Written By: Anton Sawyer
The Republican attacks of pedophilia during the hearings and confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson were nothing short of sickening. But maybe, just maybe, it’s due to them having something to hide themselves. Maybe the Christian conservatives of America are the ones actually helping to perpetuate this sickness of child seduction?
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I know that's a somewhat blunt way to begin an article, but I'm irritated by the flippant use of this accusation being thrown around by our conservative political leaders. It's ghoulish at best. It shows a fundamental lack of understanding when it comes to what is involved with pedophilia and the ripple effect it has. The family, both extended and inner-circle can (and will) take sides. The victim is usually going to have some kind of reminder hanging about due to the familiarity with their predator. And a grim cloud hangs over everyone involved—directly or indirectly.
Yet this specific attack has been the du jour in every level of press they were able to grab the attention of. Sure, calling someone a pedophile will get in the headlines, but just stop for a moment to think about how insulting it is to the intelligence of the average American to think that a potential Supreme Court justice would be aiding pedophilia in some way. If there were legitimate proof that a judge had assisted this crime to occur, do you honestly believe they would be in consideration for the Supreme Court? And by proof, I mean emails that helped facilitate the predator to get a lighter sentence in order to get back to making more child porn or the like.
Anyone with a modicum of common sense would be able to easily see through this ruse.
So, what exactly is the basis for these attacks, and why do I care so much?
During the hearings, the topic of Jackson giving lighter sentences to those who had been convicted of child pornography came up. One Republican Senator, Josh Hawley of Missouri, took this information and ran with it. He made statements that Jackson has a "long record" of letting child porn offenders "off the hook" during sentencing. Going even further, he sent out tweets to this effect. "In every single child porn case for which we can find records, Judge Jackson deviated from the federal sentencing guidelines in favor of child porn offenders," Hawley stated, highlighting nine cases from her time as a federal District Court judge.
When you dig into Jackson’s history, you find that her choices aren’t too terribly out of the norm when it comes to the sentencing of such crimes. While an ABC review of court records shows that Jackson did impose lighter sentences than federal guidelines suggested, Hawley's insinuation neglects critical context, including the fact that the senator himself has voted to confirm at least three federal judges who also engaged in the same practice. Federal appeals court Judges Joseph Bianco of the Second Circuit and Andrew Brasher of the Eleventh Circuit, both Trump appointees, had each previously sentenced defendants convicted of possessing child pornography to prison terms well below federal guidelines at the time they were confirmed with Hawley's support. Also, Doug Berman, a leading expert on sentencing law and policy at The Ohio State University School of Law wrote, "If and when we properly contextualize Judge Jackson's sentencing record in federal child porn cases, it looks pretty mainstream."
I feel the word “mainstream” is key in this context. When speaking of criminal sexual assault cases which have been a part of this mainstream, how can we forget one of the saddest examples of judicial decision-making in the Brock Turner case? Though not a pedophile, the Turner case was one that everyone in America became familiar with due to the light sentencing for such a heinous crime; we learned as a nation what a judge can truly do based on whims.
If you don’t recall, athlete Brock Turner was found guilty on three charges of felony sexual assault but was only sentenced to six months in jail. Because of our current legal system sentencing can vary widely and is completely constitutional. Though I've never been a fan of these more lenient rulings, these are the “rules” we've agreed to play by when it comes to being an American.
In fact, it’s because of the legal system and its allocation of such discrepancies that answer the second question I posed earlier; why do I care so much?
The concern mainly stems from having to testify against my 15-year-old nephew in a court of law who had committed this terrible act against my five-year-old stepdaughter.
I was the person she disclosed to, so I was the one who had to put forth the complaint. It's a horrible situation for everyone that's incredibly divisive and its fallout is something that lingers; in some cases forevermore. Guilt was admitted and sentencing occurred—which was only probation (I don't recall if a fine was levied or not). Though other trouble followed him and he broke probation, ending up in a juvenile center, the fact that he had assaulted a five-year-old and was merely told to “watch himself” again reiterates the baselessness of the attacks brought about towards Jackson. But these attacks continued and were made that much worse by their overuse on conservative talk radio.
This overuse from political pundits like Jesse Kelly, Sean Hannity, and Buck Sexton (along with various other Senate and House members), made it pretty clear that they carry zero personal experience with this topic and are therefore ignorant to the impact of the meaning of these words. In their world it’s on-brand: arrogance meets ignorance.
But in my soul, I believe there’s something potentially even more nefarious at work here.
I believe that the reason the die-hard Christian wing of the Republican party has jumped on board with these attacks is an attempt to point the fingers at someone else and draw attention away from the fact that incest/pedophilia is a part of their core ideology; and an ideology that they would prefer to not be looked at. By this, I mean the specific actions of God in the Holy Bible.
Before I go further, I need to make something clear. As I’ve written before, I have no problem with spirituality, and I think the examples led by Jesus Christ are worth trying to incorporate into our daily lives. Don’t hurt others, don’t think you are infallible, etc. Though I haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior, I do love his work. It’s the literal interpretation of the Bible, and mainly the actions of Jesus’ dad, that have put me off the idea of joining an organized faith. Specifically, Genesis Chapter 19 holds the biggest reason for my reticence to hand over my eternal soul to the Heavenly Father.
If you read all of chapter 19 in the book of Genesis, you see an omnipotent God save a man named Lot. This is done so Lot can have drunken sex with his daughters after leaving the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In all fairness, I don't know if it's technically pedophilia as their ages aren't clear, but it's one of the main reasons why I can't believe in any Bible-based faith.
As I’d mentioned before it was a combination of this part of the Bible, along with the complete lack of answers from my Bishop as to how a loving God could allow such a thing, that began to sow the seeds of doubt when it came to organized religion. Anytime I've asked those who are leaders of a flock to explain this section of the Bible, I always get platitudes about "we're not meant to understand God’s ways yet. But in the afterlife ..."
It seems the fervent Christian Bible-thumpers haven’t picked up on this yet, and are perfectly OK with any non-answers given to them by their Pastors. And it’s these non-answers that show there is absolutely no justification for what God did when came to Lot and the drunken sex he had with his daughters, yet every major Christian leader will fall on their swords claiming the Bible is the infallible word of God and is meant to be looked at in a literal sense. Given these facts, it’s no surprise that the Christian conservatives would do everything they can to play “hey, look over there” and take attention away from the fact that their faith is OK with such gross sexual acts at its core, all while trying to excoriate one of those “dirty liberals.”
If you need further proof, just look at the conservative political leaders who have supported Jim Bob Duggar and his family over the years (that is, until it stopped being politically convenient). It’s not difficult to find pictures online from various GOP events like the 2012 CPAC conference where various high-ranking Republicans can be seen smiling with Duggar and his brood. What’s most damming lies in the fact that these pictures/events were after Jim Bob’s son Josh had been sent to “camp” for committing incest/pedophilia. In the grand scheme of things, politicians are a tightly knit bunch. Given that Jim Bob did serve in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002 and had run for a state Senate seat in 2021, to say that there weren’t any rumors or speculation floating around the RNC as a whole would be absurd—those in the Washington beltway know everything, don’t kid yourself. Yet it wasn’t until the full breadth of Josh’s indiscretions came to light that the Republican party began to distance themselves from the family. Like with everything else political, when the heat becomes large enough to where it might impact the political future of a person or group, that person or group will ALWAYS cut ties and run.
At the end of the day, it's easy to say that you have moral superiority when you’ve got massive numbers and the loudest voice in the room. It’s also really easy to weaponize misdirection when trying to cover your own tracks.
Now, do I think that on a conscious level the Christian conservatives of America support the scourge that is incest or pedophilia? No, I truly don’t believe so. But at the same time, it’s also hard to account for the breadth of these attacks without thinking that it’s all being done to camouflage a much larger transgression of some kind. Maybe Qanon is right. Maybe there are political leaders involved with pedophilia rings … unfortunately for the Q-people, it just so happens to be those they reside with.
If you can spare a few bucks to support a starving artist, buy me a coffee!