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Homosexuality is a criminal offense punishable by death in 13 countries — all are Muslim majority. In 74 countries, all of which are in South America, Asia, and Africa, homosexual acts are considered a criminal offense.

If Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore, who was a chief justice on the Alabama Supreme Court, had his way, he would outlaw homosexual acts in the United States, too.

CNN reported in 2005 that when Moore was asked by a reporter whether he thought homosexual acts should be illegal in the U.S., he said: “homosexual conduct should be illegal, yes.”

Moore has appeared on “Generation Radio,” hosted by pastor Kevin Swanson. Swanson is well known for being a strong promoter of the death penalty as punishment for homosexual acts. Moore appeared on the show at least five times, as recently as February.

Three years ago, Moore condemned the the City Council of Huntsville, Alabama, for “allowing” citizens to exercise their First Amendment rights in a pride parade.

Moore’s views on homosexuality aren’t his only controversial views. He has shared articles on Facebook indicating support for a ban on Muslim immigration to the United States. This type of ban, unlike Trump’s travel bans, would ban immigrants based  exclusively on religion.

It may be naïve to suggest that should Moore be elected, his views toward criminalizing homosexuality or banning Muslims would be at the forefront of his own legislative goals. One senator’s views would not necessarily define the entire Republican Party’s agenda.

Nevertheless, supporters of a candidate with such extreme ideas deserve a cautionary note:  In America, we don’t choose the policies, we choose the representatives.

As a member of the Republican Party, Moore’s disturbing stances suddenly call into question not just his immediate supporters’ views, but all Republicans that fail to condemn him.

Former White House strategist Karl Rove raised this point: “Republicans will be asked, ‘Do you agree homosexuality should be punished by death, do you believe 9/11 was a result of God’s anger?’ He’ll say outrageous things, the media will play it up, and every Republican will be asked, ‘Do you agree with that?’”

Contrary to former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon’s suggestion, a vote for Moore is not a vote for Donald Trump. Unlike Trump, Moore is a man who believes he is on a moral crusade to purge America of immorality.

“I want to see virtue and morality returned to this country,” Moore said.

CNN reported that when Moore explained why he believed beastility and homosexuality should be illegal in the U.S., he cited the American Founding.

“It is a moral precept upon which this country was founded,” Moore said.

Moore has also called Islam a “false religion” on several occasions, suggesting that it deserves no protection under the First Amendment.

Condemning Moore is not a condemnation of Christian values. It is a staunch defense of their preservation. It is one thing to believe homosexuality is a sin or to believe solely in traditional marriage. It is entirely different to believe gays should be treated as criminals and deprived of their First Amendment rights.

Justice comes in different forms. The government does not judge every aspect of our life. Conservatives should rejoice over this point. In the end, God is the ultimate judge of morality, not Roy Moore or the United States government.

Our nation has always been one where, in the interest of preserving individual liberty, not all acts of immorality constitute criminality. If we did legislate morality, then the Constitution would be a lot longer. When debate surfaces over when criminality comes into play,  Moore’s views resonate so negatively that they harm the conversation, rather than help it.

When Moore threatens to jail homosexuals, he not only turns middle-minded Americans away from the Republican Party, he turns them away from believing religious motivations should have a role in politics. Moore does not help Christian conservatives fight the culture wars, he harms their cause.

Moore is not the only person of concern. Bannon is so engaged with his “global revolution” to restore sovereignty and bring about “economic nationalism,” he does not care about means of getting there.

This is reckless and dangerous. It is not enough to simply vote for people who declare that they will restore the Constitution and traditional values. Words matter, the details matter, and in this case, the details suggest Moore misunderstands the Constitution, which threatens its preservation.

Moore might help Republicans. He could be a team player and give the extra vote needed to pass Republican legislation.

But Republicans should beware. The bombastic rhetoric of Moore may be a breath of fresh air from the swamp, but no freshness changes Moore’s perverted vision of America. His vision, and perhaps Bannon’s, are both unconstitutional and at odds with the Republican Party of the last 150 years.

They cannot coexist.

 

Ben Dietderich is a sophomore studying political economy and Rhetoric and Public Address.