Roy Moore had ties to groups that didn't believe in gender equality (Real-Time News from AL.com)

Roy Moore had ties to groups that didn’t believe in gender equality

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U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore appeared in textbooks and lectures produced in 2011 by a Christian group called Vision Forum that promoted unequal gender roles and called for the subordination of women to husbands and fathers.

One of Vision Forum’s other contributors, William Einwechter, said that women should not run for elected office, and that Christians should not vote for women who do.

Hannah Ford, a spokesperson for Roy Moore, said he does not share that belief.

“Judge Moore believes that men and women are created equal by God and has never suggested or believed that women are unqualified for public office,” Ford wrote last week. “Judge Moore has supported constitutional conservatives – both men and women – for decades and will continue to do so.”

But Julie Ingersoll, a religious studies professor at the University of North Florida, said Moore’s affiliation with this group is telling.

“I think it’s fair to judge him by the company he keeps,” Ingersoll said. “Roy Moore has traveled widely in these circles for a long time.”

Ingersoll said Phillips and Vision Forum existed on the fringes of the evangelical movement. “They were extreme and far outside the mainstream of organized religion,” she said.

Many of the adherents homeschooled their children and rejected the notion of separation of church and state. Ingersoll said Moore frequently spoke to groups that believed in strict, Biblically-defined gender roles for men and women – even if he didn’t believe that himself.

Einwechter, the textbook co-author, said Moore “had absolutely no input” in the preparation of his lecture regarding women not running for office, which was titled “What the Bible Says About Female Magistrates.”

“I do not believe that he was even present when I gave the lecture,” Einwechter said in an email last week. “What Judge Moore’s views are on this subject I have no way of knowing because he never discussed it with me. What I do know is that the lecture was prepared by me alone with no collaboration with Judge Moore in any way.”

Still, the textbook chapter that corresponds to Moore’s lecture, which is available on a CD, states that judges must be men. In his presentation, Moore said nothing about the propriety of female judges or politicians.

Moore’s friendship with Doug Phillips, who ran Vision Forum Ministries from 1998 to 2013, has come under scrutiny in recent weeks. Phillips advocated separate and unequal roles for women and men, with women operating under the authority of fathers and husbands.

Phillips so deeply opposed the involvement of women in politics that he objected to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his 2008 running mate.

“The Palin selection is the single most dangerous event in the conscience of the Christian community in the last 10 years at least,” Phillips said to the LA Times in 2008. “The unabashed, unquestioning support of Sarah Palin and all she represents marks a fundamental departure from our historic position of family priorities — of moms being at home with young children, of moms being helpers to their husbands, the priority of being keepers of the home.”

Moore, on the other hand, welcomed support from Palin on the campaign trail this year. She appeared at a rally for the candidate on Sept. 21.

While Moore’s refusal to remove the Ten Commandments from his Etowah County courtroom turned him into a celebrity among evangelicals, it also shaped a friendship with Phillips.

Moore spoke to church groups frequently after his clash with the ACLU, often appearing at conferences and religious conventions – but his relationship with Phillips appears to run deeper. Still, a campaign spokesperson said the relationship with Phillips and Vision Forum was one of many that cropped up during Moore’s first round of legal battles.

“During the battle for the Ten Commandments, ministry leaders and pastors from around the nation flocked to support Judge Moore,” wrote a Moore spokesperson in an email. “To attribute any of their beliefs to Judge Moore is recklessly malicious.”  

Moore co-authored the textbook produced by Vision Forum in 2011 and lectured at events for young men and Christian activists. In a recording, Phillips described his friendship with Moore.

Phillips said he prayed with Moore on the days leading up to his hearing before the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission which ultimately led to his 2003 removal from the bench.

“I remember being with him the very night before he went into the trial,” Phillips said. “We got down on our knees on the second floor of this home and we began to pray.”

Moore’s lecture covered the circumstances of his removal from the bench and his belief that judges and courts should reflect Christian principles and acknowledge God. He criticized decisions that legalized same-sex marriage in California and struck down sodomy laws. It was delivered as part of the Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy, which was not a degree-granting institution but a series of educational retreats for men and teenage boys.

In his lecture, Moore praised the work of Phillips.

“As I think about what’s going on here at Vision Forum and what Doug’s doing and has done, I’m a little envious because I admire Doug and the fact that he can round up these young men that are going to make a difference in our nation,” Moore said.

Vision Forum collapsed in 2013 after Phillips admitted to an inappropriate relationship with a woman that began when she was 15 years old. The woman sued Phillips and Vision Forum, alleging that he exerted authority over her as an employer and pastor.

Moore has also been embroiled in allegations involving teenage girls. Several women came forward in November with accusations that he sought dates and made sexual advances toward them when they were teens and Moore was in his early 30s. Moore has denied all the allegations.

While Moore has said he doesn’t agree with Phillips’ position on women in politics, he hasn’t renounced the group either, Ingersoll said. 

Alabama

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December 9, 2017 at 01:12PM