After Roy Moore, Evangelicals Must Answer For Their Defense Of Pedophilia
Evangelicals need to be confronted about their history of defending and harboring pedophiles in the church
If you know anything about Western Christianity and the structure of Evangelical churches, the gusto with which Roy Moore was supported by Christian figureheads is far from surprising. Contrary to Biblical mandates and basic morality, Moore was defended by people like Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr., and Mike Huckabee among others.
For a religion so preoccupied with goodness, purity, and justice, one would hope to see a greater call for reform, maybe even repentance, from the GOP’s chosen candidate?—?or even from the GOP itself. Isn’t this exactly the sort of person Christians are mandated to be against? Did the wolf in sheep’s clothing parable not permeate? Is the moral bankruptcy this severe?
Well to put it plainly: yes. The issues we see here go far beyond merely pinning it on human nature or our broken political systems. These are deeply embedded systemic issues plaguing our society and churches, poisoning even the purest of faiths.
Take a moment to think about what Moore’s candidacy, and full-fledged support from Evangelicals, reveals about the church and about Christians. And more importantly, about what it says to victims. For those of us who have been abused by people in the church (and there are so many of us), there is a particular sting to this lack of denouncement or reprimand by these leaders. It says to us what we have already heard so many times, “your story does not matter. Your voice will not be heard. You are not to be believed.”
A 2007 New York Times article diving into the pedophilia in the Protestant church found that “the three companies that insure a majority of Protestant churches say they typically receive upward of 260 reports a year of children younger than 18 being sexually abused by members of the clergy, church staff members, volunteers or congregants.”
Praying for Roy Moore.
In 2015, it was revealed that one of the stars of TLC’s wildly popular show “19 Kids and Counting,” Josh Duggar, had molested four of his sisters and a female babysitter in 2003. A devout Evangelical fundamentalist family living in Arkansas, the Duggar’s immediately used their platform to defend their eldest son. Josh, now married with three children, publicly apologized for his crimes by calling them “inexcusable mistakes.” His parents too followed suit in a tense and ultimately cringe-filled interview on Fox News with Megyn Kelly.
Who came to their defense? None other than Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. After calling the reveal of Josh’s crimes a symptom of the culture’s, “insatiable bloodthirst,” he eventually chalked up the crimes to good people doing bad things. Evangelical and conservative pundits alike came to their defense too. Matt Walsh, then at The Blaze, said, “Progressive trolls have been anxiously waiting for a chance to burn them down and dance on their ashes.”
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So many Christian’s love to carry the persecuted narrative around like an honor badge and within context of the Bible, it is. But let’s not confuse persecution with getting called out for being legally and morally at fault. The Moore campaign pounced on this narrative too in the attempt to make these women’s allegations look like a smear campaign.
Crying “fake news,” Moore said in a statement obtained by Breitbart (of course) that the allegations against him were, “completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign.”
Even in his loss, Moore claims that God will save him from the sure persecution he’s facing from the media, Democrats, and the people of Alabama.
“I don’t know how much these women are getting paid, but I can only believe they’re getting a healthy sum…How these gals came up with this, I don’t know. They must have had some sweet dreams somewhere down the line. Plus,there are some 14-year-olds, who, the way they look, could pass for 20.”?—?Pastor Earl Wise to the Boston Globe.
What the rest of the civilly minded world views as a crime, many Christians are content with calling it a “bad choice” or “mistake.” Violating an individual’s boundaries and personhood, sexually or otherwise is a crime. Calling it anything else perpetuates the trend of diminishing victims. Why is the Evangelical community so opposed to following through with their Micah 6:8 mandate: doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly?
The day of the election, Evangelical leader Franklin Graham tweeted that he was “praying for Roy Moore.” Good. But what is he praying for? Moore’s repentance or victory? Being on the right side of this issue means drawing the line in the sand. There were too many pastors and too many Christians keeping silent or standing to endorse a pedophile. With the widespread public support for Moore and the silent support for what is happening in churches, it is hard to see how the direction the church is taking stands for anything but being a shill for the GOP agenda.
The hypocrisy of Washington has no bounds. So many denouncing Roy Moore when they are guilty of doing much worse than what he has been accused of supposedly doing. Shame on those hypocrites.
Pedophilia in the church is not a Duggar problem, a Roy Moore problem, a fundamentalist problem, or even a Christian problem. Conversations pertaining to abuse, no matter what you believe or where you go to church, are held behind closed doors. Out of sight out of mind, right?
While the examples in this article of Evangelicals enabling pedophiles are relatively recent, this is not a new issue. Like the Catholic Church, the longevity of this issue is disturbing and has existed for decades. When you have this many people willing to support and vote for an accused pedophile and an admitted sexual assaulter, all signs point to the festering of a long brooding issue being accepted enough internally to enter the national stage.
Religious affiliation does not equate to a greater moral fiber, but if Christians want to set the standard, there is a lot of work to be done starting from the inside.
We have to hold these leaders accountable for their baseless endorsements. When you’re peddling for a well-documented pedophile, you’re no longer just playing politics, you’re messing with people’s lives. Who did you sacrifice for what you could get? And what are you really getting out of defending a pedophile? There is no more arguing over who gets the moral high ground if this is the hill you’re willing to die on, and there is no Biblical justification for it either.