Activist pastor on MSNBC: 'We have to challenge' Roy Moore’s religious positions

Activist pastor on MSNBC: 'We have to challenge' Roy Moore’s religious positions
© Greg Nash

Liberal Protestant pastor William Barber on Saturday called on faith leaders to challenge Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore's religious positions.

"His positions do not line up with true orthodox evangelicalism. We have to challenge that," Barber told MSNBC's Joy Reid on "AM Joy."

Barber, who is a part of a mainline Protestant denomination known as the Disciples of Christ, also criticized Moore's conservative evangelical supporters, who have defended him in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations that have roiled the Alabama Senate race.

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"Faith leaders here are really concerned that when conversations about evangelicals, we keep hearing from people who claim to be evangelical but are more extreme religionists," he said on MSNBC. 

"I heard them say, 'Stay out of his personal business and talk about the issues.' Well, let's talk about the issues," he said.

"There are over 900,000 people who are poor in Alabama. Nothing that Roy Moore has done in his candidacy has been to help the poor. He actually supports a tax plan, tax reform that will hurt the poor," Barber argued. "Let's talk about his record. He's been wrong on wanting to keep segregation laws on the books. He has supported programs that would hurt children, that would take health care from families. He's been on the wrong side of treating immigrants proper and treating LGBT community proper."

Some evangelical leaders have ripped into Moore following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls when Moore was in his 30s, accusations the candidate has denied.

Prominent evangelical theologian and preacher Russell Moore slammed evangelicals who were supporting Moore in the face of the allegations on Twitter this week.

Roy Moore has refused to drop out of the Senate race in the wake of the allegations, despite intense pressure from congressional GOP leaders in Washington.

His supporters have invoked Christianity as a means of defense amid the allegations. His brother earlier this month compared the allegations to the persecution of Jesus.

Alabama state Auditor Jim Zeigler also invoked the story of Jesus's birth as a means to defend the candidate earlier this month, saying “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus."

A recent JMC analytics poll found that 37 percent of evangelicals surveyed said the allegations make them more likely to vote for the GOP Senate candidate in the upcoming election.

Just 28 percent said the allegations made them less likely to vote for him and 34 percent said the allegations made no difference in their decision.