After the infamous Access Hollywood audiotape emerged in October 2016 on which Donald Trump boasts about how easy it is to sexually assault women when you're rich and famous, the leaders and followers of America's religious right groups just yawned.
When women in Alabama came forth a year later with stories of how they'd been assaulted or hit on by Senate candidate Roy Moore when they were teenagers in the 1980s, the religious right shrugged.
Following recent allegations that Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, had sexually assaulted a fifteen-year-old girl when he was seventeen, the religious right either blamed the victim, Christine Biasey Ford, or wrote it off as "boys will be boys."
Evangelist Franklin Graham's response was typical--and appalling. The charges against Kavanaugh, he asserted, were "not relevant."
Graham went on to say,
We've got to look at a persons life and what they've done as an adult and are they qualified for this position so this is just an attempt to smear him.... Well, there wasn't a crime committed. These are two teenagers and it's obvious that she said no and he respected it and walked away. Graham talks as if he'd been in the room at the time, but in fact, he appears to be unaware of even basic information about Ford's account. She reported that Kavanaugh and his friend Mike Judge, both of whom she says were intoxicated, pushed her into a bedroom, where Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and pawed at her clothes, at one point covering her mouth with his hand when she tried to scream for help. Judge jumped on the two and knocked everyone off the bed, at which point Ford was able to escape. Ford said she feared for her life.
Does that sound like "she said no and he respected it and walked away" to you?
But don't get the wrong idea. The religious right's tendency to act as apologists for men who misbehave sexually only goes so far: it's strictly Republicans who automatically get the benefit of a pass.
Consider what happened after information about President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky came to light. The religious right demanded his impeachment. Yet when word broke about an extramarital affair Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) had undertaken in the 1960s, it was written off as a "youthful indiscretion," even though Hyde was over forty when it happened.
The religious right also turned a blind eye to the antics of serial adulterer Newt Gingrich and never said a peep about Sen. David Vitter's (R-LA)...