Every television at my gym this morning was tuned to a channel with news. And the dominant story on all of the screens was the latest sexual harassment accusation against Supreme Court nominee Bret Kavanaugh.
The accusation is about a 1-time event that happened when he was in high school, drunk, at a party. I don’t want him on the Supreme Court, but I think we need to differentiate between patterns of behavior and 1-time events.
I found myself wondering: how is this relevant to his qualifications for SCOTUS? There are facts from his more recent past that are way more relevant.
I’m not saying I don’t believe the accuser. I’m asking: how is this relevant?
The timing of this happening just before Yom Kippur is not a coincidence.
At first I thought anything that prevents him from being confirmed for the SCOTUS. But realized that’s not good.
Absent a pattern of this behavior, how is it relevant?
Yom Kippur integrity
Tonight is Yom Kippur. We ask god to forgive us.
The most basic measure of our integrity says that we cannot stand before God and ask for something that we cannot give to others. We must forgive our fellow human beings first.
If we want divine forgiveness we must display our capacity to forgive.
Hanging on to hurt and pain keeps us separated. That’s the state of our country.
I’m not saying to sweep it under the rug; it’s important that we talk about these things.
If we have no capacity for forgiveness, how can we request forgiveness from others or the divine?
Capacity to Change
And what does it say about our ability to change and grow over time? Do we really want to punish people for mistakes they made in high school?
Is that how we want to be judged?
We stand before God and say “I’ve changed. Those things I did, that’s not who I am anymore. That’s not my truth.”
Yom Kippur presupposes that we have the capacity to change. At what point do we release people from the sins of their past? How long is the waiting period?