Speaking from the pulpit at Magnolia Springs Baptist Church in Alabama Wednesday night, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore accused liberals, gays, bisexuals, transgender people, and socialists of fabricating sexual harassment allegations against him in an effort to keep his conservative Christian views out of Washington.
The Alabama Republican has repeatedly and emphatically denied accusations that he initiated a sexual encounter with a woman when she was 14 and he was 32, as well as the accounts of several other women who have said Moore inappropriately pursued them when they were teenagers.
During his sermon-like speech Wednesday night, Moore again dismissed the women's claims as "false and malicious," blaming the raft of stories about his alleged misconduct on a "conspiracy" cooked up by "Democrats pushing a liberal agenda" who have "tried unsuccessfully" to ruin his campaign.
"When I say they who are 'they?'" he told the clapping congregation. "They’re liberals. They don’t hold conservative values. They are the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender who want to change our culture. They are socialists who want to change our way of life and put man above God and the government is our God. They're the Washington establishment...who don't want to lose their power."
A staunch religious conservative, Moore has a history of discriminating against the LGBT community. As a circuit court judge in 1996, he was removed from a divorce case after ruling that a woman who had an affair with another woman could not visit her children unsupervised or with her lesbian partner. He has also refused to enforce the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling in support of same-sex marriage.
Orthodox Rabbi Noson Shmuel Leiter said that "Democratic and Republican homosexualists" were trying to tarnish Moore's campaign and that the former Alabama Supreme Court justice was working on behalf of religious leaders by standing up to "homosexualist gay terrorists" and "the LGBT transgender mafia."
On Wednesday, as Moore continued to defend himself against "false attacks," a person in the crowd broke in and asked about the sexual harassment claims. "The entire time, all the girls are lying?" the man shouted while Moore tried to continue his speech. "Why would they lie?"
Moore paused briefly, telling his supporters, "We can stop and get them out or we can keep going."
To make the night more interesting, Jimmy Kimmel had sent one of his writers to the church to impersonate a major Moore fan. Comedian Tony Barbieri, dressed in a "Gimme Moore" shirt, stood up and defended the Alabama Republican, yelling, "The judge is a man's man" and "Does that look like the face of a molester?"
Barbieri, who was playing a man named Jake Byrd, was then removed.
Despite the allegations, which have come from at least eight women, recent polls have shown Moore pulling ahead of his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, going into the Dec. 12 special election to fill Alabama's open Senate seat. The embattled GOP candidate has also earned the support of President Donald Trump, who came to Moore's defense when asked about the sexual misconduct allegations.
"He denies it. Look, he denies it," Trump told reporters last week. "He says it didn't happen."
Brianna Sacks is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Brianna Sacks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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