I’m going to state again that I have no dog in the hunt, as far as Roy Moore’s Senate run.
I’m neither going to condemn him, nor will I condemn his accusers, who, for most part, have seemed to blow off the alleged encounters with him in the late 70s as mere peccadilloes.
The worst of the claims against him are that he pursued a 14 year old girl and may have engaged in some inappropriate touching, when he was a 32 year old assistant district attorney.
I believe in grace. I believe people can repent and turn away from even the worst imaginable offenses. Roy Moore has been married to the same woman for many years, and if no one is accusing the man of anything more recent or of equally horrendous conduct, then of course this whole incident is political in nature. After all, the left-leaning Washington Post sought out these accusers. Nobody came looking for them.
With that being said, the rush to defend him, while giving no grace to the woman who claims to have been touched inappropriately as a young girl, is just wrong.
This woman, Leigh Corfman, may very well be the biggest liar on the planet.
But what if she’s not? What if she’s telling the complete, totally, absolute truth?
If the situation is the latter, then she has been victimized twice, and it’s no wonder victims often choose to keep their stories to themselves.
The biggest rush to defend Moore seems to be not from those who know him personally, but from those who have a political agenda.
So both sides are guilty of breathtaking partisanship.
And as we saw during the 2016 election, when those who claim the title “evangelical” rushed to throw their support behind an unrepentant conman, there are those willing to use this as one more hit against the reputation of Christians.
Last week, the Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed that pointed out a culture of evangelicals protecting older men preying on young girls.
The author of the piece, Kathryn Brightbill, is a former homeschooled kid, now a legislative policy analyst at the Coalition for Responsible Home Education.
Ms. Brightbill’s intentions seem to be to use the accusations against Moore as a platform to blame the evangelical community of being a hotbed of predatory older males.
Brightbill begins her piece:
We need to talk about the segment of American culture that probably doesn’t think the allegations against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore are particularly damning, the segment that will blanch at only two accusations in the Washington Post expose: He pursued a 14-year-old-girl without first getting her parents’ permission, and he initiated sexual contact outside of marriage. That segment is evangelicalism. In that world, which Moore travels in and I grew up in, 14-year-old girls courting adult men isn’t uncommon.
I use the phrase “14-year-old girls courting adult men,” rather than “adult men courting 14-year-old girls,” for a reason: Evangelicals routinely frame these relationships in those terms. That’s how I was introduced to these relationships as a home-schooled teenager in the 1990s, and it’s the language that my friends and I would use to discuss girls we knew who were in parent-sanctioned relationships with older men.
She goes on to give several examples.
One in particular was that of “Duck Dynasty” patriarch, Phil Robertson. One of Robertson’s more homey quotes involves marrying young. Something along the lines of, “If you pick your wife when she’s 15, she’ll pick your ducks. If you pick her when she’s 20, she’ll pick your pockets.”
Brightbill gets the quote horribly (purposely) wrong, and clutches her pearls tightly, as she suggests Robertson is advocating for the aforementioned older men, preying on young girls.
The reality is that even though Robertson and his wife, Miss Kay, were teen sweethearts, married young, there’s only 2 years difference in their age. They began dating when Kay was around 14 years old and Phil was 16 years old. They married quite young, as well.
That’s not to say there aren’t legitimate issues with older men taking advantage of disturbingly young girls. We know it happens.
Citing a man who decided to marry young and has no regrets as an example of predatory behavior by Christians just isn’t that.
What Brightbill, and others like her are doing is using the Moore case as a jumping off point for attacking Christianity.
Notice how a few extreme cases of the bad will make more news than the multitude of positive stories of loving Christian relationships, or the church holding its own accountable?
Unfortunately, it is the Christian church in America that has made it all too easy for critics to claim the high road.
We’ve allowed the reputation of the church to be hooked behind causes and candidates who do not represent the best of Christ to a hurting and dark world.
We’ve acted badly, and not been held to proper account by our own.
The world needs to see a difference between us and them.
Was there an offense?
It’s not our job to circle the wagons. It is our job to correct, in love, taking into account that our every action is being scrutinized by a world that is lost and needs a moral example.
It’s also our job to remember that if there is an accused, there is an accuser, and quite possibly, someone in pain.
Proverbs 10:9 (AMP) advises, “He who walks in integrity and with moral character walks securely, But he who takes a crooked way will be discovered and punished.”
This isn’t partisanship. It’s protection of the church, and outreach to the lost.
And while the accusations of Roy Moore will probably help him in Alabama, rather than hurt him, the reaction of Christians to immediately condemn his accuser will lose us far more than a Senate seat.