are anathema for me. the true '''liberal/progressive'''' understands that we all have different educations...family experiences which help us to form our opinions. the 'true liberal'' sets her/ himself apart via the respect and toleration shown to different solutions that are made from a ''pure heart'' (so to speak)
You are describing what a classical liberal should be. Not a modern liberal/progressive which is very different. Sounds like a good conservative to me. Sounds like any honest person to me.
Fielder - that is why I am so disappointing with her. McGarvey is jumping on Kavanaugh's grave and he is not even dead yet. Though this Georgetown professor says white GOP senators ‘deserve miserable deaths’ after Kavanaugh hearing. Despicable.
So I guess that The DNC Chairman is correct?: "you cannot be a Democrat [ or a liberal] unless you are Pro Choice"
The prejudice drips from the staged comments and shallow observations. Two writers who have an echo chamber to underscore their preconceived notions. Stand up for justice and victims without axiomatically trashing the "white man?" Impossible among this crowd.
Thank you for your clear and concise statement. The hate directed to this man who should be presumed innocent until proven guilty is despicable. Imagine, if you will, if this can happen to this man what about the rest of us. Men in the United States have stood by watching other men being emasculated by a rather large number of sick women. Take a look at the accuses. Ms.Ford being one of them. Even her husband pointed out recently in an interview she is Schizophrenic and fails to take her medication. She lied constantly about flying, her work, her acceptance in her community and elsewhere. All her claims have been unsubstantiated and uncorroborated. Is this the way we carry out interviews these days? The haters home is found functioning well in the Democratic party. Several of those attacking the judge have histories of extremely bad behaviour. Mr. Blumenthal who lied about his military exploits, Ms Pelosi and Ms. Feinstein who support wholeheartedly abortion on demand. One a Catholic and one a Jew. We could go on and mention the behaviour of William Clinton who destroyed the lives of many women but was beloved by his democrats. Same with Obama. The man who would speak to no leader but loved his drugs and women. Here we have a magazine who supports the man who pushes homosexuality as just another normal way of life in stark defiance of the Magisterium of the church. He is lauded as a great leader and also an active SJ. It is too bad a magazine purporting to speak for a religious group who get deeper and deeper into lawless liberalism. We will no longer support Jesuits in any form. They obviously have forgotten their motto AMGD. Perhaps they should join in a collective Examen.
To: J Cosgrove
Yes. And I read Peter Hyatt's analysis FBI Statement Analysis) .. and about Ford's use of hypnosis to 'recover' her memories a tech that has proven to contaminate clients memories.
The political use of sexism and race to divide Americans .. used by the Democrat Party .. is unconscionable as well as working! Guilty until proven innocent (a socialist ploy) that preys on women's emotions. Guilty in absence of collaborative evidence. It is a shame how those entrusted with the Church are turning to socialism .. which traditionally has been condemned by the Church as 'collectivism'.
Not this way. How do you sleep with yourself Bill McGarvey? Such lack of personal insight and human understanding. If the editors weren't already complicit, I would appeal to them about you. But they probably composed this title about "How should Christians respond?" "No one should get any joy out watching Judge Kavanaugh’s world collapse around him" - but you do, Bill. Brett Kavanaugh's reputation has been destroyed by charges of gang rape, and innuendo about alcoholism and privilege and you put it down to "he’s incensed that someone dared to throw a banana peel at his feet when he was an inch from the finish line." Look into his daughters eyes next time you say this.
You say: "We know statistically that the number of women who make false sexual assault allegations is very small." - so we now have to believe 11 gang rape parties fit into his calendar, because it is statistically highly unlikely Swetnick is not telling the truth.
Simcha says: "It stinks to see otherwise decent people making the deliberate choice to be callous in the face of suffering" - exactly Bill. No Christian empathy whatsoever. No desire for the truth. Gender identity rules. Shame on Simcha for going along with this.
Tim: I missed overlapping with Brett Kavanaugh at Yale - he was a freshman in the college right after I'd graduated, at a time when I was a first-year student at the law school (which he would eventually attend). What's interesting to me is that he chose to join DKE (a.k.a. "Deke") as an undergraduate. In the 1980s DKE was the only "Greek" fraternity at Yale. It accounted for a very small portion of the social life on campus. In other words, DKE was a deliberate choice for those who were its members... and it was not a good crowd. Think Animal House on steroids. It earned its reputation for over-the-top drinking and bad behavior toward women. In later years its charter was revoked when DKE members led the following chant during freshman rush season (a reference to women's consent... please forgive the crudity): "'No' means 'Yes"! 'Yes' means anal!" Of course this doesn't prove that Brett Kavanaugh did what he's accused of doing, but it does suggest that he chose to place himself in a group with a culture that not only allowed that type of behavior but encouraged it. It doesn't say everything, but it says a lot. I encourage you to consider that in conjunction with the insights presented in this article from Commonweal: https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/improper-formation
Silvia - I would look to Judge Kavanaugh's temperament as a Judge on the second highest court for the last 12 years as the best guide for his judicial temperament. The ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary was unanimous in awarding its highest rating of well-qualified to Kavanaugh. The ABA standing committee evaluates nominees based on professional competence, integrity and judicial temperament. That ABA committee stands by that rating despite the Chairman of ABA (a Clinton donor) recent comments.
Thank you Bill for your sensitive and balanced social analysis of these challenging current events. It's nice to hear a man that can speak credibly about gender issues. I agree that Catholics committed to justice should feel at home in our political landscape, even if some of the of the conversations are difficult.
I'll never be a senator, but if I were able to ask Dr Ford a question, this is what it would be. "Let's assume hypothetically, that your claim is true and that what you allege did indeed happen 36 years ago. Recognizing that the statute of limitations is expired, and there will be no conviction, what is your opinion on the gravity of consequences/discipline that should be applied to Judge Kavanaugh? I ask this because I am afraid that in the court of public opinion, the actual consequences to Judge Kavanaugh (even if he did do these things) could possibly be too severe. How will you/we know when justice is really done?"
Thanks for your comment, A Fielder. As I mentioned in the piece, this isn't a court of law but a job interview, so I'm not sure whether their are any legal repercussions for Judge Kavanaugh. In terms of justice being done, this is not a question of guilt or innocence but the nominee's fitness to be given a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. Questions of character must be taken into account and given the very real questions raised by his testimony--as I predicted, more former classmates are coming forward and saying that his denials of a history of excessive drinking are not credible--I think his nomination should be withdrawn. I have no doubt that this is incredibly painful for the judge and his family but no one is entitled to a seat on the Supreme Court. I also think he played the choirboy card a bit too much so he can't back down from the reality check that other people are forcing on him.
This attempt at creating a"job interview exception" to the usual application of the concepts of American justice is pure and utter hogwash. Ask any Human Resources Officer if he will send any negative allegation or comment respecting a former employee to a prospective new employer of that person. They won't do so and for good reason: If that comment or allegation has not been corroborated then there is going to be big payment by the former Employer to the former employee ....as well as huge legal bills if it is not quickly settled. These Human Resource Officershave been well trained in the application of basic legal principles which you have cavalierly dismissed.
Somehow or other Progressives whose bailiwick is allegedly the best interest of "the working dude" has suddenly decided it does not matter if that person is denied a job based on uncorroborated allegations.
An entitled , white male who is Catholic is not stripped of his rights as your "exchange" clearly implies. Justice does not recognize exceptions based on gender, race or religion. The law does not comprehend a "Toxic Masculinity " exception nor does it grant additional rights to "long oppressed feminists". THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "JOB INTERVIEW EXCEPTION "
"Sensitive and balanced" - Fielder is being sarcastic.
Speak for yourself, Tim. I meant to give a sincere compliment.
Fielder - I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. It was my mistake about your character. Thank you anyway for your sensitivity and balance.
Does anybody around here actually care if he did it or not? Or is this just another opportunity to pontificate and advance an agenda?
This is the first time that I follow a SCOTUS hearing process. At the beginning, as the Editor of America has pointed out, I agreed that Kavanaugh is a good choice of the SC. However, after watching the hearing, I changed my mind. Of all the arguments that try to defend Judge Kavanaugh, they completely ignore these 2 facts:
1. Kavanaugh could not control his anger and temper in his speech. He showed a very high level of partisanship in his speech and thus will haunt him and taint his rulings if he ever becomes a SC Justice. It will further divide the country that is already extremely polarized.
2. Kavanaugh never answered directly to the questions about his drinking problems. According to Charles Ludington, a classmate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at Yale University has come forward with his account of “violent drunken behavior by Kavanaugh in college”. So, he basically lied, hid, or denied his drinking problems. Is there a possibility that he did assault Dr. Ford in one of his drinking bouts and forgot about this? Probable but not impossible.
He may be completely a good person for a quite a while later. But his lack of courage and honesty to accept his problems of the past will make his qualifications to be an impartial justice at the SC highly questionable.
Ludington's statement is the sort of thing I was thinking about when I mentioned more people coming forward. Once this tree has been shaken I believe more will continue to fall out. He simply isn't credible on his version of his younger years.
While I am completely sympathetic to the MeToo spirit of the times and glad to see a growing sensitivity toward women who've been abused, I have to say that I was not particularly impressed by Dr. Ford's story. So many gaps in memory and detail and no corroborative witnesses. But, what I found grossly unfair is the assault on Kavanaugh for alleged, alleged, unseemly behavior in his high school days. People grow up. Like Sts. Augustine, Francis, Ignatius (all womanizers) - and ourselves! One of my children is Kavanaugh's age, attended a prep school in DC and caused me great consternation in her high school days because of the parties and drinking that were temptations for kids then. Presently, she is working in a high level position at a prestigious university, has become "a person for others" and the most altruistic person I know, in part because of the powerful influence of the teachers who influenced her in her Catholic prep school , who contributed to her adolescent discernment growth - at the same time those crazy parties were going on. I'm certainly grateful her present employer did not take time to "investigate" every adolescent indiscretion in her history but assessed her on the character and accomplishments that shine from her in maturity. What breaks my heart in this confirmation process is seeing the viciousness of my fellow countrymen and women, and what our political system has become.
Thanks for your comment, Carolyn. I have to take exception to the idea that what Judge Kavanaugh is accused of is simply an "adolescent indiscretion." There are plenty of people I've known who have partied excessively without resorting to the sort of behavior the judge has been accused of. The fact that other classmates are coming forward to challenge his claim that he was never incoherently drunk also does not bode well for the way he characterized his past.
It has been noticed by several writers that as the sexual assault argument is collapsing, the Never-Kavanaughs are shifting to alcohol use and temperament.
When Kavanaugh or one of his corporatist clones becomes a Supreme Court Justice for the rest of my lifetime, I'll definitely shift to alcohol use. It'll help to wash down the Fentanyl.
Now they decide he has a drinking problem? I thought Barack Obama said that he had a history of cocaine use and smoking weed. Did that translate into a drug problem that would disqualify him from being president?
Bill and Simcha,
When you speak of Judge Kavanaugh's reply to Senators Feinstein and Harris's questions telling him to call for an FBI Investigation, you say, “If he didn’t do it, damn, I think he would WANT an investigation. He wants his new title to be JUSTICE, for crying out loud!”
That sounds like you are making him the new topic for bullies.
And it also sounds like neither you nor Feinstein, nor Harris did fact checking about calling the FBI. Well perhaps the two US Senators did and were trying to prey on the emotions of hurting women. And knew the answer.
The victim of the crime calls for the FBI Investigation. The President, or the employer of the Federal Employee calls for the FBI investigation. When Judge Kavanaugh answered that he has the statements of the four people Ford named as witnesses and none of them corraborate her statements. He has answered as a Judge is supposed to answer. He is not the victim, nor is he the Federal employer. He is the interviewee for the job. The question of calling for an investigation is properly left to the President in this case. And Kavanaugh was deferring to that.
As to you points about women being sexually harassed. I wish you had given us the statistics. I wish you had a study of this.
I think what this was subtly getting at is the question of abortion in the instance of rape. I also think it is important to give hope to my daughter that there are rules for proper behavior of boys and men.
I do not see Kavanaugh as the post boy for a powrful man who abuses women.
And I believe Ford that she was sexually assaulted. I think it was not Kavanaugh.
Is this the way to empower women? I don't think so. I this the way to give hope that people are listening to women? I think Metoo has already done that.
Is this an example of boys needing the good and holy Alpha Man Model? You bet.
Are we giving it to boys and girls through this public spectacle outside a court of law of Ford's 36 year old experience?
Is this empowering of women?
Hi Katherin, In terms of the statistics you wished were cited, here's an article that cites the percentage of false accusations of sexual violence at 4-6%: http://theconversation.com/heres-the-truth-about-false-accusations-of-sexual-violence-88049. This Stanford University organization puts the number at 2%: https://web.stanford.edu/group/maan/cgi-bin/?page_id=297
Thank you for this.
I wonder if there are statistics on how many women are sexually assaulted every year and don't report it.
I think if we want to have a really serious public confrontation about sexuality today that it would be a good idea to take the Barbie dolls off the store shelves and put them behind the counter with the grown up magazines.
Toy store shelves
Bill - the statistics you cite have little relation to a story that has such political consequences and political motives for coming forward. But, even then, we have today a proven fabrication of a rape (link below), the false allegation against bishop Rhoades (link below), and the case of the majority of allegations against the 26 priests in the Philadelphia Grand Jury (link below). I know from your past writings that you are a left-wing Clintonite (sexual crimes notwithstanding) and am happy to argue about them and your use of data. What got me so outraged here is the sheer anti-Christian callousness you expressed about Kavanaugh and his family, under a title "How should Christian..."
Despite Kavanaugh’s Catholic background, and his own statements, he has been accused of a crime. A pause is required to test the validity of this credible claim, despite any desire to have him approved to a position in the Supreme Court.
I had no doubt that this article would at least infer a guilty plea for Kavanaugh, however I saw a different picture:
After anyone has been assaulted or violated there is invariably a change of character. The assault lingers in the mind almost as fresh as the moment it occurred. The memories are usually accompanied by unusual facts of an assailants behavior or appearance. The assault is retold with vigor and clarity recalling directly from memory - not a sheaf of notes.
A Judge, especially one with his experience and his belief in fairness as pillars of his career would be totally indignant. In his mind there would be no need for any investigation - because everything he has done in his life he believes screams of innocence.
I was however a little disappointed that Kavanaugh is not fully invested in the Love of God, where he would find sanctuary, peace and poise in this most desperate of times..
What this farce showed was that the Senate nor any political entity should not be allowed to come near any future nominee. I was a disgrace to put people through such mental and degrading torture. I challenge any hypocrite of any persuasion to find virtue in what is taking place.
Rape, child sexual abuse and domestic violence are things I take very seriously. Very seriously. I have been disguested and turned off with how the so called feminist/women's liberations movement has only one mantra and that's abortion rights. They have never ever seen them take up the cause of rape or attempted rape until now. As far as I am concerned this is nothing but a thinly veiled campaign to keep Kavanaugh off the bench so that Roe v Wade won't be repealed. I frankly don't find Ford to be credible. Kavanaugh has been on the bench for 12 + years and she hasn't stepped forward before now or lodged a complaint about his unsuitability until now. She said that she suffered a traumatic event yet can't remember the details. The when and where it happened. How can that be? I can still remember the day month and time I was laid off from my job so how can she not remember something so traumatic? I don't find her credible at all, and her over the top claim that Kavanaugh's selection to the bench makes her 'want to leave the country' is just over the top and silly. And tells me how seriously we should take her.
Given the seriousness of the crime it's no wonder that Kavanaugh won't fess up. But it seems pretty clear to me that during his high school and university days he was given to boorish and imature behaviour. Like many guys and gals. But he matured straightened himself out like so many of us. If most people were being denied jobs for the stupidity they committed during their youth and younger years 90% of the adult population would be unemployed.
My Christian faith is lacking. I have to become more judgemental. Hey you guys with the halo's are their any left?
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
John 7: 24
Perhaps we begin by cleaning up our little corner of the world. For example, Georgetown University could address the remarks of the Distinguished Associate Professor who said: "“Look at thus [sic] chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist's arrogated entitlement,” Fair tweeted on Thursday. Referencing a video of "Lindsey Graham's tirade," Fair, who is a victim of sexual assault, added, “all of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps."
"Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes," she concluded the tweet."
Well, what can one expect for only $71,580 per year? It also makes one wonder what an Undistinguished Associate Professor at Georgetown would sound like.
This isn't about Christianity . . . YET. Once we discover which one is lying, we can show mercy and offer that person forgiveness. As of now, this is a legal issue. The burden is on Blasey-Ford to file a complaint in Montgomery County, MD. Officials said they would investigate the matter under 1982 law, when sexual assault was a misdemeanor, but only if a complaint is filed. But she is not moving toward doing so, and she is withholding the name of a witness from Congress. Something is amiss here. Judge Kavanaugh was trained by the Jesuits. Certainly, as readers and writers of this magazine, don't we have to give him the benefit of the doubt in the meantime, while we are waiting for the evidence to emerge?
How should Christians respond to the Kavanaugh hearing?
This question should not be difficult to answer. However, it is very difficult to answer given our polarized and tribal politics. I admit, I do not have the answers here. However, below are 10 suggestions that might guide right judgment.
1. Respond as you think Jesus would. This will take a lot of thought and prayer, so don't push this suggestion aside.
2. Weight fairly the testimony of the accuser and accused. This might be difficult as we all are influenced by emotion and the fact that many women are sexually assaulted but keep silent.
3. Respectfully question the alleged facts laid out by both Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. This means being balanced.
4. While a woman who believes she was sexually assaulted may not remember details, honestly determine if the details she does remember pose legitimate questions that might impact your judgment. I have offered several questions on the Editors call for Kavanaugh's withdrawal. How was it possible that Kavanaugh and his friend were lying in wait upstairs near the bathroom when no one except Dr. Ford knew she had to go to the bathroom? Why did Dr. Ford not use the bathroom downstairs? These are only a few questions not to mention she does not know the time and place or who drove her to and from this gathering.
5. Determine how much weight you should give to the fact that the 3-4 witnesses Dr. Ford said were at this gathering all provided affidavits under penalty of felony the did not corroborate Dr. Ford's allegations.
6. Ask yourself how much credibility and weight you should give to a young person who drank beer and got drunk sometimes in high school and college and whether this fact should be the litmus test for a Supreme Court nominee? Ask yourself if this fact proves Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Dr. Ford? Ask yourself honestly if Kavanaugh moderately downplayed his drinking, does this mean he was lying and should not belong on the Supreme Court?
7. Fairly weight the entire professional life of Judge Kavanaugh and the 65 women that signed a letter in support of his moral character and treatment of women.
8. Honestly appraise if the highly partisan and hateful politics that has infected these the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings is impacting a fair and honest judgment.
9. Ask yourself: Should all Supreme Court nominees be denied confirmation based on an allegation of sexual assault of a woman especially when there is no corroborating evidence and there are many holes in the woman's testimony that will not be known?
10. If the FBI investigation does not uncover any credible corroborating evidence in support of Dr. Ford's allegation, ask yourself if Kavanaugh is to be presumed innocent or should you give the benefit of the doubt to Dr. Ford and deny Kavanaugh his confirmation?
They should advise their sons and daughters that, while the judiciary is a noble profession, if they are conservative, and they aspire to be a Supreme Court Justice, that they should expect their good name and reputation to be slandered, their families threatened with violence, and their careers potentially ruined by the most scurrilous charges trumped up at the 11th hour. If they have the testicular fortitude to withstand such attacks, by all means, aspire to the bench.
If I had had a child, I would never have advised him or her to become a lawyer like Kavanaugh. Would much rather they become a scientist/mathematician like Ford.
This hearing is NOT a job interview. If it were, Kavanaugh would not be there in the first place. No kind of job interview would have half of the people on the panel deciding not to hire even before the candidate sat down.
This is also not a symbolic battle of the sexes, it is a real battle of two competing ideas: leftist-statism v. conservatism. It is also not about treating women as equals or about white male privilege. Sex and race have nothing to do with it. If treating women were an issue in this circus, Mrs. Ford's request for anonymity would have been honored - but a female senator disregarded that request so the statist agenda could be achieved. Judge Kavanaugh's twenty-plus years of public service is not a result of white privilege, it was earned by years of study and hard work. His twelve year record on the DC Circuit Court is an achievement which has been disregarded because of what was written in his Catholic high school yearbook. This is insane. It's as if we are now in Alice's Wonderland, worse than some Orwellian dystopian novel.
J Cosgrove is correct in his description of the dialogue above.
The media has blinded many regarding the affairs of state and society. Both writers of this article should re-read Plato's "Allegory of the Cave," (or study it for the first time) because too many Americans have been led to believe what they are shown is actually what is going on, however, far too often we have been misled.
America (not only this magazine) should wake-up, or we are in serious trouble - in fact our civilization would be doomed.
I am disappointed in this magazine's stand on this issue. If we don't stand for something, we will fall for anything!
Terry—Yes,Yes and Yes....The nail on the head...good job...I too am embarrassed by America’s stand on this story...!
Terry—Yes,Yes and Yes....The nail on the head...good job...I too am embarrassed by America’s stand on this story...!
Thank you, Bill and Simcha, for your honest and thought-provoking discussion. Watching Kavanaugh lie and bluster his way through the hearings has been infuriating, but I am heartened by the backlash (as of right now, it looks like we can add witness tampering to his list of crimes). I would disagree with Simcha on one point: I voted with pride for Hillary Clinton, the most qualified candidate for POTUS in modern history, and a true inspiration for me and millions of other women. Her loss led to the formation of groups like Pantsuit Nation and to a record number of women running for office. Now, two years later, there is a whole crop of new stars in the Democratic party to motivate voters, from Beto O'Rourke in Texas to Antonio Delgado in New York to Stacey Abrams in Georgia. Is Washington broken? Yes. Are politics dirty on both sides of the aisle? Yes. But that shouldn't stop us from finding and supporting candidates who can do better for all of us.
Well put, Hilary. While I can't say I'm brimming with hope right now, I do believe the millions of Americans who have been mobilized to action is a move in the right direction.
Here you are two years later still unable to cope with Ms Clinton's spectacular loss....reflecting the endless frustration and outrage of the Coastal elites.
I suggest you construct a dialogue with an ordinary working stiff Catholic from the Midwest to get to a more elucidating discussion of a Christian view of the Kavanaugh controversy . As it stands the above article is little more than contrived backslapping mutually supportive BS.
"How should Christians respond....." ?
The nominee of an adultrous, thrice-married, admitted sex offender that has himself been implicated as an attempted rapist - - the nominee that showed an evil, jaundiced, vindictive (he actually promised retaliation) side of his alcoholic psyche that proves he is not suitable to be ANY TYPE of "judge," much less a member of the Highest Court in the Land.
Only the very reputation and trust the citizens have in their Supreme Court hangs on whether or not the Senate has enough courage to not only reject Kavanaugh for this seat, but also how they make up for their shabby treatment of all women who have come forward at great personal sacrifice and peril.
How silly has this Jesuit rag started to be that you have to stoop to ask stupid questions like this ?
Simcha= "I can’t even remember the last time I actually voted for
someone"...............what an appalling confession from a woman who claims to be capable of writing about "Politics and Society". At the risk of being crucified (and denied my SCOTUS seat), she sounds like the proverbial dumb blonde.