Yesterday, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore won a Republican primary runoff election to win the party’s nomination to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate. Moore was buoyed by the support of prominent backers of President Donald Trump (if not Trump himself) and by the extreme Religious Right figures who have supported him throughout his career.
Moore, who has twice lost his seat on the Alabama supreme court for defying the federal judiciary, has a decades-long history of extremism. We’ve gone back in the archives to compile a few lowlights:
God’s Judgment on America
CNN reported recently on a February speech in which Moore suggested that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were God’s judgment on America for having “distanced ourselves” from God, including efforts to “legitimize sodomy” and “legitimize abortion.”
Moore has long warned that God is judging America. In a 2012 speech, Moore said that Satan was behind marriage equality and legal abortion, which is why God “has a controversy with the inhabitants of this land, and until we reject those evils, we shall suffer accordingly”:
Homosexuality is a ‘Criminal Lifestyle’
Moore has made no secret of the fact that he believes that, in his words, “homosexual conduct should be illegal,” once saying that marriage equality would “literally cause the destruction of our country.”
But there may be no clearer example of Moore’s extreme anti-gay animus than the 2002 case in which he voted to grant custody of three children to their abusive father over their mother, who was in a same-sex relationship, because homosexuality is a “criminal lifestyle” and “an inherent evil”:
He cited biblical law, including the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, to make his case that “a sexual relationship between two persons of the same gender-creates a strong presumption of unfitness that alone is sufficient justification for denying that parent custody of his or her own children or prohibiting the adoption of the children of others” since “homosexual conduct by a parent is inherently detrimental to children.”
Homosexuality, Moore wrote, is a “criminal lifestyle” that is “abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated.”
“[E]xposing a child to such behavior has a destructive and seriously detrimental effect on the children. It is an inherent evil against which children must be protected,” he said.
“The effect of such a lifestyle upon children must not be ignored, and the lifestyle should never be tolerated,” he wrote. “The common law designates homosexuality as an inherent evil, and if a person openly engages in such a practice, that fact alone would render him or her an unfit parent.”
Moore told Vox last month that the Constitution was written to “foster religion and foster Christianity,” a distillation of his long-held Christian nationalist worldview.
Moore has taken umbrage at efforts to accommodate people of non-Christian faiths, saying that Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim, shouldn’t be seated in the U.S. House after being sworn in on a Quran and, at his Foundation for Moral Law, representing protesters who disrupted a Hindu prayer in the U.S. Senate, saying, “It’s a shame that not one U.S. Senator stood up to defend a tradition that goes back to the very first Continental Congress of acknowledging the one true God of the Holy Scriptures.”
In a radio interview in 2012, Moore lamented that “false religions” were taking hold in the United States: “Christians are being persecuted while people of a religion foreign to our country are doing what they want.”
In the recent interview with Vox, Moore claimed that there are “communities under Sharia law right now in our country,” although he could not name any such communities.
Moore, like Trump, repeatedly questioned Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president. In 2014, he filed a dissenting opinion siding with birther activists who wanted to require Alabama’s secretary of state to investigate the birth certificates of presidential candidates.
Moore has also cast doubt on Obama’s Christianity, saying in 2012 that while he didn’t “know” the president’s faith, Obama did favor the Muslim faith.”
On top of warning that God will judge America for legal abortion, Moore has embraced the support of extremist anti-choice activists, including one who has said that it is “justifiable” to murder abortion providers. In 2015, Moore accepted an award from Operation Save America, a group that wants the government to treat women who have abortions like murderers.
Between his stints on the Alabama supreme court, Moore used his Foundation for Moral Law to advocate extreme “personhood” measures that would outlaw all abortions and could even ban common forms of birth control. On the court, Moore worked with his protégé, Justice Tom Parker, to create a legal “personhood” framework with the goal of undermining abortion rights; Moore concurred in one opinion in which Parker argued, according to a Rewire analysis, that the law requires the “jailing and prosecuting women for not just endangering a developing fetus, but in the case of abortions as well.”
Free Pre-K is Hitler Youth
For several years in between his gigs on the Alabama supreme court, Moore wrote a column for the far-right publication WorldNetDaily. In one memorable 2007 column, Moore wrote that then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s efforts to expand funding pre-K were “another unjustifiable attempt to indoctrinate our youth.”
“When the mind of a young child is subjected to state control before fundamental concepts and basic beliefs are formulated,” he wrote, “the child is much more likely to learn a liberal social and political philosophy with the state as his or her master. Creation and God-given rights are more easily replaced with evolution and government-granted rights. Totalitarian regimes like those of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin knew well the value of a ‘youth corps.’ As Hans Schemm, leader of the Nazi Teacher’s League, once observed, ‘Those who have the youth on their side control the future.’”
In 2015, Moore told extremist radio host Kevin Swanson—who frequently states that the biblical punishment for homosexuality is death—that “I don’t think Christians can actually justify sending their children to schools” that teach evolution.
White Supremacist Ties
Back in 1995, Moore addressed a convention of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group that two decades later was cited by the man who killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston.
But Moore has a much closer relationship with white nationalism: Much of his career has been funded by Michael Peroutka, a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, who as recently as 2012 was leading a meeting of the group in the “national anthem” of “Dixie.