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Does William Wilberforce Make the Case for Roy Moore?

William Wilberforce was a 19th Century English political leader, devout Christian and the driving force behind Great Britain’s ban on slavery. He employed a principled Biblical understanding of the inherent value of every person and a practical willingness to compromise and take very small steps at times.

He is revered — by those who know his story. He was as morally upright as they come, although he would have decried such a description. His Christian life was the central focus of his life and he was a relentless fighter for what he believed was right — despite being barely five feet tall and sickly his entire life.

So for the voters of Alabama, including many Christians who are unsure if they can vote for Roy Moore, perhaps Wilberforce provides a way of measuring the decision by a man who more than understood the dilemma. It’s not as simple as maintaining total purity in whom one will support, or the end justifies the means.

Wilberforce was at once both a moral immediatist in abolishing slavery — he believed it must be 100 percent dismantled immediately — and a strategic incrementalist with a long-term view to take each necessary step to reach abolishment. His style and exhortations could in a sense be used to argue against a vote for Moore. But his actions tended more towards a vote for Moore.

Clarke Forsythe, M.A. in Bioethics from Trinity International University, wrote of Wilberforce in Politics for the Greatest Good:

“Although Wilberforce sponsored a motion for general and immediate abolition annually for several years, abolition came not immediately and totally, but in intent and in effect, incrementally. The slave trade was incrementally reduced by regulations and partial prohibitions, and those incremental reductions were tied, in public debate, to issues of national interest rather than strong arguments of morality – “justice” and “humanity” – which were reserved until the final stroke. The incremental reductions served to eliminate the fears raised by the claims of the slave traders. Though Wilberforce and his allies had the strongest moral motivations, they exhibited strategic, tactical and rhetorical flexibility in their actions and arguments in large part because they stayed focused on the end result and did not confuse the goal with their motivations.”

Compromise and sacrifice

Wilberforce’s choice to introduce a bill every year for the immediate abolition of slavery was a decision that politically eliminated him from ever becoming Prime Minister, which many thought he could probably obtain. But after going nowhere a few rounds, he began a more long-term approach that some refer to as incrementalism.

He was able to pass a bill banning the slave trade in certain parts of Africa and to certain parts of the colonies. It was a tiny step to slow the trade. He passed a bill limiting the number of slaves that can be shipped on British ships and a series of proposals called “amelioration bills” for better living conditions for slaves. This was argued on the basis of creating “humane” conditions on slave ships. Clanging words to our ears, but another step in reigning in some of the suffering by reducing the total trade.

These and other bills acted to reduce the profit and value of slavery. That, in turn, reduced the political support for the slave trade until it finally reached the point that Wilberforce and his allies in Parliament could bring the hammer to the cracking institution and finally destroy slavery in Great Britain and throughout the British Empire.

To accomplish this, Wilberforce not only compromised on immediate abolition, but he worked consistently on the incremental bills with members of Parliament who supported the slave trade and even participated profitably in it. He could be criticized for cooperating with slaver interests and not fighting to get full abolition sooner. And it was surely distasteful at times. But historians generally agree that without the incrementalism that reduced the political support, there was too much power in the slave trade to get full abolition passed.

The Wilberforce model has served as a bit of a guide — although not unanimously — for those who believe abortion is as morally abhorrent as slavery. Laws such as banning abortions once a baby in the womb is pain capable, waiting periods and requirement on mothers to see an ultrasound are in line with incrementalism even though the two issues are not completely analogous.

Tying these together a bit, the difference between Roy Moore and his opponent, Doug Jones, on the issue of abortion could not be more stark. Moore is pro sanctity of life from conception while Jones favors a woman’s right to kill her baby until the moment of birth.

Where would Wilberforce stand on this option, when Moore has a more questionable moral past than what is known about Doug Jones?

If Wilberforce had maintained a personal purity on who he would work with and what he would compromise — and stuck with total immediacy regarding the end of slavery rather than taking some bad to get more good — it seems unlikely he would have led the abolishment of slavery and that wicked institution would have continued to destroy lives for years or decades.

Can the same argument be made for Moore regarding abortion and federal judges who would rule more strongly in favor of personal freedoms — and possibly overturn Roe v. Wade and expand religious freedom? Is that an acceptable trade? Alabama voters will have to decide that one.

RELATED ARTICLE: Roy Moore’s lead over Doug Jones increases in new poll

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

VIDEO: Alabama voters stand by their man, cheer Moore during Veterans Day Event

Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Roy Moore gave a stirring Veterans Day speech and addressed allegations published by the Washington Post.

Watch Judge Moore’s full speech courtesy of Right Side Broadcasting Network:

Breitbart in a column titled “Multiple Standing Ovations for Judge Roy Moore as He Hammers Washington Post Smears at Veterans Day Event” reports:

VESTAVIA HILLS, Alabama — Judge Roy Moore, the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate here in Alabama, received a standing ovation from veterans and Republican supporters here at a public library at his first public event since the Washington Post smeared him earlier this week.

Moore’s condemnation of the Post came towards the end of a nearly 30-minute rousing speech honoring veterans and standing up for the principles of the United States just outside Birmingham here on Saturday morning.

“Now I want to address something that some people have come here to hear about,” Moore said in front 50 or so supporters, turning his attention to the giant pack of media who came to Alabama to report on this. “Shortly after becoming the Republican nominee for the United States Senate, the Washington Post began an attack on the Foundation for Moral Law, on my wife, and on me. For weeks, we read about my salary which they distorted, about taxes where they said we were paid money we never got. But we endured that.”

“Later, they came out and endorsed my opponent in this race,” he continued. “Just two days ago, the Washington Post published yet another attack on my character and reputation in a desperate attempt to stop my political campaign for the United States Senate. These attacks about a minor are completely false and untrue about something that happened nearly 40 years ago. But more than being completely false and untrue, they are very hurtful to me personally.”

“I’ve been married to my wife Kayla for nearly 33 years. We have four children. I have one daughter, and I have five granddaughters. I have the highest regard for the protection of young children,” Moore explained. “When I returned to Gadsen 40 years ago after military service, I went to work for the office of the District Attorney. As a student of the law, I have served in public office off and on for the last 40 years. To be attacked for allegations of sexual misconduct contradicts my entire career in law.”

“I wanted to make it clear to the media present and the people present, I have not provided alcoholic beverages—beer or anything else—to a minor. I have not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone,” he declared. “These allegations came only four and a half weeks before the general election on Dec. 12. Why now?”

CNN’s political reporter Eric Levenson found that Judge Roy Moore’s support remains rock solid in Alabama. Levenson interviewed a number of Moore supporters. In his column titled “Why Roy Moore supporters are standing by him, in their own words” Levenson provided the following quotes:

Mike Allison, pastor of Madison Baptist Church, said he knows Moore as “a man of integrity,” he told CNN.

“I don’t even believe the allegations. There’s lots of fake news going around these days,” he said. “They’re allegations. How can he even defend himself against 40-year-old allegations? You used to be innocent until proven guilty.”

“I support him now more than ever,” he said.

“I’ve known him my whole life and I’ve never known him to do anything inappropriate,” said the Rev. Jamie Holcomb, of Young’s Chapel Congregational Methodist Church.

He said that he’d need to see more proof before he changed his mind.

“I stand behind him 100%, unless there’s proof,” he said

NBC New’s Adam Edelman in a column titled “In Alabama, Republican Voters Stand by Roy Moore” writes:

Of more than 15 Republican voters in Alabama interviewed by NBC News, none said their support for Moore would change.

Most said they didn’t believe the allegations and some said even if they are true, that wouldn’t sway their vote for him next month because they think Moore is a good man, should be forgiven and they could never bring themselves to vote for a Democrat anyway. Several attacked the media.

[ … ]

Republican voters in Alabama said they love Moore’s penchant for political incorrectness — they like the same thing about President Donald Trump — and blame the media for Moore’s troubles.

Judge Roy Moore is gaining support from the Trump effect. Moore is plain spoken, not politically correct and the sworn enemy of the Washington, D.C. establishment.

All the ingredients that propelled Trump to the White House may very well propel Moore to the U.S. Senate.

Readers wishing to donate to the Roy Moore for U.S. Senate campaign please click here.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Hey Mitch, 63% Of Alabama Voters Still Support Judge Roy Moore ⋆ WayneDupree.com

Alabama ABC Affiliate Can’t Find One Voter Who Believes WaPo Report About Roy Moore in Man-on-the-Street Segment – Breitbart

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Judge Roy Moore taken on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015  is courtesy of AP/Brynn Anderson.