There is a lot of blame to go around for Roy Moore’s loss in the special election for Senator from Alabama. The political establishment and media undertook a smear campaign shortly before the election based on alleged events from 40 years ago. The Republican Party abandoned its candidate, and Roy Moore failed to sufficiently attack his opponent as a baby-killing, gun-grabbing leftist.
However, when it comes down to it, there is one group of people that deserves the blame for Moore’s loss — Christian leaders. Whether it was Southern Baptists like Russell Moore or political commentators like David French from National Review, these men urged Christians to refrain from voting for Moore because of accusations of sexual misconduct from decades prior. Or in the case of French, he lambasted Moore for his record of “constitutional ignorance.”
What they often overlooked was the suspect circumstances of the allegations. Roy Moore had already served as a public figure in Alabama for years, twice as the Chief Justice of the state supreme court. Yet for some reason, all these allegations came out right before an election on the national stage. And everyone, including Christian leaders, assumed Moore was guilty.
Why such presumption of guilt? There is a simple explanation. The political establishment (both Democrats and Republicans) hated Moore long before any allegations of misconduct because he stood against federal tyranny. Moore had twice been removed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, once for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom and the second time for ordering Alabama judges to refuse to administer same-sex marriage licenses. In both cases, Moore challenged what he considered unconstitutional and immoral usurpations by federal courts.
The allegations of misconduct only added fuel to the fire. But let us be clear: Moore’s loss is a victory for the political establishment. Both Democrats and the neoconservative Republicans got what they wanted. Sadly, such Republicans would prefer to lose a seat in the Senate (to a radically pro-abortion and left-wing candidate nonetheless) than to have a true conservative in office.
Christian leaders claim they could not support Roy Moore because the allegations of a 32-year-old going out with 17-year-old girls were just too much. But what they failed to understand is that Moore’s loss sets a new standard of guilt in the public eye. Political opponents can find swindlers to make allegations from decades ago—and even if there is no definitive proof and even if some allegations are proven false (e.g. the yearbook claim)—the allegations are still assumed to be true. You are guilty until proven innocent. And in Roy Moore’s case (who I believe is a good man), he was labeled a “pedophile.”
The victory of the establishment and the new standard of guilt should concern all Americans. But it is sad that this comes at the hands of Christian leaders, or what we might call the “Christian establishment.” Far too many prominent Christians assumed Moore’s guilt despite reasonable doubt, as it provided an easy out in regards to Moore’s anti-establishment ways. These Christian leaders labeled Moore as “lawless”—when in fact he was the one man willing to oppose tyrannical rulings like Obergefell. But they would rather submit to despots than rock the boat.
If only Christian leaders had the courage of Roy Moore, they would have stood against the establishment and its media outlets. Instead, they bowed to the political establishment. Unfortunately, this not a new practice, as Christian leaders in America have been caving to cultural and political pressure for years. It is time they grow a backbone. This was not the first time the establishment tried to silence a dissident, and it surely will not be the last.