If it Happened, Does it Matter?

The Kitchen Table

I backed off from writing about politics a few years ago for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I found that the endless arguing, posturing and bullheaded discussions surrounding politics had become utterly exhausting to listen to and to take part in. It never seemed anyone on opposing sides actually wanted to learn or to discuss—they just wanted the last word.

I guess that shouldn’t be all that surprising. By nature, we are all biased individuals, and it is far easier to continue believing what we always have than to be open to new ideas.

The other big reason I’ve stayed away from politics is that the polarization between the two major parties seems to leave very little wiggle room for those who don’t hold to traditional liberal or conservative views. And the more I’ve delved into my faith these past few years, the more I’ve realized I don’t belong to either of these camps. The more I’ve examined my heart, the more more deep-seated, ugly things I’ve had to rip up out of my belief system. I’ve had to confront biases I’ve held for so long, hold them up to the light, and weep, because I’ve been so wrong. I’ve said things that were utterly un-Christlike, in the name of toeing a line I was never intended to toe.

And I’ve stayed out of the discussions in large part because I’ve felt that my voice was much better served spreading encouragement, offering tidbits about life and faith, and focusing on transparency and vulnerability among my community of friends.

I still feel that. But as I’ve seen some of the faith leaders I so admire step out and speak out about things that are largely political in nature, I’ve had to think about my posture a bit. Is it possible to write about life and faith and following Jesus, and never speak out about the things being discussed on national news? Surely. But in light of the gravity of the discussions at hand, I feel that saying nothing is a poor choice. So here goes.

CW: Assault. Assault on another human being is wrong. That fact is really not up for debate. Violating someone’s trust and stealing something from them that they did not intend to give you is a grievous sin, and God looks on that kind of behavior with righteous anger. It is never justified. It is never acceptable.

I don’t intend to argue whether or not the assault in question happened. I’ve heard all the testimony. I truly don’t know. It’s okay to say that you don’t know something. I’m just here to speak to anyone who might be weighing in their minds whether allegations of sexual assault against someone who is up for a lifetime nomination—in which his opinion will be vital in the decisions our country makes over the next roughly 30 years—matter.

If it happened, does it matter? It almost makes me sick to my stomach to hear that argument—yet it is being made. Of course it matters. Character matters. The well-being of the person on other the end of an assault matters. Believing victims matters. Making it safe to tell the truth matters. Giving a voice to the oppressed is literally a biblical mandate. So why, why is anyone who claims faith making the argument that something that happened however many years ago might not matter? In 2018, boys will be boys? Just no. We can’t behave this way. We can’t justify evil like that.

We serve a God of justice and truth. I’m confident the truth will come out, sooner or later. I don’t know what happened in this specific case. But I do know that the Lord sees us in our pain. He sees when we have been hurt and violated and taken advantage of. At the end of the day, when we stand before Him, truth will be known and truth will reign. And those of us who justified oppression or injustice in the name of politics or getting our way will have to answer for that. Jesus didn’t come to fulfill a political agenda. He came to heal the sick and set the captives free, and to embody love to those who would rather hide behind religious law than to show mercy and stand for what is right.

“This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” – Jeremiah 22:3

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