A Christian Response to the Kavanaugh/Ford Debacle

By Peter Heck

I haven’t spoken or written excessively about the sordid confirmation saga of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Besides a column applauding Mitch McConnell for locating his spine and demanding an end to what has become a political theater of the absurd, and a piece expressing shocked appreciation for Lindsey Graham’s righteous indignation at the exploitation of both Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser Dr. Christie Blasey Ford, I’ve kept my opinions about the entire spectacle primarily to myself and off social media.

And there’s a pretty simple reason: I don’t know the truth. I wasn’t there, I don’t know either of the individuals at the center of the mess, I don’t have at my disposal the resources, staff, or fact-finding teams that others possess, and I am firmly of the belief that in the age of hot takes, Christians can distinguish themselves by being slow to speak, quick to listen, and wise in our discernment.

I certainly disapprove of the handling of the accusation by Senate Democrats who have sought not to help or protect Dr. Ford, but to use her in an effort to exact political vengeance on the party that nominated Brett Kavanaugh. That effort lacks compassion and has subjected what by all accounts is a very wounded woman to more stress, pain, and anxiety than was ever necessary.

I watched the testimony of Dr. Ford with an open mind and found nothing objectionable or lacking in sincerity. I certainly didn’t come away thinking that this is someone who has fabricated her story and is a paid political operative.

Likewise, I watched the testimony of Judge Kavanaugh with an open mind and found nothing objectionable about either his demeanor or his responses. I came away thinking that is precisely how you would expect a man falsely accused and unjustly smeared as a rapist in front of the entire country to act.

The emotions of both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh were real, genuine, appropriate, and compelling. And that is precisely why courtrooms are predicated around evidence, not emotions. There’s simply no reliable way for even the shrewdest and most perceptive mind to deduce from the tenor of their testimony who is right and who is wrong.

And this is where, as Christians, we have a duty to separate ourselves from the world. Worldly people were determine guilt or innocence based on their political tribe – based on who they want to be right. Since there is no transcendent moral justice to the universe apart from God, politics fills the void for them. Everything becomes an effort to accrue political power as a means to impose their moral code on the masses. In that calculation, even if you unjustly malign an innocent and honest person, you can justify the injustice by reasoning that the ends will be worth the means.

But Christians do not – or should not – operate by such pitiless pragmatism. We rightly discern that any time an accusation of abuse is made, there is as Tom Ascol explains, “a genuine act of injustice” revealed. Either the accused has indeed committed the injustice of abuse, or the accuser has committed the injustice of a false allegation that will do immense damage to another.

That is why going back even to the ancient Mosaic Law of the Old Testament, God required the corroborating testimony of multiple witnesses. God cares about justice because God is Justice. Therefore His followers must exhibit the same care, and any personal allegiance to man-made political tribalism must be secondary. That means despite the posturing of others, Christians are to be persuaded by evidence.

In its presence, we do not dismiss; in its absence we do not condemn. Anything less than that standard is worldly virtue-signaling, and dishonors the witness we are to exhibit amidst a pagan culture.

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