Moore’s The Pity: Former Alabama ‘Commandments’ Judge Is Still Angling For Attention

July 16th, 2010
By Sandhya Bathija
Government-Sponsored Religion, Religion in Public Life

Alabama “Commandments Judge” Roy Moore doesn’t let too much time go by before he cries out for some more attention.

Yesterday, he was quoted in a Birmingham News blog, in which he offered another anti-church-state separation rant. The blog was about a letter Americans United sent to an Alabama school board opposing official prayers before meetings.

Moore’s group, the Montgomery-based Foundation for Moral Law, is encouraging the board to continue the invocations.

“[AU’s letter] does not have anything to do with the separation of church and state,” Moore said. “It has everything to do with separating God from our public arena.

“I’m tired of these atheist organizations trying to remove God from our public lives,” he blustered. “And I’m tired of politicians who use God to get in office and then completely disassociate themselves from him.

“Prayer goes on not only in Congress and the legislature, but all throughout our society,” Moore concluded. “The separation of church and state never separated God from our public life. They are misreading the phrase. They don’t understand it.”

We don’t understand it?

That’s rich coming from Moore, who is best known for defending a large Ten Commandments monument he placed in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. When AU and our allies challenged “Roy’s rock” – as some locals called it – in federal court, Moore lost.

Despite the court order, he refused to remove the 2.5-ton monument, leading to his ouster from the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003.

Moore’s contempt for religious diversity has cropped up on many occasions.

For example, he supported three protesters who interrupted a Hindu-led prayer given in August 2007 in the U.S. Senate. The trio, with ties to the stridently theocratic Operation Save America, was arrested after trying to shout down Rajan Zed, a Hindu chaplain.

This also isn’t the first time Moore has had issues with one of Americans United’s letter. In January 2008, AU sent a letter to a high school that had been showing “Facing the Giants,” a film that depicts a losing football coach who reverses his fortunes by turning to Jesus Christ.

AU asked the school to stop showing the film, which was produced by a Baptist church for the sole purpose of evangelism. Moore countered the argument, sending his own letter to the school and advising officials to continue showing the proselytizing movie. He said AU just wanted to muzzle Christianity.

Frankly, Moore just doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s wrong about the Constitution, and he’s wrong about Americans United.

In the first place, AU isn’t an atheist organization, as Moore falsely claims. We are a non-sectarian group that welcomes persons of any faith or none.

In second place, we don’t want to “muzzle” Christianity or any other faith perspective. We just want government to stay out of religion and let all Americans make their own decisions about it. That’s what the Constitution mandates, Roy Moore notwithstanding.

As AU staff attorney Ian Smith told the Birmingham News, “If you look at the various writings of the founding fathers, you will see why the separation of church and state is important.”

Smith reminded Moore and others that church-state separation actually protects religion.

“James Madison,” he noted, “wrote that the government use of religion for its own ends is a perversion of religion and to keep religion pure you need to keep it separate from government.”

Moore can continue to filibuster, but his audience keeps shrinking. He just sought the Republican nomination for governor in Alabama. And of the four major candidates, he came in dead last.

Even Moore’s neighbors are telling him, “Enough is enough.”

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