It’s funny how you can spend your whole life thinking you’re an expert in something and then-bam!-find out you’re wrong.
For example, I’m a Catholic born and bred, and can recite most prayers backward, forward and in Latin, but I had no idea until this past week that the Virgin Mary met St. Joseph in a mall in Nazareth and they started dating while she was still a teenager. You never got those details in the Bible, but fortunately for me, some helpful fellow from Alabama filled in the blank parts of the nativity tale. I’m awfully glad about that, since we are entering the Christmas season and I’d hate to spend another year believing the narrative of St. Luke (Fake News!), who clearly didn’t do his research.
According to Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler, an ardent Roy Moore supporter, “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter…They became the parents of Jesus.” Ziegler made these comments after noting that Roy Moore, GOP candidate for Senate and another adult who seems to have had a lot of experience with wood, hung out with teenagers as a 32 year old District Attorney in Etowah County, many years ago. I almost expected Ziegler to suggest that all four of them double-dated, way back when.
I suppose we can’t blame Moore for every crackpot that comes out in support of his candidacy. I honestly believe that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump privately cringed when they saw the type of extremists who stumped for them (and yes, a plague on both their houses because the only thing Hil and Don had in common was the fact that they both tended to bring out the worst in their supporters.)
But the fact remains that an elected official who embraces Moore compared his hound dog hero to one of the most revered saints in the Catholic canon in an attempt to justify his predilection for young girls. It’s laughable, offensive, anti-Catholic and also inaccurate since, as every parochial school child knows, Jesus was the “Virgin Birth.” This is self-explanatory to anyone who’s actually read the Bible and understands the big words.
If the tone of this column sounds flippant, I apologize. I needed to try and bring some levity to this subject so I wouldn’t have a stroke. The now obvious fact is that Roy Moore is a skeevy little lounge lizard who trolled for girls who smelled like Clearasil and Love’s Lemon Fresh, while he himself was old enough to be a grandfather (in Appalachia.) I reserve judgment on whether he actually assaulted any of the women, because he hasn’t admitted it and I am leery of assuming criminal behavior without solid proof. Nonetheless, he has all but said that he liked them young. That’s okay if you are 25 and she is 19, or if you are 55 and she is 30, or if you are Rupert Murdoch and she is breathing, but it is not okay if you are a District Attorney and your love interest has a curfew.
He owned a home on which he did work, she had homework.
He earned a salary, she got an allowance.
He filed taxes, she filed her nails.
I know that there are many conservatives who are angry that the focus is on one of our own, when there are so many liberal men who have played fast and loose with their libidos since before Mary and Joseph went on that first date. I agree. I also agree that the timing here is highly suspect. Moore has been in the public eye for years, but the media is only now noticing his peccadilloes. They take great joy in destroying public figures on the right while generally yawning at the immorality on the left. The Harvey Weinstein explosion is the exception that proves the rule, and it’s a very troubling exception because it has led to a witch hunt of sorts as I’ve noted in other columns.
But despite what his supporters think, Roy Moore is not a victim. He’s a man who had an unhealthy attraction to teenagers, and while that might not be illegal, it’s definitely a character flaw.
I know I’ll get some blowback from men who dated younger women, and women who married older men. But as someone who has handled asylum cases from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia where young girls have been traded as economic currency by their families to much older men, I really don’t give a damn. I’ve railed against other cultures that think it’s fine when old geezers turn their wizened eyes to sweet young things. I called out Chris Christie on national TV when Beach Boy vetoed a bill that would ban child marriage in New Jersey.
And I won’t let Moore’s people normalize the abnormal, especially when they trash talk a Nazarene teen.
Christine Flowers is a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Readers may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.