The Moore You Know …


by Thomas L. Knapp

It’s hard to be objective about Roy Moore. Ever since his days as circuit judge of Etowah County, Alabama, he’s been a hero to religious conservatives and the bane of civil libertarians. The former powered his two elections to the office of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, on his promise to “return God to our public life and restore the moral foundation of our law.” The latter effected his two removals from that office over his insistence that his religious beliefs trump the law (including the US Constitution).

That Moore is one of America’s most controversial political figures shouldn’t distract us from the most obvious and important question concerning the latest controversy: Did he, as alleged in a Washington Post expose,  engage in sexual activities with a 14-year-old girl (and other minors) while he was a thirty-something prosecutor?

Moore’s enemies and the Democratic Party want it to be true. They weren’t able to beat him at the ballot box in either of his two runs for Chief Justice, or in this year’s Republican primary for US Senate. And removing a US Senator is harder than beating him in an election before he becomes one.

Moore’s supporters want it to be false — not just because election results depend on it, but because no one likes to learn he or she was conned by a supposed moral exemplar.

The Republican Party NEEDS the allegations to be false. Unless they collapse in a spectacular manner, the GOP loses. They lose a Senate seat if Moore loses the election. If he wins it, the party’s Senate majority is faced with the choice of seating him and thereby publicly owning his alleged sins, or refusing to seat him and facing the ire of his supporters. If the allegations stand up at all, that thin Republican Senate majority is in danger next November either way.

The most sickening aspect of this whole thing is that some of Moore’s supporters tell us the truth doesn’t matter — that it was a long time ago, that he isn’t accused of forcibly raping anyone, and that hey, the Virgin Mary was young too, so no biggie. That dog won’t hunt.

I personally loathe Roy Moore, and don’t hold with a “presumption of innocence until the charges are proven beyond a reasonable doubt” standard when it comes to personal reputation. Public opinion is not a criminal court proceeding. My personal biases push me toward believing Moore’s accusers.

On the other hand, the timing is suspect. Why are we only now hearing things that, if true, would have sent him home in disgrace, possibly even to prison, at previous points during his long career?

That it took a personal scandal to slow Moore’s advance toward Capitol Hill is the real embarrassment here. Roy Moore should not be elected to the US Senate because he opposes the values the United States is supposedly founded upon. Hopefully Alabama voters will make the election about that and write in Libertarian candidate Ron Bishop.

Thomas Knapp -- Photo Credit Avens O'Brien

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.  He is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (

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Bruce Boyer

Thomas makes it difficult for others of us who support libertarian principles to get the message of liberty out. There are different standards in the South and it was a different era. Recall that Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis both married girls of 14 and 15, it is normative in the South, or it was. It should be noted that none of the accusers have made a sworn statement, they just read statements, those and $1.85 will get you a bus ride! Also know that Mr. Moore was a DEMOCRAT, back then, so perhaps now that he has his eyes opened???

Thomas L. Knapp


In what way do I make it difficult for you to get the message of liberty out? When has Roy Moore every had anything to do with liberty?

As I clearly stated in the column, the election should be about the unfitness of his principles and ideas, not about his alleged personal peccadilloes decades ago. The only extent to which those are interesting is the extent to which Republicans who would hang anyone else who did what he’s accused of up by their nuts are making excuses for what he may have done.

As far as your point that girls used to court and marry when much younger, I’ve written about that too. I grew up around church ladies who were married at 14 and still happily married 50 years later. My grandmother made my mom graduate from high school before allowing her to marry at 17, but she was an exception in the area I came from. I am of the opinion that instead of drawing a number out of a hat and calling it “age of consent,” anyone claiming that someone was incapable of consent should have to convince a jury of the claim.

Citizen Reporter

Sounds like you have not taken my advice to watch the “Monumental ” move or read the Founders’ papers before responding, Mr. Knapp.

Citizen Reporter

I said nothing about regional “courting habits.” You have me confused with Mr. Boyer.

Citizen Reporter


“Roy Moore should not be elected to the US Senate because he opposes the values the United States is supposedly founded upon.”

Poor Thomas. You don’t even realize what values the US was actually founded on. Try watching the movie “Monumental” if reading the Founders’ papers is too much work.

But at least you didn’t summarily and quickly throw Moore under the bus like the deep state folks did.