Tag Archives: SCOTUS

What We Can Learn from Christine Blasey Ford

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on what young people can learn from Judge Kavanaugh during the contentious battles that came with sexual assault allegations from Christine Blasey Ford and others.  You can read that here.  I thought long and hard before writing this one for a couple of reasons: 1) I’m not a woman and 2) I’ve never been sexually assaulted.  But looking at this outrage exhibited from both sides of the aisle, I think there is at least a few lessons to learn from it and Ms. Ford.

  1. Sexual assault is damaging. I would imagine that the word “damaging” is too soft of a word to use as a description.  These heinous acts hurt the psyche, future relationships, physical health, and who knows what else.  One can see this from Scripture when Abner raped his half-sister Tamar.  “And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went. . .So Tamar lived, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom’s house,” (2 Samuel 13:19, 20e, ESV).  The long-term effects of sexual assault can last a life-time.
  2. Sexual assault ought to elicit righteous indignation on everyone’s part. Even though he was family, Absalom gives the correct emotion, as he was righteously indignant at what Abner did to their sister; as was David, their father. “When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry,” (2 Samuel 13:21, ESV).  A few verses later Absalom had his brother killed.  We see something similar when Shechem raped Dinah.  Except this time, we are not told how Jacob her father felt about it. Her brothers, however were outraged. “The sons of Jacob had come in from the field as soon as they heard of it, and the men were indignant and very angry, because he had done an outrageous thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing must not be done,” (Genesis 34:7, ESV).  They too, specifically Levi and Simeon went on a murderous spree and killed all the men of Shechem. I am not saying that anyone should be a vigilante and put the accused to death. I am saying however that we should be outraged when sexual assault happens. I don’t think anyone denies that; at least, I hope they don’t.
  3. Report sexual assault as early as possible.  This is where both sides seem to be at odds. Sexual assault is a serious crime that deserves righteous indignation and swift justice. It should be reported at any time but the sooner, the better–when minds are fresh, when witnesses can be found, when evidence can be gathered, and when motives won’t be questioned.  I do not know whether Justice Kavanaugh did what Ms. Ford is saying he did. I wasn’t there; and apparently neither was anyone else except for possibly Mark Judge. I can certainly understand the position of the Republicans and conservatives who state there is no evidence, witnesses, or fresh recall of the alleged incident.  I can understand why they would say that there is something fishy going on with the timing of the issue, hence questioning motives.
    While there is no guarantee that witness and evidence could be found immediately following the alleged incident, it is much more likely to find them in 1982 than in 2018.  On top of that, there would have been no reason to question Ms. Ford’s motives for reporting sexual assault, at least no political motive.  I know each case has its nuances and complications, but if the incident had been reported in ’82, even if there was no conviction, even if it had not gone to court, Justice Kavanaugh would never have been nominated to sit on any bench let alone the U. S. Supreme Court.
    That being said, I have read from many women who say they never reported their incidents because of varying fears: not being believed, retaliation, humiliation, etc.  That is quite understandable.  All I can say in response, and as lovingly as I can, is that it makes justice that much harder to attain this side of heaven the longer one waits.
  4. These allegations have shown how humanity can put their trust and faith into a person that they have never met personally.  Many believe Ms. Ford, but have never met her, never spoken to her, and have never looked her in the eyes.  Many believe Justice Kavanaugh, but have never met him, never spoken to him, and have never looked him in the eyes.  Both persons have become more than who they are as individuals.  Ms. Ford suddenly represents every woman ever sexually assaulted, and Justice Kavanaugh represents every man who was ever falsely accused (used only as to the fact that there is no evidence that proves he assaulted Ms. Ford), but beyond that, he represents a swing in the direction of the Supreme Court.  Neither person has ever proven themselves personally trustworthy to everyone who believes them or believes in them.  They simply seem trustworthy.  We must recall though, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it,” (Jeremiah 17:9, ESV)?  Certainly we cannot understand our own hearts, let alone another person’s. That isn’t to say that we can never put our trust/faith in others such as Ms. Ford or Justice Kavanaugh, but we must always bear in mind that their hearts, both of their hearts, are sinful hearts. Therefore we must be careful with how much faith/trust we place in either person.

Here is the good news in all of this: justice will be done. May we hope and live in that. If Justice Kavanaugh did assault Ms. Ford so long ago, though it cannot be proven here and now, God has seen it all. He doesn’t not sleep nor does he slumber. Justice Kavanaugh will stand before the Supreme Judge and must give an account. However, if Ms. Ford has unduly tarnished Justice Kavanaugh’s name and reputation, then she too will be one who stands before the Supreme Judge to give an account.  Either way, though it may be justice delayed, it will not be justice denied.

What Young People Can Learn from Kavanaugh’s Confirmation

One of my favorite Christmas gifts of my childhood came when I was 12 or 13 years-old.  It was a plaque with a poem on it, given by my parents. Above the poem was “Hughes”. At the time, I wasn’t too fond of it, but as I grew older, I would look at the plaque, read the poem and be reminded of its truth.  It’s author is anonymous, but it goes like this

You got it from your father
It was all he had to give
So it’s yours to use and cherish
For as long as you may live.

If you lose the watch he gave you,
It can always be replaced.
But a black mark on your name, son,
Can never be erased.

It was clean the day you took it
And a worthy name to bear,
When he got it from his father,
There was no dishonor there.

So make sure you guard it wisely–
After all is said and done,
You’ll be glad the name is spotless
When you give it to your son.

The Bible says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold,” (Proverbs 22:1, ESV).  In our day and age, very little is thought about the honor that comes with one’s name.  In the age of social media and 15 seconds (that’s about all the attention-span is these days) of fame, young men and women are dishonoring their own names. It doesn’t end with young men and women, middle-aged and older people are doing the same thing, just not as prevalent.

Over the last few weeks, we have been introduced (once again for those who may remember him from President Bush’s appointees) to a man named Brett Kavanaugh.  Being confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Kavenaugh has been subjected to F.B.I. investigations, questioning under oath (both normal processes of confirmation), and now accusations of sexual misconduct by two women and possibly a third.  He categorically denies the accusations.  And from all accounts that I see, the accusations are sketchy at best.  Even so, his name and reputation is being dragged through the mud.  The only thing, and I mean the only thing, that is saving him at this moment is that he already had a clean name.  With the exception of these possible three women, everyone who knows him personally refuses to believe these accusations and are standing by him. How do they know if they weren’t there? They don’t. They trust. They know the type of person he is. They know his name; that is to say, they know his reputation.

If these accusations were to prove true, one can only imagine the devastation that they would have upon Kavanaugh’s entire world.  It would not only derail his confirmation, but most likely his marriage, his job, his entire being. His name would be ruined and all that goes along with it.

If however these allegations are proved false, it is the women’s names that should be sullied. And, though time will tell, all that goes with their names should be sullied as well.  There are reasons that our nation has slander and libel laws.  It is to protect the names, reputations, and lives of its citizens.  To damage one’s own name is a horrible act, but to damage another’s name falsely, is criminal.

So what can we learn from this:

  1. A good name is to be sought more than riches. No amount of money or fame is worth losing your reputation.  Be careful with what you post, whether they are words, pictures, videos, or opinions.
  2. The honor of your name is worth fighting for. If you have taken care to keep your name clean, and another seeks to smear it, you must fight. You must also recruit others to fight along side.  Solomon wrote, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips,” (Proverbs 27:2, ESV).
  3. Be careful how you speak of others. “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body,” (Proverbs 26:22, ESV). Once the words are out, people devour them greedily and hungrily. There is no getting them back and there is no undoing what has been done.

So learn from this, whatever you believe about the allegations. Learn that a name is to be prized.  It is a valuable commodity in life and it is unfortunate that truth has been forgotten or ignored.  Yes, I still have that plaque.  In fact, I gave it to my son.

*After having written this, I came across the letter that Judge Kavanaugh wrote to Senators Grassley and Feinstein.  In it, he makes my point (specifically to my second point on fighting for your name):

The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last minute character assassination will not succeed.

I have devoted my career to serving the public and the cause of justice, and particularly to promoting the equality and dignity of women. Women from every phase of my life have come forward to attest to my character. I am grateful to them. I owe it to them, and to my family, to defend my integrity and my name. I look forward to answering questions from the Senate on Thursday.