Remind me to never leave my underage daughter in the care of Franklin Graham. In a mind-numbingly ill-conceived tweet, Graham defended Roy Moore by claiming that those calling for him to step down are guilty of worse acts than the crimes that Moore is accused of committing.
Before getting to Franklin Graham, though, let’s recap the allegations against Roy Moore.
To date, eight women have accused Roy Moore of sexually harassing or assaulting them. Several of the women were underage at the time that the alleged sexual harassment and/or assault took place. The worst of the accusations involve actual sexual assault of minors. The Washington Post writes, “Beverly Young Nelson was 16 when she worked at a restaurant called Old Hickory House in 1977. Moore, she said during a news conference this week, was a regular customer who, at one point, signed her high school yearbook. On one evening, he offered her a ride home. Nelson alleges that he instead drove behind the restaurant and assaulted her. Moore was 30.”
Another accuser, Leigh Corfman, was only 14 when she claims: “Moore introduced himself to her outside a child custody hearing at the local courthouse. He later called her and asked her on a date, during which, she alleges, he took her to his house and tried to initiate sexual contact. Moore was 32.”
Those allegations and the subsequent calls for Roy Moore to step out of the Alabama Senate race are what prompted Franklin Graham to tweet, “The hypocrisy of Washington has no bounds. So many denouncing Roy Moore when they are guilty of doing much worse than what he has been accused of supposedly doing. Shame on those hypocrites.”
The hypocrisy of Washington has no bounds. So many denouncing Roy Moore when they are guilty of doing much worse than what he has been accused of supposedly doing. Shame on those hypocrites.
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) November 17, 2017
I get the “stand by your man” thing, but there’s a line between defending someone’s constitutional right to be considered innocent until proven guilty and belittling the charges against that person. I’m not exactly sure which “hypocrites” Graham has in mind, but I find it hard to believe that they’ve done worse things than sexually assaulting underage girls. I mean, there’s a point when certain crimes are so atrocious as to render comparisons to other atrocious crimes meaningless to the point of causing the one making the accusations to appear to be downplaying atrocious crimes.
Think of it this way: Let’s say that a person is accused of murdering a family of four. After the accusations come to light, and as the authorities gather evidence, his co-workers demand that he be fired from his job, claiming that they don’t feel safe. In response, the defenders of the accused declare, “But I know that some of you have murdered a family of five. Hypocrites!”
While the charge of “hypocrites” may be true, those hypocrites’ crimes do not lessen the severity of the original accused person’s crime. At that point, murdering four people versus murdering five people is a distinction without any real difference in terms of response.
What should happen is that those who have murdered a family of five should enter the justice system, too. What shouldn’t happen is that the one accused of murdering a family of four get a free pass because, “well, at least he didn’t murder a family of five like you hypocrites.”
Franklin Graham is guilty of downplaying one serious crime because he believes that those with whom he disagrees are guilty of a worse crime. This brings me back to my opening sentence: “Remind me to never leave my underage daughter in the care of Franklin Graham.”
If Franklin Graham believes that the accusations of sexually assaulting underage girls are so trite as to be handled dismissively in a tweet that is basically saying “well, at least he didn’t do that,” then Graham does not have the maturity or discernment necessary to watch over underage girls. Likewise, if Graham believes that accusations of sexual assault on underage girls make a good platform to score cheap political points, then Graham does not have the requisite maturity or discernment necessary to be considered a religious leader.