For half a century the fanciful tailors of revisionist jurisprudence have been working to strip the public sector naked of every vestige of GodUsing words never mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, they advocate the illegitimate separation of God and state.
- Alabama Chief Justice, Roy Moore
Of all the debates raging in the country today - Iraq, the economy, Kobe, etc. - Alabama Justice Roy Moores stubborn streak over his monument to the Ten Commandments is a breath of fresh air. Finally, someone in high places (Ephesians 6:12) believes its lawful, constitutional, and downright Alabama-OK to let God have a little space in an institution He invented (See Psalm 89:8-15).
Why not in Alabama? asks Christian activist, James Dobson. After all, if the ACLU wants to remove all mention of God from U.S. institutions, theyll have to start by sandblasting half the buildings in Washington, D.C.
Or, in the opinion of Mississippi Gov. Ron Musgrove, why only in Alabama? Soon after the controversial monument was removed from the judicial rotunda in Montgomery, Musgrove called on governors around the country to put a plaque, monument or some mention of the Ten Commandments on display in their state capitol buildings, beginning with his own.
But why put a religious monument on public property anywhere if a federal judge has ordered it removed? As weve heard a thousand times, how can any judge, especially one of Judge Moores stature, be an authority figure if he cant obey an authority figure? The rule of law in this country applies even in Alabama, exclaim the strict constructionists (literal interpreters of the Constitution), and a vocal minority cries, Amen!
Even if both the Bill of Rights and the Alabama Constitution forbid the rule of federal law from superseding state law, as Moore claims, writer Douglas Smith doubts todays Americans would follow brave state leaders to a constitutional showdown. What a pity, he says. The Alabama case is such a wonderful opportunity to set things right.
Every argument, someone has said, is between two rights. No one is wrong in his own eyes. Therefore, with so many opinions, even among those in high places, what does Smith mean in this case by right?
Appellate Judge Ed Carnes, who denied Moores appeal to keep the monument in place, put it this way: If Alabama Justice Moores Ten Commandments monument were allowed to stand, it would mean a massive revision of how the courts have interpreted the First Amendment for years.
In other words, Carnes and those who agree with him are governed by the analogy of the fence post: Measure each post by the first one cut, and every post will be the same size. But measure each post by the one just cut, and before long there will be such a change in size that the last post bears little resemblance to the one you started with.
In his eyes, the much-maligned Judge Moore is also right, even if he hasnt been able to convince the court of diminishing fence posts and evolving opinion that he, too, is obeying the court of law and not just following his own strictly constructed conscience. In Moores words, The Alabama Constitution specifically invokes "the favor and guidance of Almighty God as the basis for our laws and justice system. As the chief justice of the states supreme court I have taken an oath before God and man to do such, and I will not waver from that commitment.
Paul Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, has coined another analogy on displaying the Ten Commandments in our halls of justice: It was bad enough when the electricity was turned off for a few days (last month). Think what condition our country would be in today without the Ten Commandments to illumine our lives during the last two centuries. What if the anti-religion lobby triumphs repeatedly and we spend the next 50 years or more in an ever-increasing spiritual blackout?
To the critics who worship (their interpretation of) the U.S. Constitution, or disparage any thinking different from their own, its doubtful a principled Roy Moore or anyone else could change their already made-up minds. But to those of us who follow the God of the Ten Commandments, who fear the appearance of disobeying even a potentially, unconstitutional law, I wonder: Have we obeyed these laws, or succumbed to them?
Incidentally, kudos to Columbia County students willing to take a stand in increasing numbers on See You at the Pole Day, observed this year on Sept. 17. And hats off to the organizers of this event for expanding the day into Prayer Week, Sept. 15-19.
(Barbara Seaborn is a local free-lance writer. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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