As we’ve noted, Religious Right leaders are lashing out against the senators who would delay the GOP’s rush to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until a full investigation is held into the proliferating sexual misconduct claims being made against him. The woman who first accused him of sexual assault, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee today.
But not all faith leaders have lost their moral code to hear and help abuse victims and to seek the truth. Many faith leaders and religiously based organizations have called upon the Senate to hear all of the victims by thoroughly – and compassionately – investigating their stories and Kavanaugh’s actions.
Nearly 400 faith leaders issued a “moral declaration” urging senators to reject Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Faith in Public Life issued a statement about their letter: “As Kavanaugh’s supporters attempt to rush his confirmation despite serious allegations of sexual assault and his troubling record on everything from voting rights to executive power, faith leaders are calling on senators to vote ‘no’ on his nomination based on his record. Americans deserve a Supreme Court justice committed to protecting democracy for all.”
The National Council of Jewish Women CEO Nancy K. Kaufman called out the Senate committee’s plans for a hearing without having the FBI investigate first: “Sexual assault is not a partisan issue, and the drive to hastily set up a committee hearing as a she-said, he-said scenario undermines the assertions that we are supposedly in a new era of treating women’s allegations seriously. The negative impact that this treatment has on survivors across the country, actively discouraging them from coming forward due to fear of retribution and threats, is unacceptable.”
Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, said she stood in solidarity with the “brave women speaking up, naming their attacker, and setting the record straight” amid the #MeToo movement.
“Regarding the latest allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, I am horrified that many of the Republican Senators are further mistreating brave, accomplished women who are coming forward. It seems the ‘old boys club’ is frightened of a thorough investigation that might dismantle a small corner of patriarchal power,” Campbell wrote. “They seem to see this only as a partisan game where name calling and questioning of motives is appropriate. They are wrong and must be stopped.”
The Mormon Women for Ethical Government – an organization formed in response to President Donald Trump’s election – wrote to Mormon, Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Orrin G. Hatch and Mike Lee of Utah, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Mike Crapo of Idaho to urge them to launch an investigation.
“Send the message, loud and clear, that the objectification and abuse of women for the pleasure of men is contemptible and will not be tolerated, that our actions have consequences, that victims must be heard and supported, and that, in America, we expect those who serve in positions of trust to be exemplary individuals in every regard,” they wrote. “Send this message by insisting on a full, independent investigation of these charges before a confirmation vote takes place.”
AU Faith Organizer Bill Mefford encouraged faith voices to speak out: “This is precisely the area that the church can have the clearest voice and can have a tremendous impact, especially in terms of being an agent of healing for those who have experienced sexual assault.”
Of course, secular voices have called for a thorough investigation as well: Americans United joined about 100 civil rights organizations through the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights calling for a “fair, non-partisan, and thorough process” to review Blasey Ford’s story.
AU has said from the beginning that Kavanaugh’s record of hostility to church-state separation, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights and the rights of religious minorities should disqualify him for a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. The sexual misconduct allegations made against him and the Senate leadership’s flawed confirmation process sure don’t change our minds.
That’s why it’s vital that you contact your senators now and urge them to oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Church-state separation is on the line.
(Photo: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Credit: Screenshot from C-SPAN.)