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Roy Moore, the Washington Post and Evangelicalism

Roy Moore, the Washington Post and Evangelicalism

The Roy Moore sexual disclosures have rocked America and divided evangelicals across the board. The Washington Post has been in the forefront disclosing and presumably trying to bring down Mr. Moore. Passions are so strong that a PA State Judge where I live, (she is Jewish) said that her children only date by political preference rather than religious difference. Troubling times indeed.

An article by Dana Millbank in the Washington Post prompted a professor in Sri Lanka to respond. Professor Asoka Ekanayaka is an occasional contributor to VOL. As a non-American he brings a unique perspective on all this that I have not seen anywhere else and might interest VOL readers. -- David W. Virtue, DD

I invite VOL readers to first read Dana Milbank's article, "Roy Moore and the Republicans, taking the Bible literally but not seriously" in the Washington Post at the following link:
Professor Ekanayaka's Critical Response to this article follows:

By Professor Asoka Ekanayaka
Nov. 18, 2017

Here in distant Sri Lanka my attention was drawn to Mr. Millbank's article above by a good friend in America who in the credulity one expects from an incorrigible devotee of the Democratic party seemed highly impressed by his piece.

He begins by implying that the testimony of four women to the Washington Post (that ultimate repository of media mediated truth and justice) is sufficient to bring in a verdict of guilty. What happened to that venerable principle that every man is judged innocent until he is proved guilty? Is natural justice wearing thin in America which having abandoned the noble Judeo-Christian heritage that made it a great nation now worships the secular god of moral relativism where the pre-eminent values are unrestricted individual choice and rights. I would hope that in my part of the world even if a thousand frustrated hags were to crawl out of the woodwork of a long-lost youth and accuse a man, he would still be considered innocent until proved guilty.

There is also something unreal about all the furor of injured innocence and moral posturing over a man in his 30s having dated teenage girls, donkeys' year ago, given today's America where President Barack Hussein (Obama) strongly supported by a liberal media legalized homosexual marriage effectively popularizing the perversions of sodomy and buggery in society! Neither do mainstream media like the Washington Post care a hoot about the regular obscenities of gay pride parades that are a public disgrace, nor the manifold depredations of a vicious LGBTQ lobby which having infiltrated every stratum of US society especially the media, now dictates the terms of liberal sexual morality in the US determined to abolish the institution of the 'traditional' family that has been the cornerstone of civilization throughout human history.

For all the tears he sheds over a 30-year-old man's affairs with teenage girls ages ago where has Millbank agonized over the fact that only about 3% of Americans now wait until marriage to have sex? A 2007 NIH study reported that 75 percent of young people engaged in "wet kissing" and nearly two-thirds (61%) in manual stimulation of another person to orgasm. 46 percent of all high school age students, and 62 percent of high school seniors in the US have had sexual intercourse; almost nine million teens have already had sex. 83.5% of young people reported participating in genital touching. Reportedly many adolescents are engaging in sexual behaviors other than vaginal intercourse: about half have had oral sex, and just over one in 10 have had anal sex. That is just a snapshot of the reality of teenage sexuality in modern America. American teenagers are hardly demure angels. They are not even virgins in the broadest sense of the term! But I suppose for reporters like him, all that matters little provided the kids are happy enjoying themselves and indulging their choice in sexual perversion in a world of relative morality.

Neither are the sensibilities of the intellectually pretentious, left leaning, liberal pundits of the mainstream media in the US so obsessed by 'sexual harassment' aroused by the transgender madness that is sweeping through schools corrupting the minds of little children with the filth of LGBTQ indoctrination in the name of sex education, progressively banishing the terms 'boy' and 'girl' from classrooms and creating mass gender dysphoria and confusion. Is Millbank's so concerned about protecting the chastity of teenage girls from the groping hands of dirty older men? But the horrible fetal genocide of 1.2 million babies slaughtered in the womb every year in the US means nothing to him. That is the humbug and hypocrisy of the media which the President in his inimitable 'Trumpese' calls "fake"!

It is a different standard however for the Roy Moore's of this world, hated and hounded for being Republican and even more for daring to call themselves Christian in post Christian America - which brings me to the 23 cynical references to Old Testament scripture. Presumably Millbanks is an atheist and this puts me at a disadvantage. The Bible is a book about God. To seek to unravel and interpret scripture to someone who does not believe in the God of the Bible and is actually bitterly hostile to such a notion is like trying to explain the poetry of Shakespeare to a man who barely knows the English language and hotly denies that the Bard ever existed.

From first to last the Bible claims to be the inerrant spoken word of God and it is on those terms that it must be reckoned with. Its 66 books though written over a period of some 1500 years by different authors are not to be regarded as some kind of mystical fax from heaven. Rather the late great Dr. John Stott has brilliantly articulated the supreme authority of scripture based on its dual authorship. "On the one hand God spoke, revealing the truth and preserving the human authors from error, yet without violating their personality. On the other hand, men spoke, using their own faculties freely, yet without distorting the divine message. Their words were truly their own words. Yet they were (and still are) also God's words, so that what scripture says, God says."

Consequent it is an exercise in futility to attempt to clarify the meaning and significance of specific verses in their proper context, historicity, nuance, and broad theological exegesis to those who approach the Bible in a spirit of derisive criticism rather than genuine search for the truth and a desire to know God. Nevertheless, there is some logic to the argument that if on principle one were to affirm the supremacy of God's laws as the "legal standard" in public morality one cannot do so selectively. I agree that on that basis what the Bible says must be applicable in all respects in the 21st century. But his choice of verses from the old testament to show that this would be impractical is deeply flawed.

His selectivity suggests that more than sympathy for the victims of Moore's alleged sexual improprieties several decades ago the real intention of the article is to ridicule Christianity for which he has an undisguised contempt. Otherwise in selecting specific elements of biblical teaching with which to mock their relevance to life in the 21st Century why have you omitted such verses as:
"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matt 5:44)
"But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles"
"And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them" (Lk 6:31)
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command 'love your neighbour as yourself' (Gal 5:14)

His selectivity in picking verses to suit his argument and excluding others reflects both ignorance and plain bias. Even so some of his citations are plainly inappropriate and he has got their meaning mixed up. Genesis 22:2 describes the testing of a man's love for God - otherwise there was no human sacrifice whatsoever as he has implied. The incidents of child sacrifice and cannibalism in Judges 11 and 2 Kings 6 to which he glibly refers to involve human folly and depravity not divine endorsement. On the contrary Deut. 18:10 and Lev. 18:21 denounce any kind of human sacrifice as an 'abomination to the Lord' -- citations that he has conveniently chosen to overlook! It is the same with his mischievous reference to incest in Genesis 19 where it is recorded only as a matter of history with no suggestion of the sin being sanctioned. Not surprisingly Leviticus 18 contains a list of strong prohibitions against incest.

As for the remaining old testament verses he has cited the elucidation of their true meaning and significance would be unintelligible to him, since he does not believe in the God of the Bible anyway. Any rational conception of their true meaning the events to which they refer and their concordance with the rest of scripture, necessitate an understanding of the attributes of God, God's holiness, God's sovereignty, God's eternal purposes, God's plan of salvation for a disordered human race reeking in sin, as well as God's covenantal relationship with his people in all ages. All such considerations would be double-Dutch to atheists who refuse to believe in God at all! The apostle Paul writing to the Corinthians from Macedonia in AD 56 summed up the spiritual predicament of those who in his words "are perishing" in the darkness of unbelief " In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Cor 4:4)

Professor Asoka N.I. Ekanayaka, Ph.D (Lond.), DDPH.RCS (Eng.) BDS is Emeritus Professor and former Dean Faculty of Dental Science University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka

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