Moore doesn’t take Bi­ble se­ri­ously

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - OPINION - Fol­low Dana Mil­bank on Twit­ter, @Mil­bank. Dana Mil­bank

So Pres­i­dent Trump, Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell and fel­low Repub­li­cans think Roy Moore, the GOP Se­nate nom­i­nee from Alabama, should quit his Se­nate run only “if these al­le­ga­tions are true.”

If true? Four women, on the record in The Washington Post, say Moore, when he was in his 30s, tried to date them as teens, and one of the women says he had sex­ual con­tact with her when she was 14 and he was 32. Per­haps Repub­li­cans ex­pect video and DNA ev­i­dence from 1979 mag­i­cally to emerge, or a con­fes­sion by Moore? (He de­nies the al­le­ga­tions.) More likely they are just dodg­ing so that they can stick with Moore and keep the seat Repub­li­can -- even if it means hav­ing an al­leged pe­dophile join their cau­cus.

By com­par­i­son, there was more in­tegrity in the de­fense of Moore of­fered by Alabama State Au­di­tor Jim Zei­gler, who told the Washington Ex­am­iner that, even if true, “there’s just noth­ing im­moral or il­le­gal here.” In­deed there’s bib­li­cal prece­dent for Moore’s al­leged be­hav­ior.

“Take Joseph and Mary,” Zei­gler said. “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult car­pen­ter. They be­came par­ents of Je­sus.” Jumpin’ Je­hoshaphat! Let us take se­ri­ously Zei­gler’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, which is con­sis­tent with Moore’s view that “God’s laws are al­ways su­pe­rior to man’s laws,” and the Bi­ble stands above the Con­sti­tu­tion and other pid­dling laws of man. It is true that the Bi­ble does not say “thou shalt not strip to thine tighty whities and kiss a 14-year-old and touch her through her bra and un­der­pants.” The Bi­ble also does not specif­i­cally pro­hibit col­lud­ing with the Rus­sians, ac­cept­ing emol­u­ments, money laun­der­ing or con­spir­acy against the United States. So Moore, and for that mat­ter Pres­i­dent Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion, has noth­ing to worry about.

But if we are to ac­cept the Bi­ble lit­er­ally as the le­gal stan­dard (and not, say, age-of-con­sent laws), we will also have to ac­cept as le­gal cer­tain other ac­tiv­i­ties in 21st-cen­tury Amer­ica, in­clud­ing:

Sacri­fic­ing as a burnt of­fer­ing your young son (Gen­e­sis 22:2) or your daugh­ter, if she comes out of the doors of your house to meet you (Judges 11:30-1, 34-5).

Hav­ing re­bel­lious chil­dren stoned to death by all the men of the city (Deuteron­omy 21:18-21).

Cut­ting off the hand of a woman if she grabs the pe­nis of a man who is fight­ing with her hus­band (Deuteron­omy 25:11-12).

Com­mit­ting in­cest (Gen­e­sis 19:31-36) and can­ni­bal­ism (2 Kings 6:28-29).

And hav­ing the mil­i­tary do all sorts of things to the en­emy that would vi­o­late the Geneva ac­cords:

Kill all boys and women but spare the girls who have not known man in­ti­mately for your­self (Num­bers 31:17-18).

De­stroy all that they have, killing man, woman, child, in­fant, ox, sheep, camel and don­key (1 Sa­muel 15:3).

If we are go­ing to take bib­li­cal law as the lit­eral le­gal stan­dard, we’re also go­ing to have to ban some sta­ples of mod­ern life:

Non-sub­mis­sive women (Eph­e­sians 5:22).

Blended fab­rics (Leviti­cus 19:19), rounded hair­cuts (Leviti­cus 19:27), tat­toos (Leviti­cus 19:28), rude jokes (Eph­e­sians 5:4), di­vorce (Luke 16:18) and us­ing au­to­mo­biles or elec­tric­ity on Sab­bath (Ex­o­dus 35:3).

Ad­di­tion­ally, women will not be al­lowed to teach in houses of wor­ship (1 Ti­mothy 2:12), men will not be al­lowed in at all if their gen­i­tals have been in­jured (Deuteron­omy 23:1), and blind peo­ple, dwarves and the lame will not be al­lowed at the al­tar (Leviti­cus 21:17-23).

I in­tend no dis­re­spect to the Good Book -- just point­ing out a flaw in Zei­gler’s and Moore’s se­lec­tive ap­pli­ca­tion of it as a le­gal code. You don’t have to be un­der shariah law (which, Moore has said, is in force in parts of Illi­nois and In­di­ana) to rec­og­nize that us­ing the Bi­ble as a lit­eral source of law poses some chal­lenges.

In this case, Moore’s long-ago be­hav­ior will never be ad­ju­di­cated in a court of law. Yet even Zei­gler, in of­fer­ing his bib­li­cal de­fense, ap­peared to ac­knowl­edge truth at the core of it: Moore get­ting ro­man­ti­cally in­volved with teens when he was in his 30s.

There’s no al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual in­ter­course, he said, and “Roy Moore fell in love with one of the younger women.” That would be his wife, Kayla, who Zei­gler says is 14 years his ju­nior and whom he was dat­ing around that time.

You don’t need a judge and jury, Repub­li­cans, to de­ter­mine that there was some­thing icky go­ing on or that there is some­thing danger­ous in hav­ing as a se­na­tor a man who places God’s law over man’s -- and then in­ter­prets God’s laws to suit him­self.

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