Dean’s Statement on Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings
These last two weeks have been extremely painful. Power is at stake, and the country is dangerously polarized. I write from London where I have followed the proceedings and ridden the waves of emotion and conflict covered in the news and shared among my colleagues and friends within and beyond the church.
At the center of the drama is Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s account of her sexual assault as a teenager. Told publicly before the Senate committee, her story caused pain for those who have suffered sexual abuse, and the dramatically opposed responses have compounded anger and fear. The Episcopal Church has begun to reckon with the reality of sexual harassment and abuse and is working to make our communities more honest and accountable. I pray for healing for those who have suffered that they might find reconciliation and peace, and I pray for change in our institutions.
Everyone comes to their response to this crisis through the lens of their own experience and history. One lens I bring is my participation in the struggle over issues of women’s roles and rights in society and in the church over the last forty- five years. I am deeply disturbed by what the Supreme Court confirmation hearings have revealed about cultural attitudes about women and men, the way their voices are heard, how they are judged, and what matters. The intense dispute confirms for me that the equality of women and men is not resolved, but remains hotly contested. I pray that the Episcopal Church in its preaching and practice might witness the gospel affirmation of equality.
As a citizen of the United States, I am concerned about the division in our country, its impact upon our personal relationships, in our communities, and on our standing in the world. As a leader in the church, I am aware that the church too can be caught up in the dynamics of political and cultural conflict. I pray that as members of the church we might resist the forces of division and violence and bring to this charged and volatile moment a spirit of repentance, charity, patience, courage, and hope. I pray that with faith in the good news of Jesus Christ we might encourage each other and with God’s help renew our strength for the days and weeks ahead.
Yours in Christ,
The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge
Dean and President
Seminary of the Southwest