Former Chief Justice and current U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore is concerned about the problem of “national immorality”, and he’s the man with the plan to solve it.
In a recent interview with WVTM 13 News in Birmingham, Moore explained that the one thing America needs to get right in order to return to its moral roots is “the acknowledgment of God.”
Of course, he has a very narrow and specific definition of what “God” means — certainly not the deity worshiped by Muslims, whom he sees as unfit to serve in Congress by virtue of their religion. It’s honestly not clear whether Moore even knows about any other religions, but clearly only the Christian deity will do.
For all that he tries to position himself as a renegade outsider whom the Republican establishment tried — and failed — to silence, Moore’s policy plans all appear to come straight from the conservative playbook: cut taxes, defund Planned Parenthood, quit “caring for illegal aliens,” ignore the environment, save the guns, build the wall. But his greatest, most overarching policy plan seems to be “let go and let God.”
Solving those problems is simple: you turn back to the God and the basis of religion on which this nation was founded. And it’s very clear in history, very clear in anything you study, that our [Founding] Fathers believed that you have to address the moral problem… We’ve neglected that moral problem and we’re going to continue to suffer until we do.
One almost feels sorry for the poor reporter, seeking policy information and instead getting a sermon on how Americans are losing “the right to acknowledge God.”
At the same time, one wants to jump through the screen and demand that Moore answer the question the reporter never manages to ask: In what sense does it impact your right to acknowledge your God if we agree that powerful institutions can’t force others to do it?
As far as Moore is concerned, though, a plurality of religious options — including the right to acknowledge no deities and practice no religion — is precisely the problem. When people aren’t indoctrinated to believe the correct things and excluded for failing to believe them, that’s when you get divisiveness.
We forget: when we forget God and exclude God from the conversation, you take away, and you create divisiveness. Hatred, divisiveness, that comes from a lack of realization that you’re created by an Almighty God… Without God we’d have no First Amendment freedoms. We have to go back and recognize that taking away the Ten Commandments, taking away the recognition that we’re all created equal, that’s the very foundation of our Declaration.
This is just plain sloppy thinking. Plenty of people who believe they were created by a god engage in all sorts of hatred and division. Many use their beliefs about God to justify hatred and division, and to support the belief that some people are more equal than others.
You could be forgiven for wondering exactly how Moore, whose 2017 Senate bid was derailed by accusations of sexual assault against a minor, became such an expert on the moral high ground. But he devoted a significant portion of the interview to those allegations. He continues to compare himself to Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, and even Donald Trump: all men who were unfairly maligned, he claims, by “false accusations” about sexual abuse. Such accusations, he notes dismissively and with just a trace of bitterness, have become “fashionable” of late.
Presumably he doesn’t see that rhetoric as remotely hateful or divisive.
Asked what issue was most important to him — the one on which he would refuse to compromise — Moore returned to the theme of God once more:
I will not compromise on the acknowledgment of God. I think the courts started making law. This same-sex marriage is not a law made by our Constitution or by our legislature. It was made by courts. And courts have no business making law.
Did you catch the sleight of hand there? Moore reveals more than he intends by eliding the idea of acknowledging God with that of undermining legal precedents set by the Supreme Court, such as marriage equality or (one assumes) the right to abortion. To him, acknowledging God means the very same thing as denying gay people the right to marry. His religious freedom, as far as he’s concerned, is connected to the right to make others follow his faith’s precepts.
Americans have reason enough to hope this fuzzy-thinking religious bigot doesn’t make it to the Senate — polling shows he’s currently losing the GOP primary to Jeff Sessions — but in case you’re still on the fence, Moore showed his hand when he talked about his experiences in war as a qualification for the office:
You need somebody with military experience in command — or in charge of the Senate. You need somebody that’s gone through these things… I’ve been trained as a military leader, a highly regarded military leader. And that’s one of the chief jobs as the president.
Wait one second: Who said anything about the presidency? It looks like Mr. Moore has aspirations well above his current station.
Best to nip this one in the bud.