Former judge Roy Moore, a candidate for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat, defeated the incumbent Republican Senator, Luther Strange, in a primary last month taking nearly 55 percent of the vote. Moore, who was suspended twice from his job as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, is currently polling ahead of his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones (a former U.S. attorney in the state), leading up to the December 12th general election to replace former Senator Jeff Sessions.
Moore’s victory has further divided Republicans, with those to the farther right (like Steve Bannon) backing his run, and those to the less farther right (like Mitch McConnell) feeling lukewarm, at best, about his victory. Most establishment Republicans generally do not care for him, while fervent right wingers appear to love him. Fortune recently wrote “Ray Moore Makes Ted Cruz Look Like a Democrat.” Imagine that?
Moore is as off his rocker as Donald Trump, but Trump backed Strange in the primary. (Maybe Trump didn’t want too many cuckoos in the nest?) Trump wasted no time getting behind Moore, however, as he tweeted “Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!” soon after Moore’s victory.
Why is this such a problem? One reason is that Moore is part of a group of conservatives that will probably refuse to compromise. If enough of these candidates win, no agenda will make it through Congress, halting the ability to do anything. What’s even worse is the consistency of Moore’s backwards thinking and the lengths he is willing to go in his attempts to further his campaign against decency and law. He may soon be in the Senate pushing his disgusting agenda.
As previously mentioned, Moore lost his job as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court twice. First, in November 2003, a judicial ethics panel in Alabama removed him from office for failing to follow judicial orders to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state’s Supreme Court building. In defending the placement of the monument, Moore said, “God has chosen this time and this place so we can save our country and save our courts for our children.”
After an unsuccessful run for governor in 2006, Moore earned more than 50 percent of the vote against two opponents to take back the Chief Justice position in 2012. After winning he said, “I have no doubt this is vindication for what I stood for. Go home with the knowledge that we’ll stand for the acknowledgment of God.”
Moore didn’t make it to the end of his 6-year term. He was suspended for the remainder of his term at the end of September 2016. He was removed (for all intents and purposes) this time due to his ordering of the state’s probate judges to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In response Moore said, “This was a politically motivated effort by radical homosexual and transgender groups to remove me as chief justice of the Supreme Court because of outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda.” In an earlier decision by the Alabama Court on the topic Moore condemned the gay rights movement as leading to a “wasteland of sexual anarchy.”
What else does Moore think and why is his resurgence a problem for the U.S.? Some quotes from Moore delivered over the last fifteen years:
- “Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated. Such conduct … is destructive to a basic building block of society—the family. … It is an inherent evil against which children must be protected.” (2002 Alabama Supreme Court decision) [link]
- “‘Because you’ve despised His word and trust in oppression and perverseness and stay thereon; therefore this iniquity will be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.’ [quoting Isaiah] Do any of you in Washington remember such a high wall swelling out whose breaking came suddenly at an instant on September 11, 2001? When the walls of the Pentagon were shattered?” Later in the same speech: “‘In the day of the great slaughter when the towers fall.’ [quoting Isaiah again] You see, there are consequences when we turn away from the source of our strength.” (January 25, 2003, blaming the 9/11 attacks on Americans who have turned away from God’s law) [link, about 37:45]
- “Homosexual conduct should be illegal, yes….Just because it’s done behind closed doors, it can still be prohibited by state law. Do you know that bestiality, the relationship between man and beast is prohibited in every state?” (excerpt from 2005 interview with Bill Press in which Moore seemingly equates homosexuality with bestiality) [link]
- “Islamic law is simply incompatible with our law….no Muslim elected to Congress or the White House can swear to uphold the United States Constitution and still be a Muslim….But common sense alone dictates that in the midst of a war with Islamic terrorists we should not place someone in a position of great power who shares their doctrine. In 1943, we would never have allowed a member of Congress to take their oath on ‘Mein Kampf,’ or someone in the 1950s to swear allegiance to the ‘Communist Manifesto.’ Congress has the authority and should act to prohibit Ellison from taking the congressional oath today!” (December 13, 2006 opinion piece, “Muslim Ellison Should Not Sit In Congress”) [link]
- “False religions like Islam who teach that you must worship this way, are completely opposite with what our First Amendment stands for.” (July 2017) [link]
- “You wonder why we’re having shootings, and killings here in 2017? Because we’ve asked for it. We’ve taken God out of everything. We’ve taken prayer out of school; we’ve taken prayer out of council meetings.” (August 24, 2017) [link]
- “There is no such thing as evolution.” (September 2017) [link]
- “I want to see virtue and morality returned to our country and God is the only source of our law, liberty and government.” (September 2017) [link]
- “We have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting.” [“reds and yellows” are racial slurs] (September 17, 2017) [link]
The problem is not that one rogue judge with a thirst for making the U.S. a moral Christian theocracy might win a U.S. Senate seat. Alabama is not the only place we will find candidates with extreme views that they’d love to force upon the nation. The Washington Post reported that “Bannon and other insurgent activists were previously looking to target Republican Senate incumbents in Arizona, Nevada and Mississippi.” Wherever they feel they can remove a moderate Republican and replace that candidate with one from the far right, they will make their move. And much as we’ve suffered these few months with Donald Trump, we will continue to suffer, maybe more, maybe differently, if the far right goblins get their way. Is this what we can expect for our future? Is this what we want?