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Morality and the Kavanaugh Confirmation

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As I write the final Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to SCOTUS is a few hours away, but the votes seem assured.  It seems a good time to reflect on the morality (Or lack thereof) of the entire affair.  Of course, it has oft been mentioned how tortuous the entire process was on Kavanaugh, his family and friends and indeed on Ms Blasey-Ford.  The host has commented on air concerning his astonishment that good Catholic Dems have participated in this charade given that the Church that educated him taught him better.

One thing that has run through my mind, but that I dare not speak before confirmation was assured, was that even if the allegations made by Ms. Blasey-Ford are entirely true – and I do not for a second believe they are – would it really disqualify Judge Kavanaugh from SCOTUS?  After all, assuming it happened (and again I don’t think it did) it happened 35 years ago.  Judge Kavanaugh lived an exemplary life in the interim.  Secondly, as ugly as the events describe by Ms. Blasey-Ford were, and undoubtedly terrifying to her, in the end save for the emotional scars, no one was hurt.  That does not make it a good thing, not even close, but on the scale of bad things people have done throughout history it does not score that high.  The only way these allegations, given the time elapsed and Judge Kavanaugh’s excellent life during that time, are disqualifying is if we live in a world completely without grace or forgiveness.  The absence of grace and forgiveness is a moral failing as much or more than the acts requiring said grace and forgiveness.

Then, of course there were the moving goalposts and double standards (can anybody say “Bill Clinton?”) of the entire thing.  Morality must be measured against a stable standard or else it is simply a personal beef. Moral relativism is not an idea, it is the absence of morality.  If morality is relative then either nothing is immoral or everything is, depending.  It is fair to say that the absence of serious moral thinking throughout the entire episode is evidence that it was about power, not right-and-wrong.  Hence the double standards and moving goalposts.  Morality, right-and-wrong, were convenient props used to to gain or retain power, they were not ends.  And that, dear friends is the deepest immorality of all.

All that said, the fact that Judge Kavanaugh has been sworn in as Justice Kavanaugh illustrates that standing up for morality and decency, asserting it boldly, fighting for it, are necessary to preserve it and it will generally prevail.

The church has become timid about declaring right-and-wrong.  We have become so out of fear of making people uncomfortable and driving them away.  After all, we need them in the pews and seats or we do not have a church at all.  But then even Jesus , at times, acted harshly and condemningly against real wrong.  And thousands of years later, His church is still here.

It strikes me that the issue is not the declaration of morality, but instead the means of said declaration.  Jesus was able to confront, very directly, a woman with her immorality and yet such confrontation drew her in, it did not drive her away.  One must conclude that if our declarations of immorality do not draw people in, then it is because we are not enough like Jesus ourselves.

The indecency in our world frightens me.  The Kavanaugh confirmation is far more than a political victory from my perspective, it is a victory for decency and they have been few and far between in recent years.  We need more victories for decency – many more.  That means we have to stand up for it as we did in this case.  But more importantly it means we have to stand up for it in a Christlike fashion so that it appeals and does not drive away.

And that fellow believers begins by confronting our own immorality and indecency so that we might become more Christ-like.


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