Roy Moore has been one of the religious right’s champions for the better part of a decade and a half. Even allowing for this, the line taken by a number of so-called moral guardians in defending Moore from allegations that he molested or pursued women and girls is, for lack of a better term, deplorable.
For instance, E. W. Jackson claims that even if the allegations are true, Moore must be supported to keep those God-hating libruls from claiming him as “another head to mount on their mantel.” No, this isn’t snark. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Jackson, who pastors a church in the Hampton Roads area, is ramping up plans to run for Tim Kaine’s Senate seat next year. But with this statement, Jackson disqualified himself as both a pastor and as a Senate candidate.
Others, like Sandy Rios, say that if Alabamians give in to “the ‘ick’ factor” and abandon Moore, they will be falling into the GOP establishment’s trap–and other social conservatives might be next. Right Wing Watch got a clip.
So even if Moore is indeed a pervert, he should still be supported to save the Christian conservative cause. Yeah, OK.
And still others, like Jesse Lee Peterson, claim that the furor surrounding Moore is another attempt by the forces of evil to upset “the spiritual order” of things by taking down “a white, conservative, Christian constitutional male of power.” Hear Peterson say it.
But by far the most outrageous response from a religious right leader has come from Franklin Graham. On Friday afternoon, Graham fils took to Twitter to accuse Moore’s critics of trying to deflect from the skeletons in their own closets.
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.
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) November 17, 2017
I had to read this twice to believe it. So some of those calling out Moore may themselves have done things worse than pursue girls young enough to be their daughters? Or worse than molesting women who were meeting with them on a business matter? Or worse than being banned from their local mall for trolling for girls?
Needless to say, the Twitterverse was not impressed.
Jesus cared for children. He didn’t back-up those who harassed and assaulted them. Get your priorities straight.
— Chrysann Lowe (@cmlowe) November 18, 2017
Shame on you forever for mixing politics and faith to the point that they become indistinguishable.
— BOOeytexas (On Account of Halloween) (@shueytexas) November 18, 2017
What is worse than demeaning and abusing women like our president or molesting children like Roy Moore? Do you know people that have done worse? If so please speak out!
— Sharon Ritenour (@SharonAlmalee) November 18, 2017
wow…. this says so much about you Mr. Graham…… and not in a nice way. the whole “they’ve done worse” is what middle schoolers do to justify their bad actions. i would expect better from you. and really? trying to mitigate the offense of preying on young girls? #justwow
— Mark (@buckmark1) November 18, 2017
As someone who was molested as a child, I would like your definition of "worse". I mean, I would potentially define "worse" as defending the child molester in order to hold on to power. But do tell me what your opinion…
— Cindy Battles (@CindyBattles) November 18, 2017
Kim Jong Graham, went evangelical "conservative Christians" whine about people saying happy holidays because it takes the Christ out of Christmas, I'd like to remind them they are taking the Christ out of Christian. #FakeChristians
— SteveBannonsNose (@PrezBannonsNose) November 18, 2017
Sorry. Trying to point away from Moore doesnt work. Lets look indepth at your empire if you want others to ignore Moore.
— Shiva (@shivabeach) November 18, 2017
And the 9 women he assaulted? Nothing huh? pic.twitter.com/5hxjcYlMYp
— Clintg (@clintonrgrim) November 17, 2017
— Leah D. Daughtry (@LeahDaughtry) November 17, 2017
What makes this tweet even more breathtaking is that it came just hours after one of the few substantive attempts Moore has made to refute one of his accusers’ accounts fell flat. Moore claims that Beverly Young Nelson, who accused him of pursuing and molesting her when she was 15, had no problem letting him handle her divorce case in 1999. But based on records from both the court and Nelson’s lawyer, there is no evidence Moore and Nelson ever crossed paths. Indeed, the case was dismissed before Nelson would have ever had to have faced the prospect of appearing before Moore.
It’s been amply demonstrated that the only thing Graham fils shares with his father, Billy Graham, is a name. For those who don’t know, Graham fils’ full name is William Franklin Graham III. For some time, Graham fils has used his father’s legacy to become a water-carrier for the religious right. However, he carried it to a grotesque extreme during last year’s presidential campaign. He not only refused to disavow Donald Trump after the “Access Hollywood” tapes came out, but went as far as to say that Trump’s upset victory happened because God hacked the election in the Donald’s favor.
As I write this on Saturday night, Graham fils has offered nada, zip, zero evidence to support his claims that those criticizing Moore are in any way guilty of depravity themselves. In the process, he has made himself sound less like a supposed minister of the Gospel and more like a conspiracy theorist. Indeed, it’s hard not to hear the echoes of Liz Crokin, the pseudo-journalist and conspiracy theory peddler who believes anyone who loudly criticizes Trump may be either covering for pedophiles or be a pedophile themselves.
It’s time for Graham fils to put up or shut up. But even if he does, he’s really outdone himself this time.
(featured image courtesy Graham fils’ Facebook)