Skip to main content

For the sins of the patriarchy

Brett Kavanaugh has become for many a symbol instead of an individual

For the sins of the patriarchy

Protesters at a demonstration against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, Sept. 28, 2018 outside Los Angeles City Hall (Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images)

The Ford-Kavanaugh hearing on Sept. 27 was one of the most dramatic days in recent American history. It featured pathos, chest beating, and heart wringing, elements of tragedy that Aristotle once described as “catharsis”—the purging or cleansing of emotion. Only, at the end, no one felt cleansed. It was a terrible day, all commentators agreed: terrible for our country, for justice, for honor, for due process, for common decency.

Both sides came to the same conclusion, even though each side had a completely different understanding of events. On the one hand, a woman whose voice and manner recalled the girl she was at 15. We see them now, those girls—some of us were those girls, with blooming bodies and immature minds, who played at sophistication but had little practical experience. Her story was believable because we know it happens: Inebriated boys have “taken advantage” (to use the old-fashioned term) of naïve girls at parties as long as there have been parties.

What about this boy? Under oath, with his wife beside him and a host of character witnesses behind him, he denied it. Emphatically, categorically—it didn’t happen. No one else can testify to the event, and the accuser’s memory seems oddly selective. Still, the accused passionately insisted he’s an innocent man condemned without a trial. We’ve seen that too: men exonerated by DNA evidence after years, even decades, behind bars.  

But the accused is the embodiment of what we’ve come to call White Male Privilege: born, raised, schooled, and immersed in it. As such, he’s the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the patriarchy. “[W]hen people excuse sexual misconduct on the basis of intoxication and youth, it exposes the fact that our society values white males above all others,” wrote Jason Nichols at Think (an NBC News website). “He represents a culture that fundamentally does not believe women are equal, and that’s why he’s so dangerous,” insisted Ana Maria Archila, one of the women who cornered Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., in an elevator. The editors of America: The Jesuit Review withdrew their support of the judge, fearing it would send the wrong message “in a world that is finally starting to take reports of harassment, assault, and abuse seriously.”

One might argue that if Professor Ford’s accusation was taken seriously, it would have been dealt with much earlier in the process, instead of reserved for the time of maximum damage to Republicans. But we’ve gone beyond “One might argue.” Forget argument. We’re in the midst of something like a religious frenzy.

The new orthodoxy of the left, lumped under the heading of “Identity Politics,” is that human history is nothing more than a power struggle between oppressed races and genders, and white men have had the power long enough. It’s basically Old Marxism with race, gender, and sexual orientation substituting for social class. In its all-encompassing worldview, single-minded devotion, and inquisitor-like pronouncements, it’s beginning to resemble a cult.

Ana Maria Archila’s tearful elevator confrontation with Sen. Flake was just the beginning. “Divorce your Republican husbands!” tweeted feminist author Jill Filipovic on Sept. 28. “Who are the people who continue to perpetuate and uphold rape culture? Powerful men,” stormed feminist blogger Corinne Werder. To many on the left, the judge is an icon of evil. Their belief is utterly sincere; he can defend his good name until the day he dies without budging their conviction.

What if he’s guilty? The human heart, as we know, is deceptive and prone to wickedness. This applies to the right as well as the left. But if all the charges against Judge Kavanaugh were true, he should be in a criminal court, not a Senate committee room. Truth is not the issue. He has already been dragged to the altar, not only for his own sins but for the sins of the patriarchy. Vicarious sacrifices never get a trial. Nor do they satisfy.

All the more reason to look to the one true sacrifice, who satisfied the one true God for our sake. And pray for those who don’t know Him.


You must be a WORLD Member and be logged in to the website to comment.
  • DCal3000
    Posted: Tue, 10/02/2018 11:55 pm

    Thank you, Janie B. Cheaney, for writing this column.  It has been encouraging to me over the last several years to see that WORLD has not fallen victim to the plague of identity politics.  With some dismay, I have come to realize that many leaders of American churches, including and especially those in Reformed or semi-Reformed denominations, display more concern with group statistics than individual lives.  As a white male, if I were to die in a car accident tomorrow, those leaders would simply rejoice that the diversity in their churches had increased (with one less white male).  Don't get me wrong, I want more diversity in our churches.  I value the good in all cultures and want all people to come to know Christ.  But the identity politics that has been ripping the Kavanaugh confirmation process, our society, and our churches to shreds has replaced concern for individuals with group stereotyping.  That is a shame, but it at least gives me a deeper appreciation for the concern WORLD shows for people rather than group identity.


  • Brad Cain
    Posted: Fri, 10/05/2018 09:16 am

    you say, "the accuser's memory SEEMS oddly selective?"  That's too deferential to the secular me_too movement. With all the background we now know about Ford - the lies about fear of travel, the ex-boyfriend, the yearbook/drinking, her attorney being an attack dog for Bill Clinton - it's hard for me to believe sober people find her convincing.  This is certain: either he is guilty of an attempted violent crime, or she is guilty of violent false accusation - someone needs to go to jail. 

    World knows better than to buy into the "patriarchy" balderdash - "'You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly." Lev 19:15

  •  Paul B. Taylor's picture
    Paul B. Taylor
    Posted: Mon, 10/08/2018 12:05 pm

    What is problematic should be the consequences of his surviving the confirmation process.  The left will only have more impetus to even write a new constitution.  They will see the US Constitution as a product of the male patriarchy that can justify treating women as not equals, and the electoral college as fundamentally unfair because it circumvents the tallying of votes that would include all voters in all states. So, the Constitution is becoming a buttress of the right as Congress becomes more polarized.  If we view the Constitution as a living document and not originalist, we will not have a Constitution.  What will the left do in their attempt to discard and replace the Constitution?  

  • Woodman
    Posted: Sat, 10/20/2018 11:36 am

    Once again World buys into mainstream tripe. To provide cover for the Ana Maria Archila's of the world which effectively green lights uncivil behavior and suggesting most young men are predisposed to sexual sin Ms Cheaney has embraced the ubiquitous social justice, victim culture. Excusing the ‘guilty until proven innocent’ mob hysteria foisted on the country by a Democrat supporter (Ford) and her political enablers is at best biased journalism. Other than being a descendant of Adam what were Kavanaugh's sins? 

  • RS
    Posted: Sat, 10/20/2018 02:09 am

    I have been to several parties back in the day. The girls that go to those parties for the most part were involved with partying as well and what kind of girls go to beer bashes anyway?