Tuesday, November 14, 2017

More Commentary on Why Roy Moore's Evangelical Supporters Won't Abandon Him (Hint: Look at How They Reponded to Trump's Boasts About Sexual Assault of Women)

As I said yesterday, the stories and commentary keep coming out, so I feel obliged to keep blogging about these matters, especially when they're so germane to the kind of discussions I've tried to stir on this blog site since I started it. What's happening with the Roy Moore story points us back to the choice of 8 in 10 — 8 in 10! — white evangelicals and some 6 in 10 — 6 in 10! — white Catholics and Mormons to place the moral monstrosity now occupying the White House there last November. We want to keep forgetting that fact, conveniently so, and the way in which that choice betrayed the most fundamental principles of morality for which these ostensibly "pro-life" voters claimed to stand, as long as those principles could be applied exclusively to Democratic presidents like Mr. Clinton.

Rumors have swirled for years that, in the early eighties, the Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore was banned from a shopping mall for bothering teen-age girls.

In other words, older men perusing girls as young as 14 is a natural outcome of the gender values inextricably related to notions of male headship & female submission, promoted in this, the most extreme corner of conservative Protestantism that Moore inhabits. This is a corner of the conservative Christian subculture whose influence far exceeds its numbers and that’s why this scandal won’t lead evangelicals to abandon him as a candidate.

About 86 percent of adults in Alabama are Christians and nearly half of those are evangelical Protestants. On Sunday, 37 percent of evangelicals in the state reported that they were more likely to vote for Moore following last week's allegations, according to a JMC Analytics poll. 
Last year, President Donald Trump won 80 percent of evangelical voters' support in the general election, a month after an audio recording was released in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women.

Former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore's run for the U.S. Senate is a dream come true for many Religious Right activists, and they aren't letting allegations that Moore pursued sexual relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s get in the way of their support for him.

If you are a Christian parent in Alabama looking for a place to send your children to Sunday school, VBS, Awana, youth group, Pioneer Girls, or Christian Service Brigade, do not send them to any of the following churches. All of these have been designated unsafe for minors. 
NOTE: This is a voluntary designation from these churches themselves, not from any outside group or agency. 
The pastors of these churches chose, on their own, to come forward and to announce publicly that their communities are unwilling and unable to protect children, and that their churches will, in fact, eagerly defend adults who prey on them
Parents should be advised: If this is what these churches say is true about themselves, you should probably believe them. 
• Adams Street Church of Christ, Enterprise, Alabama
• Christ Church, Odenville, Alabama
• Christian Renewal and Development Ministries, Eufaula, Alabama
• Church of the Living God, Moulton, Alabama
• Covenant Christian, Gadsden, Alabama
• Dominion Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama
• Edgewood Church, Anniston, Alabama
• Fairfax First Christian Church, Valley, Alabama
• Faith Worship Center, Gadsden, Alabama
• Fannin Road Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama
• First Assembly of God, Greenville Alabama
• Freedom Church, Gadsden, Alabama
• Fresh Anointing House of Worship, Montgomery, Alabama
• Grace Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama
• Grace Way Fellowship, Evergreen Alabama
• Heritage Baptist Church, Opelika, Alabama
• Kimberly Church of God, Kimberly, Alabama
• Lakeview Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama
• Marvyn Parkway Baptist Church, Opelika, Alabama
• Open Door Baptist Church, Enterprise, Alabama
• Pine Air Baptist Church, Grand Bay Alabama
• Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, Anniston, Alabama
• Summit Holiness Church, Alabama
• Trinity Free Presbyterian, Trinity, Alabama
• Victory Baptist Church, Millbrook, Alabama
• Victory Christian Fellowship Church, Florence, Alabama
• Webster’s Chapel, Gadsden, Alabama
• Young's Chapel, Piedmont, Alabama

Matthew Rozsa reports that the letter with signatures of 53 Alabama pastors expressing support for Moore is one his wife has recycled from August. But as Leada Gore reports, after Kayla Moore just recirculated that previous letter and represented it as a current endorsement of Moore, only two of its previous signatories asked that their names be removed.

This is significant.

My unsolicited suggestion for younger evangelical Christians and those young in spirit: Time to lose the label "evangelical." . . . To most of the rest of Americans, the public face of evangelicals has become a snarl, not a smile. And the prospect of interacting with them is the opposite of "good news."
My take, for what it's worth:

People who imagine that the revelations about Roy Moore's history of sexually assaulting female minors will work against him in Alabama are living in a pipe dream. These folks don't understand Southern white evangelical culture.

And they've conveniently forgotten that the moral monstrosity in the White House was placed there by 8 in 10 — 8 in 10! — white evangelicals. And that 7 in 10 — 7 in 10! — white evangelicals now report to pollsters that they are as pleased as punch at the performance of the moral monostrosity in the White House.

The more Moore is exposed in the national media and the rest of the country expresses horror at the revelations about Moore, the more Alabama's white evangelical community will get its back up and push back hard. The fact is, the revelations about Moore's pedophile propensities mean nothing at all to these folks. Charges about adult men liking children are a tool used selectively by these white evangelical Christian folks to bash gay men and transgender folks.

Just in the past day or so, Roy Moore's wife has added a posting to her Facebook page attacking trans people and those who support them, and claiming that this is what's behind the attacks (as she sees it) on her husband, as more women come forth with their stories about what he did to them as young teens. Read the comments responding to Kayla Moore's anti-trans posting, and you'll see the level of hate of LGBTQ people that the white evangelical leaders of Alabama have instilled among churchgoers: one badly spelled comment after another, fracturing English grammar, about how "me and my family stands with the Moore family and prays for them," and "me and my family" commit ourselves to keeping those dirty trans people out of sight.

Because they might sexually abuse minors.

People living outside this culture don't get it and don't want to get it. Republicans outside the South (including large numbers of white Catholic ones) have long wanted to pretend that they could make common cause with these folks without associating themselves with the racism and troglodytic misogyny and troglodytic social views in general of bible belt Republicans, who flocked to the Republican party in droves after a Democratic president, LBJ, signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Lie down with dogs and you will get up with fleas: lie down with the likes of Roy Moore, and you can't credibly pretend any longer that you aren't roiling with fleas after you made that choice, or that your consistent Republican votes have not been energizing the worst kind of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and hatred of the poor and the different, among the voters for whom Roy Moore is an anointed savior figure.

I am not a seer and can't tell you what will happen with Moore between now and the December election. I am confident, however, that if he remains in the running, he'll win his election — with a wider margin than many people want to think he'll have. And that margin will be wider because of the reaction of Alabama's white evangelical community to the revelations about his sexual assault of teens.

Look at how these folks responded to evidence of the sexual assault of women by the moral monstrosity they chose to put into the White House as they claimed that God made them vote as they voted.

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