WASHINGTON, November 26, 2017 – Alabama’s Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, Roy Moore, has been accused by ten women of a variety of sexual improprieties. Among those charges is pedophilia as one of his alleged victims was 14 at the time.
Regardless, most Republicans have expressed their opposition to Moore’s candidacy, even before the sexual assault charges, including Alabama’s senior Republican Senator Richard Shelby and former Republican senator Jeff Sessions. Republican leaders in the House and Senate have called upon Moore to withdraw from the race.
Will Roy Moore become the new face of the Republican Party?
Republicans would do well to ask themselves if they want this to be the case.
The fact is that Roy Moore has taken a variety of positions that make him an unacceptable Republican candidate. He says that the 9/11 attacks on the United States were God’s retribution for the nation’s lack of righteousness. God expressed his anger again, said Moore, when schoolchildren were murdered in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
In Moore’s view, America is a “Christian country,” and Congress is no place for Muslims. In 2006 he wrote:
“The Islamic faith rejects our God and believes that the state must mandate the worship of its own god, Allah. Common sense alone dictates that in the midst of a war with Islamic terrorists we should not place someone in a position of great power who shares their doctrine. In 1943, we would never have allowed a member of Congress to take their oath on ‘Mein Kampf,’ or someone in the 1950s to swear allegiance to the ‘Communist Manifesto.’ Congress has the authority and should act to prohibit Ellison from taking the congressional oath today!”
A First Amendment for all?
He is charged with saying during a speech at a Mississippi Pastor for Life Function that the First Amendment calls for religious freedom only for Christians. In his remarks, Moore says the U.S. Supreme Court “has been deceived by one little word in the First Amendment called ‘religion.”
“They don’t want to do that, because that acknowledges the creator God,” Moore says in the video. “Buddha didn’t create us. Mohammed didn’t create us. It’s the God of the Holy Scriptures. They didn’t bring a Qu’ran on the Pilgrims’ ship, the Mayflower.”
The statement appeared to suggest that Moore, an outspoken proponent of conservative Christian beliefs, did not believe that non-Christians were covered by the religious protections in the First Amendment. However, in an interview with The Montgomery Advertiser, Moore denies that was his meaning.
Moore says the speech was aimed at describing what he believed were the biblical foundations of the United States. The Chief Justice said First Amendment protections extend to everyone, regardless of their beliefs.
“It applies to the rights God gave us to be free in our modes of thinking, and as far as religious liberty to all people, regardless of what they believe,” Moore said.
Moore, who served as a Military Police Company Commander during the Vietnam War, said he had “fought for this country” in defense of those rights.
Dartmouth College Professor vs. Roy Moore
Randall Balmer, professor of religion at Dartmouth College, writes:
“Roy Moore…has fashioned an entire career out of subterfuge and self-misrepresentation—as a constitutional authority, as a Baptist and as a spokesman for evangelical values. The recent allegations of sexual misconduct, together with his many specious statements over the years—that the First Amendment guarantees religious freedom only for Christians…or that many communities in the U.S. stagger under the burden of sharia law—underscore both his hypocrisy and his tenuous grasp on reality.”
Beyond this, argues, Prof. Balmer, Moore does not represent the genuine Evangelical tradition, as he claims to do:
“Historically, evangelicalism once stood for people on the margins, those Jesus called ‘the least of these.’ Evangelicals in the 19th century advocated public education so that children from less affluent families could toe the first rungs of the ladder toward socioeconomic stability. They worked for prison reform and the abolition of slavery. They advocated equal rights, including voting rights, for women and the rights of workers to organize. The agenda of 19th and early-20th-century evangelicals is a far cry from that of Moore…The image that Moore has tried to,project…as a constitutional authority, a Baptist and a representative of evangelical values—is false, even fraudulent.”
Roy Moore has contempt for the rule of law.
In 2000, Moore became the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He quickly had a granite monument to the Ten Commandments set in the rotunda of the courthouse. It weighed 5,280 pounds. A legal controversy quickly erupted, and in November 2003 the Alabama Court of the Judiciary removed Moore from office when he refused to remove the monument.
In 2012, he ran again for chief justice and won. Four years later Moore was telling Alabama judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court. He described the opinion of the Supreme Court case on same-sex marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges, as “a sudden, overthrow of our government.”
He wants to make homosexuality illegal.
Moore’s grasp of the law is questionable.
In an interview with Time magazine, he said that NFL.players who knelt during the national anthem are committing a crime.
“It’s against the law, you know that?” Moore says. “It was an act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That’s the law.”
In fact, Moore was referring to a section of the U.S. Code outlining how people should act during the national anthem. But the code merely outlines proper etiquette, there are no legal penalties whatever.
Roy Moore also seems to have used his religious advocacy to enrich himself. Making him appear to be a, even more, Elmer Gantry-like figure than he already was. He set up a charity called the Foundation for Moral Law. He said he would not take a “regular salary,”not wanting to become a burden on the foundation.
Yet he took more than $1 million over five years, which he did not disclose on his tax forms. Sometimes his salary amounted to a third of all contributions to the foundation. At least two of his children and his wife were also the on the payroll.
The conservative journal National Review declared:
“We’d say that members of the Moore family were doing well by doing good, except that it isn’t clear what the positive contribution of the foundation was beside lining their pockets.”
Voters still support Moore
Ironically, even those Republicans who say they will vote for Moore, do not say they believe his female accusers are lying. To them, evidently, having a potential pedophile and sexual predator in the U.S. Senate is acceptable as long as he will vote for tax reform.
Alabama’s Republican Governor Kay Ivey, for example, says she has “no reason to disbelieve” any of Moore’s accusers, but still will support Moore because “We need to have a Republican in the United States Senate.”
Alabama’s three major newspapers took a different view, running a rare front-page editorial imploring voters not to send an unsavory man such as Roy Moore to Washington.
The White House supports Roy Moore at the peril of the party
The White House was originally wary of Moore. Kellyanne Conway’s first response to whether Moore should serve in the Senate was “no Senate seat is worth more than a child.”
A week later, Conway says Alabama voters should cast their ballot for Moore, denoucing his opponent and saying, “I‘m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through.”
If Roy Moore is elected, with support from the White House, he will become the new face of the Republican Party. Republicans should carefully ponder whether this would really be a good thing for their party.
Party leaders seem to recognize that this would be a danger to the party’s future. Should President Trump truly support Moore it could have important implications for our future political life.