I’m sorry to post about something so local, but some of you outside of Alabama might find this interesting anyway. Because Jeff Sessions was one of our Senators prior to being appointed to US Attorney General, our state is in the process of holding a special election to replace him. The Democratic nominee, Doug Jones, won his nomination outright, but the Republicans are holding a runoff election tomorrow between Luther Strange, who’s currently serving as interim-Senator after being appointed by our now-deposed Governor Robert Bentley, and Roy Moore, who came to fame in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building. He was removed from office. Sadly, he ran for Chief Justice again in 2012 and won. Hard to believe, perhaps, but welcome to Alabama. In 2015, he was removed from office yet again for refusing to recognize the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage.
But here we are again. Our state will decide tomorrow on whether or not Moore will be the Republican nominee for the US Senate. I wrote an op-ed piece over the weekend for our local news site, AL.com. So far, I haven’t heard back, and since the election is tomorrow, I doubt it will be published. So I’ve decided to post it here, in case anyone’s interested in my take. Instead of writing as just an atheist who would obviously be aligned against someone like Moore anyway, I decided to argue why he’s the wrong choice, even from a Christian perspective. As always, feel free to comment.
It’s no secret that Roy Moore has made his Christianity a defining aspect of his campaign for Senate, as well as his entire political career. But this religious grandstanding is precisely one of the reasons why Christians should not vote for him on Tuesday.
Traditionally, Republicans have run on the rule of law and respect for the Constitution. Yet Moore has built his career around ignoring and violating clear laws of the land. It’s fine for Moore to believe that God’s laws are superior to man’s, but when he works as a representative of our government, he’s obligated to uphold our government’s laws, not his perception of God’s. And if he had a better understanding of the Bible, he’d realize that his own Christian beliefs should lead him to this very conclusion.
In John 18:36, Jesus very clearly states “My kingdom is not of this world.” In Matthew 22, Mark 12, and Luke 20, Jesus rebuffed the Pharisees’ attempt to get him in trouble with the Roman authorities by telling them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
The first 7 verses of Romans 13 are even clearer when they state that we should all be subject to the government, because the government is instituted by God. And we should remember that this was written during a time in which the governing power, the Roman Empire, was completely pagan. How much more should such a statement apply today?
Furthermore, our country was founded with the ideal of religious freedom, which has benefited Christianity greatly. Just imagine if Puritanism had become the state religion and was enforced as the only true and acceptable form of Christianity today. How many Christians, Moore included, attend churches that would match up with Puritanism?
When an individual like Moore is given power and authority, the rest of us are subject to his whims. That only works out for us when his personal beliefs happen to align with our own. But what happens if he suddenly changes his personal beliefs? There are many Christians in this state who believe the Ten Commandments are important parts of Judeo-Christian history, but are in no way binding today, as taught in books like Galatians and Hebrews. Moore’s decision to violate the Supreme Court by keeping the Ten Commandments monument in the courthouse only meshed with his own version of Christianity — it did not align with the views of all Christians in this state.
And that’s what’s so frightening about individuals like Roy Moore. He is not someone who is striving to uphold the laws of our country — he is only trying to enforce his own personal beliefs about God. In this way, he’s no different than Islamic extremists. Not content to allow people to come to their own conclusions about God, he insists on forcing his own beliefs on the rest of us.
I happen to be writing this on a day that some Christians believed would be the date of the Rapture, or the end of the world. And of course, it’s not. What happens when we elect someone to a position of authority who can be swayed by things like that? If Roy Moore’s source of authority is not our Constitution, but his own interpretation of the Bible, who’s to say where that might lead him — and by extension, us?
Perhaps Roy Moore should be a preacher, or a paid speaker, or conservative commentator. He could still have a lot of influence in those arenas. But please Alabama, do not put him in public office again. The stakes are simply too high.