Roy Moore, Biblical Morality, and Fascist Male Rage

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Written by revcom   
Friday, 17 November 2017 08:31

The Bible, taken literally, is a horrorLast week, the Washington Post detailed allegations that Roy Moore—the Republican Party’s candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama—sexually molested Leigh Corfman when she was 14 years old in 1979. According to the Post, Corfman, now 53, said that Moore, then 32 years old, drove her to his home and “took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants ... and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.” She says she remembers thinking, “I wanted it over with—I wanted out.” The Post also reported that three other women—all of whom went on the record—said Moore “pursued” them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18, around the same time that the alleged sexual assault on the 14-year-old girl took place. Later, a woman who worked in the DA’s office at the time, said that it was common knowledge that Roy Moore sought relationships with teenage girls—and she too went on the record.

Please note that if Moore did molest Corfman, he committed a felony; in fact, even if this were consensual because she was under age, it would be criminal. The fact that Moore was an assistant district attorney at the time of the alleged incidents would make this even worse—this was a man in his 30s who was sexually approaching teenage girls and who did so as a figure invested with the power and aura of the state.

After first seeming to admit to Sean Hannity on Fox News that he did seek out dates while in his 30s with teenage girls,1 Moore has now attacked the women who accused him. One of his supporters in the legislature called them liars, but then said if they were telling the truth, they should be prosecuted for "cover[ing] up" Moore's crimes. Meanwhile, Trump—himself the subject of numerous accusations and someone who openly bragged on tape of molesting women—has remained non-committal thus far.

Three big things here are on ugly display:

First, there is the kind of disgusting, oppressive shit that has been dragged into the light of day in the last month or so about powerful men all over, in every sphere, using their power to dominate and subordinate adult women. The main torrent of allegations has thus far focused on abuse, harassment, and rape connected to the workplace: men using sexual violence and coercion, or the implied threat of that, as well as verbal harassment, to demean women, keep them subordinate, and/or drive them out. What Moore is accused of is predation on children, using his stature as an officer of the law to facilitate that. But there are two similarities to the current important outpouring and the Moore case. First, there is the same assertion of male privilege and power against women and girls who lack power; and second, there is the brave speaking up of women who have been victimized and up to now rendered voiceless by these abusers.

Second, there is the Biblical justification that some of Moore’s supporters have put on this. The Republican state auditor of Alabama, Jim Zeigler, claimed that even if true, these accusations were “much ado about nothing.” After all, he said, the allegations are that a 32-year-old man “dated” teenage girls, and stopped short of sexual intercourse. (Never mind that the allegation isn’t that Moore “dated” a 14-year-old but that he removed her clothes, touched her, and guided her hand to touch his penis—which would be clearly illegal acts.) Then Zeigler went further, turning to scripture to defend Moore: “Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist.... Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.... There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

Let that one sit for a minute. In Zeigler’s worldview, Biblical morality “trumps” secular law on rape and the age of consent. This is theocracy: rule by religion, where the rules of a particular religion determine the laws. Moore himself was twice removed from the Alabama state Supreme Court for overriding secular law with religious edicts: once in 2003 for refusing to follow a federal court order to remove a 5,200-pound monument of the Ten Commandments from a judicial building in the state capital; and then in 2016 for directing lower-court judges to continue to enforce the Alabama ban on same-sex marriages even though the ban had been ruled unconstitutional. Now, as we write, he is still on course to be elected senator. This same theocratic worldview is not only shared by Pence, which revcom.us and many others have documented, it forms a foundational element of the whole fascist movement being led by Trump.

This whole episode also bears out the point from Bob Avakian (BA) that the Bible taken literally is a horror. Besides the taking of child brides, the Bible also upholds slavery and other forms of ruthless exploitation; mass rape as a tactic of war and the forcing of the women of conquered peoples into sexual slavery; the killing of women who are not virgins when they are married; the execution of women deemed to be “witches”; the condemnation of homosexuality as not just a sin, but an “abomination” subject to the death penalty; and, among other outrages too numerous to list, the condemnation to eternal damnation and unbearable suffering in hell for all those who do not accept “the one true God”—and, in the case of Christianity, Jesus as the son of God who was crucified but then raised from the dead.

As BA notes in Away With All Gods!, “All of this, along with many other atrocities and outrages, is upheld and promoted in the Bible. If you believe in the Bible—and especially if you believe and insist that it is the divinely-dictated, or divinely-inspired word of God and all of it must be taken literally—then all of these atrocities and outrages are things that you must say are right and good because the Bible says they are right and good. And that is precisely the case with the right-wing Christian fundamentalists who can be very accurately characterized as Christian Fascists.” Now these Christian fascists hold the reins of power—in particular dominating the education, housing, and environmental departments, and even more ominously remaking the judiciary at a record pace.

Whether the Trump/Pence regime officially backs away from Moore or not—and at this point, they have refused to do so—the point is that Moore shares the same theocratic justification for the oppression of women as the rest of this regime. This is the same regime that, among other crimes, recently tortured a pregnant 17-year-old girl in detention who wanted an abortion, using the full force and resources of the executive branch of the state to attempt to prevent her from getting an abortion—an attempt which, fortunately, was defeated... a defeat which, as Linda Greenhouse exposed in the New York Times, the regime has far from accepted. (“The Worrisome Future of Abortion Rights,” November 12, 2017)

Finally, there is the pro-Moore backlash and what that says about the movement supporting this fascist regime. The howls of self-righteous rage against the accusers coming from the crowd at Roy Moore’s aggressive Veteran’s Day defense of himself are at one with the hatred unleashed against women on the internet for “daring” to do such things as act in a remake of Ghostbusters, which featured female lead characters. Moore is doing as Trump did when the Access Hollywood tapes came out; both denying it and at the same time using it to go back on the offensive, to double down on the aggressive male supremacy. What the “mainstream” Republican politicians who at first distanced themselves from Trump didn’t understand then, and what some of them seemingly don’t understand now, is that the putrid demeaning of women represented by behaviors like those of Trump and Moore deeply resonates with the social base for the whole fascist initiative. The restoration of untrammeled male right and power forms part of the triad of the fascist movement backing the Trump/Pence regime, along with white supremacy and extreme American chauvinism backing up a program of aggression and war. The toxin of aggrieved male resentment at the attempts of women to live full lives runs throughout society, as made clear by the long-suppressed outpouring of outrage against sexual abuse over the past month; the Trumps, Pences, and Moores of the world have weaponized this to be one of the spear points of an attempt to implant fascism.

The fact that a fanatic like Moore has gotten this far even before these accusations... that he is still running and still favored to win... and that the administration itself has not even made a show of disowning him... says a lot about how far we’ve gone down that path already, and how urgent it is to defeat it, now.

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1. When asked by Hannity whether he had ever “dated” 16-, 17- or 18-year-olds, Moore answered, did not outright deny it, saying, “not generally, no” and that dating teenage girls “would have been out of my customary behavior.” He also said, “I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”

Originally published at revcom.us

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