Several pastors who previously endorsed Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore have reportedly withdrawn their support amid allegations that the GOP nominee had sexually pursued five women when they were all teenagers.
AL.com reported that some pastors are now asking their names to be removed from the letter of support for Moore after the candidate's wife, Kayla, posted it on Facebook to indicate support from more than 50 Alabama pastors.
In the letter, the pastors described Moore as an "immovable rock in the culture wars," adding that he has met attacks with a "rare unconquerable resolve."
However, Pastor Thad Endicott of the Heritage Baptist Church said that he was not contacted about Kayla's latest post, which appears to be a recycled version of the letter that was released prior to the GOP primary.
"The list that has recently circulated was evidently copied and pasted from the August endorsements without checking to see if I still endorsed Moore," he said, noting that he is now asking his name to be removed from the Moore endorsement.
Dr. George Grant of Parish Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee said that he was never asked to sign the original letter and he had not spoken to Moore's campaign since before the election. He further noted that he had not been in contact with Moore personally in a decade and he does not want to be involved in Alabama politics. "Not my state. Not my issues," he said.
Tijuanna Adetunji of the Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery also said that she had not been contacted about the letter, and she had not given permission for her name to be included in the endorsement.
Another local pastor said that he was upset that his name and church were included in Kayla's post. Pastor Joseph Smith of Pine Air Baptist Church in Grand Bay had admitted that he previously said he would support Moore during the primary, but contended that he did not give permission to put his name on the letter.
On Monday, Alabama resident Beverly Young Nelson became the latest woman to accuse Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was just a minor.
During a press conference in New York City with celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, Nelson said that she thought Moore was going to rape her during her encounter with the Republican nominee when she was just 16.
"I was determined that I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and struggling and begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face," she recounted.
Meanwhile, Madison Baptist Church Pastor Mike Allison, who is listed among the 50 pastors, said that he is still supporting Moore despite the sexual misconduct allegations.
Allison, who endorsed Moore through the campaign website three months ago, said that his mind has not changed and does not think that the candidate should step down from the race.
When asked whether he thinks the other pastors on the list should keep supporting Moore, he replied: "Well that's up to them. Every person has to go by his own conscience, and I trust him. Until he says that he did it, I'm going to believe him." However, if the allegations prove true, the pastor said, "Well that would be another matter, yes."