Clive Doyle, one of the very few Branch Davidians to escape the 1993 inferno that killed David Koresh and many of his followers, told CNN years later why he surrendered his young daughter to Koresh’s appetites.
Doyle said he asked himself, “Is this God or is this horny old David?”
Then he consented.
“I couldn’t argue, because he’d show you where it was in the Bible.”
The comment comes to mind thinking about Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, of whom followers have said, “Horrifying evidence be damned; he’s a man of God. We support him all the way.”
Yes, just like your basic, average, ordinary, garden-variety cult.
We’ll not compare Moore to Koresh point by point, atrocity by atrocity, except to say that Koresh made it with little girls. Moore aspired to.
Sexual depravity often fits into the cult leader profile, from Jim Jones to Warren Jeffs, and now to this guy. And, yes, like Mitch McConnell, I believe the women, and the Washington Post.
But, honestly, one needn’t have a sex scandal involving this individual to make the case against Roy Moore. He has no business serving in higher office.
He was removed twice from the Alabama Supreme Court. The first time was for refusing to abide by a federal court order and the First Amendment in commissioning a Ten Commandments monument at the courthouse.
The second time was for refusing to abide by the law granting marriage equality to same-sex couples.
By review, in each of these instances, Moore deemed the law of the land not to be the U.S. Constitution. He deemed the law of the land to be Roy Moore.
That’s not all.
Moore founded a tax-exempt non-profit called the Foundation for Moral Law, which was supposed to do charitable work. It’s not clear what those charitable works were. What is clear: Moore made a bundle off it.
With his wife as its president, the foundation paid Moore $180,000 a year. From 2007 to 2012, he collected more than $1 million, “a number that far surpasses what the nonprofit declared in its public tax filings,” reports the Post.
One of the contributors to the nonprofit (from which Moore profited so mightily) was a neo-Nazi organization founded by Willis Carto, a well-known Holocaust denier.
These things were known to the voting public before Moore’s poll numbers crashed in the wake of the allegations by women who, as teens, said he either assaulted them or attempted to.
But Moore is popular with many in the so-called evangelical crowd for calling homosexuality an “act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it.”
He also said, “There are some communities under Sharia law right now in our country” without being able to name any. (Of course, there aren’t any.)
Basically, Moore is your average, ordinary, garden-variety demagogue who, until recently, could hide behind a shield of piety, like so many demagogues do.
Randall Balmer just calls Moore a con man. In a Washington Post commentary, the Dartmouth religion professor, who has had extensive dealings with the GOP Senate nominee, says Moore has made a career (and a legend?) out of “subterfuge and misrepresentation – as a constitutional authority, as a Baptist and as a spokesman for evangelical values.”
Knowing what we know now, it doesn’t take a religious scholar to detect the flim-flam in this man.
Watch his fans stick with him as they hope to stick it to gays, to Muslims and other brown-skinned people.
After all, they’re sticking with the bankruptcy specialist in the White House despite all we know about him — including his own self-proclaimed fleshy appetites. Cults are like that.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.