In the wake of last week’s revelations about Alabama Republican Roy Moore, a new poll shows that more than 70 percent of evangelical voters in Alabama still support the man accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl. About half of the evangelicals who still support Moore say that the charges make them more likely to vote Republican, a statistic that shows how little regard Republican voters hold for the mainstream media.
The poll by JMC Analytics found that 37 percent of evangelicals are more likely to vote for Roy Moore in the wake of the sex scandal than before. An additional 34 percent said that the allegations made no difference in their vote. Only 28 percent of evangelicals were less likely to vote for Moore after the revelations. The same poll showed that 38 percent of voters at large were less likely to vote for Moore.
The poll’s findings will be assumed to show hypocrisy on the part of evangelical voters, but this isn’t necessarily true. CNN exit polls show that 56 percent of Protestant voters voted for Donald Trump. In contrast to Trump, Moore’s sex scandal is more easily explained away.
Roy Moore tacitly admitted to Sean Hannity that he dated girls “as young as 17.” At the same time, Moore called the more damaging allegation that he improperly touched a 14-year-old girl “completely false.” In contrast, evangelicals have already voted en masse for Donald Trump, who admitted to sexual assault in a taped conversation on “Access Hollywood.”
In Trump’s case, the tape was made in 2005 and other allegations of sexual misconduct were even more recent. The allegations against Roy Moore are almost 40 years old. Moore has been happily married (to the same woman, unlike Donald Trump) for the past 32 years. Moore’s wife, Kayla, told Breitbart that they met when she was 23.
With no allegations of sexual misbehavior in more than three decades, it is easy to argue that Roy Moore is a changed man. Christians believe in in the power of God to change hearts and lives. They also believe in repentance and forgiveness. It is much easier to believe that Roy Moore is a changed man who has repented of his long-ago actions than Donald Trump.
The second reason that evangelicals have not abandoned Roy Moore is a simple one. They believe that Democrats are a bigger threat than someone who may have exercised bad – and, in at least one case, criminal – judgment four decades ago.
Democrats have worked painstakingly hard to convince the country that they are no friend to Bible-believing Christians. The list of attacks on Christians by liberal Democrats is long and includes a legal campaign against the Little Sisters of the Poor, political assaults on photographers and bakers who hold a traditional view of marriage, attacks on freedom of speech for pro-life activists and campaigns to remove Christian symbols from nearly aspect of public life. In a viral clip from the 2012 Democratic convention, Democrat delegates even booed the inclusion of God in their party platform.
Roy Moore was directly involved in two incidents which were perceived by Alabama evangelicals to be assaults on their religious liberty. In 2003, Moore was removed from his position as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for his refusal to remove a 10 Commandments monument. Moore worked his way back to the state high court, but was removed again in 2015 after refusing to order probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Critics might argue that Moore’s actions were self-serving and violated his oath to uphold the rule of law, but they also made him a hero to the state’s evangelical voters.
Now, after decades of having their religious beliefs attacked by the left, Alabama Christians see their champion, Roy Moore, under assault from the same liberals who have celebrated as courts chipped away at their religious liberty. Moore’s habit of tilting at windmills may not have been successful, but, like Donald Trump, he is viewed as a man who fights back. Many evangelicals will even refuse to believe the charges, in spite of Moore’s admission, because they view the Washington Post and other mainstream media as fake news.