Yesterday we looked at Roy Moore’s list of 50+ pastors and their letter of unwavering support for Moore’s Republican campaign for a U.S. Senate seat from Alabama.
This is, apparently, less utterly disgraceful than the way Moore presented it. It’s still disgraceful, mind you — still indefensible, sinful, ugly and evil — just not disgraceful in quite the way that Moore made it seem when he (and his wife) posted the letter yesterday.
Well, it turns out that Roy Moore — in addition to being a vicious bigot seething with contempt for LGBT people, Muslims and non-white people, and in addition to being so contemptuous of the rule of law that he was twice removed from service as a judge, resulting in a lifetime ban from Alabama courts, and in addition to being a Barnum-esque grifter who turned used a Ten Commandments monument to fleece church-goers out of millions in donations, and in addition to being an alleged child molester and attempted rapist who so creeped out his neighbors that he was (allegedly) banned from a local shopping mall and YMCA — is not particularly honest.
The letter of support signed by those pastors seems to be a letter written by Moore himself for use in his Republican primary campaign earlier this year. So the pastors who signed on to that endorsement of Roy Moore did so before the allegations of child molestation surfaced.
One pastor, Joseph Smith of Pine Air Baptist Church in Grand Bay, Alabama, says he spoke to someone from Moore’s campaign during the primary and told them that he guessed he’d back Moore because he didn’t like Luther Strange. But that was the last he’d heard from them. Pastor Tijuanna Adetunji of the Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery said she’d never heard of the letter at all and never given Moore’s campaign permission to use her name or the name of her church. And Pastor Thad Endicott of Heritage Baptist Church in Opelika was angry that his endorsement from before the child-molestation accusations was being recycled to suggest he was standing by Moore after those allegations surfaced:
“The list that has recently circulated was evidently copied and pasted from the August endorsements without checking to see if I still endorsed Moore,” said Endicott.
Endicott … asked that his name be removed from the Moore endorsement.
I appreciate Pastor Thad’s concern here and I’m glad he asked that his name be removed from the post-creepy-child-molester-revelation endorsement. But Endicott had no problem at all endorsing Roy Moore before those allegations — when Moore was known only for being a lawless judge who violated his oath of office, a hateful hater and a staggeringly ignorant bigot. Withdrawing one’s prior endorsement of Roy Moore following the news of his (allegedly) preying on young girls is the Right Thing To Do, but having ever, in any way, previously endorsed such a cruelly vile human being was so very much the Wrong Thing To Do that it’s difficult to commend Thad Endicott for finally, after swallowing so much, finding one sin he at last wasn’t willing to endorse.
Another pastor listed as endorsing Moore was George Grant — an out-of-state Southern Gothic Presbyterian from Tennessee, who said he hadn’t spoken to Moore in years and wasn’t interested in weighing in on an Alabama election. Grant is a “Reconstructionist” — a full-on Rushdoony loony — and generally a far-right whackjob in good standing. Seeing even someone like him scurrying to distance himself from Roy Moore suggests how badly the disgraced Republican candidate is struggling.
I’m revising yesterday’s post to account for the objections of these pastors, removing the names of their churches from the list of those that name themselves as unsafe for children.
But just because they are less enthusiastically unsafe for children in this particular way doesn’t make them safe. If you take your child to Thad Endicott’s Heritage Baptist Church in Opelika, that child will be taught and trained that bigotry is a virtue, that hate and oppression are Christian duties, that life in a pluralist society is a Hobbesian war of all against all in which the Christian’s only obligation is to win at any cost. That child will be taught to nurture grievance and resentment of those who have less than them, to regard all others with hostility, to treat neighbors as enemies. They will be trained and discipled into a form of religion that will make them miserable for life, and that will cause all who come into contact with them to share some form of that misery.
Heritage Baptist Church does not endorse child-molestation, but Heritage Baptist Church is not at all safe for children. “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body.”