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Bishop Budde of the Diocese of Washington responds to Ford-Kavanaugh testimonies

Bishop Budde of the Diocese of Washington responds to Ford-Kavanaugh testimonies

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of the Diocese of Washington, published on Tuesday a public statement responding to the Ford-Kavanaugh testimonies.  The text of the letter, in full, can be found below or on the Diocesan website and Facebook page.

The Diocese of Washington covers the District of Columbia as well as four counties in Maryland, including Montgomery County where Holton-Arms School and Georgetown Preparatory Academy, the alma maters of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, respectively, are located.


A Bishop’s Response to the Ford-Kavanaugh Testimonies

October 02, 2018

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:23

Last summer I was among a group of Episcopal bishops asked to be pastorally responsive to women and men who had come forward to tell of their experience of sexual harassment and assault in the Church. The stories varied; the pain was universal. Many recounted in vivid detail the sexual trauma they had endured as children and adolescents.

At our Church’s national gathering, we read aloud some of their harrowing, heartbreaking stories. The crowd listened so intently that you could hear a pin drop in the convention hall. Their experiences of violation are seared into my soul, for they had endured the greatest violation of trust while in the Church’s care. And there was no one they could talk to when the abuse occurred. Added to their trauma was shame, for they were both violated and left to feel somehow at fault for what had happened to them.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony last week opened another floodgate of memories for women and men who have experienced sexual trauma. Many now feel emboldened to tell of their experiences and thank God for that. Others do not because they know it’s not safe for them to speak. Do you wonder why more women don’t come forward? As Dr. Ford testified, “My family and I have been the target of constant harassment and death threats. I have been called the most vile and hateful names imaginable.”

If you have experienced sexual violence and would like to talk to someone about it, please know that there are clergy and lay leaders throughout the Diocese of Washington, including your bishop, who will listen. We will listen without judgment. We will listen with compassion and gratitude to God that you survived. We will say to you now what you deserved to hear the moment the abuse happened: It was not your fault. This should never have happened to you. You are worthy of love and respect. You may write me confidentially, and I will make sure that someone will listen to your story.

Let me state another obvious truth: If, in fact, one in five, or even conservatively, one in ten women have endured sexual harassment or experienced the trauma of sexual assault, there are many men, and some women, who need to make a reckoning for their behavior. I’m not addressing those who angrily defend themselves or attack their accusers, but instead those who now sincerely regret what they have done. You, too, need to speak to someone and walk the path of remorse and restitution. No one, as criminal justice reformer Bryan Stevenson reminds us, is completely defined by the worst thing we have ever done. But we need to acknowledge what we’ve done in order to heal and to allow others to heal from the wounds. If you’d like to begin that process, we’re here for you as well.

I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. I also believe that Judge Kavanaugh, like anyone who stands accused, deserves a fair process in response to such allegations. Regardless of whether Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment is ultimately confirmed, I am certain that the country will look back on these past weeks as a watershed moment. We will long remember the time when survivors like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and others inspired by her bravery resolved to speak of their abuse and hold the perpetrators of sexual violence accountable.

For the sake of our daughters and sons we will exercise every means available to us to help make for them a better world: through prayer and spiritual support; education and community engagement; witness and protest when necessary; legal action and advocacy; and exercising our most basic civic duty of voting in every election. For those of us who follow the Way of Jesus, this is not merely a civic imperative, but a calling to bring this world closer to what Jesus called the Kingdom of God, where “mourning and crying and pain will be no more” (Revelation 21:4), and where love will triumph over hate.


The Right Reverend Mariann E. Budde

Bishop of Washington


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Prof Christopher Seitz

The democrats ought to go after Avenatti for his opportunism, and then Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charley Rose, and on the list goes. The corroboration is tidal wave in clarity and strength.

Gwen Palmer

Are any of those you mentioned being considered for a federal position with a hearing to decide their appointment that must be conducted in the Senate?

Edit- It may not be clear that I honestly didn’t understand this comment. Those named fall into both categories, i.e. those supporting victims, and those who have victimized others. And I meant it, that show business seems to me to come under a different purview from federal appointments chosen by hearings in the Senate. Plus, Weinstein, Lauer, and Rose have already been “gone after” within those purviews, show business and broadcasting, and are pretty much settled. I’m sorry comments are closed, since I don’t see what you were getting at.

M. Geibel

Only Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford know what happened, and only God knows for sure what happened. For us, it’s a “he said, she said” conundrum. Both nominee and accuser spent hours with their attorneys practicing anticipated questions and suggested answers, and they would have been foolish not to.

We should never judge the character of others based upon upon partisan poiitics or what we want to believe is true. With its “Christian Privilege” for male Bishops, the TEC should be the last to throw stones. If we do not reassure our children and our daughters that there is no shame in reporting abuse now, not later, then we will always struggle with the “he said, she said” conundrum.

As to his future rulings from the bench, God’s vaccine is becoming a father to young daughters.

Gregory Orloff

Only Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford know what happened, and only God knows for sure what happened.

But what anyone with open eyes and ears does know is that a man in a profession in which impartiality, integrity, and objectivity are sine qua non publicly ranted, raved, insulted questioners, blamed others, vowed revenge, and lost control — behavior during an interview what would cost any other applicant the job, and quite possibly end with security escorting said applicant from the building.

If we do not teach our children and our sons that there is indeed shame (and consequences) in not respecting the bodies, minds, freedom, and worth of other people, regardless of what our egos tell us our “needs,” “rights,” or “privileges” are, then we will always struggle with the “he said/she said” conundrum.

Philip B. Spivey

There’s no statute of limitations on the truth. And please don’t invoke God in this tragedy; Brett Kavanugh is now the ninth justice sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States at the behest of Evil. Malignant patriarchy has won again, but the struggle is not over!

B. D. Howes

I believe the truth will set us free but, in the meantime, we must be careful with our language. Recently we have read, and heard, quite a few accounts of the Blasey/Kavanaugh matter as if a conclusion can be reached. These accounts are works of malevolence because we don’t know what actually happened. I want to caution that we must not jump to convenient conclusions. When we use this matter for political expediency, we are violating everything we stand for. Words like “survivor” and “predator” are being thrown around in such a way that I wonder how much longer they will mean anything. More importantly, when we cast such stones without knowing what really happened, we bear false witness and I caution that we should not be doing so.

Philip B. Spivey

Unfortunately B.D., we won’t have corroborating evidence to support Dr. Ford’s account because the FBI (via the White House) has limited its investigation to a few “safe” depositions. The veracity of Dr. Love’s claims have already been proved for anyone willing to acknowledge the malfeasance that occurred in the conduct of this hearing. Tragically, the truth will not prevent his confirmation; the deck is stacked and the fix is in for Kavanaugh. The result? The court will become a tool and weapon of the right-wing; this court will lose all credibility as an instrument of justice. When that happens? Too frightening to consider.

Closer to home, Dr. Love’s stamina and courage is a beacon for us all. Bishop Budde’s embrace of that light will begin the process of healing for many in her diocese; copy cats encouraged.

Closer still: How will individual parishes tend to the needs of their parishioners at this momentous time in human history?

Philip B. Spivey

Dr. Ford aka as Dr Love. Call it carelessness, a Freudian slip, or just a liminal moment. Apologies, Dr. Ford.

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