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Gun-tottin’, Bible-autographin’, fire-beathin’ by @BloggersRUs

Gun-tottin', Bible-autographin', fire-beathin'

by Tom Sullivan

Judge Roy Moore, the Bible-autographing Alabamian zealot, is "poison in the Republican bloodstream," writes Alabama political columnist Kyle Whitmire:

The man autographs Bibles. That should have been enough for anyone to accurately measure his character.

But it wasn't enough. Nothing it seems is enough for Alabama Republicans to say, "Enough!"

He was removed from the bench once for refusing to follow the law.

But voters put him right back so he could be removed a second time.

Did he call for homosexuals to be put to death? Did he use his charity for personal gain? That's our Roy. Did he assault young girls, lure them into his car? Never! (Or if he did, he had a good reason.)

It's not as if Roy Moore is anything new in these parts. "These allegations should sadden everyone but surprise no one," writes Jonathan Merritt, senior columnist for Religion News Service. Before him there were Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, and others. Evangelicals love their sinner-preachers. The fallenness of their religious heroes excuses their own sins better than Christ on the cross.

After his stint in prison, Bakker is back at pastoring, as are the others after their sexual dalliances became public. Merritt cautions at The Week that if national Republicans expect evangelicals to shun Moore, they are going to be disappointed:

But if recent history is any indication, we should distrust those who most vehemently peddle hate. Check their closet and you just might find a skeleton.

Research conducted by Jeff Schimel, a psychology professor at the University of Alberta, adds quantitative support for such skepticism. In one study, subjects who showed high levels of anger were more likely to rate others as angry. When participants were told they were dishonest, they were more likely to see others as dishonest. Whenever people come to believe they possess an unacceptable trait, they are more likely to see these traits in others.

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung famously said that "everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves." For Jungians, every human possesses a "shadow side" that contains all the behaviors they feel are bad or inappropriate. When our moral frameworks lead us to hide these behaviors, rather than deal with them honestly, they can lead to a sense of self-hatred. We try to repress these emotions, but they often escape in the form of anger toward others who we believe are immoral like we are.

Who would obsess opponents might commit massive (if undetectable) voter fraud? To pick one example at random.

Merritt concludes:

In the days ahead, we will likely learn whether Roy Moore is the paragon of Christian virtue he has led us to believe (unlikely!), or if his years of hatred were born out of guilt. We should not be surprised if the latter proves true. For when one uses hatred as a window through which to view others, it often turns out to have been a mirror all along.
I'm writing this down the street from Bob Jones University, the famously ultra-conservative religious college in South Carolina. The school once sought machine gun permits for security guards who protected coeds playing tennis in ankle-length skirts in the southern heat.

But BJU is the mainstream, liberal Christian academy in town, if stories are true. Tiny Bible colleges across the South send graduates to lead churches like those in rural Alabama. According to legend, boarding students at one tiny Bible college here were prohibited from even having pictures of their mothers in their rooms. Ponder that a moment.

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Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.