The Republican Party has cast itself as the defender of family values in a world swirling with oppositional forces. Such a platform appeals to us, as Mormon women. We believe that “the family is ordained of God” and have been given a charge to “to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”
But is the Republican Party advocating for strong families? The endorsement of Roy Moore to the Senate stands out as the latest and most potent example of how the GOP has lost its way. That Moore lost the election is no cause for endless celebration. The Republican Party chose to support him and so did a large portion of voters.
Uniting and Strengthening White Families
“I think [America] was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”
The alarming conclusion we draw from this statement is that Moore believes that when white families are united, our country is great. To say that our country was great when slave families were ripped apart and many of God’s children were denied the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is in conflict with our belief that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” Recognizing the dignity and inherent worth of each individual leads us to condemn the past sins of slavery, not to romanticize them, and to “eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism, and nationalism. Such statements by Moore, combined with his winning 48 percent of the Alabama vote, force us to ask whether unifying and strengthening black families is even a priority for the GOP or its membership.
Sexual Abuse and the Soul
Sexual aggression has a profound effect on all involved, both in body and soul. Neither political party holds the moral high ground here, but the Republican position as professed defenders of the family makes their collective inability to take a stand against the sexual exploitation of children the very definition of hypocrisy. Party leaders fell in line to support Moore, despite repeated and credible claims that he preyed on and assaulted young girls. The justification that the Republican agenda is more important than removing from power one who would use that power to abuse and exploit only escalates this concern.
GOP leaders hid behind arguments that “the people of Alabama should be able to choose,” thus shifting responsibility away from individual leaders to take a strong moral stand. This ducking should not surprise us, considering that we have already watched it play out during a presidential election with a candidate who had similar allegations against him.
State’s Rights over Human Rights
When Moore mused that removing constitutional amendments after the 10th would “eliminate many problems,” he utilized the rights and lives of a good portion of Americans as fodder for a twisted intellectual exercise. The explanation that he was merely expressing a common Conservative concern about state’s rights does little to soothe. Let’s take this exercise farther and imagine the world he proposes.
By eliminating these amendments, it is possible to eliminate the citizenship rights of those born on American soil. The right to vote could be reserved only for the wealthiest men who could afford to pay exorbitant poll taxes. They could reserve the right to vote and citizenship status only to those who could prove their lineage. They could reinstate slavery and forced servitude based on birthright and divest persons of life, liberty, and property without due process or equal protection of the law. Their Senators and Representatives would have the ability to increase their salaries at will and the president could have unlimited terms, even if it were proven he had given aid to an enemy of the state.
At best, Moore demonstrates willful disregard for the ways his words would be understood. At worst, he calls upon a theme in Alabama history as a signal to those who would desire to “restore a system of white supremacy and racial segregation.” Clearly Moore thinks state’s rights are more important than human rights.
Misusing the Authority of God to Justify Intolerance
Roy Moore has covered himself in the cloak of a righteous Christian man. He installed the Ten Commandments in his courthouse stating that they are the source of American law. In the course of defending his placement of the commandments, he defied the law of this nation. He lost every court case that involved his display and was ordered to remove the display. Even then he refused and was removed from office for judicial misconduct for failure to comply with an order of the federal court.
Moore believes that he is above the law and has defended his placement of the Ten Commandments with very specific language to reflect his belief that people who are not Christian have no place in government. Recalling that this is a man who has little regard for any amendment to the Constitution that was ratified after the Civil War, and believes that America was great back then, what perils would have awaited any who do not practice Christianity and in the manner of Moore?
The Golden Rule
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” We each have three sons and have made the Golden Rule the centerpiece of our homes and family life. As we evaluate candidates in the future, let us ask this question: “Would I feel differently about this person if I were of a different race or gender or sexual orientation?” If the answer is yes, we should evaluate whether we truly possess Christlike love for all of God’s children, or if we only think we do.
Setting Things Right
We know the virtues that we value. We know many Republicans who exemplify those virtues — good, humble and charitable people. They are our friends, neighbors, and family. Each Christian Republican has a choice to make: either fight for the heart of the party or look elsewhere. To do nothing is to accept the will of Roy Moore and others like him.
Charlotte Mountain of Newburgh, N.Y., is a graduate of Mercy College, a working mother of wonderful men, and active in her church community. She is the Racial Justice Advisory Board lead for Mormon Women for Ethical Government. Emma Petty Addams of Omaha, Neb., is a musician, mother and a facilitating director of Mormon Women for Ethical Government, a nonpartisan grassroots organization of more than 5,000 women. MWEG is a private organization and is not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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