Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
He is a judge who wasÂ suspended from his positionÂ as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for failing to uphold the Constitution of the United States. But that wasnât enough to keep Roy Moore from winning the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. If anything, it was Mooreâs defiance in the face of a federal court decision mandating that government officials issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples that won him the love of the Alabamians who turned out to vote for him.
Or maybe it was that time in 2003 when MooreÂ lost his seat on the courtÂ for refusing to remove a 2.6-ton monument of the Ten Commandments from the courthouseâa monument whose placement Moore had overseen. Take that, First Amendment!
These are the kinds of antics that have won Moore the admiration of self-described Christians on the right side of the political spectrum. And while the Ten Commandments forbid the coveting of oneâs neighborâs wife, it says nothing of the neighborâs daughter. So while Republican leaders and elected officialsÂ slowly assembleÂ in opposition to Mooreâs candidacy in the December 12 special election, significant and politically active right-wing evangelical Christian leaders have either maintained silence or defended Moore in the wake of allegations heÂ assaulted twoÂ teenage girlsÂ when he was in his 30s, and pursued ârelationshipsâ with an additional three teenagers.
At the Values Voter Summit hosted last month by FRC Action, the political arm of the Family Research Council, Moore was presented as a star to a conference audience of right-wing Christian political activists, who cheered him with gusto. There he delivered a largely incoherent speech complaining of how America had lost its way. During a luncheon address to a smaller group earlier in the day, Moore called for the impeachment of the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who wrote the majority opinion that legalized same-sex marriage, according to aÂ reportÂ by Peter Montgomery of Right Wing Watch. In fact, Moore believes that sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex should be illegal, according to Montgomery.Â But sexual relations between an adult man and a teenage girl, whether sheâs reached the age of consentÂ or not, well thatâs apparently the way God intended things to be.
Although Moore denies the allegations made byÂ fiveÂ womenÂ over the last several days that he sought dates or sex from them when they were teenagers and he was a thirtysomething district attorney, in an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, Moore did not flat-out deny that he sought to date teenagers during that time in his life. He simply said that he âgenerallyâ didnât seek such relationships. Now, even Hannity hasÂ revoked his supportÂ for Moore.
Yet not a peep has been heard from Family Research Council president Tony Perkins. Not a word about Moore appears in recent posts on either the Family Research Council or FRC Action websites, the latter of which still shows aÂ press releaseÂ announcing FRC Actionâs endorsement of Moore. âThese are challenging times and our nation is looking for bold leadership,â reads a quote from Perkins in the release. FRC Action PAC Vice President Jerry Boykin adds, âJudge Roy Moore has been a fearless champion of conservative values and a great friend to the Family Research Council. It is a true privilege to endorse him for theÂ U.S. Senate. I have no doubt that Judge Moore will follow his conscience and not be swayed by political correctness or politicalÂ expediency.â
On November 13, American Family Association official Sandy Rios defended Moore. Speaking on her radio program, Rios said,Â according to Right Wing Watch, âHonestly, do you think thereâs a person alive on the planetâcertainly, Iâll limit it a little bit, I will say any man listening to my voiceâthat doesnât have something in his past, in his box of secrets, that heâs ashamed of sexually?â Rios asked. âEspecially, letâs just say, beginning in the â60s.â
And theÂ Washington PostÂ reports that in Alabama, state-level Republican officials areÂ sticking with Moore, regardless of the call by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for Moore to exit the Senate race. Failing that, McConnell predicted that Moore would be expelled from the Senate if seated, a move that would require a two-thirds vote of the body.
The Moore candidacy for Senate never was McConnellâs idea of a good move; in the primary, McConnell, like President Donald J. Trump, endorsed the incumbent Senator Luther Strange, who was appointed to the post when Sessions vacated his seat to join the Trump administration. But Steve Bannon, the former Trump campaign CEO and White House strategist who now leads Breitbart News, saw the Moore candidacy as a tool in his proxy war against McConnell, whose Senate leadership BannonÂ told theÂ New York TimesÂ heâd like to end. Itâs all part of Bannonâs grand plan to wed Breitbartâs alt-right fan base to the religious right,Â according to reporter Sarah Posner, for maximum political effect.
If there were any doubt that religious-right leaders such as Perkins and Rios are more about the politics than Christian love, their respective silence on or defense of Moore lays that doubt to rest.
As Moore himselfÂ told the Values Voter SummitÂ audience in a verse he penned himself, âYou think that Godâs not angry that our landâs a moral slum? How much longer will it be before his judgment comes?â