Judge Moore and the Women

Roy Moore, Alabama Senate Candidate

To Believe or Not to Believe?
This is the Question

Leigh Corfman
 Accuser who says she was 14

Beverly Young Nelson
Accuser who says she was 16

You'd have to be Rip Van Winkle not to know that making allegations of various degrees of sexual improprieties are almost as ubiquitous as college football coach firings. (I fear that one morning I will wake up and see Mrs. Smith on MSNBC as the accuser and myself as the accused.) The accusers are
 mostly by women, though not in Kevin Spacey's case. Those accused include men in the entertainment industry, news industry, and (cue Gomer Pile!) politics. Most of the accused confess that they did something, though some have denied the allegations and others have said their memories of the offenses are not the same as those of their accusers. It is not a good time to be a man, unless you are ready to affirm all accusers and to condemn all accused. It is likely that we are experiencing an over-correction to the problem of not listening to victims and that some of those who have been or will be accused will be vindicated.

Two of the holdouts who have not plead guilty are Congressman John Conyers (D) and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R). Moore, a former two time Chief Justice of the state's Supreme Court and outspoken Baptist Christian, has been accused of various kinds of improprieties by nine different women. The state Party Executive Committee is standing by him. The Governor says she has no reason to doubt the accusers, nevertheless, will vote for Moore. Jeff Sessions, who held the seat Moore is running for before resigning to be the Attorney General of the United States, also says he has no reason to disbelieve the women. Richard Shelby, Alabama's senior Senator, has said he will not vote for Moore, but will write in the name of another Republican. Most national Republicans, including most of those who would be Moore's Republican Senate colleagues, have either said that he should drop out of the race, if the charges are true, or said that he should have already dropped out. Senators such as Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, who are "anti- establishment," have withdrawn their endorsements. 

Though the allegations against Moore range from the creepy to the criminal, Moore is not going to drop out. He and the Democrat, Doug Jones, will face off on December 12, and one will be elected. In Washington a number of Senators, Republican and Democrat, have said that, if Moore is elected, he should be seated, investigated, and then excluded from the Senate. The advantage to the Republicans of that happening is that they would not have Moore tied as a millstone around their necks next year for the the midterms and that the Republican Governor would appoint a Senator, allowing the Republicans to hold the seat.

Moore and his wife of 30 years, Kayla, have gone on both the defensive and the offensive. They deny all of the allegations. They have attacked the accusers. They explain all of the allegations as attacks by his enemies - the liberal media and not only Democrats but "establishment" Republicans, foremost of whom is Mitch McConnell, whom Moore has called out and wants replaced. In fact, Moore's "real" enemies, as he and his loyalists see it, are not progressive Democrats but mainstream Republicans. He is seeking to capitalize on the anti-establishment resentments which helped to elect Donald Trump.

I have been interested in the ways Moore's most zealous defenders, some of them pastors, have defended him.  I have  (perhaps unwisely and with no success) engaged some of them on Facebook. So far as I can discern, those I have engaged are Christians who believe there is a distinctly Christian view of everything, who assert that Christ is Lord of all ("every square inch"), and at least some of them are theonomists who believe the Law given to Israel should be the pattern for law in America. These, against the common sense reading of Romans and contrary to the historical setting of both Paul and the Roman recipients, believe Romans 13 was written to teach Christians how to relate to government as it should be, not government as it was, the Roman Empire with Nero as Emperor.

All the Christian defenders of Moore believe he is a champion of the Christian "worldview." He is persecuted for being a courageous believer and a conservative Christian who will stand up for God, the Bible, and "Christian values." He stood for God and the Bible as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and was removed from office, not because he twice refused to obey federal courts, but because he would not bow the knee to Satan and godlessness. He has exposed, is exposing, and will expose Christians who are on the side of the forces of darkness and are part of the media and Washington "establishments." They are afraid of a God-fearing man who will unmask the lying media, challenge unprincipled politicians concerned only for power and money, and shame compromising Christians who seek the praise of man rather than the approval of God. With righteous anger his defenders condemn their fellow Christians, whom they think may not be Christians at all as well as all who have any sympathy for the accusers and any doubt about Moore's innocence.  

Several things stand out to me about those who have defended Moore. First is that it seems that there is nothing that could shake their confidence in Moore's uprightness. It is similar to the case of the husband caught in the act, who says, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" 

Second, they accuse Moore's accusers of lying. The fact that they have come forward 40 years after the events to accuse Moore before an election he was sure to win, strongly suggests that they are part of a conspiracy to deny Moore the seat. Some are certain there is convincing evidence that the accusers have been exposed for the liars they are. The women have been discredited and their stories debunked. The Moore supporters dismiss research that shows that waiting to come forward is not at all unusual. Their confidence is not shaken by the fact that there are nine different women, and some people who worked at the mall, who allege Moore's strange behavior (hanging out at the mall to see teenage girls, which some say, led to his being banned from the mall), questionable behavior (a man in his 30s dating teenage girls), and chargeable behavior (partially undressing and fondling a 14 year old while try to get her to fondle him and seeking to force sexual his sexual advances on a 16 year old). So far as the believers in Moore are concerned, the case is closed.

Third, after saying they do not believe the accusers, some pivot to say that, if he is guilty, it doesn't matter. It was long ago. The things of which he is accused are not that bad. It may be the girls' fault if it happened. Alabama pastor, Earl Wise, a strong supporter said, “How these gals came up with this, I don’t know. They must have had some sweet dreams somewhere down the line. Plus there are some 14-year-olds, who, the way they look, could pass for 20.” Whatever may have happened Roy Moore is God's man, who will speak up on behalf of God and Biblical values and will represent Christians who need and deserve a voice in the Senate. He opposes gay marriage; he is against abortion; he has questioned whether Muslims should be allowed to serve in public office; he takes a hard stand on illegal immigration. His positions are Christian. 

One of the defenses his supporters believe is unshakable is legal. (1) The statute of limitations ran out a long time ago. There is no way to establish guilt through the courts. (2) Even if something happened, where is the evidence? Come forward with it, or shut up. Otherwise, you're just gossipping.  (3) The Old Testament says that guilt cannot be established except on the testimony of two or three witnesses, and that standard has not been met. It appears that some would allow nothing to establish guilt apart from two or three eyewitnesses coming forward who were  present in the room and will testify they saw Judge Moore, wearing in nothing but his  whitey-tighties, undressing the 14 year old down to her bra and underpants, his hand cupping her the front of her bra or grabbing the front of her underpants. (4) Accused persons are innocent until proven guilty. He cannot be guilty unless a court says he is. They seem to believe that it would be wrong for a conservative Christian or a Republican who would have voted for Moore before the allegations, to believe the women and so not to vote for him. That would be cowardly at best, sinful at worst.

How could the voters of Alabama, or those of us who follow the story because we are evangelical Christians, or values voters, or political junkies, or political conservatives, come to a decision about Judge Moore? I would suggest several questions to ask:

1. What is your sense of the women making the allegations? Do the accusers seem genuine and do you have feeling that their accusations are credible? Or do find that something just doesn't ring true?

2. What is your sense of the denials of Judge Moore? Do you find yourself believing he is an honest man and that his denials are genuine? Or are you uneasy about him and his denials?

3. What do you know about the accusers  that would lead you to accept or not accept what they say? Does the fact that people who have experience say that it is not unusual for victims of sexual improprieties to keep silent and to come forward, if at all, years later, make any difference to you? Is there anything about the history and present lives of the accusers that tend to impeach them? 

4. What do you know about Judge Moore that would lead you to believe or disbelieve him? How much weight do you give to his 30 year marriage to Kayla and his faithful church involvement? Is there anything about Moore's public life and years on the Alabama Supreme Court that would create reservations in your mind about believing him?

5. What are the opinions of people you respect and tend to trust? You may put a lot of weight on what who have known him through the years say. The pastors who have spoken on Moore's behalf and said they believe him may persuade you to believe Moore. Or you may be moved by what Russell Moore (no relation to the Judge), the head of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, or Ted Cruz, or the editors of National Review. Where do opinions of folks you respect and trust leave you?

Answering these questions will not make the decision whether to vote for him. You could believe every one of the women and the worst he has been accused of and still vote for him. It depends on how much weight you put on your conclusion that Moore is a bad man versus how much you want to keep that seat in Republican hands. Answering these questions will not give you absolute certainty about whether he is guilty of all, some, or none of the accusations. Certainty is not possible, and the search for certainty is sure to frustrate you.

I do want to answer those who say that nothing short of legal proof is sufficient to justify making any decision other than to consider Judge Moore morally worthy of your vote. Most of the folks who say this no doubt believe what they say, but they are wrong. They ignore that there are many situations we all face that are not  legal but put us in a place of believing or disbelieving. You are considering buying a car, and get the feeling in your gut that the salesman can't be trusted, so you walk away. It's just a feeling, but you don't buy the car. He doesn't get the commission, and maybe he and his family really need it right now. You run into a person at a party, and knowing you have an appointment to see Dr. Jones next week, you ask, "Have you as a patient ever seen Dr. Jones?"  The person says, "I wouldn't let Dr. Jones take my temperature." You haven't seen anything that says Dr. Jones has been sanctioned by the state medical board or been sued for malpractice, but you invest enough credibility in the person who said what he thought of Dr. Jones that you cancel the appointment. You are a young lady who goes out on a date with Joe. Your intuition says, "This guy is creepy." So, when he calls next week, you say, "No, I don't want to go out Saturday, and I'm just not interested in seeing you again." You may be missing out on a great guy, but you don't ask him for a list of other girls he's dated so you can check him out. And, if your good friend tells you she has a date with Joe, you will tell her, "I went out with him, and he creeped me out. I'm not saying don't go out with him, but I feel I should tell you my intuition about him." 

So, what about Bill Smith? Inquiring minds want to know. I think that after much hesitation and conflict, I voted for Donald Trump. (I say "think" because I cannot clearly remember. I was recovering from knee replacement surgery and was taking opioids and cannot remember for sure whether I did or did not cast an absentee ballot.) In terms of what he has done or not done, I have not regretted that vote, if I cast it. 

If I were an Alabama voter, I think I would not vote for either Roy Moore or Doug Jones. I am fairly certain I would soon regret voting for either. I think I would write-in a candidate. Why not Moore? Mainly because of my answer to my question number four above. And, no, I am not on opioids, though I can testify they are sometimes a great mercy. 


  1. <> Aw, do you think they even know what that term means, Bill? Unless they are Reformed in their doctrine, I seriously doubt it.

  2. So, I just found your blog and disagree with a bunch of stuff, but this is definitely one of the most fair and thoughtful articles on this subject I have seen in the whatever you wanna call it Evangelical Christian Blogosphere. Good job.


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