A Brief Note on the Alabama Senate Race and an Old Children’s Song

Just like them secular socialist Yankees to bash Judge Roy for alluding to a beloved children’s song about Jesus! Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call

If Roy Moore is elected to the U.S. Senate, he will instantly become a cultural ambassador from the deepest of Deep South states, the veritable Heart of Dixie (the old state slogan still featured on many license tags), to a country that is evolving in a very different direction. After all, the “Ayatollah of Alabama” says and does things almost every day that would make him a pariah in most other states. His extremely well-established disdain for that secular-socialist concept, church-state separation, is not, however, all that controversial among Republicans in his home state.

But sometimes national observers listening to Judge Roy mostly need a translator. All over the national media, this was a story today:

While making the case for unifying the electorate, a candidate for Alabama’s open Senate seat ended up saying something pretty divisive.

Roy Moore, a former chief justice on the state Supreme Court, was speaking against racial, political and other divisions at a rally in Florence, Ala., on Sunday when he inserted two words that have been historically used as slurs.

“We were torn apart in the Civil War — brother against brother, North against South, party against party,” he said. “What changed?

“Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting,” Moore added. “What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A president? A Congress? No. It’s going to be God.”

As perhaps the vast majority of adults in Alabama understood immediately, Moore was alluding, consciously or unconsciously, to this timeworn children’s song:

Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight / Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Like most pre-civil-rights racial references, the terms “red and yellow, black and white” aren’t considered appropriate or even acceptable today. But for many millions of people, the song, mostly remembered from the Vacation Bible Schools that most Evangelical and many mainline Christians of every race send their children to each summer, is a paean to racial unity and the opposite of “insensitive.” There’s little doubt that if righteous secular fire from Yankeeland rains down on ol’ Roy for alluding to “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” it will win him many votes.

A Note on the Alabama Senate Race and an Old Kids’ Song