Roy Moore’s ‘Radical Theology’ Is Under the Radar as Election Looms
"His presence in the Senate would give a dangerous and undeserved level of credibility to his extreme views on LGBTQ people, reproductive choice, religious pluralism, and the Constitution."
Roy Moore’s U.S. Senate platform on his campaign site is sparse and straightforward: The Alabama GOP candidate accused of having sexual contact with girls as young as 14 touts a Christian fundamentalist agenda that makes no apology about rolling back basic constitutional rights.
Amid myriad women coming forward alleging Moore engaged in sexual misconduct, his open hostility to democratic norms, and his extreme positions on everything from immigration to abortion and LGBTQ rights have largely escaped the national spotlight in the final weeks of the looming December 12 special election.
Moore’s campaign site highlights nine issues, pushing a range of policies designed to discriminate, remove constitutional freedoms from large swaths of the U.S. population, infuse Christianity into a range of federal policies, and dismantle the country’s health-care infrastructure.
On LGBTQ people in the military: “Homosexuality should be against military policy as was the law prior to Bill Clinton.”
On abortion rights: “Federal funding for Planned Parenthood or any form of abortion should be stopped.”
On undocumented immigration: “We must … use our own military to protect our border. If a wall is our only option, then we should build it immediately.”
On health-care access: “Obamacare should be completely repealed as soon as possible. … Churches and charitable organizations should be encouraged to help the needy and poor.”
On education: “The federal government should not hamper the educational systems of the states as there is no authority for federal involvement under the Constitution. … Charter schools, vouchers, tax credits, home schooling, Christian schools, and technical training should be encouraged.”
Peter Montgomery, a senior fellow at People For The American Way’s Right Wing Watch who has tracked Moore’s political career, said the candidate’s inclusion in Congress’ upper chamber would help validate and legitimize an extremist vision of the United States borne from Christian fundamentalists’ “half-century grudge with the federal courts.”
“Even in the context of today’s Republican Party, Moore’s extremism stands out,” Montgomery said in an interview with Rewire. “His presence in the Senate would give a dangerous and undeserved level of credibility to his extreme views on LGBTQ people, reproductive choice, religious pluralism, and the Constitution.”
The extent to which Moore opposes constitutional and civil rights, Montgomery said, might be underestimated by media outlets covering the race to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former Senate seat.
“I’m not sure how widely it’s understood that he’s not just opposed to marriage equality, but that he actually wants to make gay people criminals. I think it’s hard for political journalists to grapple with the radical theology that underlies his policies and political agenda,” he said.
Moore, who this week blamed the alleged sexual assaults reported by the Washington Post on “the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered who want to change our culture,” has been open about his disdain for LGBTQ rights. He wrote in a 2002 court opinion that LGBTQ people are engaged in a “criminal lifestyle,” and in 2014 sought a constitutional convention to stop marriage equality. Moore in 2015 instructed state judges to enforce Alabama’s ban on marriage equality, ignoring the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage, leading to his suspension for the rest of his term on the court.
Moore said in a 2005 interview that “homosexual conduct” should be illegal in the U.S., CNN reports.
After admitting in September that he was unfamiliar with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Moore has advocated for the U.S. military to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border to stop undocumented people from crossing into the U.S.. There’s no indication that Moore has proposed an immigration policy that doesn’t center on a militarized response to undocumented families entering the United States.
Americans for Legal Immigration, an anti-immigrant organization that uses racist terms like “anchor baby” and advocates for English to be made the official language of the United States, endorsed Moore, and the Republican touted the group’s backing. The organization in its 2017-2018 federal candidate survey charges that providing any path to citizenship for undocumented people would deliver “permanent political power to the Democrats and Socialists.”
Moore has been adamant about repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and describes the federal program that subsidizes health insurance companies as “socialized medicine.” Doing away with the ACA with no replacement plan would leave tens of millions without access to affordable health insurance.
But Moore’s extreme policy positions would hardly isolate him in the Senate, Montgomery said, pointing out that GOP Senate hardliners have enthusiastically endorsed Moore before the sexual misconduct allegations as a potential partner in their political project to outlaw abortion, roll back civil rights, advocate for anti-immigrant federal policies, and undo the nation’s health-care system.
“He’d be one more vote for the worst policy proposals being pushed through the Republican–controlled Congress,” he said. “That’s why Republican senators like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee had endorsed him before the allegations about him preying on teenage girls were reported. They did know his record and they were ready to welcome him to the Senate. That’s a scandal in its own right.”