While most are looking at the airtight reporting of the Washington Post regarding Roy Moore’s alleged sexual dalliances with teenagers and walking away thoroughly convinced of his guilt, not to be ignored is the strange-but-not unexpected reaction of the southern Christian Right, which, as usual, has mostly been the response one would expect from followers of Casper the Friendly Ghost rather than the Holy Ghost.
Moore, the former Alabama chief justice and U.S. Senate candidate, is alleged to have made inappropriate advances and had sexual contact with a then 14-year-old girl when he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. Condemnation has come from both sides of the aisle, and on Tuesday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell added his two cents, saying, “I believe the women, yes, I think he should step aside.”
He should, because even though there will be no trial, the story is so well sourced and as close to unimpeachable as one can get.
Leigh Corfman, who was involved in the incident nearly 40 years ago, was consistent in six different interviews with reporters. Today, the 53-year-old says she has voted Republican in the last three presidential elections, including the last one, so it stands to reason that this is not some plant or “fake news,” which Moore has labeled it.
Yet, despite this preponderance of evidence suggesting Moore’s proclivity for deviance, over and over again reporters canvasing Alabama from the major outlets over this past weekend were greeted by Moore supporters willing to turn a blind eye to what could be pedophilia.
“I like his Christian beliefs and values, and his wife’s” is how one Evangelical voter identified as “Sheila” explained to MSNBC’s Gabe Gutierrez why she said she still intended to vote for Moore.
Mind you, in 2015, during his second stint on the state Supreme Court — from which he has been twice booted — Moore had the opportunity to hear the case of one Eric Lemont Higdon, a man convicted of two sodomy charges stemming from a sexual assault against a 4-year-old boy. The incident occurred at Mama’s Place Christian Academy in Clay, Ala.
One of those convictions was first-degree sodomy of a child less than 12 -years old and the other was first-degree sodomy by forcible compulsion. Essentially, the first conviction was for statutory rape; the second for forcible rape.
Of the nine judges, the lone dissenting vote was Moore’s.
Perhaps it is of more importance to Evangelical voters like Sheila that the first time Moore was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court involved his refusal of a judge’s order to remove a 5,200-pound granite monument of the Ten Commandments, which he had placed, from the judicial building’s lobby, an act more of show and less of faith.
Today, Moore’s strain of Christianity marries guns and war to Jesus, the Jesus who spoke of turning the other cheek, not shooting a bullet through it. Centuries ago, the ancestors of these Christians used any mention of slavery in the Bible — and there are many – as justification to travel across the Atlantic Ocean and pack fellow human beings into the bowels of rodent-laden and disease-infested ships as slavery was ingrained into the nation’s development.
Nat Turner, a preacher who led the bloody Virginia slave insurrection of 1831, did so because he could no longer spread a gospel imparted by slavers that validated the brutalization and subjugation of his family and friends.
Moore subscribes to a Christianity that suggests that U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesotan and Muslim, should not be allowed to serve in Congress — you know, that “America’s for white people” kind of religion — and he once stated that the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, may have happened because America had fallen out of favor with God.
But if this man gets to the Senate floor, it will be because many of these people professing religion are more cultish. They are OK with losing their health care, with defunding of their state education systems and with regularly voting against their best interests.
Trump speaks of “fake news” all the time. Religion doesn’t get any faker than what Moore and his ilk have been practicing for years.
John N. Mitchell has worked as a journalist for more than a quarter century. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Tweet at @freejohnmitchel.