American politics is riveted on bombshell accusations involving Judge Roy Moore, who is running for U.S. Senate from the state of Alabama. In a story reported in the Washington Post, he is accused by five women of molesting them when they were 14 – 16 years old. He proclaims his innocence, claims he always “got their mother’s permission” when dating young girls, and calls the charges a political smear.

Regardless of the political outcome, our culture is getting a lesson in moral development in real time. Old Testament values that accept older men being with adolescent girls is today seen as creepy and abusive. Childhood itself has become reified as a stage of development that is sacred and in need of protection. Are children safer today than in 1970’s Alabama? Yes, and ever more so as stories such as Judge Moore’s spur us forward (but don’t tell that to Mike Barnacle, Maureen Dowd and the other wailers of woe).