Friday, October 12, 2018


"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.  Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire."
Revelation 20:11-15 (New International Version)

The grisly spectacle is finally over. After what seemed to be an eternity of interrogation and accusations, Brett Kavanaugh has finally been sworn in as the ninth associate Justice to our current Supreme Court. It came after a lot of bloodletting that was reminiscent of the cruel manner the Senate Judiciary Committee treated Clarence Thomas in October of 1991. 

Despite having had multiple FBI investigations, a spotless judicial record and with hundreds of rulings for the Judiciary Committee to see and numerous character witnesses vouching for his character, the Democrats on the committee produced an eleventh hour accuser who claimed Kavanaugh had tried to rape her sometime in 1982 or 1983 or sometime during the 1980's. She also didn't exactly know where it happened. The only thing she knew thirty five years after the attack was that it was him. How could she know it was him when she didn't know anything else about the attack? Her therapist somehow managed to get her to see the light, with the help of an attorney once Kavanaugh was submitted as a candidate for the High Court.

From there, the madness quickly descended from the gutter to the sewer. Another accuser came forward claiming that he had groped her and exposed himself to her, with no evidence whatsoever to back up her allegation, followed by a woman represented by a singularly nasty "porn lawyer." According to the woman, Kavanaugh was once a member of a team of gang rapists who preyed on young women in Maryland sometime during the early 1980's. As it was with his other accusers, there was no one who could corroborate the stories. When all of that became too far fetched to believe, the committee began attacking his high school and college drinking habits, notes made on his  personal calendar and high school yearbook, then his temperament. He was even accused of not having a proper judicial temperament when he had the unmitigated gall to forcefully defend himself before the committee.

As the nasty process ground on, I tried comforting myself with the notion that the Salem witch trials were much worse, but that didn't help. Next, I tried the comedy of Monty Python and the convoluted logic of determining whether or not a woman was a witch.

While Monty Python was hilarious, as they almost always were, it didn't seem very funny this time. The sight  of a man defending his unjustly shredded honor while his wife, two daughters, and the judge's faithful supporters sat helplessly behind him, wasn't hilarious at all. It was an injustice of immense proportions.

Not to be outdone by the antics of the committee, the  news media piled on for good measure. If the Democrats on the committee saw fit to find Kavanaugh guilty of the crimes and misdemeanors  he was accused of without without a shred of evidence to support the accusations, he obviously had to be guilty. The media agreed and began to paint a portrait of a drunken pervert for the whole country to see.
Somehow, thanks to the tenacity of Kavanaugh and his supporters, he survived the ordeal and now sits on the High Court.

In the light of these sad events, I've been giving thought to our notions of what constitutes a Supreme Court and the meaning of justice in America. I've concluded that our only hope for justice will one day be realized, sooner, I hope, rather than later.

More than ever these days I find myself hoping and praying for that justice to be fulfilled, as it has been promised to us in Holy Writ.

On this side of eternity, those who would be deemed qualified to sit in judgement over us and our man-made law, must be made to run the gauntlet. Investigative agencies pore over their past deeds. Legal scholars look in every jot or tittle of  their legal briefs for any hint of error. Politicians scrutinize their histories, hoping to find something they've said that  runs counter to their intertogators' political agendas, Roe versus Wade, for example.The brutal process begins with a select Senate committee and winds its way tortuously to a full Senate for a final vote. That, and the media circus that surrounds it, is about as insane as it could possibly get.

On the eternal side of eternity, there are a few things that are  somewhat similar to our way of doing things here on Terra Firma and quite a few that are different. Here on earth, for example, a government body, the Senate, examines every candidate who has been selected for the Supreme Court. It's not that way in the eternal court. There is no candidate to grill for days on end. The position in heaven was filled a long, long time ago and that judge was selected by the Almighty himself.   Also, while our system calls for nine judges to  decide whether or not a law is Constitutional or a plaintiff's arguments have enough legal weight for the High Court to rule in the plaintiff's favor, there is only one judge in heaven. In both cases, the High Court's ruling is final. After that final ruling, there is no other avenue of appeal available. In terms of integrity and character, both courts have high standards. A judge must be honest, unimpeachable, and fair in his or her rulings. A good judge must never show preference for the rich over the poor. A good judge must not kowtow to special interests or  political partisanship. A good judge's reasoning ability must be sound and the decisions he or she renders  should carry considerable moral weight. That's not always the case in our earthly system. In 1857, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Dred Scott, a slave who moved to a free state, had to be returned to his slave owner in the south. The Court's reasoned that, since Scott was not a U.S.citizen by virtue of his slavery, he had to be nothing more than property to be disposed of at the whim of his "owner." One would think that a decision that important would be close. It wasn't. The Court ruled against Dred Scott seven to two. In 1927, Carrie Buck, a citizen of Virginia with limited mental ability (at 18 years of age, she had only gone through the sixth grade in school), was committed to a state facility as a "feeble minded" person. One thing led to another and the board of directors of the institution ordered her to be involuntarily sterilized. Her guardian appealed the ruling and Carrie's case made it all the way to the Supreme Court (Buck v. Bell). Her attorneys argued that her Fourteenth Amendment rights  to procreate had been violated.  The Court' s final ruling was 8-1 and the sterilization order proceeded. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes was one of the eight justices who ruled against Carrie Buck. His words in defense of the decision still have the same sting today that they must have had almost a hundred years ago - "Three generations of imbeciles are enough." In a 2005 case, the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, against Susette Kelo in an eminent domain case in which she sued the City of New London, Connecticut for what she believed was its misapplication of the eminent domain doctrine when the city condemned her property to make room for a business venture that the city thought would provide economic benefit to the entire city. I believe it was a terrible decision. I'm not a legal expert, but the idea that a municipality can take my property and give it to someone who wants to build a pizza parlor is ludicrous.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Human justice is imperfect. It's sometimes as fallen as the rest of humanity. Even a good judge can render a bad decision (Justice Anthony Kennedy in the Kelo ruling, for example).  This, however, is not the case in the High Court of heavenly justice. The chief justice of that court will rule the world and the people with justice and integrity (Psalm 9:8, Isaiah 11:5, Jeremiah 23:5). When that great day comes, he will not need the approval of a Senate committee or the entire Senate to approve of him. He won the heavenly confirmation battle here on earth and he has the scars inflicted on him in his hands and side during that process to prove it. They won't be rooting around in his high school yearbooks or calendars. In fact, he just might be rooting around in theirs. You've got to know he'll find more dirt in theirs then they ever did in Brett Kavanaugh's. The heavenly judge is well acquainted with the sting of false accusations. He was accused of being a drunkard and a friend of deplorables and dregs (Matthew 11:19). He was accused of blasphemy more than once by the religious leaders of his day (Mark 14). At his trial he was accused of sedition (Luke 23) and saying he would destroy the temple of God (Matthew 26). His accusers twisted his words in order to render a guilty verdict on their charge of blasphemy (Matthew 26:65). From that point on, his accusers had no further need for witnesses against him (Matthew 26:65).  That portion of his trial ended with one final indignity. His accusers spit on and beat him. "Prophesy to us, Messiah," they howled. "Who hit you?"

The entire sham dragged on, with Jesus being dragged from pillar to post, from Pilate to Herod and back again. The climax came when Jesus' accusers demanded that Pilate pronounce the death penalty. They didn't even have the courage of their supposed convictions and had to use a Roman procurator as their hit man. Not long after that, Jesus was nailed to a cross at Golgatha. He was an innocent man. He really was who he said he was, but he died a criminal's death.

When I was young, I used to recite the Apostle's Creed in the Episcopal church I attended. Whenever we got to the place where we were to recite, "He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead," I would either mumble the words or go silent. I didn't believe them back then. I do now!

There is a Supreme Court in heaven and there is a Chief Justice who will one day make the final rulings. As it is with our Supreme Court here on earth, there will be no avenue of appeal available. The Judge's ruling will be final. The parameters of that judgement outlined in Matthew 25:31-46 and Revelation 20:11-15. (see introduction to this post)

Knowing this, a prudent person would retain the services of a skilled advocate/attorney when that inevitable day of judgement comes. Thankfully, the heavenly Court has provided an advocate for all those who admit their guilt and lean on the mercy of the court. That arrangement is available to all, including United States Senators, deplorables, dregs, false accusers, and assorted sinners of all stripes.

That's the plea I intend to make when my moment in the dock comes. And, I've been assured by my advocate that the penalty for every sin I ever committed has been paid for in full because he has told me he was the one who paid the debt that justice demanded.  I know that now by faith, but there is a day coming when I will know it by sight: when I see my advocate's nail pierced hands and wounded side.

Will everyone accept this merciful arrangement? Apparently not. We are all free moral agents. We can choose to either embrace or reject the mercy offered. That choice will be the one that determines our eternal destiny.

No comments: