Bonus Post: Character Matters

I’ll probably regret this, but…

…but I’m not very good at keeping my mouth shut, even when I should. Given the timing and nature of this post — and the topic which spurred me to write it — I have decided not to put it in the queue for Monday morning.  Nope, if I’m gonna tackle something timely, I might as well be…timely.

Keep in mind, this is a writing blog, not one focused on politics or religion or culture. Okay, well, that’s not exactly true: this is a writing blog, and writing is very much about those things.

Okay, so where am I going with such a roundabout start?

Roy Moore.

Roy Fucking Moore.

A few days ago the man was nothing more than a repugnant candidate for a short-term stint as junior senator from a state I have no intention of ever again visiting (once was enough). Honestly, I could never understand folks’ passion or support for the guy, but the whole thing was worth nothing more than a shrug.

Things changed.

Ladies and gentlemen, I shouldn’t have to say it…but apparently I do: CHARACTER MATTERS!

Support for the guy, and his regressive & repressive views, was at least semi-understandable a few days ago. But now? How could you? No, really: how the fuck could you?!

And not just support, but actively promote. Not just support, but bastardize your own faith to defend.

Even though I have said I try to keep my personal politics behind the curtain, I am pretty open about being a libertarian. It is a bit more than that, however: I am a recovering conservative.

Lest my Republican family and friends think I am just going off the political deep-end, let me point to a few folks who are still firmly in the conservative Republican camp…

The conservative, political view from Jonah Goldberg:

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve written about the unfolding corruption of conservatism these last few years, but the events of the last 24 hours have shocked me about how deep the rot goes. Forget the people who refuse to even give the heavily sourced and corroborated Washington Post account a fair reading on the tired and predictable pretense that inconvenient facts are simply proof of the conspiracy against them. What galls and astounds me are the supposedly conservative public figures arguing that even if it’s true that Moore molested a 14-year-old girl, it doesn’t matter because, well, because the Bible said it was okay or Democrats are eeeeevil or it was a long time ago. At least Roy Moore admits that the allegation is serious and has denied it.

Bless my heart, I assumed that people who are so much more sanctimonious and preachy than I am would be able to draw a line at plying 14-year-old girls with booze and molesting them, particularly when the guy they’re defending won’t even defend the behavior himself. You’d think this would be the Colonel Nicholson moment where, like Alec Guinness in Bridge on the River Kwai, they would mutter to themselves, “My God, what have I done?” and collapse to the ground.

Now, my formal, personal faith may have lapsed, but I am still a…well, I suppose you would have to call me a deist. Somewhere deep down I am still a believer, in spite of the hypocrisy of hate and intolerance that drove me from the church. With that in mind, let me give a view from that corner of the ring, as well.

The evangelical, religious view from David French:

Consider the challenge here: A king is told to shun a military alliance with a pagan power and to face death and destruction alone, trusting solely in God’s deliverance. I never forgot the lesson. I remembered the admonitions of Sunday-school teachers, my Bible professors at college, and my pastors: Christians, never forget, our ultimate hope is in the Lord. Be wary of an alliance with evil, even when the need seems overwhelming.

Obviously, these fools didn’t understand the importance of electing a junior senator from Alabama to fill out a partial term of office. Sure, Hezekiah faced the Assyrians, but by golly we face Doug Jones. We’ve got no choice but to ally with a dangerous, unfit man — a man who proclaims Christianity while systematically violating the law, seeks to deny the most basic civil rights to his fellow citizens, and now faces heavily sourced and corroborated claims of past sexual misconduct with minors.

I keep hearing these words from Evangelicals: We’ve got no choice. The Democrats are after our liberties. They’re seeking to destroy our way of life. Some even go so far as to say that even if the allegations against Moore are true, they’ll still hold their nose and put him in office to keep Jones from serving three years in the Senate.

I’m sorry Evangelicals, but your lack of faith is far more dangerous to the Church than any senator, any president, or any justice of the Supreme Court. Do you really have so little trust in God that you believe it’s justifiable — no, necessary — to ally with, defend, and even embrace corrupt men if it you think it will save the Church?

I’m beginning to realize that countless older Christians misled their kids and grandkids. They said that moral character matters in politicians. They said they were building a movement based around ideas and principles, not power and party. They said those things right up until the moment when holding firm to their convictions risked handing Hillary Clinton the presidency, and at that point the dam broke. Now, they’re willing to sell out for a lousy Alabama Senate seat.

The bottom line? Through word and deed they chose to trust bad men and not a holy God. Some apply double standards, granting the benefit of the doubt to ideological allies even as they condemn their opponents. Others distort biblical stories to rationalize their alliances. It was bad enough to see Donald Trump compared to King David. Now we have to endure an Alabama official’s comparison of Roy Moore to Joseph.

Who represents us, who we vote for, matters. It matters a great deal.

I don’t care how committed a Republican you are, there is simply no defensible way to put party over person and still maintain your integrity. If you are willing to support and vote for Roy Moore because you believe in him — in the entirety of him, mind you! — then that is your choice. It’s not one I can agree with, but I do understand.

On the other hand, if you are willing to sacrifice honor and morals to vote for the “lesser of two evils” simply because he is on your “team”, then you are a very, very big part of the problem.

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