Senate candidate Roy Moore has a long history of ‘dating’ underage girls

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What is more surprising, the fact that the Republican Party is running a child molester as their candidate for the Senate seat in Alabama, or the fact that Republicans are running around trying to justify child molestation? Honestly, this may make me sound incredibly jaded, but none of this shocks me. Alabama’s gonna ‘bama and GOPers are gonna GOP. Roy Moore is an arch-conservative Alabama judge (yes, he’s a judge) who won the Republican primary a few months ago for the special election to replace Jeff Sessions. Everyone knew Moore was problematic as f–k, but did most people know he was a child molester and statutory rapist? Probably not (??). From the Washington Post’s bombshell report, published yesterday:

Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore. It was early 1979 and Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.

“He said, ‘Oh, you don’t want her to go in there and hear all that. I’ll stay out here with her,’ ” says Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71. “I thought, how nice for him to want to take care of my little girl.”

Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.

“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she remembers thinking. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” Corfman says she asked Moore to take her home, and he did.

Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore. Wells says her daughter told her about the encounter more than a decade later, as Moore was becoming more prominent as a local judge.

Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the three women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.

Wendy Miller says she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the Gadsden Mall when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her on dates, which her mother forbade. Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when Moore spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on the first of several dates that did not progress beyond kissing. Gloria Thacker Deason says she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore began taking her on dates that included bottles of Mateus Rosé wine. The legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.

Of the four women, the youngest at the time was Corfman, who is the only one who says she had sexual contact with Moore that went beyond kissing. She says they did not have intercourse.

[From The Washington Post]

He was the assistant district attorney and he was literally picking up little girls at the courthouse AT CUSTODY HEARINGS. Keep in mind that Roy Moore is exactly the kind of creepy, Bible-thumping moralizer that you would expect – he’s used his twisted vision of religion to attack women, the LGBTQ community and more. Moore issued a denial to the WaPo’s story, saying: “These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign.” His campaign referred to the story as “fake news.” He’s now raising money and campaigning on this issue. I’m not joking. A handful of Republicans are saying he should step aside or step down but he’s not going to, and I predict that those Republicans who are critical now will end up welcoming Moore with open arms if and when he’s elected. Again, Alabama’s gonna ‘bama and while electing a child molester is a bad look, I still think the voters of Alabama will put this a–hole into the Senate.

A few more things of note. Breitbart Media figures have literally gone on TV to defend Roy Moore by saying it was “just one girl” (like you get one “freebie” at molesting children) and hey, at least Roy Moore was single at the time (so he didn’t cheat on a wife when he molested children). Sean Hannity was also in full meltdown mode, and there’s a renewed effort to #FireHannity after he started talking about “consensual” relationships with 14-year-olds.

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156 Responses to “Senate candidate Roy Moore has a long history of ‘dating’ underage girls”

  1. OSTONE says:

    Don’t want to be a Debbie downer, but it’s Alabama, as Deep South as it gets, they would elect Satan as long as the R is beside his name. So Roy Moore will likely get elected despite his gross and criminal conduct. It’s tough living in the South nowadays, y’all. Stay strong AL Celebitchies and do not forget to go out and vote!

  2. HH says:

    I don’t really enjoy cable news period, but Fox News is truly another world. I’m not saying other channels don’t have “spin” at various times, but Fox operates with reckless abandon when it comes to moral decency and facts. The people that watch Fox as their main source of news cannot possibly be well-tethered to reality.

  3. MTC says:

    Reading this and some of the quotes this morning leaves no doubt the GOP has sold their souls to the Devil to stay in power.

  4. Sixer says:

    Somehow, I stumbled over this here in the UK during my morning Twatter wanderings. And Oh. My. God. The number of people in positions of authority and responsibility making excuses for him. I went away feeling sick to my stomach.

  5. Megan says:

    Some days I just needs to stay in bad and hug my kitties. I am disgusted by how low America has sunk.

  6. Rapunzel says:

    14 year olds cannot legally consent, you fu-ker.

    Hannity and his ilk are poison to our social norms and morals. And Roy Moore needs to go to jail.

    Btw, Moore isn’t a judge anymore, right? Wasn’t he debarred?

  7. Annabelle Bronstein says:

    This is just disgusting. The lengths these old bigoted white men will go to cover for each other is insane. Like bro, you just defended a pedophile. This jig is up, WE SEE YOU.

    Side note: maybe we should stop calling them conservatives? Conservatives theoretically work to preserve societal norms (i.e. Pedophilia is always BAD). But these jackasses are degrading the very fabric of our society. So right wing nuts, Republicans, GOP, yes. Conservative? No.

    • Mermaid says:

      Totally agree with you. Beyond disgusted at the boundless hypocrisy of these people. I have family that voted for him and they were over the moon gleeful about the Weinstein allegations but radio silence over this. I’m like spare me your outrage. You voted for a man whose been accused of unwanted sexual advances by 16 women and even worse allegations.

      • magnoliarose says:

        These crimes have nothing to do with a party. That is how sad this is. This story is about a poor little girl whose life was ruined.
        If anyone ever blew the whole lid off the Epstein scandal, the world will never be the same. No one would believe in anything or anyone anymore. It is the darkest most…I don’t even have words because no word can capture the evil. Movies aren’t even as bad as that and if one were made the audience would think it was too over the top and ridiculous.

  8. Aang says:

    An Alabama republican has justified this by saying “Mary was a teen when she married Joseph”. Over at Fox News the comments all say this a Hillary/Obama conspiracy. These people are the worst of the worst, both stupid and vicious, and I have no doubt Moore will get plenty of votes.

  9. RBC says:

    All the sex scandals happening in the entertainment business may be headed over to politics now. I have a feeling there are quite a few politicians who are worried that their bad behaviour is going to come out. This is just the tip of the iceberg

    • IlsaLund says:

      I’m waiting for Capitol Hill to implode. Those politicians are probably scared the wave is going to hit them as well.

      • RBC says:

        Waiting for the other shoe to drop in that dustup between Rand Paul and his neighbour. Like some people have pointed out it seems very sketchy…..

      • magnoliarose says:

        @RBC
        I KNOW!!! Sketchy af. He did something bad enough that man lost his mind and went crazy on him.

      • Tate says:

        The Rand Paul thing was definitely not over a lawn dispute.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        so looking at the Rand Paul thing…Paul himself clearly wants it dropped and not in the news OR in the courts.

        first, he downplayed the injuries. he also retweeted that article from the conservative paper that basically debunked the lawn-issue theory. so, he wants us to know that it wasn’t a lawn dispute.

        second, the neighbor who attacked him wasn’t charged with any kind of felony even though assaulting a US congressman is a felony. (to add, Paul could have literally died from those injuries, had one of the broken/displaced ribs cut a major artery.) though, the authorities have said they’re still “investigating”, so he MIGHT, at a later date, be charged more seriously.

        third, the neighbor pleaded not guilty. WTF? if the ONLY charge you were facing right now is a misdemeanor and a fine, wouldn’t you plead guilty NOW to avoid a possible felony charge? why not guilty? why would his lawyer advise him to do so? my guess…neighbor wants his day in court, he wants to let everyone know WHY he did it and, more likely, that he believes he was justified in doing it. I’m going to bet that the charges get dropped, so that Paul can keep all of the info private. I still think it has to do with “stay away from my wife/daughter”…yeah, I know the neighbor allegedly lives alone, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t history or shenanigans of any sort.

    • isabelle says:

      Does it matter? Red Staters would vote for a resurrected Ted Bundy if he had a R by his name.

  10. HadToChangeMyName says:

    Well, the head of their party bragged about grabbing women by the hoo-ha, so what do you expect?

  11. Indiana Joanna says:

    Even after weeks of so much horrible news, Moore trolling juvenile court (as assistant district attorney) and shopping malls for young girls for sexual prey still makes me feel physcially ill.

    This guy, who already has a history of hate all under the guise of self righteous religiosity, is a sick monster. I hope the people of Alabama rise up and kick him to the curb.

    • Esmom says:

      I know, hearing the story about how he offered to “watch” her while her mom was busy in the courtroom just took my breath away with its audacity. It’s beyond heartbreaking that this will be dismissed a “fake news.” I honestly don’t know how we will ever recover from the discrediting of the press that Trump and his ilk have spearheaded.

  12. third ginger says:

    Thank heavens and Kaiser for the puppy pic with young Mr. H. Otherwise, I would still have tears in my eyes from reading the defenses of this vile creature. Best one yet: the “Mary and Joseph” excuse from an Alabama party leader. I am full of admiration for Nicole Wallace calling out the BS, exploding about “consent?” and “he said; she said.” On MORNING JOE today, “What would you do if a 32 year old came to pick up your 16 year old?” Wallace: “Shoot him!”

  13. Jerusha says:

    🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Karma’s a bitch! Roy’s just following in the wellworn footsteps of Jimmie Swaggert, Jim Bakker, et al.

    Last night I did phone banking for Doug. So far, so good.

    Doug Jones is riding in our Veterans’ Day Parade today, on the Labor float. This evening I’m attending the Fish Fry(vegetarian-won’t eat the fish)get together for Doug. The great JOHN LEWIS will be there speaking for Doug!

  14. grabbyhands says:

    Yes, it was a plot by the Democrats to bring him down. Completely ignoring the fact that the woman bringing the allegations against him is a 45 voting Republican. Not to mention, what person on their right mind would willingly subject themselves to the unavoidable vitriol that would come out in the climate we are now living in?

    I don’t know who comes off as the biggest asshole in this – Moore himself, Sean Hannity and Lynda McLaughlin (how bad do you need to hate yourself as a woman to defend his actions?), the Republican strategist who made such disgusting comments (“We’re gonna see if that old adage is true: that the only way he can lose this race is with a live boy or a dead girl. Alabama’s gonna test the specs on that,” said David Mowery, an Alabama Republican strategist. “Hold my beer.”), the county GOP chairman who literally said they would take Moore over any Democrat or the rabid base who sink lower and lower in their stretch to defend ANYTHING done by someone with an R behind their name.

  15. Christin says:

    I suppose the men defending him would be A-OK with a lawyer in his early 30s calling and meeting up with their 14 year old daughter. Because when politics are stripped away, that’s what this involves.

    I read the article yesterday, and I believe the allegations. These women really have nothing to gain. The one who was 14 has her mother and acquaintances backing up her story, and the court records show there was indeed a divorce hearing during that timeframe.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      The story was well sourced, the women did not approach the paper first, and there are secondary sources corroborating the main accounts, in detail. It happened, and it’s good journalism too. I feel for the main story victim; it sounds as if she finally connected his abuse to her subsequent problems in relationships and life generally, and knew her situation rendered her less credible. One of the many enraging aspects of living as a victim of abuse: If it causes problems, as it will, people will use your having problems to discredit your story. But if a victim is ‘doing well,’ they’ll say, “It couldn’t have been so bad, because look how well they’re doing!”

      • jwoolman says:

        Oddly enough, what adds credibility to the women’s claims (besides the fact that there are three of them so far, won’t be surprised if more to come) is that they didn’t accuse him of everything under the sun. They were clear about what he did do, but also about what he didn’t do.

    • notasugarhere says:

      They probably would be ok with it. The idea being, “Fine, upstanding, white Christian lawyer wants to date my daughter? With my blessing, let’s get that dangerous daughter of Evil Eve married off before she causes trouble for men in the world.” Or conversely they’re jealous that he was able to do these things and get away with it up to now, when they wanted too as well.

  16. serena says:

    Dear god.. these people are f*cking insane.. lock ‘em all up.

  17. Talie says:

    Daniel Dale has been collecting responses on his Twitter from Alabama state republicans and the responses are…horrifying!

  18. Rapunzel says:

    The grossest thing about this is it’s so partisan. Nobody defending Moore would defend a Democrat accused of the same crimes. The GOP is party over everything, and it has become party over morals and party over sanity as a result.

  19. Reindeer says:

    I’m in Alabama. Huge Doug Jones supporter, and, I voted for Michael Hansen (first openly gay candidate to run), before giving Doug Jones my support.

    (for those who don’t know… Doug Jones successfully prosecuted two men, members of the KKK, for the church bombing in Birmingham in the 60′s, that killed 4 young girls, and caused another to lose her eye.)

    I want to give y’all a little hope. I have seen more signs in support of Doug Jones than Roy Moore: though, I did recently see a church that had a giant, homemade sign for Roy Moore in their front yard. (so much for separation of Church and State). People know he is corrupt. And I thiiiiiink they are starting to realize how bad he is. There will be many who will vote for him, but I feel that there will also be many Republicans that abstain from voting, in general.

    • IlsaLund says:

      If Republicans can’t bring themselves to vote for Democrat (which makes no sense if the Dem is the better qualified candidate), then at least abstain and don’t vote. Just pray that y’all get a large Democratic turnout to help push Jones to victory.

    • Jerusha says:

      I’m in Mobile, Reindeer. Mobile is a Repub town, but I see Jones yard signs all over. Haven’t seen any Moore signs yet, but as I said yesterday if I supported him I’d be embarrassed to let anyone know about it.
      I especially see a lot of Jones signs in the Historic District and Old Dauphinway and Springhill. These are the areas where our rich people live. I have to believe that the non-knuckledragging Repubs are repulsed by Moore and will cross over. Hope, hope, hope.

  20. IlsaLund says:

    I mean what can you say. It speaks for itself. If there was ever any doubt about the moral decay of Republicans and evangelicals this answers it. Unf@#$ing believable.

    When people show you who they are, believe them. That message needs to run with a picture of Roy Moore 24/7.

  21. TeamAwesome says:

    I have a friend who knows the main woman from this story. Most of the comments on his Facebook post were from people who also know her, and they were all shocked but supportive and wanting others to know that she isn’t a liar.

    As for the Mary and Joseph comment, I have been glad to see AL pastors come out hard against such ignorance. It can be hard down here for a liberal Democrat, but I have such hope about this election. Go, Doug, go!!!!

  22. Jaina says:

    There’s also a law in Alabama that says no ones name can be removed from the ballot in the 76 days before the election but the votes can be decertified or not counted if he resigned or was forced out but…not likely unfortunately.

    I’m still hoping there’s a chance this asshole doesn’t get voted into office. It’s a scary time to be a woman, POC or LGBTQIA+ in Al.

    • IlsaLund says:

      It’s absolutely gut wrenching that someone like Moore could be elected to the office of US Senator by a majority of the people in his state. And mainly for no other reason than people have been conditioned to vote for anyone with an R beside their name.

      • Juls says:

        Conditioned to vote R not matter what. Against their own self interest no less. A lot of people in Alabama (and everywhere) would actually benefit more from D policies and suffer more under R policies. But, who cares of he molested children? As long as he stops abortion, they don’t care what happens to them after birth. It makes my blood boil. The R party plays these people like fiddles with an abominable education system and cramming religion down their throats.

  23. Annetommy says:

    Horrible. But in all the discussion about how the dam is breaking and views are changing the only reaction from the WH about the 16 women who have accused trump is that they are lying. Yes, it’s disgraceful that film people, TV stars, comics and even middle-ranking politicians have been acting this way, but it’s far worse that the POTUS, damned by his own pussy grabbing words, gets off scot free.

  24. happyoften says:

    Never doubt the Republican’s base to rationalize complete trash into office, while screaming like howler monkeys about Bill Clinton. They, as a group, don’t care about families, and have no values. They will turn a blind eye to anything… marital infidelity, sexual harrassment, s&m hookers, treason, lying…. for all of the bible thumping and god bothering, they have no actual standards for behavior we would recognize as such.

    Now, if it turns out any of these teens were black? Then you may see some blowback. Male? Forgetaboutit! He’d be toast. Voted for Hillary? He’d be drawn and quartered.

    But, molesting 14 year old girls? Not an issue. Seeing as their goal is to return us back to the halycon days when wimmin’s didn’t get all educated and uppity about their rights and black folks knew their place too? 14 year olds were getting married on the regular back then. So dating them, even as a 32 yr old (shudder) won’t even give them pause.

    Seriously. It will subdue his turnout, since republicans aren’t all nuts, but I fully expect him to win. Terrifying but true.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert molested teenage boys. The party has been very silent about it.

      • happyoften says:

        Yeppers. I’d love to say if it had been girls he molested the outcome would have been different. Maybe. He was from Illinois, I believe, a reliably blue state thanks to Chicago.

        But this is Alabama, politics have become greatly polarized in the interim, and Moore may get continued support simply because they (the base) don’t appreciate a bunch of Northern Liberals telling them who they can vote for. Some of them won’t even really see a problem with it.

        I am hoping this peels enough voters off that, combined with Trump’s energizing Democrat’s turnout, we can pull out a win. Fingers crossed. But I live in a red state, and am here to tell you, alot of these folks don’t think right.

  25. Veronica says:

    Women are chattel to these people, don’t kid yourself. A woman’s life means nothing to them. He’ll win, and the Republicans are only distancing themselves superficially to appeal the more moderate members of their party. I’ve been a moderate for years and split ticketed since I was 18, but I can tell you right now that the Republican party will not get a single goddamn vote out of me until the party inevitably capsizes under the weight of its own supremacist evil. I might get bumbling corporatists and a divided party out of the Democrats, but I at least I can go to sleep at night knowing I didn’t vote for somebody who argues a 14 year old can legally consent to a thirty year old’s advances.

  26. happy girl says:

    Just crying on the inside. Don’t have anything else.

  27. I'mScaredAsHell says:

    Remember in 1988, when Gary Hart had to drop out of the Presidential race because he had a mistress? Seems like an eternity. Perhaps the Washington Post is going to out politicians the way the New York Times is outing entertainment industry.

  28. Michelle says:

    Don’t you know that Anthony Weiner is sitting in jail right now shaking his head saying ‘I’m sitting in prison after sexting a 16 year old and Roy’s going to be a US Senator after molesting a 14 year old’.

  29. Jay (the Canadian one) says:

    No fan of bible thumping either but I don’t really think that’s relevant to the offence itself. Even if it was Obama himself that did this it wouldn’t make it any less disgusting.

  30. Carol says:

    You guys I think I’m done with men. I’m bi and I think I just cant with men anymore in terms of dating. White men – they’re just too scary for me now. they’re violent and sexist and they lust after children. No thanks.

  31. Div says:

    I can not with the idiots defending this monster pedophile. The Mary and Joseph defense was the craziest, but so are the “it’s all a libruhl conspiracy people.” FFS all of the women are registered Republicans and one said she voted for Trump, but no it’s somehow Hillary and Obama’s fault. It shouldn’t matter what the political views of the victims are either way but I thought the crazies would be more likely to see the truth on they usually view Dems as the devil and this woman voted for Trump…but nope.

    I hope the Democrat Doug Jones sweeps the race, because if he loses to Moore that says even more about our country than electing Trump.

  32. lyla says:

    gross. but the party did nothing when a woman said that trump assaulted her when she was 14, so it doesn’t surprise me that they are standing by his side. also remember those who did condemn trump after his pussy tape, later embraced him. so no hope whatsoever that they would do the right thing.

    hannity has a 15 yo daughter, guess he’s okay with 30 yo who want to date her (or do other stuff). eyeroll

    and lastly, my favorite tweet yesterday pointed out that people who spent countless hours looking for a secret pedo pizza code are now shrugging off a politician being accused of it on the record.

  33. Renee says:

    No surprise here. This guy always seemed skeevy.

  34. robyn says:

    This, besides the Russians, is why Trump won. The no-moral Christian right who overlook and/or sometimes approve of Trump’s disgusting ways and the ways of people like Moore. You wouldn’t teach your child to behave like these jerks … but they’re fine as leaders for those who put hatred and fear of “others” and their grievances and selfishness above all else. The whole stupid thoughtless lot of them are worse than deplorable!!!

  35. madonami says:

    Somewhat rando comment: You know who else can get f-cked? Jerry Hall. Rupert Murdoch is disgusting and she married him knowing it. He is actively, publicly disgusting, has been for a long time, and she sits silent. Add her to The Complicit List.

  36. Tiffany :) says:

    What really troubles me, is that some members of the GOP are acting like girls aged 14-17 are fair game. I think there are a LOT of men who agree with that in this country, and it needs to be condemned. I’d love to see the auditor who made the Mary and Joseph comparison be treated as a pariah.

  37. Gary Burnaska says:

    What is telling is when these accusations came out, the Moore camp’s first reaction was not to claim it was some dirty smear tactic from his Liberal opponents, but to use some bible babble to rationalize sex with underage girls.

  38. Mark Lanzarotta says:

    It’s pretty obvious by now that they have a very strange way of thinking out in rural areas. This story about the man that Steve Bannon promoted really makes you wonder, even more than before, about the type of person these Far Right people really are.

  39. Mark Lanzarotta says:

    I am afraid this is getting a little ridiculous now. Is this really the same person that Steve Bannon promoted over Luther Strange? And why, Mr. Bannon? Explain your extraordinary failure to adequately background check this guy.

    • madonami says:

      I don’t think Bannon failed to background check him. I think his background is a feature not a bug for Bannon. They (Bannonites, the batsh*t Breitbart “wing”) WANT the pycho racists, misogynists, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, predators, destructors, etc. Bannon backed Moore *because of this crap*, not in spite of it.

      There’s a reason (well, a ton of them, actually) we all raised holy hell about the dangers of elevating Bannon way back during the campaign and a reason he’s not even look-alike-costumed on SNL, he’s just The Grim Reaper. This guy is extremely dangerous and bonkers.

      One (maybe) bright spot to all of this is that the GOP seems to – MAYBE – finally be getting closer to stop allowing Bannon to act as a de facto head of the RNC, and – MAYBE – Bannon finally loses whatever sorry remaining clout they gave him and is forced to retreat back under the bridge from whence he came.

      Although, you know, never underestimate the GOP’s willingness to cozy up to terrible people if they think they’re going to get more power out of it, morals/consequences be damned.

      Still, this is a pretty big disaster for the GOP and, I think (?), this was pretty much all Bannon, so here’s hoping he finally gets relegated back to the nutbar fringe where he belongs.

  40. madonami says:

    Given all the shade (rightly) being thrown at 30-somethings “dating” teenagers, anybody else think Leo DeCap and other Hollywood (and other industry types) might be feeling some heat? Leo comes to mind especially.

    To be clear, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a, say, 12-year age gap between someone who is, say, 40 and someone who is 52. But, obviously (at least I thought it was), the younger people are, the more significant age gaps become.

  41. Mandy says:

    I’m a democrat in Alabama. We are certainly out numbered, but we do exist! I’ve been in a real funk for the past year but I will tell you that there is hope that Doug Jones can pull through. I know many republicans who plan to cross their party line and vote blue. Many of them are horrified by Moore. It’s a scary time down here right now.

  42. Bella says:

    I think Americans need a refresher course on secularism. Freedom of religion isn’t just freedom to practise your own beliefs, it’s freedom from the practice of other people’s beliefs. Indeed, even if religion was proven fact not belief, you should still have the freedom to say you disagree with God’s opinions and that you choose to stand up for your values and not worship him. I’m not going to worship someone as violent, sexist and homophobic as the God of the bible is portrayed, whether or not he exists, and whatever the consequences to me. So whatever the bible says about this case is irrelevant.

    • Lindy says:

      The really hard thing, though, is that there’s kind of an inevitable clash between our “free exercise” clause and our “anti-establishment” clause. Just as an example: if a parent refuses medical treatment for his child on the basis of religious beliefs, that parent is in theory protected by the “free exercise” clause. In theory, that parent is free to exercise his religious beliefs however he sees fit.

      But we have laws and regulations on the books about child endangerment and child welfare that are designed to protect children from parents who do not act in the best interest of the child. If the government allowed the parent’s freedom to exercise religious beliefs to override the laws about child welfare, that would be an implicit acknowledgement that the government supported those particular religious beliefs–in other words, the government would be lending its weight to a specific religion, or establishing it as a state-supported/sponsored religion. And that would run up against the anti-establishment clause. In these cases, the freedom clause usually takes a back seat to the establishment clause. And in general, historically, the US has tended to lean toward putting the kibosh on religious freedom for individuals when that religious freedom would run afoul of the establishment clause–it’s far more dangerous to enshrine in law (or court precedent) the state support for crazy religious stuff than it is to set aside the occasional individual’s right to religious freedom when that right will harm others or destabilize society.

      What we’re seeing lately is the religious right pushing very zealously to foreground the religious freedom clause over and against the anti-establishment clause–in other words, to reverse the historic tendency to avoid lending government support to particular religious beliefs, especially when those beliefs cause damage to others. It’s pretty frightening, and it definitely threatens to erode the secularism that is an absolute bedrock for functional democracies. Which is a long way of me saying I agree 100% with you, Bella! :-)

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