Sexual misconduct claims: Who are Roy Moore's evangelical backers and what lies at the root of their support?

To those outside of the niche subculture that is American evangelicalism Roy Moore is an anathema.

The Republican candidate running for election as Alabama Senator faces allegations of sexual misconduct against a 14-year-old and sexual assault on other teenage girls when he was in his thirties.

Roy Moore was previously Chief Justice before running for SenateReuters

Some reports claim his reputation was such that security guards at a local mall knew him because of his habit of approaching young girls there.

As the allegations have emerged Congressional Republicans have started disowning him and his standing in the polls is slipping. But one group is resolutely standing by the former Chief Justice: Evangelicals.

One poll even suggested 37 per cent evangelicals were more likely to vote for Moore after the sexual assault allegations than before.

Franklin Graham, son of famous evangelical Billy and president of Samaritan's Purse humanitarian organisation, responded to the calls for Moore to stand aside by tweeting: 'The hypocrisy of Washington has no bounds. So many denouncing Roy Moore when they are guilty of doing much worse than what he has been accused of supposedly doing. Shame on those hypocrites.'

It comes after around 50 pastors signed a letter in August backing Moore before the allegations were made. But of the 29 churches who have spoken since the charges emerged, 19 are standing by their man.

Pastor Franklin Raddish of the Capitol Hill Independent Baptist Ministries, a nationwide church, told local media the accusations was a 'war on men'. He said: 'More women are sexual predators than men.

'Women are chasing young boys up and down the road, but we don't hear about that because it's not PC.'

Alabama pastor Earl Wise said: 'I don't know how much these women are getting paid, but I can only believe they're getting a healthy sum.'

He told the Boston Globe. 'How these gals came up with this, I don't know. They must have had some sweet dreams somewhere down the line.'

Roy Moore has form when it comes to evangelical backing.

He famously refused to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments in his court room when he was Chief Justice. After a court order ordered it to be taken down, Moore still refused until he was eventually removed from office.

Now evangelicals appear to be repaying his loyalty. 

But Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, is leading the charge against both Roy Moore and his evangelical backers.

Deeply conservative, pro-life and opposed to same-sex marriage, Russell Moore is highly critical of his fellow evangelicals who are standing by Roy Moore. 

'All things being equal between two candidates, I probably vote for the pro-life candidate,' one churchgoer Cody Bruce Wood, 27, told the New York Times. And this seems to sum up the attitude of Alabama's evangelicals.

But in this situation all things are not equal.

Moore stands accused of multiple counts of assault and misconduct. So what really seems to be dividing evangelicals is not pro-life versus pro-choice but whether testimonies from numerous women should be believed or not. Far from being a debate around politics, for evangelicals it is about deep rooted misogny.