Let us be mindful about what happened in Alabama on Tuesday.
It was first, and foremost, a stunning upset and rebuke of the way the Republican Party presented itself and operated in the Alabama senate race. Had there been a credible GOP candidate that dark red state would not be the reason Democrats are rejoicing today. But due to the truly unbelievable way today’s Republicans conduct politics Democratic candidate Doug Jones secured a senate win. He allows every person who knows the road we are on under the Trump Administration to be dangerous to have a bit of faith that the nation can be reclaimed.
But at the same time let us not forget that over 600,000 people in Alabama did vote for Roy Moore in spite of the credible accounts of his actions in malls as he preyed on teenage girls. The exit polls show 80% of the evangelical voters who showed up at the polls went for Moore. That so many of these voters claimed to be ‘Christians’ can not be forgotten.
Let us not forget that those who attend all-day singins’ with chicken dinner on the grounds, shook off their pious go-to-service clothes and wore their partisan jeans and baseball caps to the polls where they showcased who they really are deep down. With their ballot cast for Roy Moore, the twice-ousted state Supreme Court chief justice, these so-called followers of Christ gave public approval to a man accused of pursuing sexual relationships with teenage girls while in his 30s.
But that was just fine with these folks who shout out the name of the Lord in services and wave about in rhythmic timing to their songs. After all, Moore is just like they are. He, too, opposes the rights of gay Americans, Muslims and women. So what if he likes girls who still need pimple cream? Moore had their back when it came to the ones who they think need to be hated.
I have known many sincere and Christ-centered people over the years. In the past election I was struck by some of them who spoke candidly with me about their beliefs, and how even though they were conservative, they could not in good conscience vote for Trump. I think of the famed ones who grew up in Alabama, such as Southern-Gospel singer Vestal Goodman from Sand Mountain, and can only imagine what the look on her face would be if she knew how hundreds of thousands acted in her state on Election Day.
Goodman was aware of her icon status among many gay people and never made any demeaning statements as her first calling was to serve her Lord and not the political class. Too many in Alabama this election cycle failed to grasp that teaching from their front row in the church where come this Sunday they again will be perched with pious heads held high. They embraced the rancid culture of their political party while undermining the very teachings that many would claim to hold dear. In so doing they marched in exactly the opposite direction of Vestal.
The 600,000 plus who put their partisan tribe above reason and logic at the polls Tuesday thought they were making way for tax cuts, and smaller government. The fact is the tax cuts that get passed by the GOP are always serving the rich to the detriment of the ones with the baseball hats at the ballot box. The cuts in government always undermine their best interests, such as when it comes to health care. This February it was noted out of the top ten states with the highest number STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) Alabama ranked number nine. When it comes to buying hook, line, and sinker the Republican talking points the voters in Alabama bite like crazy. But they are also the ones hurt the most by conservative governing, and the majority of Republicans there are not informed enough or able to discern that fact.
The Republican Party dodged a bullet with the defeat of Moore. The last thing they needed was a pedophile as an anchor around their neck for the mid-terms and beyond.
But the national citizenry also received something of a gift from the 600,000 who cast a ballot for the losing candidate. From coast to coast Americans can look at the hearts of ‘Christian’ voters who claim to live one way but proved they really reside in a very dark place. Never again do we need to pretend they have a moral message we need to heed. They are just as power-hungry and craven as others.
Vestal would have prayed long and hard about all that is now happening in this land. I applaud those who use their faith for such positive purposes. Too few, however, fall in her camp. The proof is in the pudding with the 49% who cast a ballot for Moore.
Meanwhile the rest of us need to double and then triple down on reminding every voter, every day that President Trump and the national GOP endorsed and worked to place a pedophile in the United States Senate.
Can I hear an Amen?