I have both liberal and conservative friends on social media. Everyone is extremely upset, for different reasons, about the testimony of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh in the Senate judiciary committee last week. I agree this is an important moment in national politics, worthy of our close attention.
What are some Biblical principles to help us navigate the swamp?
1. Sexual assault must be condemned. The Bible chronicles at least two incidents of sexual assault (Dinah – Genesis 34; Tamar – 2 Samuel 13). Both incidents end in the death of the rapist. More globally, the 7th commandment teaches us that sex finds its proper context in faithful marriage.
2. False testimony must also be condemned. The Bible chronicles the story of an innocent man falsely accused of rape (Joseph – Genesis 39), and another man stoned on false accusations (Naboth – 1 Kings 21). More globally, the 9th commandment prohibits false testimony.
3. Our perceptions and memories can be flawed. According to Jeremiah, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” And again, “the one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17). We are really good at justifying ourselves to ourselves.
4. Because of the danger of false testimony and flawed perceptions, any conviction must be based on the evidence of two or three witnesses. This rule applies to criminal convictions as well as to allegations against leaders and even “brothers.” (Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 1 Timothy 5:19). Note that there are other forms of evidence in addition to eyewitness testimony (including physical evidence). But without two or three witnesses, the accused must be presumed innocent. Unfortunately, the quality and quantity of evidence, including people’s memories, deteriorates over time.
5. Partiality must be condemned. One sex should not be automatically believed over the other. The accused should not be automatically believed over the accuser. We must not show partiality based on gender or social status or political party (Deuteronomy 1:17; James 2:1, 9).
6. Our justice is limited, but we can trust God to make all things right in the end. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:18). We must have courage to execute justice where the evidence demands it. At the same time, we must have the humility to refrain where the evidence is inconclusive.
May justice be done in this case, on behalf of Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, and the American people.