We are at a sensitive point in the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh where he has been charged with (and by no means cleared of) the sort of crime that should horrify conservative religious folk: the attempted rape of a 15-year-old girl. You’d think the Evangelical leaders who style themselves as spiritual counselors of Donald Trump and the Republican Party would be urging their allies to prayerfully consider the evidence and act as conscious moral agents before providing a lifetime appointment to the nation’s top court.
But as the New York Times reports, that’s not how they roll:
“One of the political costs of failing to confirm Brett Kavanaugh is likely the loss of the United States Senate,” said Ralph Reed, the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition who is in frequent contact with the White House.
“If Republicans were to fail to defend and confirm such an obviously and eminently qualified and decent nominee,” Mr. Reed added, “then it will be very difficult to motivate and energize faith-based and conservative voters in November.”
The evangelist Franklin Graham, one of Mr. Trump’s most unwavering defenders, told the Christian Broadcasting Network this week, “I hope the Senate is smarter than this, and they’re not going to let this stop the process from moving forward and confirming this man.”
It’s no secret, of course, that Christian right leaders like Reed and Graham want a Supreme Court majority that will overturn Roe v. Wade and establish a “religious liberty” constitutional privilege to discriminate against ungodly LGBTQ people. Indeed, that is the basis of their highly transactional relationship with Donald J. Trump. They aren’t going to let a little thing like rape allegations stand in the way of cashing in.
More generally, of course, this attitude represents a strange moral myopia in which the determination to destroy or limit reproductive rights for women or gay rights generally justifies ignoring the grossest sins. It’s the same point of stunted view that enabled conservative Evangelicals to back Judge Roy Moore to the hilt in his 2017 Senate race despite credible evidence that he had a bad habit of hitting on teenage girls.
Indeed, this is another case in which insensitivity to indignities performed against teenage girls doesn’t seem to matter to these birds. Here’s what Franklin Graham had to say about the allegations against Kavanaugh in that CBN interview:
[T]here wasn’t a crime that was committed. These are two teenagers and it’s obvious that she said no and he respected it and walked away–if that’s the case but he says he didn’t do it. He just flat out says that’s just not true. Regardless if it was true, these are two teenagers and she said no and he respected that so I don’t know what the issue is.
Graham and his colleagues want their SCOTUS majority right now. And at one of their favorite venues, the Values Voters Summit in Washington this weekend, Mitch McConnell is assuring them they’ll get their wish:
At the same confab, another Christian right warhorse, Gary Bauer, said he is praying for Christine Blasey Ford. But he doesn’t favor doing anything to offer her justice. That’s for great men like future Justice Kavanaugh.