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Mormon Women's Group Calls For Kavanaugh Investigation, Halt To Confirmation


Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Judge Brett Kavanaugh pose for photographs in the Senate president pro tempore office before a meeting at the U.S. Capitol on July 11, 2018 in Washington, D.C. U.S. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Judge Brett Kavanaugh pose for photographs in the Senate president pro tempore office before a meeting at the U.S. Capitol on July 11, 2018 in Washington, D.C. U.S. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

An activist group of Mormon women is calling for a halt to the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process until an investigation is completed into the sexual assault allegations he faces. The group, Mormon Women for Ethical Government, is specifically directing its efforts toward four male members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who are Mormon: Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho.)

Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks with the group’s founder, Sharlee Mullins Glenn (@SharleeGlenn).

Interview Highlights

On why the group is urging lawmakers to a halt Kavanaugh’s confirmation process 

“First of all, we want to be very clear that we are not taking sides. We’re not assuming that the allegations are true. What we are saying is that these allegations are very serious and must be taken seriously. So we are just asking that the proceedings be suspended until a full, thorough, independent investigation can be conducted.

“It’s extremely important that the legitimacy of the Supreme Court be upheld.”

On the argument being made by some Kavanaugh supporters that the alleged sexual assaults happened decades ago and shouldn’t matter

“No matter when abuse of that type occurs, it is still very, very serious, and this whole culture of ‘boys will be boys’ is extremely damaging … We do believe in repentance. We believe that a person can change. However, we also believe that the process of repentance includes acknowledging what you’ve done and showing sincere remorse and apologizing. And if — that’s a big if — if in fact these allegations are true, then Brett Kavanaugh has shown absolutely no remorse and has in fact continued to consistently deny that these charges are true.”

On the Mormon Church’s teaching and handling of issues of sexual assault

“Sometimes in the past, teachers of children and young women and even adults sometimes did use very strange analogies. I think Elizabeth Smart once referred to an analogy that was taught to her that if, you know, you were sexually impure, that you were like a piece of chewed gum and no one would want you. Those kinds of analogies are false and extremely, extremely destructive.

“Especially in the last few years, there’s been a real awareness, and our religious leaders have always spoken out very, very strongly against any kind … of abuse or assault.”

On whether she thinks lawmakers have heard the group’s requests and are acting accordingly

“I hope so, and they will continue to hear from us, because we feel very, very strongly.

“We had Senator [Lindsey] Graham, who serves on the Judiciary Committee, who said, ‘I’ll listen to the lady, but we’re going to bring this to a close,’ or our own Senator [Orrin] Hatch, who said, ‘I think this woman, whoever she is, is mixed up.’

“This insistence that they’re just going to plow through to a vote is so chillingly ironic, because it reflects so completely the larger issue, right, of men just plowing through and doing what they want and taking what they want, and we’re calling for a stop to this. Women need to be listened to and taken seriously.

“Just continuing to jeopardize the legitimacy of the Supreme Court in order to rack up political wins, that must stop.”

On her and other group members’ stories of sexual assault

“We have over 6,000 members, but our broad leadership team consists of about 90, 91 women. And so, I threw out the question to them, and I just said, ‘I’m just interested how many of you have at some point in your life been sexually assaulted.’ And I said, ‘Let’s limit this to sexual assault.’ And I started, and I said, ‘Me.’ And out of the 60 women who saw the question, 41 answered in the affirmative.

“Someone asked me, ‘Do you believe Dr. Blasey Ford?’ And I said, ‘I absolutely believe her,’ because her story is my story — eerily similar.”

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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