I Don't Want Any Moore

I've Had Enough


Roy Moore




Evangelicals, political conservatives, and Republicans have been rocked since last Thursday when the Washington Post published a story about Republican U.S. Senate nominee, Roy Moore, that accused him of one crime (which can never be adjudicated because the statute of limitations long ago expired) and of several actions which some regard as improprieties. The alleged crime is that he partially undressed a 14 year old girl whom he then fondled while attempting to get her also to touch him sexually. The other alleged actions are that he as a man in his early 30s showed an interest in and dated teenage girls.

Allegations. Let's first address the matter of his alleged crime and improprieties.

As many have noted, the crime allegation, if true, is a very serious matter. If what is alleged happened, it seems, barring further revelations, that it does not indicate Judge Moore has a "problem" - a proclivity for sexual activity with post-pubescent but young teenagers. So far as we know, there are no other allegations of  this sort of activity. Nevertheless, even if there was one act of this sort, it is scandalous behavior, and good reason for those who have favored his election to reconsider. 

So far as I know, no Republican Senator has joined with those who have defended Mr. Moore. One of the most conservative Senators, Mike Lee, has withdrawn his endorsement. All who have spoken, including not just "establishment" men such as Republican leader Mitch McConnell, but challengers of the "establishment" such as Ted Cruz, have said that, if these charges are true, Mr. Moore should withdraw from the Senate race. The National Review editors and writers David French and Jonah Goldberg have denounced Moore in strong terms and called for him to step aside. 

The response of Evangelical leaders has lacked unanimity. For example, Moore's pastor and Jerry Falwell, Jr., have defended the Judge, while Al Mohler and Russell Moore have expressed outrage (assuming the allegations are true). 

Now Christians must always say that        sins, however great (and Christians have been guilty of much worse behavior than than Moore is accused of), is never beyond forgiveness. Nor should sin against a 14 year old girl 40 years ago, if it occurred, be a millstone around the neck of Moore, regardless of what it means for his candidacy, for the rest of his life. 

We also need to put this charge in the context of the current moral outrage against sexual harassment and abuse as one revelation follows another about both heterosexual and homosexual men. While I do not know of any Hollywood women who have been accused, it seems that every week there is some female school teacher who is accused of taking advantage of her position to pursue sexual relations with male (and occasionally female) students. 

I expect some of these allegations will prove untrue, but in the current context, there is a strong inclination to take them all as true. We will do well to remember the hysteria in 1980s when children, urged by parents, prosecutors, and psychologists, made accusations of very gross forms of of sexual abuse against various caregivers. There were about 80 convictions. Most of those convicted were ultimately exonerated. It is certainly possible that we are experiencing another wave of hysteria and that this has affected the judgments that are being made about the allegations against Mr. Moore.

Regarding the "allegations" of impropriety, I am much more sanguine than others. It seems to me that there is nothing inherently wrong with a man who is 30 looking at a girl or woman, who is or soon will be, of marriageable age as someone whom he might date. One of the best men and friends I have ever known was 30 and looking for a wife. He had not found himself content with making a commitment to or asking for a commitment from any of the "possibilities." One day it occurred to him that a girl who loved horses, who had asked for a job, and whom he had hired in his veterinary practice seemed to have the qualities for which he was looking. (As he sometimes said, she was a good worker.) When her crusty father asked him what his intentions were, he replied, "Honorable." Soon they were married. She was 18 (as was my wife when we married, though I was only 21). Till he died, they enjoyed a solid marriage and an excellent partnership. They had 6 children, and somewhere in there she got her Bachelor's and Master's degrees (at his, not her father's, expense!) She was a strong woman and, as I saw it, a near perfect complement (forgive me, all you anti-complementarians) for him. Now some of those who have their underpants in a wad about a 30 year old dating a teenager with her parents' permission might hope to have a marriage half so happy.

Disqualification. Let's move to Judge Moore's qualifications for office. Even apart from whether the allegation of sexual activity with a 14 year old is true, I do not think him qualified. I expressed this view during the Republican primary. Repeating  the opinions I read at National Review, I think he is neither a conservative nor a Constitutionalist. Further, as I have written before (Roy Moore: God's Man?), he is a lawless man, or perhaps, a law unto himself, or, perhaps we should say, a typical American evangelical (he is a Baptist - see
Protestants Are Too Much like Baptists) who elevates his own conscience above the authority of church or state. 

He has twice been removed as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for civil disobedience. The first time he refused a federal court order to remove a  Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the Supreme Court building. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary said: "Indeed, we recognize that the acknowledgment of God is very much a vital part of the public and private fabric of our country...(but) the highest judicial officer of this state had decided to defy a court order" and, therefore had to be removed. The second time (officially he was suspended for the rest of his term without pay), in defiance of federal court decisions, he instructed probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary found he had violated the Code of Judicial Ethics and wrote: "This case is not about whether same-sex marriage should be permitted...Moreover, this is not a case to review or to editorialize about US Supreme Court's June 2015 decision, a decision that some members of this court did not personally agree with or think was well-reasoned." Rather, they found Moore's action ""grossly inconsistent with his duties" and "incomplete, misleading and manipulative." In fact, these judges found Moore's offenses in this case to be worse than his earlier defiance of a court order. 

I know some Christians will say, "But Judge Moore followed a higher law, God's." Some of the same folks will say, "We need God-fearing men in office." No, he did not follow a higher law, unless Judge Moore's understanding of his duty is to supersede not only federal courts but Holy Scripture (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:12-17, both written with the government of the Roman Empire, and specifically Nero, in mind). Nor is Judge Moore God-fearing so far as these two matters are concerned.

We need in office, not men and women like Judge Moore, but men and women willing to operate under our system of government, to obey the law themselves, and to work for change by lawful means. And those are the sort of people, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack of them, we as Christians ought to want to see in office, most especially when those running for office are professing Christians. 

There are few things that could more set back the reputation and effectiveness of Evangelical Christianity than a man who would behave as a Senator as Mr. Moore did as a Judge. 

Politics. Finally, let's take into account the political implications of Judge Moore's candidacy. I begin by saying I am a conservative Republican who does not claim his political views are derived from the Bible. Nor do I believe I am advancing the Messianic rule of Jesus Christ by my political positions and activities. 

So what are the possibilities in connection with Moore's candidacy for the Senate? The best case scenario is that he would withdraw. The Republican Party in Alabama should then identify, coalesce around, and work like crazy for a Republican write-in candidate. Another possibility is that the voters, including Republican voters, will take another look at Moore, decide they don't want him in the Senate, and elect his Democrat opponent (the race has tightened and one poll shows the Democrat with his first lead)

Perhaps the worst case scenario is that Judge Moore will be elected to the Senate. Even apart from the allegations against him, Moore will be a marginalized member of the Republican caucus in the Senate. If the allegations are considered credible by his Republican colleagues, he will be further marginalized, as few, perhaps none, of them will risk contamination. 

Further, if Roy Moore wins, that will embolden Steve Bannon whom I think wants to blow up the Republican Party as it now exists and destroy mainline Republicans. After Moore, Bannon cannot succeed in getting elected many, if any, Republicans of the sort he prefers elected, but he can do a whole lot of mischief trying. 

Further the Democrats could hardly ask for a better Christmas gift than his election as we head toward the mid-term elections in 2018. It will be very easy for them to point at Judge Moore as a Republican and say to the electorate, "Do you want people like Moore in the Congress? Vote Republican!"

If lived in Alabama, and Judge Moore stays in the race, I would face a similar choice as I faced last November. Back then I knew that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would be President. The question was, "Of these two, for which will I vote?" I made my decision and cast my vote. If I were an Alabamian, I would face the reality that either Republican Roy Moore or Democrat Doug Jones will be Alabama's Junior Senator. I do not believe I could vote for Judge Moore.





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