The Boston Globe has been contacting Christian pastors who continue to support Roy Moore’s bid for the Senate in the wake of multiple allegations that he pursued, and in at least one case sexually molested, teen girls as young as 14. Some of their arguments are nothing short of appalling.
Let’s start with Franklin Graham, who said, “The hypocrisy of Washington has no bounds. So many denouncing Roy Moore when they are guilty of doing much worse than what he has been accused of supposedly doing.” Notice that he doesn’t name anyone denouncing Moore who is guilty of doing worse things than he is accused of. Not a single one. I mean, I don’t doubt that there may be a few people denouncing Moore who have some serious skeletons in their closet. That should come as a surprise to no one. But Franklin isn’t saying this to point to specific people, he’s just trying to undermine all criticism of Moore as hypocritical, which is obviously false. Some of his fellow Christian right leaders who are supporting Moore, on the other hand, are putting their personal hypocrisy on stark display.
“I don’t know how much these women are getting paid, but I can only believe they’re getting a healthy sum,” said pastor Earl Wise, a Moore supporter from Millbrook, Ala.
Wise said he would support Moore even if the allegations were true and the candidate was proved to have sexually molested teenage girls and women.
“There ought to be a statute of limitations on this stuff,” Wise said. “How these gals came up with this, I don’t know. They must have had some sweet dreams somewhere down the line.“Plus,” he added, “there are some 14-year-olds, who, the way they look, could pass for 20.”
So he claims they’re being paid, without a shred of evidence. He claims that they’re lying and dreamed it all up, again without a shred of evidence. And then he argues that since some 14 year old look older than they are, that proves that these particular young women did and, by implication, that Moore must have mistakenly thought they were 20 when he tried to seduce them and/or molested them. Again, with no evidence whatsoever. Then again, if evidence mattered at all to this guy, he wouldn’t be supporting Moore in the first place.
One of Trump’s biggest supporters, South Carolina pastor Mark Burns, went on MSNBC and defended Moore by saying that morality was not a necessary qualification for a political leader. And that is similar to statements made by other Christian right leaders about Trump himself, statements about how God uses flawed people like Trump to carry out his agenda. But can you even imagine them every saying such a thing about someone they opposed politically? Of course not.
They’ll condemn Bill Clinton as a horribly immoral person over the Monica Lewinsky affair, then continue to support Trump, with multiple marriages and a long history of cheating on his wife. And Newt Gingrich, who cheated on both of his first two wives with the women he would marry next. And Rudy Giuliani, who cheating on his first wife with his second wife as well. Morality is hugely important for Democrats, not important at all for Republicans. This is what tribalism does, it makes people into hypocrites. I only wish that this were only true of the other tribe, but it’s true of far too many in mine as well.