We are now in a time of chronic national convulsions, and the latest, over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, has resulted in the wrenching public and private testimony of women who have been sexually assaulted and who have never before spoken about it. Of course, this outpouring has a hashtag: #BelieveSurvivors. Women who tell their stories should have the support, and belief, of loved ones, friends, and a therapeutic community.
But when a woman, in telling her story, makes an allegation against a specific man, a different set of obligations kick in.
Even as we must treat accusers with seriousness and dignity, we must hear out the accused fairly and respectfully, and recognize the potential lifetime consequences that such an allegation can bring. If believing the woman is the beginning and the end of a search for the truth, then we have left the realm of justice for religion.