Posted Sep 16, 2018 by Michael L. Brown

Supreme Court nominee Brent Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assaulting a woman more than 35 years ago, a charge which he “categorically and unequivocally” denies. Also implicated in the charge was Kavanaugh’s teen friend at that time, Mark Judge, who also denies the accusation. But what if the charges are true? Do they disqualify Kavanaugh today?

To be perfectly clear, an accusation is just that: an accusation. It is not proof of guilt. And despite our desire to give alleged #MeToo victims the benefit of the doubt, Justice Kavanaugh remains innocent until proven guilty.

But what if he is guilty? Should the Senate Judiciary Committee vote against his nomination?

Let’s put our past sins into four different categories, responding to each category in turn.

The first category consists of the foolish things we did as teenagers and young people. But these transgressions are known, open, and a distant part of our history.

For example, my personal testimony, “From LSD to Ph.D.” is well-known.

It is well-known that I was a heroin-shooting, LSD-using, hippie rock drummer before coming to faith in Jesus at the age of 16 in 1971.

It is well-known I broke into a doctor’s office with a friend and stole drugs.

It is well-known that I was a proud, angry rebel.

As our daughters grew up, I shared my story with them. Now my grandkids know my story.

My story is known and out in the open, and it’s a testimony to God’s grace.

Since 1971, I have not used an illegal drug or abused a legal drug. And, despite drinking heavily at times in my teen years, I have not had a sip of alcohol since 1971.

If Brett Kavanaugh got drunk with his friends and assaulted another teenager that would be grave and ugly. But if this was something that was known, open, and unrelated to his behavior and conduct ever since then, it should not disqualify him from service today. (To be “known and open” would also mean that he had made things right with his alleged victim.)

Lots of us did stupid things when we were kids and teenagers. But as we became responsible adults, we put those things behind us.

Recognizing this, those who voted for Barack Obama to be president forgave him for his pot-smoking days. (In his words, marijuana use was “what teenage kids did at that age when I was growing up.”)

Some of us even did reprehensible things as adults. But we made proper restitution, we were completely rehabilitated, and we have made something worthwhile out of our lives.

Such stories are noble and inspiring.

The second category consists of sinful behavior in our past that we covered over, hoping it would never be discovered.

What happens when these old skeletons are suddenly discovered in our closet? If the behavior was totally uncharacteristic, if it did not lastingly wound or injure someone else, and if it was never again repeated, you can make a case for overlooking it – but only if the response today was proper.

In other words, if it came to light that, when you were a 16-year-old boy, you had consensual sex with your 16-year-old girlfriend, but since then, your moral behavior was impeccable, you shouldn’t be disqualified from public service today – but only if you responded properly when confronted.

A proper response would require full acknowledgment of guilt, not lying about the incident, and pointing to the changes you made to live rightly ever since.

To say that these sins of our youth make us unfit to serve today is to render unfit a large percentage of the population. How many of us have an unblemished past?

The third category consists of lying today when confronted with sinful behavior from the past. That would be the bigger issue to me with Justice Kavanaugh.

Did he do something reprehensible as a drunken teenager? Perhaps he did, but again, that is just an accusation at this point.

The big question for me is: Is he telling the truth today?

We’re not looking to confirm teenager Kavanaugh. We’re looking to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

His present behavior is far more important to me than his teenage behavior. Can the man be trusted?

The fourth category consists of sinful behavior in the past that still carries over until today.

If Kavanaugh did, in fact, sexually assault his accuser more than 35 years ago, does that reflect his attitude towards women ever since? Is he an abuser? Does he view women as sexual objects? Does he look on his alleged past transgressions as just a bunch of guys having fun?

Obviously, there are major reasons to question the validity of the accusations, given today’s political climate. On the flip side, Kavanaugh’s accuser is herself a professor today, which adds credibility to her story. May the whole truth come to light.

But let’s also remember that President Obama joked with students at the University of Chicago this past January, saying, “If you had pictures of everything I’d done when I was in high school I probably wouldn’t have been president of the United States.”

In the case at hand, the charges are more serious and more concerning, since they involved alleged sexual assault. But even if they were true, they do not, ipso facto, rule out present effective service today, even in the Supreme Court.

It all depends on which category, outlined above, these past (alleged) transgressions fall into.


Sign Up or Login to post comments.


user profile
Doxie Chick posted a comment · Sep 21, 2018
Hi, Dr. Brown - Thank you for writing this commentary. I have recently accepted the fact, that many men in our society, have not behaved honorably towards women, whether it be during their younger years, or even in their older years. It is just a fact of life, that men, without a belief in a strong moral/ethical code, often objectify women. Add an environment or position of power, and many men abuse that power, or don't employ self-discipline, in their behavior towards women, even in the workplace. I do not like this fact, but I've accepted it, as reality. Do I think Brett Kavanaugh may've assaulted a teenage woman, when he himself was a teenager? I think it's possible. The idea of him committing such an act, even in his teen years, is reprehensible to me; truly reprehensible. HOWEVER: If it is now being exposed, AND I saw (what appeared to be) genuine contrition from him, towards his accuser; a genuine apology, AND a recognition that he currently views women as competent, intellectual equals, I, as an American citizen, would be willing to accept him as a Supreme Court Judge. Would I PREFER we choose a Supreme Court Judge who HASN'T had ANY ACCUSATIONS of sexual assault or harassment? Absolutely, yes. I would greatly prefer a Nominee, WITHOUT that type of behavior in their past. But here's the conundrum: The allegations made today, regarding a potential crime from (36) years ago, makes it nearly impossible to obtain actual proof of said I can't determine right now, who's telling the truth: Dr. Blasey Ford, or Judge Kavanaugh. If he did do it, I wish he would just admit it, and make a sincere apology. I believe that could go a long way, toward women believing he has integrity, NOW/CURRENTLY/TODAY....even if he didn't have it, BACK THEN. But again, how will we know what's the truth, at this point? I admit, I tend to "believe the women", whenever allegations are made... but that's because I've been sexually molested by men, SOME in positions of power (one was a relative, who was considered a "pillar of the community"; one was a business manager; one was a stranger on the street). Because of my experiences, I tend to "believe the women", when they finally speak out. (By the way: I didn't "speak out" about my relative because I INSTINCTIVELY KNEW, no one would believe me; I would be called a liar; he was a wealthy, powerful man of high position in our community. I KNEW he would deny it, & I'd be destroyed. As for harassment from a business manager: when I reported it, people blew it off, as no big deal: "That's just Robert". As for the stranger on the street: He forcefully groped me, in a crowd full of people. I had no recourse, as he was gone, in the crowd, in a moment. Again, due to some of my experiences, I tend to believe women, especially when they finally speak out, against someone in power, because I tend to think: The AVERAGE woman doesn't want to go through "15 minutes of shame", just to gain notoriety or money. So INITIALLY, I believed Dr. Blasey Ford. HOWEVER: I just read an article (with full documentation), that she's partly employed for a drug company that produces the "abortion pill" (RU-486). Again, there's full proof that she's been employed to write articles about this particular drug, that causes chemical abortion. As we know, many pro-choice supporters, are concerned Judge Kavanaugh might play a role in ending abortion, in the future. I'm not saying Dr. Blasey Ford is lying about assault; not at all...... but I admit, this new information does make me wonder about her motives. In the end, I hope this whole situation can be resolved with some clarity & decency.
user profile
conni l posted a comment · Sep 21, 2018
Dr. Brown, you mentioned being a professor added to her credibility, why? I'm a student in a masters program. I have had many professors, intelligence has nothing to do with integrity! I have had professors who lie and censor truth. I also have had pastors who lie and throw people under the us to protect 'their' ministries! Integrity and intelligence to do necessarily go together!
user profile
Nick Ch posted a comment · Sep 20, 2018
Brown has become the master of pivot and false equivalency. "If Kavanaugh did, in fact, sexually assault his accuser more than 35 years ago," the discussion ends there and that should be a disqualifier. Obama smoked weed, Brown dropped acid, Beto O'Rourke even drove drunk. All of these things have been acknowledged, and none of these things did damage to another person. Kavanaugh's alleged sin was an assault on another person. That Brown can't see the difference is sad.
user profile
Sharon C posted a comment · Sep 17, 2018
I'm confused by this article. None of the four scenarios exactly match what Kavanaugh is being accused of. He isn't being accused of having sex with a girl, but rather sexual assault. That's a completely different matter. If this were true, and he was willing to admit to it, should he be placed on the Supreme Court justice because it was many years ago, probably a one-time incident, and he was quite young and probably drunk? That's the real question.