The patriarchal backlash against Roy Moore’s accusers is in full fury. (More)

“The phone in the house could get through to her easily”

Breitbart’s Aaron Klein claims to have proof that Leigh Corfman is lying:

Speaking by phone to Breitbart News on Saturday, Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71, says that her daughter did not have a phone in her bedroom during the period that Moore is reported to have allegedly called Corfman – purportedly on Corfman’s bedroom phone – to arrange at least one encounter.

Predictably, Klein ran Wells’ actual words through a backlash spin machine to get his lead:

Wells, Corfman’s mother, was asked by Breitbart News: “Back then did she have her own phone in her room or something?”

“No,” she replied matter-of-factly. “But the phone in the house could get through to her easily.”

The obvious explanation: the Wells family had a phone with an extra-long cable, so people could carry it from room to room. Many families did that in the late 70s, because it was cheaper than having the phone company install a extension jack and then buying or leasing a second phone. Extra-long cables were cheap; you could get them for $5.95 at RadioShack.

And like a lot of teenagers in 1979, Wells’ daughter took the phone into her bedroom for calls that she didn’t want mom to hear.

That explanation is especially likely because Wells stands by her daughter’s allegations against Moore.

Or you can believe they made up the whole story – because Wells’ daughter didn’t have a separate extension in her bedroom.

Axios’ Jonathan Swan expects more to come:

This story is about to get even uglier, if that’s imaginable. I expect more counter-attacks will play out in Breitbart News and other outlets over the coming days.

Moore pretty much announced the backlash in his Veterans’ Day speech:

To think that grown women would wait 40 years … to bring charges is absolutely unbelievable. There are investigations going on. In the next few days, there will be revelations about the motivations and the content of this article.

But women who worked with him aren’t surprised by the accusations:

And Jones explained why no investigation was begun at the time:

“The evangelical world is overdue for a reckoning”

By “that atmosphere,” Jones means a brutally patriarchal brand of evangelical Christianity that celebrates violent punishment of children and wives and encourages men to pick up teenage girls:

We need to talk about the segment of American culture that probably doesn’t think the allegations against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore are particularly damning, the segment that will blanch at only two accusations in the Washington Post expose: He pursued a 14-year-old-girl without first getting her parents’ permission, and he initiated sexual contact outside of marriage. That segment is evangelicalism. In that world, which Moore travels in and I grew up in, 14-year-old girls courting adult men isn’t uncommon.

I use the phrase “14-year-old girls courting adult men,” rather than “adult men courting 14-year-old girls,” for a reason: Evangelicals routinely frame these relationships in those terms. That’s how I was introduced to these relationships as a home-schooled teenager in the 1990s, and it’s the language that my friends and I would use to discuss girls we knew who were in parent-sanctioned relationships with older men.

At that link, the Los Angeles Times’ Kathryn Brightbill details her own childhood indoctrination:

One popular courtship story that was told and retold in home-school circles during the 1990s was that of Matthew and Maranatha Chapman, who turned their history into a successful career promoting young marriage. Most audiences, however, didn’t realize just how young the Chapmans had in mind until the site Homeschoolers Anonymous and the blogger Libby Anne revealed that Matthew was 27 and Maranatha was 15 when they married. Libby Anne also drew mainstream attention to Matthew Chapman’s writings, in which he argued that parents should consider marriage for their daughters in their “middle-teens.” At that point the Chapmans stopped receiving quite so many speaking invitations.
As a teenager, I attended a lecture on courtship by a home-school speaker who was popular at the time. He praised the idea of “early courtship” so the girl could be molded into the best possible helpmeet for her future husband. The girl’s father was expected to direct her education after the courtship began so she could help her future husband in his work.

In retrospect, I understand what the speaker was really describing: Adult men selecting and grooming girls who were too young to have life experience. Another word for that is “predation.”

Brightbill concludes:

The evangelical world is overdue for a reckoning. Women raised in evangelicalism and fundamentalism have for years discussed the normalization of child sexual abuse. We’ve told our stories on social media and on our blogs and various online platforms, but until the Roy Moore story broke, mainstream American society barely paid attention. Everyone assumed this was an isolated, fringe issue. It isn’t.

Far too often, the predation begins in the home, as Carolyn Holderread Heggen documented in 1993 and the Duggar family scandal revealed in 2015.

“Sin-attracting chattel”

The Washington Monthly’s David Atkins has more on the evangelical culture of abuse:

In their world, young women are a burden to their families, a constant temptation to sin, their bodies a Devil’s playground. For them, the goal of an upstanding parent is to raise sons who will defend their honor and their heritage by any means necessary, and to raise daughters who will keep their own honor pure via chastity until they can be transferred to the “care” of an approved man in an arrangement sanctioned by both sides and by their God. From this perspective, age of consent laws are an inconvenience merely allowing more time for young women to develop rebellious habits and engage in unbecoming conduct.

It is disturbingly commonplace in this culture to see “understandings” in which older men from their late twenties on well into middle age are “given permission” to date much younger women and girls. In extreme cases, this can lead to polygynous arrangements as in many cults and fundamentalist groups. Nor is this phenomenon limited just to hardcore evangelical Christianity: this is the form of abusive patriarchy in conservative cultures with arranged marriage all around the globe. It is no surprise that some of Moore’s defenders have taken to using Biblical precedent to defend it.
When Roy Moore rails against the government and demands that the Bible be the basis for all law and culture, this is the culture he is defending. He is promoting not the New Testament ethics of Jesus, but the Old Testament anthropology and social structure of Abraham, Hagar and Sarah. It is a world where young women’s bodies belong to their fathers and mothers until they can be safely transferred as soon as possible into the hands of a God-fearing man of faith–and free above all from the prying eyes of liberals and government officials who might take an interest in the self-actualization and personhood of the women being treated as sin-attracting chattel. It is the world where women and girls are expected above all to honor their father and mother, obey their husband, and commit no adultery.

When white Southerners say their “way of life” is under attack – as almost half did in a recent Winthrop University poll – many would include the societal revulsion at Moore’s behavior. For them, Roy Moore is simply a good Alabama man …

… and anyone who challenges that must be destroyed.


UPDATE — Another longtime friend corroborates Corfman’s account:


Image Credits — Roy Moore: NBC; LeighCorfman: Family Photo (Washington Post); Painting effects: Crissie Brown (


Good day and good nuts