Alabama Republicans vote today in a special election primary to pick their nominee to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate. In the running are Luther Strange, who was temporarily appointed to replace Sessions after he was confirmed as attorney general; Rep. Mo Brooks, infamous for his denunciation of the “war on whites”; and Roy Moore, the culture-war crusader who has twice been removed from posts on the state supreme court for defying federal courts. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, there will be a runoff primary next month.
Moore is a hero to many on the Religious Right for his defiance of a federal court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building in 2003, which led to him being removed from the court. He’s a hero to the anti-LGBTQ movement in part because of his attempts to defy federal marriage equality rulings, which led to him being suspended from the bench again.
Moore is also beloved by a segment of the Religious Right who believe that laws that they think violate what Moore has called “God’s law” are unenforceable. Much of Moore’s career has been bankrolled by Michael Peroutka, a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, which was involved in last weekend’s violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Peroutka runs an organization called the Institute on the Constitution that argues that “the function of civil government is to obey God and to enforce God’s law.”
As Brian wrote back when Moore entered the race in April:
In his announcement today, Moore warned that “the foundations of the fabric of our country are being shaken tremendously: Our families are being crippled by divorce and abortion, our sacred institution of marriage has been destroyed by the Supreme Court, and our rights and liberties are in jeopardy.”
Moore has a long record of championing Religious Right causes, as seen in his fights over marriage equality and church-state separation.
While cheering Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ own attempt to spurn the marriage equality decision, Moore likened her ordeal to the Holocaust. He has claimed that Satan is behind same-sex marriage and abortion rights and that God is punishing America for their legalization.
Moore also linked same-sex marriage to child abuse, incest and polygamy and said that the “attempt to destroy the institution of marriage” will “literally cause the destruction of our country,” going so far as to warn that it may lead to war, the confiscation of children, and a civil disobedience movement like the one launched by Martin Luther King, Jr. against segregation. “I hope I don’t give my life, but I’m going to tell you this is a very serious matter,” he said.
It is no surprise that Moore has called homosexuality a “criminal lifestyle.”
He described homosexuality as “a crime against nature,” “inherently detrimental to children” and a “lifestyle [that] should never be tolerated.”
“[E]xposing a child to such behavior has a destructive and seriously detrimental effect on the children,” he has said, insisting that 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.”
Unsurprisingly, he believes that Christianity should have privileges over other religious faiths because “they didn’t bring a Quran over on the Pilgrim ship, the Mayflower,” and “Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammad didn’t create us.” Secular government, he claims, has made Christians lose their rights and contributed to the ascendance of Sharia law. He also demanded that Congress refuse to allow Rep. Keith Ellison to take his House seat because he “wants to swear on the Koran” in a ceremonial photo.
He has also railed against the theory of evolution, saying that it “distorted our way of thinking” and that parents should take their children out of schools that teach that humans “evolved from monkeys,” which is not what evolution teaches.
As well as his extreme anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, Moore is close with radical anti-choice groups. He supported his state supreme court colleague Tom Parker in his effort to craft a legal framework for fetal “personhood” that would criminalize all abortion. Two years ago, he accepted an award from the radical anti-choice group Operation Save America, which has been attempting to convince elected officials to defy laws on abortion rights and which has members who have endorsed anti-abortion violence. The anti-choice group Operation Rescue has not only endorsed Moore for Senate, it urged President Trump to name him to the Supreme Court.
It seems that there is no activist too extreme for Moore to embrace: Earlier this year, he joined the radio program of Kevin Swanson, an activist who had famously endorsed the death penalty for gay people, to declare that God had given America a “reprieve from judgment” with the election of Donald Trump.