A professor of religion at Dartmouth College says former Alabama State Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore is a con artist who “willfully misrepresents he ideas had claims to stand for.”
He says Moore, like so many religious fundamentalists, claims America’s founders were not aware of any religion other than Christianity and declares the United States is “a Christian nation.”
Randall Balmer, who holds the John Phillips positon in religion and is director of the Society of Fellows at Dartmouth College, writes in the Washington Post:
That statement, of course, was demonstrably, ridiculously false. But that’s Roy Moore. The Republican Senate nominee has fashioned an entire career out of subterfuge and self-misrepresentation — as a constitutional authority, as a Baptist and as a spokesman for evangelical values. The recent allegations of sexual misconduct, together with his many specious statements over the years — that the First Amendment guarantees religious freedom only for Christians, for example, or that many communities in the United States stagger under the burden of Islamic sharia law — underscore both his hypocrisy and his tenuous grasp of reality.
In 2004, after Moore was unseated for refusing to obey a court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument and was touring as a kind of full-time martyr for the religious right, I visited the judge in Montgomery, together with a group of students from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. In the course of the conversation, Moore launched into his riff about how the founders intended Christianity as the only constitutionally protected religion because they knew nothing else.
The founders were most certainly aware of Jews and Muslims, who appear in the writings of Thomas Jefferson and in the Treaty of Tripoli as “Mussulmen,” the French term. That same treaty, negotiated by the John Adams administration and ratified unanimously by the Senate in 1797, states that “the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
Ballmer confronted Moore in 2004 and said if one followed Moore’s lack of reasoning, then Freedom of the Press, part of the First Amendment, applies only to newspapers and not radio, tv or the Internet because they didn’t exist when the Amendment was drafted and approved.
For once, Ballmer reports, Moore got flustered and had no answer.
The image that Moore has tried to project over the course of his career — as a constitutional authority, a Baptist and a representative of evangelical values — is false, even fraudulent. The voters of Alabama have the opportunity to unmask him as the imposter he is.
For more info, read Ballmer’s full column in The Washington Post.
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