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Judge Roy Moore: Standing Up for the Ten Commandments!

Sunday, 24 November 2002 12:00 AM

Yesterday's New York Times contained the bad news that Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was ordered to remove his monument of the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the state Supreme Court. Chief Justice Moore may be the leading legal authority in Alabama, but that mattered not one bit to the federal judge who issued the ruling.

Judge Myron Thompson argued in his decision that Chief Justice Moore's display of the Commandments, an actual monument weighing over 5,000 pounds constructed using only private funds, was "nothing less than an obtrusive year-round display intended to proselytize on behalf of a particular religion, the chief justice's religion."

How wrong Judge Thompson, a Carter appointee, was in reaching his decision.

Judeo-Christian principles, the very heart of which can be found in the Ten Commandments, helped to forge a collection of British colonies into the United States of America. Individual denominations, be they Jewish, Catholic, or Protestant, have their own versions of the Commandments, but none are so dramatically different that they would truly be out of consonance with the version inscribed on Chief Justice Moore's monument.

It was the Chief Justice's interest in demonstrating how the moral foundations of the laws that govern the United States are derived from Judeo-Christian values that led him to place the monument in the lobby of the state Supreme Court. In response, Judge Thompson wrote in his decision that the "only way to miss the religious or nonsecular appearance of the monument would be to walk through the Alabama State Judicial Building with one's eyes closed."

The decision demonstrates that the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, which issued the ruling last summer prohibiting the words "under God" from being part of the Pledge of Allegiance, has no monopoly on bad decisions.

If Chief Justice Moore ultimately decides to stand in front of his monument, preventing its removal, then I will be with him in my prayers. So will many other religious Christians and Jews who are all too mad about our own country's historical amnesia. Let's hope it does not come to that because the federal courts have come to their senses. Indeed, CNSNews.com did report yesterday that Chief Justice Moore plans to appeal the decision by Judge Thompson. The Chief Justice also said he has no plans to remove the monument.

Good for Chief Justice Moore!

Let's get one thing straight: Chief Justice Moore is not attempting to circumvent the First Amendment, which prevents Congress from having the authority to establish a religion or to prohibit the free exercise of religion.

As American University professor Daniel Dreisbach made clear in a recent commentary published in Notable News Now, it was President Thomas Jefferson, responding in 1802 to a letter, who suggested that there is a "wall of separation between Church and State." However, it was the Supreme Court that gave life to Jefferson's words in a 1947 ruling stressing the need for a "high and impregnable" wall.

Since then, misinformed judges like Myron Thompson have used their decisions to build that wall. It is a wall that has been used to prevent acknowledgement in public places of our nation's Judeo-Christian heritage and beliefs. There are many reasons why we have become a morally uncaring nation, mainly our own willfulness. But it certainly does not help to have the federal government block officials like Chief Justice Moore from being able to remind us of what God wants us to do with our lives and with the laws that govern our nation.

Long after Jimmy Carter has gone from office, one of his own appointees has issued this decision. It may not be reflective of what the former President thinks (I hope not), but I know it is not reflective of what President Bush thinks or many other people in this country. Nor is it reflective of how the First Amendment is actually worded and to be interpreted.

Yet, see how difficult it has been during the past 18 months to confirm judges who are committed to reaching their decisions through judicial restraint and respectful of what the law actually says.

Chief Justice Moore is standing up for all God-fearing Americans who understand how unique this country has been in our recognition of religious freedom. However, that recognition has been twisted and distorted beyond description to become freedom from religion. We do not need to avert our eyes from the words of the Ten Commandments that are inscribed on Chief Justice Moore's monument. Rather, we need to read the Ten Commandments closely and thoughtfully, then strive to reflect it in our lives and the laws of our nation.

Chief Justice Moore is showing us that the only way to put our country back on the right path starts by our standing up to demand that our federal courts recognize what America and our Constitution and Bill of Rights are all about in the first place. It's time someone had the courage to do so.

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Yesterday's New York Times contained the bad news that Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was ordered to remove his monument of the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the state Supreme Court. Chief Justice Moore may be the leading legal authority in...
Sunday, 24 November 2002 12:00 AM
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