My friend David Shannon recently said that the Kavanaugh hearings were like the open casket of Emmett Till — the young black man who was lynched in 1955 after being accused of offending a white woman, whose murderers were acquitted. Till’s mother insisted on an open casket so that the world would see what had happened to her boy. This time however, the Democrats were the ones insisting on the open casket and inside lay the bloodied body of Lady Justice. Look at the weaponization of Christine Ford. Waiting till the last minute to raise her story, dragging her through the three ring circus of open hearings, airing everything through the media, and when it was clear that her story would be insufficient to bring Kavanaugh down, leaving her on the side of the road and attacking Kavanaugh’s so-called unprofessional demeanor. The whole thing should serve as a cautionary tale: if you think the Democratic Party cares about victims, take another look at the corpse in that casket. This is showbiz. This is planned and calibrated cahoots. This is pure power grab. And to black folk who think the Democratic Party actually cares about their plight, look again: if Christine Ford is a mere tool in the hands of machinating politicians, what do you think you are?
But this made me stand back a bit further to ask what is really going on with all of this. It’s no secret that my home town and the churches I’m associated with have been at the center of several controversies related to abuse. Men in our churches have sinned and committed crimes, and the pastors and elders have had to deal with that. There have been no coverups, everything has been reported to the police as necessary, and by the grace of God there has been no scandal. God is in the business of saving sinners, and this means that churches traffic in the messy business of sin. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation, and this isn’t just a cute name for the Jesus Country Club. No, turns out sinners sin against one another and sometimes they sin really badly and great harm is done. But there is no sin that is too awful for the blood of Christ. So we continue to minister to victims and perpetrators alike, bringing the light and hope of Scripture to all. Nevertheless, various enemies of ours have sought to exploit these situations to discredit our ministries. In the name of protecting victims, enemies have tried to weaponize those same victims. In other words, this same play is being run all over the place, from the Senate to Moscow, Idaho and everywhere in between.
Increasingly, the overarching name for the analysis of victimhood is called intersectionality. This is how certain people are estimating the potential blast radius of their victim bombs. Essentially, intersectionality argues that various ethnic, social, and sexual factors compound one’s victim status. So you are likely a victim of some sort by virtue of being female, but if you are black and female, your victimhood is doubled. You just got twice as explosive. But what if you are relatively poor or homosexual or trans-confused? You may have just tripled your victim points. If you’re a white, middle class, male, heterosexual you are racist and homophobic and hateful just by virtue of breathing. This is why we can throw rocks at you and do not have to interact with your arguments.
But why do the enemies of the gospel go here? Why victims? What is powerful about victimhood?
Look in the open casket. What was Lady Justice clubbed with? What was she shot with? It’s not that Democrats and enemies of the gospel are sadly mistaken about how to help victims — no doubt, some folks honestly are mistaken. But the whole thing is being driven by something deeper. They don’t care about the actual victims. So why the victims then? What do the victims provide? What power is being accessed? It is the power of accusation. The Democrats did not want justice for Christine Ford. What they wanted was the ability to accuse Brett Kavanaugh. This what the weaponization of victims is all about. It’s about accusation. Every intersection of victimhood is another possible bullet, another load of explosives, another way of accusing.
Much more needs to be developed here. But do not miss the ancient darkness at work here. We too frequently think of the powers of darkness like a low budget Halloween special on after school television. But remember that Satan comes as an angel of light. He comes as a Boy Scout. He comes with his shirt tucked in. He comes caring about rules and regulations. He comes claiming to care deeply about justice. He comes accusing of sin and misconduct. Satan means accuser. And maybe about half of what he says is true. This is why Pope Francis’ claims that the current scandal in the Roman Catholic Church is the devil’s fault is so lame. When you are actually guilty, blaming the devil for your sins is just playing the devil’s game.
In a world full of guilt, accusations are powerful. Even if one accusation isn’t accurate, a guilty society can be manipulated easily by accusations because people are afraid that the truth might be found out. This is why Kavanaugh’s defense was so powerful and so effective. The only thing that can stand against the power of accusation is the power of innocence. But in a fallen world, where all have sinned, no one is innocent. And this is why the gospel is such good news.
“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:13-15 NKJ).
The only way for America to fight back against this onslaught of accusation is for America to once again learn the power of the cross of Jesus. If the handwriting of requirements that was against us has been nailed to the cross, then the power of accusation has been disarmed. If your sins have been confessed and forgiven, there is no condemnation. The greatest power of all is the perfectly innocent Christ falsely accused, bearing the sins of guilty men.