Senate Judiciary Committee

Kavanaugh agonistes: Only Fox News covered faith factor in this high-stakes drama

Kavanaugh agonistes: Only Fox News covered faith factor in this high-stakes drama

If you had any free time yesterday, I hope you were watching the political theater of the year with the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing of Brett Kavanaugh v. Christine Blasey Ford.

In the midst of all the riveting moments — and there were a bunch — in the back-to-back hearings, religion played a small role. Near the very end, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy posed the penultimate question:

“Do you believe in God?” Kennedy asked the nominee.

“I do.”

“I’m going to give you a last opportunity right here in front of God and country,” said Kennedy, who then asked if three allegations were true. Kavanaugh answered no to each one.

“Do you swear to God?” Kennedy asked.

“I swear to God.” This was a Methodist from the South quizzing a conservative Ivy League Catholic. Those are very different backgrounds for two men who understand that Kavanaugh wasn’t simply on trial before a human court (even though folks at the hearing kept on saying it was not an actual trial).

But it was. And what Kennedy was doing during this exchange was saying that Kavanaugh was also standing before a much higher court than the U.S. Senate. And it was to that heavenly court he would ultimately answer were he lying about his past.

Yet, as I scanned innumerable comments on Facebook Thursday evening, I saw some folks who were triggered by Kavanaugh invoking his faith as part of his defense. There were several references if you knew where to look, starting with at the beginning of his opening statement (from a New York Times transcript), he referred to “sowing the wind” and how the country will “reap the whirlwinds.” That’s taken from a verse in Hosea 8:7: "They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind."

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Kavanaugh-Ford: Trump's Supreme Court nominee references Catholic faith in dramatic hearing

Kavanaugh-Ford: Trump's Supreme Court nominee references Catholic faith in dramatic hearing

It’s a big, big news day.

But sorry, Associated Press: As dramatic as it is, today’s Kavanaugh-Ford testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee does not rise to the level of the John F. Kennedy assassination, the Challenger explosion or 9/11. Not even close.

As my friend John Dobbs put it on Twitter, “Are you insane?”"

Seriously, whoever is tweeting to AP’s 12.9 million followers might want to tone down the historical comparisons. Today’s hearing, it seems to me, is more comparable to past live TV news dramas, such as the Thomas-Hill experience of 1991 — only on steroids in the social media era.

That said, I’ll confess that I’ve been glued to the live feed on my computer all day, so much so that I’m rushing to type this post during a 15-minute break this afternoon.

Since this is GetReligion, we need a religion angle: Enter the uber-talented Emma Green of The Atlantic with a nuanced piece published Wednesday on why Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, “is a test for the conservative legal movement.”

Green’s lede:

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