Skip to comments.Hundreds rally for '10 Commandments judge'
Posted on 12/16/2002 9:07:55 PM PST by Remedy
Granite Decalogue remains, despite court deadline for removal
© 2002 Some 400 veterans and other enthusiastic backers of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore rallied on the steps of the Alabama Capitol today in support of his fight to keep the Ten Commandments monument in the lobby of the Alabama Judicial Building, as the deadline for its court-ordered removal looms.
As WorldNetDaily reported, U. S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson found "Roy's Rock," as it's nicknamed, violates the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution, which provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."
"Both in appearance and in stated purpose, the Chief Justice's Ten Commandments monument is ... nothing less than 'an obtrusive year-round religious display' ... to place the government's weight behind an obvious effort to proselytize on behalf of a particular religion," wrote Thompson in his opinion.
On Nov. 18 Thompson gave Moore 30 days to remove the 5,280-pound monument. The 30 days ends tomorrow, but the monument remains. Thompson is expected to issue an injunction to remove the monument within 15 days at a status hearing on Thursday.
Moore defiantly said he has "no intentions" of removing the display and filed notice last week in federal court he will appeal the ruling.
"Federal district courts have no jurisdiction or authority to prohibit the acknowledgment of God that is specifically recognized in the Constitution of Alabama," Moore said in a statement announcing the appeal.
"Anytime you deny the acknowledgement of God you are undermining the entire basis for which our country exists," Moore told New American. "Rights come from God, not from government. If government can give you rights, government can take them away from you. If God gives you rights, no man and no government can take them away from you. That was the premise of the organic law of this country, which is the Declaration of Independence. Because, if there is no God, then man's power is the controlling aspect, and therefore power will be centralized," he said.
Phillip Jauregui, one of Moore's attorneys, told the Montgomery Advertiser Moore will challenge Thompson's authority and the judge's unwillingness to define "religion" in deciding the case.
"The most important word in this case is 'religion,'" Jauregui said. "The court refused to define religion, even said it was dangerous to define it. We believe it is dangerous not to define it."
Moore unveiled the giant granite cube in the rotunda across from the main entrance on August 1, 2001, announcing it depicts the "moral foundations of law" and reflects the "sovereignty of God over the affairs of men." He did not consult with the other justices and has final authority over what decorations may be placed in the public building.
No tax money was used for the Ten Commandments monument.
The top of Moore's washing machine-sized monument is engraved with the Ten Commandments as excerpted from the Book of Exodus in the King James Bible. The sides of the monument bear quotations from the Declaration of Independence and smaller quotations from James Madison, William Blackstone, James Wilson, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Jay. Also included in the engravings is the National Motto, "In God We Trust," and quotations excerpted from the 1954 Pledge of Allegiance and the Preamble to the Alabama Constitution. The front of the monument references the Declaration of Independence with the statement,"Laws of Nature and of Nature's God."
Three attorneys, backed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union, found the monument offensive and complained it made them feel like "outsiders."
"The law is clear, and the evidence in this case was overwhelming," said Morris Dees, co-founder of Southern Poverty Law Center, who headed the center's legal team in the case. "Chief Justice Moore clearly crossed the constitutional line that separates church and state. By hauling the monument into the judicial building, he intended to impose his own brand of Christianity on the state. This he cannot do," he added.
In his interview with New American, Moore asserted that the plaintiffs' battle was more about removing him than the monument.
"They have objected to my behavior as a judge because I reference the moral foundation of the law when we talked about sodomy, when we talked about adultery, when we talked about separation of church and state. I go back to the legal history that we have here in Alabama, our court case precedents, and the foundations of law to show that these things comport with the Scriptures from which we get our moral foundation."
Gay rights organizations in Alabama and Washington, including Equality Begins at Home of Central Alabama, are calling for Moore's resignation, accusing him of using "right-wing rhetoric and far right religious dogma to justify homophobia and execution of homosexuals."
The effort is in response to the Alabama high court's unanimous decision to reject a lesbian mother's child custody petition. Moore wrote a separate concurring opinion, repudiating homosexuality on religious grounds, calling it "abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature's God."
"He has shown there is no way he can fairly judge any cases involving gay and lesbian citizens of Alabama or their family and friends," Ken Baker, chairman of Equality Begins at Home, told the New York Times.
The Christian Coalition of Alabama is gathering signatures in an online petition to support Moore.
Moore became known as the "10 Commandments Judge" after posting a wooden, hand-carved plaque of the 10 Commandments in his courtroom while a state court judge in Gadsden, Ala. The Civil Liberties Union of Alabama and the state of Alabama unsuccessfully sued Moore in 1995 over his actions. He then mounted and won by a landslide margin an election to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2000, which he viewed as a mandate from the people to "restore the moral foundation of law."
Moore supporters at yesterday's rally cheered and waved signs. Numerous speakers, including retired Army Col. Jim Ammerman took to the podium denouncing Thompson's ruling and hailing Moore as a patriot.
"The Ten Commandments are the kind of things that allow us to have a decent society where we can live together in peace," Ammerman is quoted in the Montgomery Advertiser as saying.
The rally was organized by American Veterans in Domestic Defense, a 3-year-old organization based in Houston. AVDD describes itself as an "organization of veterans coming together as a diplomatic force to fulfill their oath to defend the United States and its Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic." Its list of 14 domestic enemies includes "the failed court system" and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Across the street, about a dozen atheists with American Atheists staged a counter protest.
"The American people are too docile in many ways and American Atheists has decided to take a stand and no longer kowtow, if you will, to the religious right," the group's president, Larry Darby told WVTM-TV.
They interviewed a black veteran, a real patriot. He talked about how he fought in Vietnam, and would be happy to come and fight with good people to protect the free speech rights. He totally supports Judge Moore.
Black man supports white judge in ALABAMA - with all the Trent Lott mess. AMAZING!
No one will be forcing you to stop & admire the Good Words...of the Lord & our Founding Fathers, which are engraved on that monument.
If you're that offended, might I suggest Havana?
I believe that to be the truth....
...just wish that I could get there to join in !! !!