(Al.com) – Despite allegations of sexual misconduct against Senate candidate Roy Moore, many pastors in Alabama and other states in the Southeast are sticking by the twice-removed Chief Justice.
“This attack on Judge Moore is an attempt by the Democrats to sway voters in Alabama,” said Pastor David Floyd of Marvyn Parkway Baptist Church, Opelika. “I don’t believe those women. In this country you are innocent until proven guilty.”
Floyd is one of around 50 pastors that signed a letter of public support for Moore in August before allegations of sexual misconduct and the dating of teens became public. Moore has denied the allegations, calling them an “attack on my character and reputation” and a “desperate attempt to stop my political campaign for the United States Senate.”
Pastor Franklin Raddish of the Capitol Hill Independent Baptist Ministries, a nationwide church, told AL.com from his South Carolina home that the spate of accusations against men in politics, Hollywood and elsewhere was a “war on men.”
“More women are sexual predators than men,” said Raddish. “Women are chasing young boys up and down the road, but we don’t hear about that because it’s not PC.”
Kayla Moore, wife of the 70 year-old former Chief Justice of Alabama, rereleased the letter from supportive pastors on Tuesday in the aftermath of The Washington Post story that accused Moore of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old and pursing three other teenagers. Since then, more women have come forward to complain about Moore’s behavior.
AL.com attempted to reach out to every pastor that had supported Moore prior to the release of the allegations Nov. 9. Of the 29 churches that responded, 19 confirmed that the pastor in question was still supporting Moore. The remaining 10 did not confirm support. And a further 21 either did not respond or could not be reached for comment.
While Republicans in Washington DC are calling for Moore to step aside, the Alabama GOP is supporting the embattled Gadsden native. Rep. Mo Brooks has also said he would continue to support Moore and Rep. Bradley Byrne indicated that it was for the electorate to decide.Rep. Robert Aderholt said he had no reason not to vote for Moore.
And while some pastors in Alabama have withdrawn their backing in recent days, most still endorse Moore, underlining the unwavering support he has received from his conservative Christian base since the beginning of the election cycle. Moore faces Democratic candidate Doug Jones in the special election for the U.S. Senate on Dec. 12.
Forty percent of evangelicals polled between Nov. 9 and Nov. 11 said they were more likely to vote for Moore in the wake of the allegations against him, according to a recent poll.
Pastor Raddish in South Carolina said that Moore was dealing with the double standards of the mainstream media and the political elites in Washington, which he said had not reacted to other sexual scandals in the same way. “No one told Trump to stand down, what about the allegations against Clinton and his extramarital affair? The Democrats made a laughing stock out of those women. And now Al Franken is keeping his job.”
“Also, why did the mothers of these women not come forward,” said Raddish. “The mother knew, the family knew, and not one of them did anything. Any mother with red blood that found out her daughter had been violated would have kicked down doors.”
“Why didn’t they tell the state police, the FBI, the local sheriff?” added Franklin. “Because it’s not true.”
Pastor Paul Hubbard of Lakeview Baptist Church, Montgomery, told reporters from WSFA channel 12 that if Moore has done what people say he’s done he should “be arrested and tried in court… but accusations are just accusations.”
Hubbard explained that the biggest issue with the allegation is that they came 40 years later.
But not every pastor on the original list wanted to remain on it. Some didn’t even know they were on the list in the first place.
Tijuanna Adetunji, a member and pastor of Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery, said that while she believes in Moore’s values and still supports him, she did not want it to seem she was supporting Moore because of the allegations. Her name and that of her husband, Bishop Fred Adetunji, were taken off the list.
Pastor Thad Endicott of Opelika and Dr. George Grant of Parish Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tenn., both asked to be removed. Dr. Grant was not aware he was on the original list and said he hadn’t spoken to Moore in 10 years.
“Not my state, not my politics,” he told a Nashville TV station.
By Christopher Harress