Christian Pastor Flip Benham recently claimed that Roy Moore’s pursuit of a 14-year-old girl was justified because “there is something about the purity of a young woman.” Benham is an anti-gay conservative firebrand who tried to justify Moore’s alleged sexual assault of a minor. Benham was quoted as saying,
“I think that number one, you need to understand, 40 years ago, what the Sitz im Leben was like in Alabama. Judge Roy Moore graduated from West Point and then went into the service, served in Vietnam and then came back and was in law school. All of the ladies or many of the ladies that he possibly could have married were not available then, they were already married, maybe, somewhere.
So he looked in a different direction and always with the [permission of the] parents of younger ladies … He did that because there is something about a purity of a young woman, there is something that is good, that’s true, that’s straight and he looked for that.”
The argument that “Pastor” Benham is making is that it’s okay for evangelical adults to pursue teenage girls because they are pure, thus making the men “godly.” There is no other way to describe Benham’s statement other than completely disgusting. There isn’t any defense for grown men pursuing teenage girls. Teenagers do not have the life experience to make mature decisions regarding adult relationships. Laws against these types of relationships exist for a very good reason. There is a huge power imbalance between an adult lawyer in his 30s and a 14-year-old girl.
This is a reoccurring problem within the evangelical movement. The Duggars are the best example of religious hypocrisy used to justify sexual assault. Josh Duggar is the poster child for the character of the men who are indoctrinated from birth. Cult leader Bill Gothard started the homeschool evangelical (Quiverfull) movement. In February 2016, 18 victims filed a lawsuit against Bill Gothard, alleging sexual abuse. Daniel Dorsett, one of Gothard’s former drivers, claims that he witnessed the abuse of more than 150 girls between 1994 and 1996.
The conservative evangelical movement is clearly harmful to society as a whole. When the movement justifies the sexual abuse of children for the sake of political power, it becomes the embodiment of everything wrong with the Christian Church in America. It is imperative that Americans reject Roy Moore and reject any philosophy that tries to justify sexual abuse.