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Ralph Reiland

Ralph R. Reiland: Are Roy Moore's defenders crazy?

| Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
In this frame from video, Leigh Corfman speaks on NBC's 'Today' show during an interview in New York that aired Monday, Nov. 20, 2017.  Corfman is accusing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of initiating sexual contact when she was 14. (NBC News' TODAY via AP)
In this frame from video, Leigh Corfman speaks on NBC's 'Today' show during an interview in New York that aired Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. Corfman is accusing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of initiating sexual contact when she was 14. (NBC News' TODAY via AP)

As things get nuttier, a thought from Einstein seems appropriate: “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: Am I or are the others crazy?”

A case in point is Alabama Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, accused of sexual encounters with several teens, including a 14-year-old girl when he was a 32-year-old prosecutor, and Alabama state Auditor Jim Zeigler's Mary, Joseph and Jesus defense of Moore.

“Take Joseph and Mary,” Zeigler told the Washington Examiner.

“Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There's just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

Well, more than “just a little bit unusual,” Alabama's age-of-consent statute says someone 19 or older has committed sexual abuse if there is sexual contact with someone younger than 16.

It's not clear whether Zeigler has any proficiency in history or theology, but here's more information on the two episodes he equated as analagous in defending Moore.

BBC News portrays how Moore's main accuser has described Moore's behavior:

“Leigh Corfman told NBC News that Mr. Moore, then a 32-year-old prosecutor, ‘seduced' her at his house in 1979. … Ms. Corfman originally told the Washington Post how she was approached by Mr. Moore outside a courthouse in Etowah County. She said she had been sitting with her mother on a bench awaiting a child custody hearing in her parents' divorce case. Her mother, the newspaper reported, was delighted when the assistant district attorney offered to sit with her daughter outside to spare her having to listen to the court proceedings.”

Soon thereafter, Moore “allegedly picked up Ms. Corfman around the corner from her home, and drove her to his house in the woods where he sexually assaulted her.”

More from the BBC:

“Ms. Corfman told NBC's Today show: ‘Well I wouldn't exactly call it a date, I would call it a meet. At 14, I was not dating. At 14, I was not able to make those kinds of choices. ... After arriving at his home on the second occasion he basically laid out some blankets on the floor of his living room and proceeded to seduce me … .”

Regarding that centuries-old episode involving Mary, Joseph and Jesus, which Zeigler claimed as comparable to the aforementioned, here's what the Gospel of Luke (1:26-38) says:

“(T)he angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph … . The virgin's name was Mary. ... The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. ... Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?' The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.'”

Not completely the same story as then-prosecutor Moore with a ninth-grade girl.

Ralph R. Reiland is associate professor of economics emeritus at Robert Morris University and a local restaurateur (

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