The Evangelical movement, often considered one of the three legs of conservatism, seems to be in a state of disarray. At the center of that disarray has been the Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. The Washington Post released a story in which four women accused Moore of sexual misconduct. The youngest remembered:
“That Moore kissed her, that he took off her pants and shirt, and that he touched her through her bra and underpants. She says that he guided her hand to his underwear and that she yanked her hand back.”
On Monday, another woman came forward to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct. Her account was similar to the one reported in the Washington Post:
“Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me, putting his hands on my breasts. I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and locked it so I could not get out. I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping he began squeezing my neck attempting to force my head onto his crotch. I continued to struggle. I was determined that I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and struggling and begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face. At some point he gave up. He then looked at me and said, ‘You are a child. I am the District Attorney of Etowah County. If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you.'”
Moore for his part vehemently denied any wrong doing. He tweeted:
The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal –– even inflict physical harm –– if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me. (2/4) #ALSen
— Judge Roy Moore (@MooreSenate) November 9, 2017
Moore’s denial aside, it is hard to doubt his accusers, especially considering the fifth woman is a self-described Trump voter. She also has her signed high school year book as proof that they knew each other, something Moore also denies. On Wednesday, another woman claimed that Moore “grabbed her buttocks” in 1991. To add to the case against Moore, some recall him being banned from a local mall in the 80s because he kept badgering teenage girls.
For what purpose do “Christian conservatives like you and me” exist? For some, the 11th Commandment is apparently, “Thou shall vote for Republicans.” This is tragic, as it means that the Evangelical movement is in practice no different from the Chamber of Commerce and the numbers show it. Evangelicals are now more likely to say that elected officials who act inappropriately “can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties.” So much for being “set apart” and not being “conformed to this world.”
— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) November 11, 2017
When Evangelical conservatives are criticized, often they hear that they need to compromise or even change their beliefs, “because, don’t you realize it’s 2017” or “stop talking about wedge issues and focus on the economy.” That is something they should absolutely not do. But, it is hard to argue for those beliefs when you are supporting grown men who found it appropriate to touch 14-year-old girls’ underwear.
Evangelical Christians have a place in the conservative movement, but if they are to be different from the fiscal or national security hawks, what are they to do?
They have the best explanation as to why every life, especially that of the unborn child, matters. They also can best explain human nature and the limits of government. They can issue warnings about cults of personality, or to use a Biblical analogy, the desire for a king. Speaking of Biblical analogies, if you are going to use them, please know what you are talking about when you do. Evangelicals are in perhaps the best position to explain why government cannot fix all of society’s ills. Human beings are fallen and therefore putting your faith in human beings is both naive and dangerous.
C.S. Lewis wrote that
I am a democrat because I believe in the Fall of Man.
I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they though mankind so wise and good that everyone deserved a share in the government.
The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.
That should be the motivation behind the Evangelical movement. To show people that only Christ, not a politician, political party, and certainly not the government, can save you and make your life meaningful and complete.