Wineke: There is a better reason why Roy Moore should lose

Missing from all the argument about Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore’s alleged record with teenage girls is the real reason why he shouldn’t serve in the U.S. Senate.

Moore was removed from his position as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court because he ordered probate judges to ignore a ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States stating that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry.

The discussion of Moore’s apparent predilection for teenage girls is a far more titillating argument, of course, and it fits well into the current national obsession with sexual misconduct by prominent men.

But, honestly, if the voters of Alabama want to elect a pervert to the Senate, I’m not sure that threatens the future of the country, though it certainly says something about the family values of the Republican Party.

But when a state justice uses his power to place his own supposed moral values before the vote of the highest court in the land, that does threaten the future of the country.

We fought a civil war over the principle some 150 years ago. Alabama was on the wrong side of that conflict, too.

This, incidentally, is the same Roy Moore who was previously removed from his state’s Supreme Court for disobeying federal court orders. The first time it was because he put a marble monument to the Ten Commandments in his courtroom.

Moore seems to think that his particular reading of Christianity is superior to the secular rulings of a federal court, and I get it that many right-wing Christians agree with him. But this nation is not a theocracy and, even if it was, no one elected Roy Moore high priest.

I have a feeling that many who think it is fine for Moore to thumb his nose at religious freedom would not be nearly so happy if a state justice were to order county sheriffs to confiscate guns.

If next Tuesday’s vote were only about whether we should elect politicians with icky moral values so long as they vote the way we want them to vote, that would be one thing. We’ve been doing that, one way or another, since the beginning of the country. I personally think both John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton were great presidents, so I am not morally superior to Moore supporters in this regard.

But voting for a candidate who has shown repeatedly that he has no respect for the laws of the land is something else again.