By a 50-48 vote, the US Senate on Saturday confirmed President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
At a long hearing before the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, Christine Blasey Ford testified that Mr Kavanaugh had sexually abused her one day when he was in high school at an expensive private school and she was 15. He denied that the incident happened but admits to some underage drinking during high school, and no witnesses came forth to corroborate with any reasonable certainty either side of the sexual abuse story.
Many Republicans, most of them old, white men, claimed Mr Kavanaugh was being victimized by a political process and that Americans should be more afraid of the reporting of sexual abuse from the past than of sexual abuse. “I would say it’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you’re not guilty of,” Mr Trump declared.
In that statement, the president makes a wild assumption that the crazy things we’ve all done in high school are going to haunt us forever and could potentially ruin our lives or our careers one day if this whole #MeToo movement continues unabated. That’s hard to believe, since many Americans, especially strong Christians, fundamentally believe in forgiveness. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus once said this about final judgment:
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.” But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who [calls] a brother or sister [a bad name] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. (Chapter 5)
Statements like those made by the president reflect a time that Jesus seems to be trying to put behind him. Jesus talks about forgiveness, about reconciliation over disagreements, while Mr Trump talks of perpetual fear. Although Jesus accepts that we will have disagreements with other people, he also declares that those differences should be reconciled properly and promptly. Any disagreements should first be reconciled, Jesus teaches, and only then, should the person move on to offer his gift or to serve in the capacity appointed.
Republicans hand Democratic adversaries who believe Ms Blasey Ford, a group that includes many men and women, over to the judge without offering any opportunity for reconciliation, a style of personal negotiation that Jesus clearly spoke against in the sermon quoted above.
So whether Mr Kavanaugh’s or Ms Blasey Ford’s statements are true or false, I believe the entire process has shown a snapshot of America that borders on the anti-Christian. As a result of this, we again call on Mr Kavanaugh to resign so that the issue can be reconciled to the benefit of both Ms Blasey Ford and Mr Kavanaugh. And the country.