This “Be a King” series feels like it’s taken a life of its own. This was never my intent, but I’m grateful that it’s come out like this.
As men, I believe kings have a responsibility to be the agents of transformation in this world. It’s a sacred responsibility and it’s one that I take deeply.
When this report surfaced in the Washington Post this past week and the resulting controversy around this report, I knew I had to speak out. I can’t let this go unanswered. It is a personal story on many different levels.
Sweet Home Alabama, my heart is absolutely shattered for you.
While I no longer live in Alabama, I did for the first 39 years and 11 months of my life. My roots run four generations deep in that state. And I love it completely and without condition. Alabama is my home.
The Post report was that Roy Moore – the GOP nominee in a December special election for the US Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions was named Attorney General – was accused in 1979 of groping and kissing a then 14-year-old girl. At the time, Moore was an unmarried 32-year-old assistant district attorney in Etowah County, Alabama. The Post also interviewed four other women who have all accused Moore of pursuing them when they were teenagers. The women ranged in age from 14 to 18 at the time of the incidents.
Moore has threatened legal action against the Post. And several of Moore’s surrogates have come to his defense, including Alabama state auditor Jim Ziegler who invoked Mary, Joseph, and Jesus to defend against the accusations toward Moore.
Roy Moore is Alabama’s former Chief Justice who has been no stranger to controversy in his career. He’s a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage – equating it, among other things, to child abuse. But he’s probably best known for his ethics violations and his previous removal from office for refusing to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments in violation of federal law.
I’m going to try my dead level best not to let my dislike of Roy Moore the politician cloud my vision in this piece.
Because this isn’t a political article. This is an article about responsibility.
And just like anybody, Roy Moore deserves his day in court. He hasn’t been convicted of a crime here. But the court of public Opinion can be even more damning than a criminal court.
And as I’ve mentioned in previous installments of this series, the fact that I may be a fan of someone’s work doesn’t mean they’re immune to Coach Ryan throwing them under the bus. I mean, Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein have been my previous two targets in this series.
I’d like to bring up two different things that disturb me about this Moore story. I mean, other than the reprehensible accusations and the even more reprehensible defense.
When I wrote the piece about Harvey Weinstein, the number of women who had come forward with accusations was 20. That number is up to 79. His career is toast.
The thing I can’t help but find ironic, especially in the Spacey story, is that one man came forward with an accusation many years after the alleged incident and it was taken as the gospel truth. Spacey’s career is toast.
I mean, more stuff has come out in the wash, but Spacey’s career was toast before the other stories came out.
Moore’s defenders usually parse their defense with some form of “if these accusations are true…”
A woman comes forward with some damning accusations, and her story must be verified. Yet a man comes forward with some damning accusations, and his story is taken at face value and as the truth.
Need I remind you that a King partners with women. And partnering with women means believing what they say and taking them at face value.
See what I’m getting at?
Even more disturbing than this, is what some have said in defense of Moore. And it lands to me like they see political ideology as more important than doing what’s right.
A few examples:
David Hall – Marion County, Alabama GOP Chairman: “I really don’t see the relevance of it. He was 32. She was supposedly 14. She’s not saying that anything happened other than they kissed. The other women that they’re using to corroborate: number one, one was 19, one was 17, one was 16. There’s nothing wrong with a 30-year-old single male asking a 19-year-old, a 17-year-old, or a 16-year-old out on a date.” (Side note, man I hope I’m not related to him.)
Riley Seibenhener – Geneva County Alabama GOP Chairman: “Other than being with an underage person – he didn’t really force himself. I know that’s bad enough, but I don’t know. If he withdraws, it’s five weeks to the election…that would concede it to the Democrat. I know that 14-year-olds don’t make good decisions.”
John Skipper – Mobile County, Alabama GOP Chairman: “It does not really surprise me. I think it is a typical Democratic – Democrat – ploy to discredit Judge Moore, a sincere, honest, trustworthy individual.”
I have to ask: would these same people have spoken out against Moore’s opponent, Doug Jones, if similar accusations came out against him? They’d have thrown him under the bus!
My point in all this is that a King takes responsibility for himself. A king owns how he shows up in the world. A king does not go out and defend accusations of pedophilia by twisting their interpretation of the bible.
I’ve gotten this personally since the Moore story broke. Why would someone hang onto a story like this for so many years (in the Spacey and the Moore stories)? Why wouldn’t they just come forward?
Again, I know women with whom I am very close who have been victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. These are powerful, brilliant women. It takes a lot for them to put down the shame to come forward. It takes a lot of courage.
Understand, I was never a 14 year old girl. But I would imagine that it would take a lot for them to come forward with an accusation like this. Especially against a powerful, older man such as Moore.
I mentioned him earlier in this piece. Comedian Louis C.K. issued a statement about the accusations leveled against him. “These stories are true.”
While the accusations against him are pretty reprehensible and disgusting, this is how you take responsibility for who you’re being.
I’m not going to call him a king. But at least he’s taking responsibility.
Getting back to the original point of this piece, there’s no place in a civilized society for the kinds of accusations leveled against Roy Moore. He and his defenders are making my beloved homeland look awful.
Please, vote wisely.
And Gentlemen, remember something. Being a king is the quickest way for the world to start working again. It’s on all of us to be agents of transformation. We can have healthy relationships. We can be the leaders of love and being that we need to be.
Let’s look inside our hearts and remember why we’re here.
Be kings. Please?
Photo by FolsomNatural