Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Whatever Happened to Innocent Until Proven Guilty?

I am leaving for a conference in Greensboro, NC tomorrow morning so decided to get my blog out early this week.  The conference several of the leaders from our church are attending is a D6 Conference.  D6 stands for Deuteronomy 6, a passage that refers to the challenge to parents to disciple their own children.  I am looking forward to going and being challenged to help do just that with many of the families within my congregation. 

I am not sure how you are responding to the events surrounding the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court, but I have become angry in my spirit.  I can almost imagine what that special Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday will be like.  It will be partisan and contentious.  Angry voices will be heard.  Diatribes will be offered by senators.  Dialogue will be absent and decorum not present.  This has all the bearings of the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill. 

This entire last-minute desperation act by Senator Feinstein is just that - desperation.  She has known of this story since last July.  She had numerous opportunities to address this alleged act with Judge Kavanaugh both in private conversations as well as during the public hearings.  But she said nothing until the hearings were over.  Then she brings out this alleged "smoking gun."  Why?  Because she saw that Judge Kavanaugh had conducted himself with decorum and class during the confirmation hearings.  He did not become argumentative.  He held firmly to his beliefs that a judge should not make law, only interpret law according to the dictates of the Constitution.  She and her Democratic allies had to do something to derail this man from serving on the Court. 

Here is what is so sad to me and what makes me angry in my spirit.  Judge Kavanaugh has been tried and found guilty in the eyes of many of the members of the Senate and in the eyes of the media.  To listen to the mainstream media, Judge Kavanaugh should withdraw his name from consideration, not withstanding his own assertions of innocence.  According to the Constitution, a person is presumed to be innocent until he or she is found to be guilty.  This has been the legal discourse that has made the American system of jurisprudence so special.  But that discourse does not apply in the case with Judge Kavanaugh it would seem. 

Friends, aren't you glad that somehow in the process of life we finally do grow up.  We are not what we once were.  I think of those stories of our heroes from the Bible.  Take Abraham for example.  Because of fear he placed his wife in a difficult place not once but twice.  We almost could accuse Abraham of spousal abuse today because of that.  Yet God gave some powerful promises to Abraham.  Take David as another example.  David was the king, yet he violated God's commands by having an adulterous relationship with not just another man's wife, but the wife of one of his closest advisors and friends; then having that friend put in a position within a battle where he would knowingly be killed.  Yet God gave to David the promise of an eternal throne.  Let's look at another example, this time from the New Testament.  How about Peter: impulsive, impetuous, a denier of his Lord.  Yet God uses Peter to become the leader of the Church. 

If each of these men were living today and were being considered for a leadership role each would probably be denied not because of something "allegedly" done in their past, but knowingly done.  I can hear the voices of the confirmation hearings on Abraham challenging him on why he abused his wife by putting her into harms way.  Perhaps David might be excused for his sexual indiscretions because, after all, we have had experience of Presidents doing something very similar. 

People can change and I am eternally grateful for that powerful truth.  God changes people's lives.  If one would carefully examine the life of Judge Kavanaugh with care, one will notice that he has a strong record of moral decency and community service that is impeccable.  Many are those who would come forward to substantiate his decency as a man, as a husband, as a father, and as a judge.  This is who he is.  And it is upon this fact that the confirmation of this man either rises or falls. 

I will be praying that truth will be revealed at those hearings on Monday.  That there will be civility in the dialogue.  That the United States Senate will rediscover the roots that have made it the august body that it has been historically.  That at the close of those hearings there will be clarity on how to move forward.  And I know you will join me in that prayer.

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