Moore denies the accusations as “completely false” — and promptly tried to use them for fund-raising. My reaction was that Moore should have spent less time thundering about the Ten Commandments and more time reading them.
This is of course a larger pattern in American life. As one reader put it on my Facebook page: “Those who moralize most, sin most.”
That’s not always true, and sanctimonious hypocrites inhabit the left as well as the right: Harvey Weinstein participated in a “women’s march.” But we’re at a watershed moment in the aftermath of the Weinstein case, trying to end impunity for sexual assault, and allegations against our leaders are even more serious than those against our entertainers. And, frankly, it’s just staggering to see “family values” conservatives making excuses for child molestation.
The Alabama state auditor, a Republican named Jim Zeigler, defended Moore as “clean as a hound’s tooth” and offered a bizarre defense of child abuse: He asserted that the Virgin Mary was a teenager when Joseph married her (in fact, the Bible does not indicate her age), adding: “They became parents of Jesus.”
Sigh. When Christians cite the Bible to defend child molestation, Jesus should sue for defamation.
Meanwhile, an Alabama Republican legislator, Ed Henry, went even further: He said that the women accusing Moore should be prosecuted for waiting to make their allegations.
Looking back, some of the grossest immorality of the late 20th century had nothing to do with gay bath houses, as preachers sometimes suggested, but rather with the blowhard televangelists who suggested that AIDS was God’s punishment of gay men. This smirking moralizing slowed the response to AIDS and arguably resulted in millions dying unnecessarily all over the world.
In my columns, I’ve repeatedly defended evangelical Christians, and protested that they are one of the few groups that it’s socially acceptable for liberals to mock, stereotype…