JOHN BRUMMETT: A staunch society

They could be lies, his defenders among Alabama evangelical Christian conservatives say.

That's true, although about 30 people would have had to conspire fraudulently to sell the Washington Post an elaborate hoax based on sources that gave their names and specified relevant dates and events that could be--and subsequently were--confirmed.

The story was about Judge Roy Moore, the extreme-conservative Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama. He holds that his hot line to God supersedes the U.S. Constitution that he has sworn to uphold. He has twice been removed from the chief justiceship of the Alabama Supreme Court for ignoring federal court orders and saying his own moral law prevails.

The story was that the judge showed a creepy hankering 30 to 40 years ago for three or four young girls, including one only 14 and the subject of a court custody battle against whom he, as a 32-year-old assistant prosecutor, made physical advances.

Or this could be a story of redemption, the defenders say. Maybe he did it, but it happened a long time ago and we can't hold it against him now, they say. Christianity, they'll explain, is not a permanent attainment for anyone, but a challenging life's pursuit for all who sin and fall short.

But Moore denies any of it. You can't argue redemption in his behalf if he asserts he doesn't need it.

Most likely, the real explanation for conservative evangelical galvanizing for Moore is something much like the thing conservative evangelicals tend to deplore in liberal-minded people. I refer to a kind of moral relativism, which is excusing immoral behavior because of the circumstances in which it was committed.

Moore's staunch defenders most likely are willing to consider that maybe he did it or something like it, and that he may have been creepy in his past behavior and is now dishonest in his denial. But they realize that he is the only Republican U.S. Senate candidate on the special election ballot and that it's too late to throw him off and get another.

They reason, thus, that it is a greater godly objective to put him in the Senate as a seat-holder who would try to save fetuses and stop the spread of gay rights.

They calculate that the Democratic candidate, even if a better-seeming man, would be a pliant part of a caucus that would be determined to kill unborn babies and force God-fearing florists to arrange flowers for such biblical abominations as same-sex weddings.

They'll live with a single creepy, lying senator in exchange for saving thousands of babies and keeping marriage the way they insist the Lord commands.

Call them hypocrites, and they'll call you one right back.

Bill Clinton, they'll say, is alleged to have backed up against a wall and mashed on that woman seeking a better job from financial need. They'll say he is alleged to have exposed himself at the Little Rock hotel to that other woman, and point out that he financially settled that case.

They'll say they believe even harsher allegations of rape in the same way you choose to believe the worst against Moore.

They'll score it two-to-one--one for their right to believe what they believe and excuse what they excuse; one for your right to believe what you believe and excuse what you excuse; and the Lord's tiebreaker for them because he's on their side.

More liberal-minded people also will score it two-to-one--one for their right to believe what they believe and excuse what they excuse; one for the conservative side; and the tiebreaker for them based on their superior secular and spiritual enlightenment.

Such is the Grand Canyon square in the middle of our contemporary American politics. Trump made conservatives stauncher that way. Clinton made liberals stauncher that way.

Both sides choose to embrace allegations of the worst in the other guy and reject allegations of the worst in their guy.

We get a sex-abusive movie mogul who, when found out, responds saying he'll increase his contribution to Planned Parenthood. We get a Republican state auditor in Alabama who, in defense of Moore, says Joseph was an older man and Mary a young woman when Jesus was born.

Nicholas Kristof wrote Sunday in the New York Times that some see morality in public office as personal and others see it as policy. He wrote that, in fact, a healthy society and political culture would define morality as both, and insist on both.

One of the proudest sentences in my long column-writing history is the one saying Bill Clinton, whose politics I liked, ought to resign over the Lewinsky disgrace.

It makes it easier for me to say now that Alabama evangelicals ought to vote against Moore or stay home.


John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, was inducted into the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame in 2014. Email him at jbrummett@arkansasonline.com. Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.

Editorial on 11/14/2017


TimberTopper says...

Good one, John. Your haters will be coming.

Posted 14 November 2017, 4:39 a.m. Suggest removal

PopulistMom says...

Yes, John, thank you.

Posted 14 November 2017, 5:38 a.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

Should be interesting to see how the "what abouters" have to say in light of the current situation. I look at it this way. If you don't call for Moore to step down, using Clinton as your excuse, then aren't you really just morally bankrupt in your position?

Posted 14 November 2017, 6:35 a.m. Suggest removal

WGT says...

Yep. Exactly. Thank you John. Good job.

Posted 14 November 2017, 7:43 a.m. Suggest removal

Delta2 says...

Got to watch those who proselytize the most, they often are trying to distract from something.

Posted 14 November 2017, 8:08 a.m. Suggest removal

mozarky2 says...

The preponderance of evidence against Moore is astounding. He needs to go. However, none of you "progs" seem to have noticed that almost the entire Republican party is united in demanding he quit the race.
And, you "progs" would do yourselves a huge favor if you'd employ equal fervor in criticizing creeps like Rob Menendez...

Posted 14 November 2017, 8:18 a.m. Suggest removal

hah406 says...

I do like the fact that even McConnell, who's politics I don't like but doesn't seem nearly as creepy, is even calling for him to drop out of the race. I like even more that some senators are talking about expulsion proceedings against Moore if he is elected. Some are starting to show integrity, although it has taken a while. They may even get around to dealing with Trump, although Pence would be much worse for the Dems in the long run.

Posted 14 November 2017, 8:19 a.m. Suggest removal

PopulistMom says...


It took a while. Even Trump started saying "if the allegations are true." The Republicans like the guy's politics. They are just now against him because they don't want to lose the seat.

Posted 14 November 2017, 8:29 a.m. Suggest removal

mozarky2 says...

Oh, so sorry it "took a while"! I guess they should have rushed to judgement with a little more haste...

Posted 14 November 2017, 9:13 a.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

Moz, the entire party is NOT united in demanding he go. Cornyn yesterday went as far as not endorsing, but said it is up to the voters of AL. Others have taken similar stance.

Posted 14 November 2017, 9:34 a.m. Suggest removal

TimberTopper says...

moz, the jury is out on Menendez, and the verdict will be given. Be sure to always bring up something off subject whenever you can. Although it doesn't relate to the subject, nor help your cause. Maybe your ability to "focus" is a problem you need to have checked.

Posted 14 November 2017, 9:40 a.m. Suggest removal

drs01 says...

John you can be proud of your statement regarding the "Lewinsky disgrace". Of course that disgrace had a DNA stain on a blue dress, a lie to a Federal judge. Where were you when Jennifer,Paula, Juanita, Cathleen and perhaps others came forth with ALLEGATIONS of Clinton's womanizing and sexual abuse? Silence because you believed it was he said-she said? Is that what we have today?

Posted 14 November 2017, 9:52 a.m. Suggest removal

mozarky2 says...

RB, did you overlook that "almost" in my comment?
I thought so...

Posted 14 November 2017, 10 a.m. Suggest removal

1961Feegis says...

It's a sad statement on our society when we now measure our people of influence by the degree of immorality or improper conduct, not whether they are moral or not moral. There's not many of them I trust anymore to have "behaved properly" enough to qualify for office. I believe the men and women that have come forward describing unwanted advances, inappropriate conversations and assault. It is frightening to me to realize that there is a significant number of our population that think it's ok to do those things to another person, and many of them are in positions of power.

Posted 14 November 2017, 10:01 a.m. Suggest removal

hah406 says...

Why does everyone always want to go back to Clinton? That was over and done with in the 90's. They impeached him. It didn't work out, but it was settled. Bringing it up every time some damning information about someone else comes out, Dem or Repub, Hollywood or Wall Street, doesn't change anything. Clinton is settled. Deal with what is at hand now.
That said, Moz I am proud of many Republicans in congress today. And I don't care how long it takes them to say anything, as long as they actually prevent him from taking office.

Posted 14 November 2017, 10:39 a.m. Suggest removal

mozarky2 says...

Well, hah, maybe it has to do with the fact that the dem party, 100%, rallied around Clinton. Not ONE dem condemned him for his actions, be it the Lewinsky affair, the rape of Juanita Broaddrick, or the intimidation tactics of the Clintons against Bill's victims.
BUT, you Dems expect 100% of the Republican party to condemn Moore (as I have). PopMom even seems to be speaking for all of you when she condemns the party for not rushing to an immediate judgement.

Posted 14 November 2017, 10:56 a.m. Suggest removal

PopulistMom says...


The Washington Post had THIRTY sources for its story and credible details, and many Republicans still supported him and cast doubt on his accuser. It took a few more victims to come out. So yes, many were a little slow to withdraw support. In fact, the guy has been acting as crazy as a loon for years, and people like you still supported him.

Posted 14 November 2017, 11:21 a.m. Suggest removal

hah406 says...

Regardless Moz, Clinton hasn't been POTUS for what, 17, 18 years. I was still in school when he was elected. Tons of members of congress have come and gone since then. I am asking why keep going back that far? Deal with the current situation. This Clinton stuff reminds me of what happened when I got in trouble at home and then tried to remind my parents about something my brother had done. It didn't matter one damn bit, and what Clinton did back then doesn't matter now.

Posted 14 November 2017, 12:15 p.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

Mix, I don’t. At this point the numbers are growing, but more to save face rather than out of principle.

Posted 14 November 2017, 12:28 p.m. Suggest removal

BOLTAR says...

When it comes to the number of gratuitous references, the Clintons surpass Hitler.

Posted 14 November 2017, 2:49 p.m. Suggest removal

3WorldState1 says...

But what about...

Posted 14 November 2017, 4:18 p.m. Suggest removal

Wowy says...

Many love to bugger young girls and young boys...Trump is the light, carry on.

Posted 14 November 2017, 6:12 p.m. Suggest removal

PopulistMom says...


As Trump has been accused of sexual assault, are you suggesting that you are in favor of buggering young girls?

Posted 14 November 2017, 7:30 p.m. Suggest removal

ARMNAR says...

I'm guessing yes. Wowy is supremely unbalanced, as are most Trump supporters.

Posted 14 November 2017, 8:04 p.m. Suggest removal

carpenterretired says...

But Moore is such a pillar of Evangelical public piety that CINOs love the guy .

Posted 14 November 2017, 11:06 p.m. Suggest removal

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