Pride and the fall: Why young evangelicals rejected Roy Moore

Pride and the fall: Why young evangelicals rejected Roy Moore
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Political pundits and passionate voters will continue to speculate about Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreShelby won't run for reelection The Seventeenth Amendment and the censure of Donald Trump Doug Jones joining CNN as political commentator MORE’s crushing defeat this week in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race. One explanation has gotten little attention, but is especially poignant: Despite his focus on religion, Moore was rejected by many young conservative Christians, myself included. Young Christian voters could not stomach voting for a man who embodies a deeply flawed brand of Christianity.

As a co-host on a conservative radio show in Birmingham, I had the opportunity to interview Moore. I asked whether he thought it was his duty to love and serve the people who have different beliefs and lifestyles. I found his response strange, coming from a man who claimed to exemplify Christian values. Moore dodged the question, instead giving a rambling response about James Madison and the Constitution. He completely ignores a core pillar of Christianity — to love your enemies and forgive those who wrong you.

Following the interview, I looked at speeches by Moore over the course of his political career. For all his talk about serving God, he rarely seemed to discuss the gospel, nor did he ever talk about his own sin. Instead, he and his team made clear how he believes homosexual conduct should be illegal and how Muslims shouldn’t be able to hold public office.   

Proverbs 3:34 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” As a candidate, Moore believed that he was better than those different from him, better than his opponents. Even now, in the wake of pure democratic defeat, he is the epitome of arrogance, refusing to concede.

He too often speaks of Christianity in terms of what God can do for Roy Moore, not what Roy Moore can do to bring glory to God. He uses the name of God in pursuit of political power, rather than for the good of others. God was a political tool for Moore, to gain the support of voters and convince them to trust him.

In Matthew 10:16, Jesus says to his disciples, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” In Moore, I saw a man who took advantage of good people who simply wanted someone to fight for them and their beliefs. He was very good at playing on the fears of voters, in contrast to Christ who taught his disciples to “fear not.”

When confronted with the sins of others, he was quick to condemn, ridicule and punish, but when it came to his own sins, he was silent. Moore believed he had the power to submit America to the will of God, but God does not need Roy Moore to accomplish His will. Moore wanted to use the police powers of the state to advance theocratic rule, yet Scripture teaches that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repent.

I am a conservative Republican, and I want the party to succeed because I believe in its principles. Moore never talked about conservative solutions to the problems we face; he had no vision for improving the lives of Alabamians. My state is so conservative that many were willing to overlook his many flaws in order to support the party. However, after the accusations and the Sean Hannity interview with Roy Moore, many of us in evangelical circles decided that there are things more important than winning an election.

For those evangelical Christians feeling disheartened after Tuesday’s election and Moore’s campaign, I would offer one piece of hope which came from the mouth of Roy Moore: “God is in control.” I firmly believe that those of us who identify as conservative Christians must stand against the politics of fear that are championed by the likes of Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonNearly a quarter of Trump's Facebook posts in 2020 included misinformation: analysis Trump ready to make McConnell's life miserable House Democrats renew push for checks on presidential pardons MORE and Roy Moore.

Christopher Reid, an attorney in Birmingham, Ala., has worked for Republican leadership in the U.S. House, at the Heritage Foundation, and as a health and judiciary policy advisor for the Alabama governor’s office. He co-hosts a conservative radio show in Birmingham.