“He pled the cause of the poor and needy, then it was well. Is not this what it means to know the Lord?” (Jeremiah 22:16).
People base their politics on their values, their beliefs. What they truly believe.
In the current event taking over all the news–the crisis du jour of the Trump years–Dr. Christine Blasey Ford went before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday to charge Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh with sexual assault when she was 15 and he 17. That was some 35 years ago. She was “100 percent sure it was Kavanaugh.” Speaking in his own defense later in the day, he was just as certain she was mistaken. She may have been assaulted, said he, but not by him.
Shortly thereafter, I asked Facebook friends for a simple yes or no response to this: “Do you believe Dr. Ford?” As of this moment, less than 24 hours later, I have received 464 answers. The overwhelming majority say “No.” Some go into detail on their answer, unable to render a simple yes or no.
There is a huge reason, I expect, most of my FB friends answered in the negative: Most of the people I know are conservative in both theology and politics. One drives the other. What we believe–I mean really, really hold dear–determines how we vote and what we support.
It can also, if we’re not disciplined, make us single-issue people who cannot respect others who disagree. So, a few of my FB friends–whom I actually do not know–could not allow someone to take a position opposite to theirs without a heated response and even an attack. When people act ugly, I start looking for the “unfriend” button.
Now, I need to say something. Those who call themselves believers in Jesus and yet support ungodly and harmful people/program/positions, I personally suspect they are not actually believers. He is the One who said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). And, we always want to emphasize, He is not talking about the Ten Commandments (which are never called that in Scripture) but His own teachings. “All the things I have commanded you,” is how He puts it in Matthew 28:20.
The bottom line….
For me personally, what the Ford-Kavanaugh charge-and-countercharge matter comes down to is this: When a person is the victim of a crime–rape, assault, robbery, you name it–after 35 years there will almost never be any real evidence and no reliable witnesses. Therefore, whether the teenage Brett Kavanaugh did as charged or not–and personally, I would not be surprised if he did–we will never know and there is no way to prove it one way or the other. So, the only recourse for the Senate Judiciary Committee is to judge the man’s fitness for the SCOTUS by his adult life and his years on the bench. (UPDATE: Later today the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to ask the President to request that the FBI conduct a supplemental investigation on this matter. They’re giving the FBI one week before the full Senate votes.)
That’s why I personally conclude that while I mostly believe Dr. Ford, I support Judge Kavanaugh.
We have one person’s word. The subject matter is weighty, to be sure, and no one should make light of charges of sexual assault. But there is no evidence to confirm her story. (Again–see my note above–this is subject to change based on the FBI investigation.)
I do not believe there is a “vast left-wing conspiracy” or that someone is paying her to concoct these charges out of whole cloth. I believe she is telling the story as she remembers it. And knowing how memory can play tricks on us, that may or may not mean things happened as she said. But I believe something bad happened to her and that she is telling the truth as she remembers it.
But we cannot convict a man–even in the court of public opinion–on that.
Some have said if he is guilty, Judge Kavanaugh should be charged with perjury for denying them. But to my knowledge, no one is required to testify against themselves. Furthermore, the plea “not guilty” simply means “not guilty as charged.” Once when I was 20 years old and in a traffic court in Ensley, AL, the judge asked me if I wanted to plead guilty or not guilty. Being unknowledgeable about these things, I said, “Judge, I may have been speeding–I don’t really know. But I don’t think I’m guilty the way the policeman says.” The judge said, “Then your plea is not-guilty.” (After I explained what happened, the judge threw the case out. I felt like a young Perry Mason.) The point of that is Judge Kavanaugh can say “I did not do that” (thus pleading not guilty) even if he did something, but not in the way Dr. Ford described.
We will go by Judge Kavanaugh’s record in his adult life and in his years on the bench. And we hear that record is consistently solid and respectable. It is, to be sure, conservative and pro-life, we’re told.
He seems to be living and ruling by his values.
It’s what we all do.