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“We should probably talk about how there is a segment of evangelicalism and home-school culture where the only thing Roy Moore did wrong was initiating sexual contact outside of marriage.
Evangelical leaders’ responses to the allegations that came out this week ranged widely, from Ed Stetzer, who wrote in Christianity Today, “If Roy Moore did what he is accused of, he should be out of this race and face the consequences,” to Jerry Falwell Jr., who said to Religion News Service, “It comes down to a question who is more credible in the eyes of the voters — the candidate or the accuser,” and added, “I believe the judge is telling the truth.” Most prominent evangelical pastors did not immediately reflect publicly on whether the evangelical culture Moore embraced in Alabama contributed to his pursuit of teenage girls.
She said she understood the pressure a teenager might feel to marry an older man as a way to gain some measure of independence.
Easter left her fundamentalist community four years ago, at age 21, after leaving a courtship relationship.
Brad Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia who studies marriage and families in the United States, said that while people tended to date and marry younger in the 1970s and 1980s, when Moore allegedly was dating teenagers, an age gap such as that between Moore and the girls would still have been highly unusual.
“In the South, in general, younger marriages would have been more common. teenagers going steady in high school — maybe a year or two or three between him and her,” Wilcox said.