There’s No Good Way to Defend Roy Moore. But These Are the Very Worst Attempts.

When you’re citing Joseph and Mary to excuse sexual encounters with teenagers, you’ve lost.

In the wake of the Washington Post‘s explosive report alleging Roy Moore’s sexual misconduct with teenagers, Republican senators on Thursday urged Moore to bow out of the Alabama Senate race “if” the claims were true. But amid the backlash, at least two commentators have come out with similar arguments in Moore’s defense: Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler and Breitbart editor Joel Pollak.

“There is nothing to see here,” Ziegler told the Washington Examiner. “The allegations are that a man in his early 30s dated teenage girls. Even the Washington Post report says that he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls and never attempted sexual intercourse.”

He then cited the age differences between Biblical characters to shore up his defense. “Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance,” Ziegler said. “Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist. Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”

In the Bible, God is Jesus’ father and Mary is his mother. Joseph, however, was present for Jesus’ birth.

Appearing on MSNBC, Pollak took specific issue with how the story included women who allege Moore initiated relationships with them when they were 16 or 18 years old. “The 16-year-old and 18-year-old have no business in that story, because those are women of legal age of consent at the time the relationship was,” Pollak said.

He stressed that the account of one woman who says Moore sexually assaulted her when she was just 14 is just an allegation.

Alabama law prohibits candidates from withdrawing within 74 days of an election. With the special election scheduled for December 12, Moore’s name will remain on the ballot even if he does decide to drop out.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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