“He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.” – Proverbs 18:13
I had planned to write a Thanksgiving blog post since we will be celebrating my favorite holiday of the year next Thursday. But something very disturbing has taken place over the last week, and I felt compelled to address it. The allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Judge Roy Moore have rocked the state I now call home. And they have been particularly troubling for many evangelical Christians, myself included, who have supported, voted for, and prayed for Judge Moore. But, something else has happened that has disturbed me almost as much as the allegations. That is the rapidity with which so many, specifically Christians, were willing to pronounce Mr. Moore guilty of any and all charges made against him. The first accusation came out in the Washington Post just last week on November 9. Within a matter of days leading Republicans were already urging Moore to withdraw himself from the race for a U.S. Senate seat, calling him “unfit to serve”. While that doesn’t surprise me in the world of politics, it has not only surprised, but deeply grieved me that professing Christians would immediately find a man who has consistently and courageously fought for Christian values, guilty before the newspaper ink was barely dry.
Now, I want to make it clear, I am not writing to either defend, or accuse, Roy Moore. I have admired Judge Moore for decades, long before I was a citizen of Alabama. I openly supported him in his brave fight for the sanctity of marriage, and I voted for him in the Republican primary for the Senate seat he is seeking to fill. I have prayed for him and his family. But, I never jumped on the band wagon to emphatically declare that there was no way he could have committed these despicable crimes thirty or forty years ago. I can’t say that for a number of reasons. First of all, I didn’t know Roy Moore thirty years ago. I still don’t know the man personally, and I can only go on the testimony of others who do know him. Secondly, I know that there are no demigods. There is no one who is incapable of committing the immoral things of which he has been accused. I’ve been around a long time, and sadly, on more than one occasion I have discovered that men I highly regarded had committed immorality. I’ve seen shocking skeletons step out of the closets of men and women who were seemingly impeccable in their character.
At the same time, I certainly could not immediately believe the testimonies of women I had never heard of and knew absolutely nothing about. You see, I didn’t know these women at the time of the alleged improprieties either. And I’ve also lived long enough to know that not everyone who cries wolf is in reality a poor victim with pure motives. My husband and I have personally known a couple of good men who suffered immeasurably because of false allegations of sexual misconduct. One lost his job, and the other almost lost his ministry, because they were falsely accused of wrong doing. They actually became the victims, and the humiliation and emotional duress they, as well as, their families suffered was unimaginable. One well known Christian leader openly called Roy Moore a predator just four days after the initial allegations were made, with no evidence that they were true. Another leading evangelical wrote just days after the first reports came out, “I think ultimately we need to believe people.” Well, the people he was referring to were the women making the accusations. But, what about the man whose reputation was being destroyed? Is it not just as important to believe a man who openly confesses Jesus Christ as his Savior and for forty years has been an unwavering voice for righteousness?
Again, I am not writing to say who is innocent and who is guilty. Roy Moore adamantly denies all the charges against him, so clearly, someone is lying. The point I am trying to make is that as Christians we need to be slow to judge another professing believer until we have clear evidence against him. I refused to even comment on this scandalous turn of events until I could find out exactly what these women had accused him of, what evidence, if any, there was to substantiate their claims, and what Mr. Moore had to say in his defense. I believe that is the only charitable thing to do.
Although I sincerely hope the claims are not true, I just as genuinely want the truth to come out. If Roy Moore is guilty then he should justly suffer the appropriate consequences. But, if he is innocent, I trust his name will be vindicated, and those who maligned him will be brought to justice. In the meantime, we who name the name of Christ, must be very careful that we don’t rashly jump to conclusions and rush to judgment when serious allegations are made against a brother or sister in Christ. For Proverbs not only teaches that it is shameful to do so, but it also warns us that, “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.” One is just as evil as the other.
Soli Deo Gloria