- Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
- Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Alabama’s US Senate seat, has received an outpouring of support from pastors and evangelical leaders across the state.
- One Alabama pastor excused sexual harassment allegations against Moore by saying that “some 14-year-olds… could pass for 20.”
- Moore and his supporters say critics doubt the legitimacy of the accusations from multiple women.
Evangelicals in Alabama have largely expressed support for Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore since multiple women came forward to accuse the former state Supreme Court justice of sexual misconduct.
Women have accused Moore of pursuing sexual relationships with them while they were teenagers. Reporters have documented that many people who knew Moore during the time the alleged misconduct occurred said he had a reputation for pursuing teenagers – and was even known to security guards at a local mall because of his penchant for hanging around and approaching young girls there.
“I don’t know how much these women are getting paid, but I can only believe they’re getting a healthy sum,” pastor Earl Wise told the Boston Globe. “How these gals came up with this, I don’t know. They must have had some sweet dreams somewhere down the line.”
“Plus,” Wise added, “there are some 14-year-olds, who, the way they look, could pass for 20.”
Another evangelical preacher, Franklin Graham, took to Twitter to lash out against critics in Moore’s defense.
“The hypocrisy of Washington has no bounds,” Graham wrote. “So many denouncing Roy Moore when they are guilty of doing much worse than what he has been accused of supposedly doing.”
The Boston Globe spoke to dozens of evangelicals in Alabama, many of whom defended Moore and said they would continue to support his candidacy.
Not all evangelical Christians condone Moore’s alleged behavior towards women.
“As an evangelical Christian, an Alabamian and a Republican, I’m ashamed of Roy Moore and upset that so many people are determined to defend him against sexual assault allegations, no matter what,” William Brewbaker III wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times.
Moore has denied all the allegations and accused his opponents of launching a political witch hunt in an attempt to deny him a seat in the US Senate. Meanwhile, Democrats and many Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, say the women deserve to be believed and have called for Moore to step aside.
Moore has resisted those calls and expects to be on the ballot during next month’s special election.