The recent Kavanaugh kerfuffle underscores an important lesson for all of us: Your integrity is your most important asset. Period. What else does anyone have, ultimately?
Meanwhile, there are trolls amongst us who don’t care about truth and other people’s reputations.
Writing for thecollegefix.com (Oct. 5), Daniel Payne notes, “A website allegedly run by University of Washington students allows individuals to publicly accuse people of sexual assault with no evidence.” [Emphasis added.]
No evidence and your life (and your family’s too) can be ruined? Sounds familiar.
In another story, a recent headline out of the Pittsburgh area declares: “Lawsuit accuses Seneca Valley ‘mean girls’ of targeting boy with false allegations.”
This truly undercuts the rule of law and is a far cry from the safeguards inherent in the Judeo-Christian tradition, which stipulates, for example, that there must be two or three witnesses to determine if something happened.
There is a terribly unfair law in Pakistan. If you are merely accused of blaspheming the prophet Muhammad, you can often be punished – even though you might be totally innocent.
I remember once reading about a 14-year-old Christian boy who was accused of writing a blasphemy against Muhammad on a wall. The only problem was that the boy was illiterate. His lawyer pointed that out, and the boy was vindicated in court. But then an outraged mob killed the lawyer on the streets.
Some view the attempt to assassinate the character of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominee to the Supreme Court, as a low point in our country. Ironically, Matt Damon portrayed an angry and defensive Kavanaugh on “Saturday Night Live” in satire, and yet just a year ago, the liberal actor explained that he would fight tooth and nail against any false sexual accusation leveled against him: “It would be scorched earth! … You’re not taking my name and reputation from me, I’ve worked too hard for it and I earned it, and you can’t just blow me up like that.”
Meanwhile, a writer for the Stephen Colbert comedy program on CBS tweeted out this message: “Whatever happens, I’m just glad we ruined Brett Kavanaugh’s life.”
Truth be darned. Reputation be darned. All that matters is the liberal agenda. And those aspiring to high office had better get in line with the liberal agenda, or they are fair game for smearing, despite the reputation they have tried to build over a lifetime.
I suppose the chink in Brett Kavanaugh’s armor was his drinking earlier in life, possibly to excess. Even though he’s been put through seven FBI investigations now and has been found clean, there are many on the left who are so committed to opposing him that they would believe any charge no matter how uncorroborated. Some Democratic politicians are promising that if they win back the House next month, impeachment of Kavanaugh is not off the table.
One of the secrets many people did not hear about, that helped the Kavanaugh family get through the crisis of false accusations, was the request that Brett’s wife, Ashley, sent around through social media. The request was to pray Psalm 40 for him and for their family.
We prayed it in my Sunday school class and the men’s Bible study I attend: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV)
The great reformer John Calvin once declared: “No greater injury can be inflicted upon men than to ruin their reputation.”
I’ve had the privilege of working with the late D. James Kennedy, a conservative Presbyterian minister. He once told me about a time when he was talking with a news reporter and mentioned in passing that Princeton had offered him a position in the late 1970s as a chaplain. The reporter seemed to smirk and question this along the lines of, “Yeah, right.”
Dr. Kennedy took offense and demanded the address of the reporter so that he could dig out of his files the letter from Princeton outlining the offer. The reporter said that wouldn’t be necessary, but Kennedy insisted. He said, “At the end of the day, all any of us really have is our integrity.”
As has often been noted, character is what you are when no one’s looking. Guard your integrity. Guard your reputation. Avoid “even the appearance of evil,” as the Bible puts it, and you will be spared many a heartache. But not all heartaches, unfortunately, as the Kavanaugh family discovered.
In the words of the courageous Winston Churchill, who stood in the gap at such a critical time of history, saving the lives of so many: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”