So have you heard? There is a special election going on in Alabama on Tuesday, December 12 to fill Jeff Sessions’ vacated senate seat. This has become a major focus of the national media’s attention.
Unlike many of the people that have commented on this election, I have a vote in it. So please let me share my humble opinions from deep down here in the Heart of Dixie.
Outside the state of Alabama, the focus has been on the allegations that Roy Moore pursued underage girls, painting him as a predatory pedophile. Thus, the nation can not imagine how Alabamians could place a man like that in the U.S. Senate. For them, there seems to be no other logical choice but to elect Doug Jones.
Inside the state, however, the election has largely come to be seen as a choice between the lesser of two evils: an alleged pedophile vs. a liberal proponent of late-term abortion/murder. Polls show that in the age of Trump and “fake news” Alabamians simply do not trust the media enough to fully believe Moore’s accusers, especially when the alleged predatorial activities took place over four decades ago. Meanwhile, Jones is an admitted pro-choice Democrat, and a majority of Alabamians find THAT to be abhorrent.
Whatever your own views of abortion, set them aside for a moment and try to place yourself in the mind of these people. (It is called open-mindedness, you can do it if you try). If you truly and passionately feel deep in your heart that abortion is murder, what would mean more to you? Voting to try and stop the murder of infants, or allegations about a man pursuing young girls 40 years ago but who has been loyally devoted to his long-time wife ever since?
In that light, I think it is important that we stop trying to oversimplify this election, looking judgmental noses down at people who find it difficult to vote for Doug Jones and that still side with Roy Moore. These are not sick and demented people, they’re largely good folks that are sick of being mocked and ridiculed.
So instead of insulting them, let’s set aside the stereotypes that both sides in this election have created, and instead look at all the other reasons why Roy Moore is unfit for office, and why Doug Jones is perfect for Alabama.
Roy Moore, circa 1974
Roy Moore was the wrong man for this job, or any publicly-elected job, WAY before all this stuff about underage girls surfaced. His law-school professors and fellow students long ago labeled him “fruit salad” because of his twisted legal opinions and his dogmatic inability to compromise or debate fairly with people who held different opinions than his own.
His entire career as a judge has demonstrated this failing, and that he has some fundamental problems understanding the founding principles of this country. He believes in theocracy; that government should be used to enforce a moral code on its citizens. For him, the separation of church and state goes only so far as to not use the government to deprive non-believers of their rights, as long as doing so does not violate Christian beliefs or undermine a Christian-basis of our laws. For Moore, the government should promote the Christian religion over all other religions, by enforcing Christian morality through laws that make “sin,” as he defines it, illegal. So, if you’re a “sinner” by his definition, there go your rights.
His effort to use the government to promote Christianity is why he defied the federal government when they insisted that he remove the Ten Commandments monument from his courthouse.
These theocratic views are somewhat similar to that of the Puritans that established the Massachusetts Bay colony, so there is a connection to our founding. But where did these beliefs get the Puritants? Because of the Salem Witch Trials, are they not now viewed as the epitome of backwardness and religious persecution? In establishing a nation founded on the concept that government should not be used to force or promote a religion on its citizens, our founders were purposely rejecting the very type of government that Moore and the Puritans believed in and that has been responsible for centuries of persecution all over the world.
Here’s what theocracy gets you
The separation of church and state that our founders created purposely protects all religions. I have to wonder how Christians would feel upon entering a courtroom with a presiding judge that is Muslim, and in which he prominently displayed Sharia law as his guiding principles. Yikes!
That won’t happen however, because the same principle that Moore defied with his Ten Commandments monument, is the same principle that would prevent such a situation. Praise our founders for that protection.
This is why Moore was removed from his job the first of TWO times. The other time also involved him trying to enforce his religious beliefs on citizens, in direct defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage. (If Republicans truly believe that less government interference in our lives is a good thing, I have to wonder why they think the government should be in the business of telling someone who they can or can’t love?)
Grave of Chief Justice John Marshall. We may need to check to see if he’s rolled over in there.
But the whole episode also revealed that the so-called Judge Roy Moore clearly does not understand the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, as well as the landmark supreme court cases under Chief Justice John Marshall in the early years of our republic that established the concept of judicial review. I feel as though we need to send the man a copy of a basic high school level history/civics book. He was removed as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court BOTH TIMES because the man does not understand basic foundational principles of our nation.
This alone makes him unqualified to be a member of the U.S. Senate. Doesn’t it?
But back to religion, I personally wonder how truly “Christian” someone is if those beliefs were forced upon them by government laws, as Moore promotes. Instead of striving to make this is a Christian nation by forcing a certain moral code on people, wouldn’t it be more beneficial and meaningful for Moore to promote Christian values by focusing on changing people’s hearts and minds? In our nation, that’s the job of the church, NOT the government.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I find no scriptures in which Jesus asked his followers to strive for changing Roman laws, making them reflect scriptural values. In fact, he submitted to Roman law to the point of death. His mission was not political or legal.
Christ’s preferred method of changing the world? Um, no.
Which brings me to the damage that Roy Moore’s brand of Christianity does to the church. For many people, Christianity seems to be a religion of hypocrisy. They see it in how many Christians live their day-to-day lives, and they really saw it when evangelical Christians abandoned their moral principles (the same ones they used to rightfully condemn the actions of Bill Clinton) when electing “grab ’em by the *ussy” Donald Trump. Watching this happen has been the most painful thing to me about Trump’s rise. It troubles me that many fellow Christians simply refuse to see the damage that the embracing of Trump has done to the church’s mission. If you never talk to non-Christians, you probably have a hard time fully comprehending the damage it’s done, but trust me, it’s real.
As a Christian, I have to ask, would electing Roy Moore do even more damage to people’s perceptions of the Christian faith? Would it make the faith more appealing to people, or less so? Would the hypocrisy of it continue to harm the church’s mission of spreading the gospel? If we are honest with ourselves, I think the answer is clear.
But, what about abortion? Moore is pro-life. We have to fill the government up with pro-lifers if we ever hope to end abortion. Right? The problem is that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, and the election of more Republicans is not going to change that. It has been the law since 1973, and since then, Republicans have politicized this issue to tie Christians to the party, successfully becoming the majority party for most of the last few decades. Yet has this brought us any closer to banning abortions?
Electing Roy Moore to the U. S. Senate is not going to advance the cause of ending abortions.
If abortions are going to be substantially reduced in this country, pro-lifers will have to stop thinking that government is the answer (isn’t that a core belief of the Republican party? That government is the problem and that less reliance on it is the solution?) I’d love to see the church focus their anti-abortion passions and efforts exclusively on sex education and mission work to help young and distressed mothers feel less alone in those trying moments of their life.
Even if government outlawed abortion, you’re not going to end them unless you end the demand for them (you know, the same way that outlawing drugs has not ended the drug problem). I can’t help but feel that the pro-life movement is better served by not relying on government, but by relying exclusively on providing love, support, and the guidance of Christ to women facing pregnancies and choices that can be overwhelming.
Yet as damaging as I think Moore is to the Christian faith, and as troubled as I am about his ignorance of the basic foundational principles of country and the Constitution, I am even more troubled by his other views on America’s history.
It has recently come to light that Roy Moore believes that America was “great” back when we had slaves. I listened to his comments to make sure that his words were not taken out of context and to try and get some sense of the point he was making. His words came in response to a question from an African American who challenged him to name a time when America was “great” (a clear reference to Trump’s inane campaign slogan).
Moore struggled to find an answer and did not define a definite moment in time, relying instead on acknowledging that our country has rightfully had to expand its freedoms to larger numbers of people through war, constitutional amendments, and Supreme Court decisions. True.
And yet he then vaguely referred to a time when our families and country were united behind a goal and a destiny. Perhaps the only time this comes close to being true was during WWII, but Moore then said that we had slavery during these years to which he was referring.
Does he mean Antebellum America? Revolutionary America? Colonial America? In all three cases, a belief that we were all united during those times would be ridiculous in the extreme.
More problematic, however, is that he could regard slavery as anything less than horrific, and that he mentioned it in the context of us having unified families. Let’s keep in mind that during slavery, African American families were split up by masters that sold spouses away from each other (evidence suggests this happened to 1 out of every 3 slave families in the upper south), and children away from parents (1 out of every 2). But to Moore, this seems to have been a great time for America’s families.
Here’s America being great to families, according to Roy Moore
Let’s also keep in mind that any era that included slavery in our nation’s history, was an era in which women, white or black, could not vote or enjoy most citizenship rights guaranteed to white men. While Moore acknowledges that we have expanded rights through constitutional amendment, in 2011 he co-authored a book (which promotes theocratic government) arguing that the women’s suffrage movement was bad for the country and that women should not hold public office. (He apparently did not write that particular chapter, but his name as a co-author definitely denotes approval).
Suffragette Lucy Burns exactly where Roy Moore would apparently want her. “Lock her up!”
Aside from Moore’s alleged fetish for teenaged girls, he apparently has a fetish for a time when white protestant men exclusively controlled the country and white woman and African Americans were “in their place.”
Again, these things alone make Moore unfit for the U. S. Senate, or any public office.
Business leaders in the state of Alabama seem to agree. They have made it clear they fear the impact that Moore’s election would have on the image of the state. Down here in the Deep South, we are still playing catch-up to the rest of the country in trying to lure industries to our states that bring jobs, and a higher tax base. Moore’s beliefs and image would damage those efforts, business leaders agree, because companies would not want to relocate to a state that is seen as intolerant, backwards, and hypocritical.
Potential jobs (both skilled and unskilled) for Alabamians would be lost, as would the higher tax revenues that would help us get better roads, government services, schools, and teacher pay. Please think about that when you go to the polls.
And then there is Doug Jones.
Sure, he is a Democrat, and most Alabamians would rather shoot their dog than vote for a Democrat. But any objective look at the man’s beliefs reveal that he is no Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi. He’s no liberal Democrat.
Jones is clearly a moderate, and deep in my heart I still believe that most Alabamians actually line up well behind his beliefs. Let’s look at just a few that I think are at the forefront of the thoughts of Alabamians:
Doug Jones, enjoying his 2nd amendment right
-He is an avowed hunter with a large gun collection that he believes the 2nd amendment protects. He only wants moderate gun control laws, like more extensive background checks.
-He is an outspoken man of Christian faith, being raised his whole life in church.
-He believes in a strong military and peace through strength.
-He believes in expanding medicare and medicaid and working WITH Republicans to try and create something better than Obamacare.
-He wants our criminal justice system to focus more on rehabilitation so that we can lessen the burden on our extremely overcrowded prison system, keeping the truly dangerous behind bars.
-He is dedicated to pursuing bi-partisanship. The #1 thing plaguing our current political situation right now (in my opinion) is the complete inability or desire of our politicians to work with each other to fashion compromises that move us forward. Instead, compromise is seen as weak, and the goal is domination over our political opponents. Our political system was a product of compromise that was meant to facilitate compromise. “Fruit salad” is dogmatically incapable of such efforts (as his whole career and avowed beliefs attests), but Jones is committed to it. Isn’t that what this country needs now more than ever?
-Lastly, no matter what Roy Moore’s TV commercials try to tell you, he believes in the state’s abortion laws as they are now, supporting late-term abortion ONLY in the case of when the mother’s life is in jeopardy.
And let’s not forget that while Moore was out there tarnishing our state’s reputation and sewing seeds of division and racial discord, Doug Jones was prosecuting the criminals in perhaps our state’s most infamous crime: the 1963 killing of 4 black children at the 16th Street Baptist Church.
The fact that our state FINALLY put those KKK bastards where they belong was a signal to the nation that our state was moving forward from its ugly past. A vote for Moore, and his nostalgia for an era before women’s suffrage and emancipation of African Americans would send the opposite signal.
Come on Alabama, who are we? I pray the answer is clear.
Let’s be on the right side of history: