He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. — Proverbs 18:13
The sexual abuse allegations against Roy Moore have brought us the usual hyperpartisan bickering, and plenty of moral posturing. So let’s back up a minute and consider a few things.
First, let me offer a disclaimer. Doug Wilson said this, and I will echo it: Saying Moore might be innocent of the charges against him is in no way an endorsement of the crime he is accused of committing. Obviously, if Moore fondled a 14 year old girl he should have been (and should be) harshly punished by our criminal justice system. It should not be necessary to say this, but sadly it is.
No, Moore is not entitled to “due process” before we believe claims against him. The court of public opinion is not a court of law. But Christians need to be careful to consider the warning of Proverbs 18:13, as well as the Biblical prohibition against false witness. That commandment is universal, not confined to a court of law.
Some have squealed with glee over the allegations, immediately believing and promoting them. In some cases, it is a cynical worldview that automatically believes anything negative about a political enemy. (The Right is by no means immune to this, as we saw in the utterly absurd “Pizzagate” fiasco.) Others simply do not care whether it is true. They are just excited to jump on something that can harm a political enemy.
But the commandment against bearing false witness covers more than lying. A reckless disregard for the truth is also prohibited. Rushing to judgment certainly violates the spirit of the commandment, if it is not a direct violation of it. As Christians, we are obligated to seek the truth about Moore before we make a public judgment on his guilt. In fact, we should take violating the Ninth Commandment far more seriously than legal due process rights. Unlike the U.S. judicial system, that has eternal consequences.
Is the sexual abuse allegation credible? The timing is suspect: Right before a hotly contested Senate election where the Republican Party is already bitterly divided. It also seems timed to ride the wave of publicity following the Harvey Weinstein scandal. We know some women do lie about rape, from a false police report here in Bloomington a decade ago to notorious liar Tawana Brawley and convicted murderer Crystal Mangum. No one will ever truly know what happened between Moore and his accuser.
If it is true, Moore should step down. He is not qualified to be a U.S. Senator. Full stop.
It quite frankly angers me to see hyperpartisan Republicans justifying voting for him even if he is guilty. But it is just as infuriating to see #NeverTrump Republicans immediately damn Moore as an “evil” man based on an unproven and un-provable allegation. The fact of the matter is that we are dealing with a perpetrator and a victim. Either Moore is the perpetrator and his accuser the victim, or the accuser is a perpetrator of lies while Moore is the victim of a smear campaign.
Someone is a victim here, and victims should not be used to grind political axes.
As to the election, each voter in Alabama has to make his own determination as to whether the allegation is credible or not. If you believe he is not guilty, you can vote for him with a clear conscience. If you believe he is guilty, no amount of justification can make it OK to vote for an unrepentant sexual abuser. If you are agnostic on Moore’s guilt, vote your conscience. But this is a case where early voting is not advisable. It is better to wait until Election Day to cast your vote, so you can make the most informed judgment possible.