Seeing Republicans I know try to justify or equivocate on Roy Moore’s sexual deviancy and predation is frankly depressing. Even given how terrible our current political moment is, I did not think, in this the 2017th Year of Our Lord, that Americans would have to litigate just exactly how much sexual involvement with minors is acceptable before we disqualify a man for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
I guess I was wrong.
So I am writing here today to convince you that it is absolutely absurd for you think that these allegations are not credible and the consequences of equivocation are devastating.
The Allegations & Why They Are Credible
Let’s start with what is being alleged.
- Leigh Corfman, then 14 , was pursued by Moore, then 32 in 1979. He got her number and met with her twice. Both times they kissed and the second time he fondled her and forced her hand to fondle him. Corfman said later, “I wanted it over with — I wanted out. Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”
- Wendy Miller first met Moore when she was 14 and he asked her out on a date when she was 16. Due to her mother, she declined.
- Debbie Wesson Gibson was 17 when Moore met her at her own high school and met her several times in which he kissed her.
- Gloria Thacker Deason was 18 and a high school cheerleader when they went on several dates, in which Moore also bought alcohol. Deason was under the drinking age.
That was broken by the Washington Post on November 9th. Then on Monday, November 13th, another woman came forward, Beverly Young Nelson, who alleged Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when Nelson was 16.
You’ll notice some similarities. All women were between the ages of 14 and 18. All were in high school when Moore met them and all reported varying degrees of sexual interest on Moore’s part. All women have gone on record, exposing themselves to the scrutiny of political media.
Moore has, of course, denied these allegations. However there is a slew of evidence which shows that his denials lack any credibility.
- These women are backed up by 33 or more individuals who corroborate their stories. That is, they back up that Moore knew them and/or Corfman, Miller, Gibson, Deason and Nelson told them about the incidents long before the 2017 election.
- Moore has, bizarrely, admitted on national television to dating “young ladies” in the weirdest, non-denial in modern politics (well, after “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”).
- Moore was apparently banned from the Gadsen mall in Etowah County for being a Matthew McConaughey-like nuisance and badgering teenage girls.
- Moore’s former colleagues at the Etowah County District Attorney’s office corroborated that it was common knowledge he pursued teenagers and that, “everyone thought it was weird,” he spent so much time at football games, the mall and around high schools.
- Moore has already been caught lying. He claimed to not know Nelson but in fact had signed her high school yearbook. Which is, uh, totally normal and not at all weird.
This isn’t to say sex scandal accusations have never been proven false during an election year. Take the 2016 Ted Cruz adultery accusations from the National Enquirer. There are some obvious contrasts. The women refused to be named, there was no corroborating evidence and, thus, it never really got off the ground. Moore faces multiple women who have all gone on the record and are backed up by over 30 witnesses. Lastly, there is an increasingly large portfolio of independently corroborating facts.
Faced with these women you can conclude one of two things. You can assume the simplest version is true. A local figure of note is in fact a predator and this was kept largely quiet until he was faced with the national spotlight and in an era where people take these crimes more seriously.
Now if this is too simple you could believe a much more complicated version. The Washington Post decides to take out Roy Moore (for some reason it isn’t Salon or Slate or a more liberal newspaper in this version). They put together a hatchet team with at least 3 people on the by-line, presumably backed by several editors and researchers. They functionally cold call people from Etowah County for potential slanderers. Since no one ever gets a close with a first call, that means they contacted dozens, if not hundreds of people to find five slanderers. Amazingly they found five people who not only were willing to go on record to lie but also the Post found another thirty three people to lie to back them up.
Coincidentally they somehow managed to get liars who were in the right age range, who knew Moore, who had corroborating facts. Let’s keep in mind the population of Etowah was 94,000 in 1970 and 103,000 in 1980. Maybe 10-20% of population were in the age range at the time relevant to this story. This fairly large conspiracy goes on in a matter of a few weeks and no one, not a single soul, in deep Trump Country, contacts any conservative news organization about how the Washington Post contacted them.
Journalists would kill each other for breaks like that. Breitbart sent their “crack” team to Etowah and found nothing of the sort.
Tell yourself with a straight face which is easier to believe. Ask yourself if you would buy this level of excuse making and propaganda if it was coming from a Democrat rather than a Republican. You wouldn’t. You know it and I know it.
The Political Fall Out
Defending Moore doesn’t just belie all credibility by this point, it’s political suicide for the Republicans.
Consider what is worse. Republicans stop supporting Moore and Doug Jones wins, which is what seems likely now given his collapse in institutional support and polling. He loses and the GOP lose 1% of the U.S. Senate. That leaves the GOP with 51 seats. Given how the Republican senators vote together with Trump on average 92.76% of the time, it seems likely McConnell will not lose much with one less vote.
Or Alabama Republicans vote in Roy Moore as their junior senator in December. Roy Moore is now the latest to become the public face of of the national GOP whether they like it or not. There are 10 toss up Senate elections in 2018. Ready for Roy Moore to be in every Democratic ad? Ready for the GOP to suffer the Todd Akin effect? Because that is exactly what will happen. Ready to lose the Senate? Because that’s what will happen if Republicans keep up this absolutely execrable display.
The Spiritual Fall Out
Far more importantly, American Christians in Alabama are setting themselves up for a spiritual disaster. The most visible tribe of Christians in America are evangelicals who are, in the eyes of most Americans, joined at the hip with the Republican Party.
Nearly 40 percent of Alabama evangelicals said in a new poll that they are more likely to vote for GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore following allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
A JMC analytics poll found that 37 percent of evangelicals surveyed said the allegations make them more likely to vote for the GOP Senate candidate in the upcoming election.
Just 28 percent said the allegations made them less likely to vote for Moore and 34 percent said the allegations made no difference in their decision.
As usual Rod Dreher puts it best. This will devastate their Christian witness and expose them as religious hypocrites, a reputation already solidified given their rock solid support for Donald Trump.
It is shocking that you don’t see most Evangelical Christians in Alabama saying that they are troubled by these allegations, and calling on Roy Moore to provide a more convincing defense of himself, or drop out. The idea that such an allegation against a Senatorial candidate, especially one whose entire public persona is based on defending traditional Christian values, is of no consequence to 34 percent of Alabama Evangelical voters, and that 37 percent are more likely to vote for him because of these allegations — well, it’s shocking. The “more likely” voters aren’t saying that because they would think better of Moore if he did go after a 14-year-old. They are saying that because if liberals hate Moore, they love him even more.
That is moral corruption. That is loving worldly power over righteousness. For confessed Christians to take this stand is many things, but it is at the very least deeply damaging to their public witness. And not just their public witness, but the public witness of all conservative Christians.
Not one senate seat worth putting the American Church into deeper moral bankruptcy. We already live in a time where the young are leaving the Church in droves in large part due to these episodes of blatant hypocrisy. Any Roman Catholic can tell you the power of what such hypocrisy can do to drive people out of the Church. Is 1% of one half of one branch of the American federal government worth even one soul?