A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics
Because it’s not bad enough he’s reportedly leading in the polls in Alabama, where we’re pretty sure we don’t want to live, and he’s a God-spouting bigot who fetishizes the 10 Commandments and thinks homosexuality should be illegal and believes Sharia law is taking over the country, and he’s a serial child molester in denial who insists people oppose him in the Senate because “they don’t want to hear about God” and in an unhinged speech at a Baptist church just blamed liberal, gay, bi, trans, socialist elites – wait, all of ’em? – who “want to change our culture” by putting man above God and also “want to keep everything the same” – wait, what?!? – for his crimes….because all this wasn’t enough, it turns out that Roy Moore co-authored a legal “textbook” based on courses that reflected a Gilead-like world view, celebrated the concept of “Biblical patriarchy,” condemned “the heresy of feminism,” and argued women shouldn’t hold public office because God needs them to make babies. Of course he did.
For at least a decade, dating back to 1999, Moore served on the “faculty” of the so-called “Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy,” which wasn’t in fact a school but a series of audio and visual lectures to men by men, and a study guide. It was run by Vision Forum, a Texas-based evangelical organization headed by Doug Phillips; it closed in 2013 after Phillips was sued by a woman (not his wife) who said he’d emotionally and sexually abused her in a relationship since she was 15. Huh. Among the lectures was William Einwechter’s “What the Bible Says About Female Magistrates.” Noting all this ladies-leaving-the-kitchen nonsense started with the suffrage movement, he cites the “Biblical truth” that women are the “weaker vessel” and should not hold jobs or political office. “She’s not a warrior. She’s not a judge. She’s a woman. Created by God. Glorious in her place and in her conduct,” he says, ending with a quote from pastor J.H. Vincent, “The world is in such pressing need for mothers – motherly women – that none can be spared for public life.”
Roy Moore joined these lofty ranks with a class called “Law and Government: An Introductory Study Course,” which reiterated the Vision tenet that the Bible is the source of “law and liberty” and the only “sure foundation” for making ethical decisions. In the study guide, uncovered by Think Progress, Moore recounts his fight over a Ten Commandments monument, laments the newly mandated marriage equality, and cites the “blessing” that is Witherspoon’s “restoration of our Nation – One Nation Under God.” Moore also praises Doug Phillips and his ability to “round up these young men that are going to make a difference in our nation.” And they did: They managed to time travel – backwards. Moore’s lesson was recorded in 2008.
Now that Moore’s scholarly achievement has come to light, it’s encountered that most modern marvel – Amazon reviews. Available in paperback starting at $50, it has not fared well, earning a one-star rating – there’s no zero – from 79% of critics. Some of their comments are brutally brief: “Hateful… pathetic… a patriarch pedo’s daydream… literally garbage… should be illegal… Like ISISHeather: series was very helpful as it is on tape and I am no longer allowed to read words because God did not intend for me to use my eyes for anything other than watching my children with my sister-wives to make sure they (And the children! And the sister-wives who are children!) do not fall into the fires of perdition or the furnace. Thank you Patriarch Moore (for) putting this into the talking words (so) we can listen while darning and plowing and the like!” Another: “This book gives you someone else to blame for your own failure besides brown people. And let’s face it. You’re already angry at women for laughing at the size of your hands…This book will also will fit nicely on the shelf of the house trailer between copies of ‘Mein Kampf’ and ‘Art of the Deal,’ so there’s that.”
Update: Weird. In the time it took to write this, all the reviews disappeared except a glowingly Christian one. Also the price went up to $74.85. Must be one of those conspiracy things. Moore’s earlier book “So Help Me God” is still there, though it didn’t do so swell either; one reader calls him a judicial tyrant. Don’t forget bigot, serial child molester, and hellishly depressing sign of the utter degradation of this country’s right-leaning political discourse.
Copyright 2017 Abby Zimet. First published in Common Dreams.