Anti-abortion activist Janet Porter drew a gaggle of Religious Right activists to Birmingham this afternoon for a press conference praising Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, a portion of the more than 200 people she said have signed a new letter standing up for Moore after a spate of allegations that he made sexual advances on teenage girls.
The press conference, which Moore and his wife Kayla attended and Moore spoke at, featured effusive praise for Moore’s character and record and vehement denunciations of the “character assassination” Moore’s supporters say is being waged by his enemies. Speakers identified these enemies not only as the women accusing him of sexual misconduct (“lies” and “vile calumnies”), but also the “lynch mob media,” “gay terrorists,” “communist Democrats,” “anti-God Republicans,” and other enemies of life, liberty and the Ten Commandments.
Speakers included anti-abortion extremists like Flip Benham and Operation Save America’s Rusty Thomas, long-time Religious Right fringe figures and like Alan Keyes and Gordon Klingenschmitt, right-wing internet personalities like Activist Mommy, local pastors, and even Janet Porter’s mom, who is still furious about the way Republicans treated her daughter when she ran unsuccessfully for the Ohio state senate last year. Also speaking was Steve Hotze, a Texas activist who has been a major funder of Moore’s campaign, who Porter said had helped to organize the event.
One standout—both for being a non-Christian and for the intense ugliness of his anti-gay rhetoric—was Rabbi Noson Leiter, who denounced the “abomination” of marriage equality and “homosexualist gay terrorism and blackmail” and praised Moore for taking on “immoral Bible-hating millionaires” including “anti-god Republicans like McCain and Romney.” He said Noah’s flood “was triggered by societal recognition of same-gender marriage—so-called marriage.” Letier said, “We need Judge Moore to stand up to the LGBT transgender mafia, which legislates sins that the Bible brands abomination into public policy, thereby advancing laws that result in state-sanctioned abuse of children and adults alike.”
Benham also joined in the apocalyptic anti-gay rhetoric, warning that America has turned away from truths such as that “homosexual sodomy destroys those who participate in it and nations who approve of it.”
Taken together, the speakers’ comments mirrored the disturbing public record of Moore himself: anti-reproductive choice, anti-LGBTQ, and solidly in favor of using the power of government to bring the country back to, in Moore’s words, “the One on whom it is founded.”
Moore joked that he had already brought unity to the country by uniting Republicans and Democrats in Washington who don’t want him there. He denounced the “scurrilous” and “false” allegations of sexual misconduct, which he said were “an effort by Mitch McConnell and his cronies to steal this election from the people of Alabama.”
Moore returned to the themes that have made him a folk hero among Religious Right activists, denouncing the federal judiciary and pledging to bring to Washington, D.C. the “truth” that America cannot succeed without acknowledging God. “We’ve got to stop judicial supremacy or we’re losing our form of government,” he said.
Moore was not the only one who sees his election in existential terms. Alan Keyes warned that “if we let them get away with this, we will have shut the door on all our rights,” turning us from the United States of America into “the United States of Serfdom, worse than the Soviet Union.”
After forcing reporters to sit through many denunciations of the sexual misconduct allegations, Porter opened the floor to questions but insisted, borrowing Ronald Reagan’s “we paid for this microphone” line, that reporters could only ask questions about “issues” and not “unsubstantiated allegations.” After a couple of reporters asked questions about the allegations, Moore walked offstage without answering and the event was over, though some speakers stuck around to holler at reporters.