(NEW YORK TIMES)
By Nicholas Kristof
For decades, one of the most sanctimonious moralizers in American politics has been Roy Moore, the longtime Bible-thumper in Alabama who crusaded against gays, transgender people, Islam and “sexual perversion.”
Moore suggested just this year that the 9/11 terror attacks were God’s punishment because “we legitimize sodomy.” He has said that homosexuality is “the same thing” as sex with a cow and should be criminalized, and argued that Representative Keith Ellison should not be allowed to serve in Congress because he is a Muslim.
All the while, Moore seems to have been the king of hypocrisy. The Washington Post published a devastating account of how he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old schoolgirl.
The victim said that Moore, then a 32-year-old assistant district attorney, drove the girl to his house, removed her clothes and touched her sexually. Under Alabama law, that apparently constitutes sexual abuse in the second degree. If you want an example of a politician who lost support and was arrested for less egregious behavior, consider Anthony Weiner, the former Democratic member of Congress, who is now in prison for sexting a 15-year-old girl.
The Post found three other women who said that Moore pursued them when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers. The women did not contact the Post and were initially reluctant to speak.
Moore denies the accusations as “completely false” — and promptly tried to use them for fund-raising. My reaction was that Moore should have spent less time thundering about the Ten Commandments and more time reading them.
This is of course a larger pattern in American life. As one reader put it on my Facebook page: “Those who moralize most, sin most.”