We are in the midst of Advent, a season that celebrates Christ’s mother, a young woman who could have been publicly disgraced in her own time for false accusations about her sex life. It took an act of God for Mary’s fiancé to believe her word.
Some days it feels like it would take a similar act of God for some Christians to take Roy Moore’s accusers seriously.
At the beginning of this semester at Auburn University, in Alabama, where I am a senior majoring in philosophy, a friend started a Bible study focused on Christ’s relationship with women. Though open to all students, the group drew mostly young women. It formed before this season of sexual assault allegations began, before #MeToo, before the stories about Roy Moore’s treatment of young women came to light.
As the semester progressed, the Bible study members couldn’t help talking about the news around us. The group — five or six college women and a few allies from across the political spectrum — became united on one very important point: We would not settle for Roy Moore as the face of Southern Christianity. We would not let Alabama go down in history as the state where people of faith elected a credibly accused sexual predator in favor of a Democrat.
It’s pretty crazy to be a 21-year-old woman and native Alabamian right now. Almost every woman I know has been sexually harassed or has a friend who has been assaulted. That’s not something that is unique to me or my friends. Clearly, it is everywhere. But I have always lived in communities where faith came before politics, and now I can’t believe my eyes. I’m shocked to see classmates and family members continue their support for Mr. Moore because he checks the red political box.
In response to the news, our women’s group turned into a space of resistance: Our conversations grew louder and fiercer. It was comforting to have a place to speak stridently, and voice the anger and betrayal we felt about the fact that some of our older relatives and loved ones could condone a candidate whose divisiveness and actions represent the opposite of our values.
How could the church ladies and grandmothers who raised us on love and justice embrace this kind of political expediency? Don’t they see they’re compromising the young women they raised?
Some of my fellow Christians argue that Roy Moore’s election is important because he is anti-abortion, and I have no business trying to persuade them to be pro-choice or push them past what their conscience allows. But if we’re concerned with the lives of children, we should not elect a man accused of preying on teenage girls.