God opened a door today (Oct. 4) for our conference minister, Rev. Dr. Bill Lyons, to speak these words in the public square and deliver them in writing to Senator Jeff Flake’s staff. Thank you, Lucha, PDA Arizona, Progress Now, Planned Parenthood, and Handmaidens, for sharing space with us as faith leaders to let our voices be heard. Thank you for the brave women who risked civil disobedience and were arrested for standing up for women and survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse. Thank you, Rock Freemont, Tom Martinez, Rabbi Shmuly, and Redeem Zakari for the pictures. Thank you, Rev. James Pennington and Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, for organizing today’s faith leaders’ action.
In 1991 when 14 privileged white men refused to tell Professor Anita Hill, “What happened to you disqualifies your assailant from the U.S. Supreme Court,” it felt like they were saying, “Victims of sexual harassment don’t matter.”
Senator Flake, your vote last week moving Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination forward has had devastating, unintended, and life-long consequences. A countless number of victims of sexual assault, rape, child sexual abuse, or incest have been re-traumatized by your unwillingness to say, "Dr. Ford, what happened to you disqualifies your assailant from the U.S. Supreme Court." It feels like the 11 men who voted ‘yes’ in that senate hearing room were in that other room, and have said to every victim in every room, "What happened to you doesn't matter."
If you are a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, rape, child sexual abuse, or incest, I am here as a faith leader, and as a privileged white man to stand with you and say, “It does matter!”
In our sacred texts God says to people who have been marginalized and victimized,
“Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am your Sovereign God. 
And so, Senator Flake, I say to you, when the vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination comes to the senate floor, you need to remember a few names and vote for them.
You need to remember Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and vote for her.
You need to remember Deborah Ramirez and vote for her.
You need to remember Julie Swetnik and vote for her.
You need to remember that every victim of every victim of sexual assault has a name and a story, and a painful recovery from the trauma, and you need to vote for THEM, saying to them, in the hearing of your senate colleagues, and the world, “What happened to you at the hands of your assailant matters. I stand with you.”
We are not asking you to do anything we are not committed to doing ourselves. Senator Flake, you tell your colleagues who ARE up for re-election in 33 days, in November we will be remembering these women’s names, what it feels like to be them, and we will be voting for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, for Deborah Ramirez, for Julie Swetnik. We will be voting for every victim of sexual assault, and by voting for them, we say to you, to your senate colleagues, and to the world, “What happened to you at the hands of your assailant matters. We stand with you.”
If you are a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, rape, child sexual abuse, or incest, I am also here as a faith leader, and as a privileged white man to stand with you and say, “What happened to you matters to me and it matters to God! God knows your name. You are God’s child and God loves you.” The congregations and clergy of the Southwest Conference United Church of Christ, and our colleagues and friends from other faith traditions here today, are committed to walking with you in these painful, infuriating days. If you need to tell your story, we are here to listen and to believe you. If you need to channel the rage into positive action for justice, we'll stand beside you and work with you. If you need a place to leave the shame behind, leave it behind in a conversation and prayer with a member or pastor of one of our faith communities.
You are in control. Pay attention to what your mind, spirit, and body are telling you. Take really good care of yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Keep close the people who support your doing the things that bring you life and healing. Remember, we are here if you need us.