AL.com, Alabama’s biggest news website, just published an opinion piece on Moore. The columnist was careful not to take sides, but he did look at the situation Biblically, and he made the gentle suggestion that some people who are standing by Moore might be compromising their values, or might not fully understand just what Jesus said. “For Christians,” he wrote, “the question is not if we follow Jesus, but how.”
Well, that’s a good, healthy conversation for Christians to have. Meanwhile, the column prompted some comments that are a reflection of just how divided Alabamians are over whether Moore is being framed, or is a pedophile. One pro-Moore writer, name of Evangelico, displayed the hysteria and irrationality that mark large swaths of the Christian right when he said, “Jesus Christ was the holy, eternal Son of God. The only source of eternal life. How dare someone like this columnist drag the name of Jesus Christ through the mud to justify ungodly government programs such as DACA, and Obamacare.”
This is the sort of blithering nonsense we’ve come to expect from radical religious Republicans over the last thirty or so years. Muckraking televangelists like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson got filthy rich accusing Democrats of being ungodly atheists in the 1970s and 1980s; political hacks, ranging from Pat Buchanan to Ralph Reed, Rick Santorum and Mike Pence, carried their water even further, suggesting that liberals were anti-American, thereby stoking fear and resentment amongst their under-educated followers, particularly in rural areas of the Bible Belt. The result is that these Christians now get to define God’s political agenda. We now know, according to Evangelico, that God hates DACA and Obamacare. (Presumably, God approved leaving the Paris climate accords, and is in favor of tax cuts for corporations.) How Evangelico can read the mind of God is a bit of a mystery.
To be fair, several other commenters rejected Evangelico’s assertion. “Apparently God was a little bit of a socialist in the OT. It is very GODLY to give unto the poor – especially healthcare. Jesus healed the sick for free and would approve of the ACA. You should pray about it if you call yourself a Christian,” wrote SECorBust, in words that even a non-Christian can agree with. As one who is uncomfortable with overt expressions of religiosity intruding into the public sphere, I at least welcome sane Christians, as SECorBust seems to be, when they take steps to distance themselves from their more rabid co-religionists.
Another Alabamian columnist at the website provided a handy chart about some of the differences between Moore and the Democratic nominee for Senator, Doug Jones.
One would think that rational Alabama voters would weigh all these factors in deciding whom to support, but, pace Donald Trump, it’s entirely conceivable that the chart could include another distinction:
“Stood in the middle of 20th St., in downtown Birmingham, and randomly shot people.”
Roy Moore: Yup. Doug Jones: Nope.
Would it change Evangelico’s mind if Moore were a mass murderer? Probably not–unless, that is, God told Evangelico to stop supporting Moore. But the God whom Evangelico claims to hear would never do anything against Roy Moore, because that God–the father of Jesus Christ–wants Republicans to be elected all across the U.S. That God doesn’t care about the moral fitness of Republicans. He is willing to suspend every moral edict Jesus uttered, if it means electing Republicans. Lest you think this sounds sacrilegious or even blasphemous, keep in mind that this is what Evangelico believes. God told him so. “You must vote for Roy Moore, Evangelico. He is the man I want to be Senator. Don’t argue with me, Evangelico. Just do as I say. That’s a good boy. Oh, and don’t forget to give money to your pastor. I am the Lord, your God.”
Speaking of pastors, 50 of them came out publicly in favor of Moore. They said he is “an unmovable rock in the culture wars,” using a phrase made infamous by the Catholic provocateur, Pat Buchanan, when he launched his political attacks on the Clintons, in the early 1990s. At the 1992 Republican convention, Buchanan yoked GOP politics to Christianity when he claimed that a Clinton victory “is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God’s country.” Buchanan, like Evangelico, knows for certain just how God would vote. Buchanan was an unmovable rock, unpersuadable by any evidence, common sense or legal principle, guided only by his theological biases. So are Evangelico and Roy Moore. Nothing can ever make them change their minds. God has spoken to them.