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Bob Davis: What did he say?

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State Auditor, Sylacauga native Jim Zeigler

Jim Zeigler, a Republican, is a Sylacauga native, former news reporter and journalism minor from the University of Alabama. He worked for The Daily Home newspaper before winning a seat on the Alabama Public Service Commission at 25. He was elected state auditor in 2014. 

In the 2003 mockumentary film A Mighty Wind, one character explains to the camera his offbeat religious practices as represented by Witches In Nature’s Colors (WINC).

He replies by saying, “This is not an occult science. This is not one of those crazy systems of divination and astrology. That stuff’s hooey, and you’ve got to have a screw loose to go in for that sort of thing. Our beliefs are fairly commonplace and simple to understand. Humankind is simply materialized color operating on the 49th vibration. You would make that conclusion walking down the street or going to the store.”

The line is delivered so confidently by folk musician Terry Bohner (as played by actor John Michael Higgins) that you can sense the fellow Witches in Nature’s Colors nodding their heads in agreement. Meanwhile, back here in Reality Land, everyone is giving bigtime side-eye and making “what the what?” faces.

We’ve seen something similar over the past four weeks of Alabama’s special U.S. Senate election pitting Doug Jones against Roy Moore. It’s been especially acute since The Washington Post first published highly credible accounts that Moore, as an assistant DA in his 30s, aggressively pursued teenaged girls for romance or worse.

Lines of defense that might not raise an eyebrow among Moore supporters gathered in a church fellowship hall or around coffee and biscuits at the hard hat cafe were trotted out onto TV, computer and smartphone screens across the country. The reaction wasn’t pretty when it went nationwide.

Out of the gate early with a defense of Moore and his alleged interest in teen girls was the always outspoken Jim Zeigler, Alabama’s state auditor.

“Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus,” Zeigler told The Washington Examiner. “There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.” You see? If it’s good enough for Jesus’ earthly parents, it’s good enough for Roy.

Suddenly people across the country who would otherwise never devote a second of thought to Alabama’s state auditor had very strong opinions about his lame defense.

“Bringing Joseph and Mary into a modern-day molestation accusation, where a 32-year-old prosecutor is accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl, is simultaneously ridiculous and blasphemous,” Ed Stetzer, the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission and Evangelism professor at Wheaton College, said. “Even those who followed ancient marriage customs, which we would not follow today, knew the difference between molesting and marriage.”

OK, that didn’t go so well. Who’s next?

Trenton Garmon, an attorney speaking on behalf of Moore, was interviewed by MSNBC anchors Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle.

Garmon was asked to respond to Moore’s initial defense that he never dated a teen without getting the permission of her mother.

“Culturally speaking, I would say there’s differences. I looked up Ali’s background there and, wow, that’s awesome that you have got such a diverse background. It’s really cool to read through that,” Garmon said.

“What does Ali’s background have to do with dating a 14-year-old?” Ruhle said. “Please answer. What does Ali Velshi’s background have to do with dating children, 14-year-old girls?”

Garmon: “In other countries, there’s arrangement through parents for what we would refer to as consensual marriage.”

Ruhle: “Ali’s from Canada.”

Garmon: “I understand that. And Ali’s also spent time in other countries.”

Velshi, who was born in Kenya and grew up in Canada as the son of Gujarati Indian descendants: “I don’t know where you’re going with this.”

Neither did most of us, though in certain settings among Moore friendlies going after the race of the interviewer must have sounded like a solid plan.

Garmon is also the same Moore defender who in a cringe-worthy interview called CNN anchor Don Lemon “Don easy peasy Lemon squeezy.”

Moore himself back in mid-September was asked to name an era when America was last great. His answer: “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another…. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”

Wow, that one’s a doozy. It inspired a tweet from Wendell Pierce, the award-winning African American actor: “Roy Moore believes America was great during slavery! When our families were together. Well my family was split apart on the auction block Mr. Moore.”

Thanks for bringing us back to Reality Land, Mr. Pierce.

Bob Davis is editor and publisher of The Anniston Star. Contact him at 256-235-3540 or Twitter: EditorBobDavis