What Should Be Done about Roy Moore?
About a month before the election to fill Jeff Session’s Senate seat, the Washington Post published an article in which four women accuse Roy Moore of inappropriate sexual conduct, one asserting that this occurred when she was only 14-years-old. Since then, more women have come forward.
Before the ink dried on the Post article, multitudes, especially media figures and politicians, began pouring out vitriol on Moore, demanding he withdraw from the race. They contend that though our law declares a person innocent until proven guilty, that standard does not apply here. In other words, we should hold Roy Moore guilty before giving him his day in court.
How should American’s think about these accusations and how should the voters of Alabama respond to them?
Many, including members of his own party, have concluded that the evidence is so compelling that we must believe it. In addition, our society has advanced the principle that we must accept the word of the victim, especially when it is a woman.
At this point should we join this chorus in embracing the testimony of these women as valid and Roy Moore guilty? I believe we should not for several reasons.
First, these women may be telling the truth, but at this time no one knows the truth regarding these allegation except the accusers and Roy Moore. Therefore, no one is currently in a position to judge him.
Some may recall the classic movie, “12 Angry Men,” which revolves around a jury seeking to decide on the guilt or innocence of an accused man, whom the movie reveals to the innocent. All but one member of the jury believed he was guilty and were ready to declare him so. The lone holdout began expressing his doubts. Over the course of the movie, one by one he wins over the other 11 men.
That scenario comprises more than a movie plot. How often have we been convinced by one side of an issue, only to discover upon hearing the other side that it was more compelling? In fact, the Book of Proverbs warns us regarding this very issue: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17 ESV) Therefore, people like Mitch McConnell are being naïve in accepting accusations without formal scrutiny of both sides.
Regarding the view that we should always believe the victim, especially if it is a woman, that perspective connotes that women never lie. Though this position might seem noble, the obvious implication, that the man is always lying and guilty, is not especially charitable or realistic. The condemnation inflicted on the Duke Lacrosse Team reveals the error of blindly following this perspective. The people condemning Roy Moore may be falling into this error.
A second reason for pause resides in the timing of these accusations, coming a month before the election. The fact that Leigh Corfman had 40 years in which to accuse Roy Moore but only now feels compelled to do so gives cause for suspicion. Some publications have sought to justify this timing. For example, an article in the Chicago Tribune makes the incredible statement that “Moore has been a controversial figure in American politics for some time but mostly at the edges.” Does this writer really think that being the Chief Justice for the state of Alabama is functioning “at the edges”? This sort of attempt at justifying the timing of this accusation only demonstrates the desperation of those seeking to condemn Roy Moore.
A related reason for concern about these accusations is found in the long history of Democrat employment of these types of dirty tricks. We recall similar accusations against Herman Cain, and there was Anita Hill’s accusation against Clarence Thomas. Stories could be told of Democrat use of similar sordid tactics against Sen. Ted Stevens, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and others. Therefore, though we do not know the veracity of the women making these allegations a month before an election, the Democrat Party has given us good reason to suspect foul play.
This leads to an added concern. To those voices shouting that Roy Moore should withdraw from the election based on these unsubstantiated accusations, I would respond that demanding he do so destroys our political system. Political enemies merely need to find women willing to make an accusation in order to remove an opponent from a race. Do we really want our electoral system to come to that?
One other factor to be considered is that because Roy Moore has stood for the Ten Commandments and against homosexual marriage, he has many enemies in the media, in the political realm, and elsewhere. Therefore, many of those condemning him may be motivated more by political hostility than righteous indignation.
One last consideration is found in the double standard employed by the media and the ruling class in general in responding to such accusations. In the Monica Lewinsky case, we did not hear a course of media voices demanding that President Clinton step down. With the Hillary Clinton email scandal, and many other scandals surrounding her campaign, we heard no media consensus demanding that she withdraw. Consequently, we must assume that the hue and cry aimed at Roy Moore is largely politically motivated.
On December 12, the voters of Alabama will have to make a decision regarding Roy Moore. What should they do? I believe the just response is to judge Roy Moore as innocent until proven guilty. If he is innocent, they have avoided the harm of condemning an innocent man at the polls. If he is guilty and elected, let his accusers charge him then. One might contend that if he is guilty, allowing him to be elected is not fair. What is not fair is waiting for 40 years and then bringing accusations against him a month before an election.