Alabama's Republican nominee for US Senate, Roy Moore has found himself in deep waters after he was accused of initiating sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl, while in his thirties. Despite nationwide criticism and calls for him to step down, the former judge has found himself supporters who are using the Bible to come to his defence.
While some state politicians have dismissed all the accusations as false, Alabama state auditor Jim Zeigler attempted to make light of the matter, stating it was "much ado about very little" before comparing it to the Holy Family.
"Take Joseph and Mary," Zeigler told the Washington Examiner on 9 November (Thursday). "Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus."
The Washington Post has previously reported allegations by Leigh Corfman, 53, who claimed Moore made sexual advances towards her when he was a 32-year-old district attorney. She was 14 at the time. Corfman said that he kissed her once and touched her over her bra and underwear on another occasion. Her statement was followed by claims from three other women who said that Moore flirted with them when they were teenagers.
For his part, the 70-year-old politician has denied all claims, describing them as a "completely false and desperate attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post". In an email made available to Politico, Moore also attempted to use the religion card, telling his supporters that "the forces of evil" would do everything possible to "silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me".
"That's why I must be able to count on the help of God-fearing conservatives like you to stand with me at this critical moment," he continued, with the email then asking for "emergency contribution" towards his campaign.
Moore is especially popular with Alabama's Christian community, which makes up about 76% of the state's population. His conservative stand on matters of LGBT laws, including same sex marriage, recently led to his indefinite suspension in May 2016, from his chief justice duties after he issued an administrative order compelling probate judges to refuse applications for marriage licences by same-sex couples.
In 2003, Moore was removed from the same position after he ignored a federal court order demanding he take down a monument of the Ten Commandments that he had installed in the state judicial building. "I'm glad that the people of Alabama and the people of the United States are entitled to see what has so offended... judges and justices who have locked the monument in a closet so that people cannot see the word of God," Moore told the Montgomery Advertiser after the monument was removed and put in storage.