In 2011, Alabama candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore co-authored a study course that takes a very dim view on women’s suffrage and civic involvement, including teaching that women should not run for public office, according to a new report at the very, very left-wing blog Think Progress.
Think Progress unearthed the course pack and published a detailed story documenting some of the contents and Moore’s co-authorship. (For example, there is a photo of then-Chief Justice Moore on the course packaging under the heading of “Featured Speakers.”)
Think Progress went to the trouble of spending $50 to purchase, read, listen to and view the course materials. (If you have cash to burn, it’s here on Amazon and some of the customer reviews are really illuminating and priceless.) Spoiler: We’re not going to do that. However, we’re willing to put some trust in their factual citations. From the article:
The course, called “Law and Government: An Introductory Study Course,” includes 28 hours of audio and visual lectures given by Moore and others, as well as a study guide. …
The curriculum was a product of Vision Forum, a now-defunct Texas-based evangelical organization headed by Doug Phillips, which taught “Biblical patriarchy”, a theology that prescribes strict, unequal gender roles for men and women. …
One lecture in the Vision Forum study course on which Moore worked is given by William O. Einwechter, a teaching elder at Immanuel Free Reformed Church. The lecture is titled “What the Bible Says About Female Magistrates.” The lesson argues that the Bible forbids women from holding elected office.
An unidentified man introduces Einwechter’s lesson and criticizes the women’s suffrage movement.
“By and large, the issue of the female magistrate ruling in authority in America would not have been anywhere near as controversial,” the man says. “The controversy was beginning to brew with the women’s suffrage movement.” …
The man references the Biblical passage Isaiah 3 as justification for this claim.
For those not up-to-speed on biblical references, Isaiah 3 is a message presaging judgment on Jerusalem and Judah for a series of offenses against God. Much of the chapter is a description of what punishment is coming; the other rest is a statement of God’s case of the crimes committed. Without having access to the course materials, it’s hard to know exactly which portion of Isaiah 3 the course cites as proof that God does not women to serve in public office. But a good guess might be Isaiah 3:12, this version from the NIV Bible: (emphasis added)
Youths oppress my people,
women rule over them.
My people, your guides lead you astray;
they turn you from the path.
There are also references further in about the women of Zion being “haughty” and “strutting along with swaying hips,” but it’s more probable that an ultra-fundamentalist interpretation of the preceding section that Moore’s co-author uses as justification for teaching that women must not serve and voters must not vote for those who make the effort to run for office. To put it mildly, most Christian leaders and adherents will find this interpretation awkward and off-base in a theological sense, and untenable in secular terms.
While it’s not Moore addressing the matter of women in elected office – he’s only a co-author prominently displayed on the package, and we actually don’t know what his speaking topics were about – Moore is unabashed and unapologetic about his fundamentalist views. This looks like a case of either comfortable association on Moore’s part, or a failure to judge said associations carefully. We think the smart bet is on the former scenario and hope that reporters on the ground in Alabama can get some answers.
If journalists do get to pose the question to Moore, it might be tough for him to pivot into the patter of a modern politician on the run from sex allegations – “I am an ardent supporter of women in the government” – because there’s no evidence that the embattled Alabaman has ever even endorsed a woman for public office.
Most public polling on the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate has Moore holding a narrow lead. Election Day is December 12.