What did Roy Moore do wrong

Evangelicals in the USAWhen MeToo meets the Bible

In the more than 200 years of American history there have been a few politicians for whom their beliefs were the strict guideline of their lives and thoughts, but rarely someone like Roy Moore.

"Fighting for life, fighting against abortion, fighting for the acknowledgment of God. Most important: he is a Christian."

When his wife Kayla praises him at election campaign events, nothing is more important than hints like: He is Christian, pious, gentle and amiable.

"He is the most gentle, most kind man that I have ever known in my entire life. He is godly. He is loving, and everybody in the community knows it ..."

Hardcore in a double sense

But even for the Bible Belt, Moore, the Alabama Republican Party candidate for the Washington Senate, is a blatant exception. As the state's highest judge, a few years ago he had a sculpture with the Ten Commandments placed in the foyer of the courthouse - although the US Constitution expressly seeks to prevent such a thing and urges the separation of state and church.

A little later, Moore was relieved of his office as judge for the action. However, he came back to the committee at the next election and was again dismissed. This time because he tried to block the Washington Supreme Court decision to liberalize gay marriage.

The Ten Commandments drawn up by Roy Moore will be removed from the court after his dismissal in 2003 (dpa / EPA)

Roy Moore is what you can call a hardcore evangelical of American style. Whereby the word "hardcore" would even have to be taken ambiguously. No less than nine women have accused him in the past few weeks of harassing them with sexual advances. Back in the 1970s, when Moore was still working as a prosecutor - and these women were teenagers, in one case only 14 years old.

"Maria was a teenager and Joseph an adult carpenter"

Moore denies the allegations.

"The people of Alabama know me. They know what I stand for. And have been for more than 40 years. I can tell them without hesitation: This is absolutely wrong."

The allegations have left godly followers of Moore in a bind. Because the Bible does not approve of sexual harassment, especially not when the victims are children.

But strict interpretations of the "Holy Scriptures" are no longer the be-all and end-all. Had it been different, they would not have been able to vote for Trump in large numbers. Two divorces, sexist allusions, obvious greed for money - these actually do not fit evangelical ideals of a perfect family and humility. Nevertheless, Trump was seen as the executor of many wishes in order to put a strong Christian stamp on the country.

This contradiction leads to questionable trivializations in the Alabama election campaign. There are those Moore followers who simply refuse to believe women. Those who are bothered by the time of the revelations - shortly before the election on December 12th - and smell a targeted campaign. And then there is still a very special category: people who expressly don't care what Roy Moore might have done, even if the allegations - legally statute-barred - should be correct. The motto: Better a child molester in the Senate than a member of the hated Democratic Party. A local politician named Jim Zeigler went the furthest with a Bible comparison:

"Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was a grown-up carpenter. They became the parents of Jesus. There is nothing immoral or prohibited here."

"Our hopes live from God, not from parties"

But even in a seemingly homogeneous group like America's evangelicals, there are dissidents. Around 20 percent based on the poll results from last year's elections. One of the critics: Professor William S. Brewbaker, who teaches law at the University of Alabama: He formulated his thoughts in mid-November in an article in the "New York Times" and complained in the headline about the "sad state of evangelical politics". He explained his position to Deutschlandfunk.

"Not that we shouldn't get involved in political life, but we shouldn't focus our hopes on it. Our hopes live from God and what He did through Jesus Christ, not from parties, political leaders or movements. The idea that you Changing a society by controlling the state and the laws is a modern, but by no means an early Christian concept. This tradition would aim more at individual morality. And at influencing society from the bottom up. "

150,000 girls are married each year in the United States

But with what morality? For Kathryn Brightbill, who grew up in Florida with devout parents, the Roy Moore story is also evidence of another, little-noticed tendency among American evangelicals. She wrote extensively about it in the Los Angeles Times: In these circles, daughters are often paired up with older men at a very young age. As a result, around 150,000 girls get married in the United States each year. The laws allow such a thing if the parents agree. Even if some brides are only twelve years old. In view of such conditions, Moore is hardly noticeable.

Senator Mitch McConnell believes women (imago stock & people / Alex Edelman)

And apart from that, Brightbill says:

"Many evangelicals would be happy if they could introduce theocratic conditions. Where the Old Testament is raised to a legal framework in a democratic way and democracy is destroyed at the same time."

Which, in large part, explains why Moore is so popular, at least in Alabama. In Washington it looks very different. His fellow Republican party friend - the most powerful man in the Senate, Mitch McConnell - said a few days ago that he believed women. The party stopped financial support for Moore's election campaign.