Media Still Thinks Roy Moore's 'Jesus Loves the Little Children' Reference Is Racist
Earlier this month, the media proved once again how tone-deaf it can be when reporting on evangelical Christians. Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore referenced an old children's song, and media outlets interpreted his remarks as racist. On the eve of the Alabama runoff election this evening, the polling website FiveThirtyEight continued to brand the remarks racist, mocking Moore's assertion that they were a reference to the gospel.
"We were torn apart in the Civil War — brother against brother, North against South, party against party. What changed?" Moore asked in a speech earlier this month. "Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting."
"What's going to unite us? What's going to bring us back together? A president? A Congress?" the candidate asked further. He answered his own question, "No. It's going to be God."
To a media conditioned to sniff out any outrage and to find race as the reason behind every phenomenon, these remarks sounded like damnable prejudice.
The Washington Post's Eugene Scott and Amber Phillips went so far as to painstakingly explain why the terms might be offensive. "'Red' has historically been a slang term for Native Americans that has increasingly gone out of favor. Some view it as offensive...." Meanwhile, "'Yellow' is a derogatory term for East Asians that was common in the late 1800s among the white working class in California."
Slate's Ben Mathis-Lilley went quite a bit beyond that. "Ironically, one way God could improve white Americans' relationships with Native Americans and Americans of Asian ancestry is by coming down hard on people like Roy Moore who still refer to Native Americans and Americans of Asian ancestry by using racial terms that were already considered insulting and antiquated 50 years ago," he wrote.
"Please smite Roy Moore, God! Do it!" Mathis-Lilley mockingly prayed.
FiveThirtyEight's Claire Malone upbraided Moore for using "racial slurs." She then acknowledged his tweet explaining the remarks.
"Red, yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. This is the Gospel," Moore tweeted.
Malone saw fit to "gospel-splain" the evangelical Christian. "It is not the Gospel that he quoted, but in fact an old-fashioned children's hymn," the FiveThirtyEight writer declared. (Naturally, Malone was incorrect to refer to the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as "the Gospel" anyway. For Christians, "the Gospel" is the entire message of salvation in Jesus, and it emphatically includes racial reconciliation.)