Pastors distance themselves from Moore amid growing scandal

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New allegations of sexual misconduct against Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore have caused at least three pastors to remove their names from a letter of support posted on the personal Facebook page of Moore’s wife.

Kayla Moore posted the endorsement letter amid the growing scandal over accusations from five women that Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was a district attorney in his early 30s.

Alabama’s AL.com news website noted the endorsement appeared to be a “recycled” statement from Aug. 15, well before two women accused Moore of sexual contact with them when they were teenagers.

On Nov. 13, a woman accused Roy Moore, 70, of sexually assaulting her in the late 1970s when she was 16. The previous week, another woman alleged Moore had inappropriate sexual contact with her when she was 14 and he was 32. Three additional women said Moore pursued romantic relationships with them as teenagers when he was a young adult, according to The Washington Post.

The letter of support, supposedly signed by 50 Alabama pastors, calls Moore an “immovable rock in the culture wars.” Moore’s campaign originally released the letter earlier this year, and two pastors said no one checked with them recently to see if they still supported him.

Tijuanna Adetunji of the Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery, Ala., said she didn’t give permission to have her name used, and Thad Endicott of Heritage Baptist Church in Opelika, Ala., said he no longer supported Moore. George Grant, pastor of Parish Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tenn., said no one asked him to sign the letter and insisted as a Tennessean he had no desire for involvement in Alabama politics.

Ed Stetzer called the accustations against Moore credible and said that he should step down in Christianity Today.

“If he continues to maintain his innocence, he should still step down so he can fight to clear his name, for the good of his state, for the success of his party, and to end the embarrassment he is causing evangelicals” wrote Stetzer.

Moore is the Republican nominee in a Dec. 12 special election in Alabama to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated when President Donald Trump appointed former Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general. Sessions on Tuesday said he had no reason to doubt Moore’s accusers. Earlier Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., became the latest Republican leader to urge Moore to drop out of the race.

Moore has denied all the charges and says he is remaining in the race

— by Leigh Jones 

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