As things get nuttier, a thought from Einstein seems appropriate. “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”
A case in point is Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, accused of sexual encounters with several teenagers, including a 14-year-old girl when he was a 32-year-old prosecutor, and the Mary, Joseph and Jesus defense of Moore offered by Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler.
“Take Joseph and Mary,” Zeigler told The Washington Examiner. “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was a carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a bit unusual.”
In fact, more than “a bit unusual” since the age of consent statute in Alabama says that an individual who is 19 years old or older has committed sexual abuse in the second degree if there is sexual contact with a person younger than 16.
It’s not clear if auditor Zeigler has any proficiency in history or theology, but here’s the information on the two episodes that he has publicly equated as analogous.
BBC News in its November 20, 2017 column, “Senate candidate Roy Moore’s accuser: ‘I was a 14-year-old child,’ ” reports how the purported victim describes Moore’s behavior:
“Leigh Corfman told NBC News that Mr. Moore, then a 32-year-old prosecutor, ‘seduced’ her at his house in 1979. Ms. Corfman originally told the Washington Post how she was approached by Mr. Moore outside a courthouse in Etowah County. She said she had been sitting with her mother on a bench awaiting a child custody hearing in her parents’ divorce case. Her mother, the newspaper reported, was delighted when the assistant district attorney offered to sit with her daughter outside to spare her having to listen to the court proceedings.”
A few days later, “Mr. Moore. allegedly picked up Ms. Corfman around the corner from her home, and drove her to his house in the woods where he sexually assaulted her,” the newspaper reported.
“Ms. Corfman told NBC’s Today show: ‘Well I wouldn’t exactly call it a date, I would call it a meet. At 14, I was not dating. At 14, I was not able to make those kinds of choices. I met him around the corner from my house. My mother didn’t know. And he took me to his home. After arriving at his home on the second occasion he basically laid out some blankets on the floor of his living room and proceeded to seduce meâ€¦”
Corfman “alleged that he removed her clothing and stripped to his white underwear before molesting her and trying to get her to touch him. ‘At that point I pulled back and said that I was not comfortable and I got dressed and he took me home,’ Ms. Corfman said.
In the centuries-old other Biblical episode that Alabama State Auditor Zeigler claimed was comparable to the aforementioned, regarding Mary, Joseph and Jesus, here’s how that is described in the Gospel of Luke (1:26-38):
“The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph â€¦ The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said … ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus â€¦ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.’
Not completely the same story as prosecutor Moore and the 9th grader.
Ralph R. Reiland is Associate Professor of Economics Emeritus at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
Ralph R. Reiland
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