Alabama's gun toting, judicial-robe-wearing, horseback riding politician Roy Moore lost his controversial bid for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
The 70-year-old Moore was accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was a bachelor in his 30s.
The accusations against him are credible. He denies them.
If the allegations are true then Moore, a Southern Baptist, should fess up. He should repent.
Indeed, Moore should have done this when the allegations first came out. He should have asked for forgiveness from the women he hurt, and then he should have dropped out of the race and committed himself to doing everything in his power to make these women whole.
He should have repented.
He still can. We all can.
He can say sorry. He can try to heal those wounded. He can work to help victims of sexual assault by donating to a worthy nonprofit that combats the ills of abuse or violence. Politics aside, if Moore had done this during the campaign, he would have set an example for how society might deal with grave moral failure.
Displaying remorse — bred from an acknowledgement of the seriousness of sin and the importance of fully confronting and correcting it — would have provided a far more valuable victory than any partisan political prize.
After The Washington Post reported the initial allegations, Moore patently denied them. Columnist Ross Douthat mused on Twitter: "An interesting question is what the polls would look like if Roy Moore had immediately confessed, begged forgiveness and placed himself in the hands of voters."
I posed a version of the same question to a friend, and he astutely observed that, from a political standpoint, such a strategy would work only if Moore was certain nothing worse was yet to come. And, sure enough, within days of our conversation the next shoe dropped — this time it was worn by Beverly Young Nelson, who said she was only 16 when Moore assaulted her in his car.
If these allegations are true, the redemptive path is the one I can imagine being taught in the Gallant First Baptist Church, where Moore worships with his wife, Kayla — that is, repentance.
He should have done it from the start. He can still do it now.
We all can.
Moore's faith seems sincere. Surely he's confessed his sins to God. But, since these allegations are credible, and Moore has now witnessed the hurt he's caused, he should do everything in his power to make things right.
It will be painful, embarrassing and humiliating. But it is the right thing to do. It is the Christian thing to do.
Moore is a sinner. We all are. And just as society needs to do a better job of allowing people to change, allowing people to repair and to make amends, so too individuals must set right what's been put out of joint.
What Moore is alleged of doing in his 30s is not just despicable, it's criminal. The statute of limitations for criminal or civil actions have passed, but there are ways to pay one's debt to society and to the victims that does not need to involve a courtroom or incarceration.
Moore may not face jail time for what he did. But, as a Christian, there are surely things worth fearing far more than Alabama's law.