As mentioned in the previous post, there is now a beautiful young woman on the horizon of my world. As you have probably suspected, this is just a crush, exactly the sort of thing experienced by young teenage boys who are just starting to find their way in the world of love, romance, and dating. (That I, at my advanced age, am still capable of such a thing–well, I leave it to you, dear reader, to form your own estimation of me in light of that.)
Crushes suck, but when you get to the other side you would gladly do it all over again. Every time. Why? Because there is a payoff: You have this beautiful young woman on the edge of your world and you are trying oh so hard to be the very best you that you can possibly be because she’s oh so worth it…
And then there’s Roy Moore.
ICYMI: Alabama just had a special election to fill one of their US Senate seats. Roy Moore was the Republican candidate. He lost. It was in all the papers. (Kids: Old school slang. Ask your parents.)
Moore was the odds-on favorite in this election, until allegations surfaced that he had had inappropriate sexual relationships with as many as nine different women, some of whom were way underage.
Formerly the chief justice of the Alabama supreme court, Moore was an arch-conservative firebrand who said and did all the right things to reach those who believe that we need to “take our country back” for Jesus Christ–outlaw abortion, run off all the gays and the Muslims, put prayer back in public schools, the whole bit.
When the allegations surfaced, the big question was whether Moore’s evangelical supporters would stick with him. They did. To the tune of 80 percent, according to all the exit polls.
James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, was emphatically in Moore’s corner. “I have been dismayed and troubled,” said Dobson, “about the way he and his wife Kayla have been personally attacked by the Washington establishment.”
This is where we are in evangelicalism: I now feel exactly like an English professor at Sarah Lawrence College.
I have spoken previously in this space about the “post-evangelical wilderness”. Despite what you may think, this “post-evangelical wilderness” is not simply some fanciful construct created by young punk bloggers living in their parents’ basements with nothing better to do with their lives than sit around all day in front of their computer screens and write whatever strikes their fancy. This post-evangelical wilderness is a real place inhabited by real people with real stories. I found myself in the post-evangelical wilderness through a series of life events/challenges which all converged over the course of the previous decade, when I suddenly looked up and found that I was no longer quite the young hot-blooded evangelical that I had been back in happier times–and also that the world of evangelicalism around me had quietly morphed right before my very eyes into something almost unrecognizable to me.
This has accelerated over the past year, as I have watched my faith–the faith that proclaimed the Gospel to me and discipled me and gave me a spiritual home through a goodly portion of my collegiate and young adult existence, and has been very good to me over the years–sell its very soul right out from under me, linking arms with some of the worst specimens of humanity to elect a president who is the complete and total opposite of anything even remotely Christ-centered or Christ-shaped–even going so far as to claim that as a Christian I have a moral imperative to support this president.
This Roy Moore thing has just dumped several truckloads of nitroglycerine on that fire.
Almost two decades ago, and it really doesn’t seem that long ago at all, evangelicals, including me, were all up in arms because of allegations that our then-president Bill Clinton was having inappropriate sexual relationships with White House interns. We believed that he ought to be impeached because character matters. The Democrats and the liberal media all doubled down on their support of their guy and they all called us out of line because look at all the good things he was doing and how dare we get our panties all up in a wad over some quaint pedantic notion like character because what he does in his bedroom is his own business. But we persisted because by God CHARACTER MATTERS!!!!! But now here we are and suddenly character doesn’t count for jack shit. Not when there’s tax reform legislation to pass and Obamacare to repeal and Supreme Court justices to appoint and Roe v. Wade to overturn and we’ve got to have our Republican majority so we’re giving you a president who brags incessantly about sexually exploiting women. And if you don’t like that then by God we’ll give you Roy Moore the child sexual predator.
The world outside of evangelicalism is watching this shitshow. We know that some things are right and others are just wrong. We know that Jesus treated people with love and respect, especially those on the outer fringes of society, and that he calls on us to do likewise. Moore’s treatment of the women with whom he had relationships flies in the face of this, and to believe that his positions and/or voting record excuses all of this–no, people. It doesn’t.
Every person with whom you will ever come eyeball to eyeball is a person created in the image of God, and a person for whom Jesus Christ died. Thus, every person has intrinsic worth and deserves to be treated in that fashion. Roy Moore’s actions fly completely and totally in the face of this. It is therefore impossible to support Roy Moore while maintaining that people have intrinsic worth because they are created in the image of God and because Jesus died for them. The two just don’t square.
Think about this through the lens of “What does love require of me?”. If you can make a compelling case that what love requires of you is to support Roy Moore and his inappropriate sexual relationships with underage women–no, people. There is no such case to be made. That’s all there is to it.
I cannot possibly imagine myself going after this beautiful young woman, trying oh so hard to be the very best me that I can possibly be because she’s oh so worth it–and then telling her that I supported this toxic waste dump and all his inappropriate relationships with underage women.