Leaders of the Religious Right have continued their headlong rush into moral degeneracy with a new demand: Republicans must do whatever it takes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
The New York Times reports that several right-wing evangelical leaders are incensed that the Kavanaugh nomination has been held up over allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when he was 17 and she was 15. They’re demanding that party leaders push the nomination through anyway and threatening to retaliate if they don’t.
“If Republicans were to fail to defend and confirm such an obviously and eminently qualified and decent nominee, then it will be very difficult to motivate and energize faith-based and conservative voters in November,” said Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition.
Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas and a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump, asserted that Democrats are using Ford to delay the nomination, which has the potential to shift the ideological balance of the high court.
Jeffress said he’s not sure if Ford is telling the truth but added, “But I can say with absolute certainty, that the Democrats don’t care who is telling the truth. Their only interest is in delaying and derailing this confirmation.”
But arguably the most appalling comments were made by evangelist Franklin Graham. Appearing on TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, Graham asserted, “It’s just a shame that a person like Judge Kavanaugh who has a stellar record, that somebody can bring something up that he did as a teenager close to 40 years ago. That’s not relevant.”
Graham went on to say, “We’ve got to look at a person’s life and what they've done as an adult and are they qualified for this position so this is just an attempt to smear him. … Well, there wasn’t a crime committed. These are two teenagers and it’s obvious that she said no and he respected it and walked away.”
The only thing obvious here is that Graham is either not even remotely familiar with Ford’s account or has chosen to lie about it. Ford told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh and his friend Mike Judge, both of whom were intoxicated, pulled her into a bedroom, where Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, put one hand over her mouth and pawed at her clothes with the other. Judge jumped on the two and knocked everyone off the bed, at which point Ford was able to escape. That’s miles removed from “she said no and he respected it and walked away.”
Notice one thing about all of the comments by these self-appointed guardians of morality: Not one of them has expressed one iota of concern for what happened to Ford. Her trauma and pain mean nothing to them, nor does the considerable risk she undertook by stepping forward to tell her story. (Do they even care that Ford has been forced to flee her home and separated from her family due to death threats? Not one of them has condemned the harassment.) They either dismiss what Ford went through entirely or imply that she’s being used as part of a political plot.
I suppose that shouldn’t surprise any of us. These are the same people, after all, who stuck by Trump after a videotape surfaced of him boasting about how much he likes to sexually assault women. These are the people who did not care one whit after reports emerged detailing how Roy Moore spent the 1980s harassing teenage girls in an Alabama mall and assaulting one.
The leaders and followers of the Religious Right have faced several moral tests since Trump emerged as the GOP’s standard-bearer – and failed every one. They applauded when Trump’s cruel Muslim ban divided families. They made excuses when Trump cozied up to a Russian tyrant. They smiled benignly after he could not muster the simple decency to condemn the neo-Nazis who trooped through Charlottesville. They cheered when he told innumerable lies about Christmas greetings, political campaigning in churches and a host of other issues.
And yet, even as its leaders and followers blunder through this fetid swamp of their own making, the Religious Right continues to judge the rest of us, condemn us and arrogantly sneer at anyone whose morals they decide are somehow deficient.
They do this because the raw pursuit of power is what they are all about. They may get it temporarily, but at what cost? As a sage once observed, “For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?”
(Photo credit: Matt A.J. via Creative Commons)