Roy Moore as a Cultural Symptom

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

After correctly noting that the media's objections to Roy Moore, Alabama's Republican candidate for Senator, "are the weakest reasons to reject Moore's candidacy," Scott Holleran delves into those reasons -- the ideas that motivate him to act lawlessly regarding separation of religion and state. His piece is worth a full read, and ends as follows:

Hopefully, a Premature Tombstone for American Liberty. (Image via Wikipedia.)
Any serious candidate who would leave doubt as to whether he seeks to enact laws to put adults to death for having consensual sex is a monster deserving total and absolute scorn and the most emphatic denunciation from statesmen, intellectuals and every moral American. Insinuating that he thinks gays deserve to die and stating clearly and explicitly that he aims to enact a religious government disqualify Moore from political office. Whatever moral transgressions he's made in his sexual past, including his alleged assault and proclivity for sex with children, Roy Moore's election to the Senate on December 12, 2017, would mark a black day in U.S. history. If Moore wins, his election will be a victory for religious statism and another chilling step toward dictatorship.
At the same time, there is something to be gleaned from allegations about Moore's taste for teen-aged girls. This is because they lead directly back to his religiously-based morality, as detailed by the Los Angeles Times:
Prominent conservative Reformed theologian Doug Wilson has a documented history of mishandling sexual abuse cases within his congregation. Nevertheless, he continues to be promoted by evangelical leaders such as John Piper, whose Desiring God site still publishes Wilson's work. When a 13-year-old girl in Wilson's congregation was sexually abused, Wilson argued that she and her abuser were in a parent-sanctioned courtship, and that this was a mitigating factor.

There's no shortage of such stories. A Presbyterian Church in America, or PCA, pastor attempted to discipline a woman who warned home-school parents of the convicted sex offender in his congregation. (The sex offender had gone online to solicit a 14-year-old girl for sex.) Another PCA church allowed that same convicted sex offender to give the invocation at a home-school graduation ceremony. He wasn't perceived as an attempted child rapist, and he was "repentant."

Growing up, I witnessed an influential religious right leader flirting with some of my teenage friends and receiving neck and shoulder massages from one of them. I've been expecting a scandal to break with him for years, but in the meantime, this man has put significant time into campaigning for anti-trans bathroom bills while deeming trans people "predators."

The allegations against Roy Moore are merely a symptom of a larger problem. It's not a Southern problem or an Alabama problem. It's a Christian fundamentalist problem... [links omitted, bold added]
Many non-fundamentalists and even non-religious people are sympathetic to the idea that Christian morality is a beneficial cultural influence and foundational to American law. If you are one of them, and yet have a healthy distaste for treating children this way, I ask that you question this assumption. I recommend doing so (1) starting with "which sect of Christianity," and (2) ideally continuing to the point of asking what morality is for and further asking yourself why you should take any answer as to the nature of morality on faith. The first step is to remind yourself of a fact many religious people at American's founding were well aware of: Political power in the hands of a rival sect was a dangerous and potentially deadly proposition. (The solution, separation of church and state, mimicked, but did not imply understanding of a more general principle: Religion wielding political power is inimical to liberty.) The second is an opportunity to do something these poor child brides aren't permitted and too few people avail themselves of: A chance to consider the proposition that taking other people's word about big questions is a practice that stunts one's ability to live a fulfilling life.

-- CAV

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