MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP)–The removal of the 5,300-pound Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama State Judicial Building does not represent a battle to display a religious document, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says. It is a battle over the right Americans have to publicly acknowledge God.
“This case represents what’s going on all across the land in Ten Commandments cases, in prayer cases, in school cases, in creation cases, in everything,” Moore said. “[The basic issue is] can we still as a nation and as a people acknowledge the God upon which this nation was founded.”
Moore was removed from office Nov. 13 by the state Court of the Judiciary, which said Moore violated the state’s code of judicial ethics by not obeying a federal judge’s order to remove the monument. Its display was seen by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and liberal interpreters of constitutional law as being a violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment. Moore argues that the Alabama Constitution invokes “the favor and guidance of Almighty God.” He said a federal judge overstepped his jurisdiction by ordering the monument’s removal.
Moore also argues that a faulty interpretation of the First Amendment has led to the systematic removal of religion from the public sector. In fact, Moore says, the First Amendment was designed to protect the free expression of religion. He said that the phrase, “wall of separation between church and state,” which is not in the Constitution but taken from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association, was taken out of context and used by Justice Hugo Black in his majority opinion in Everson v. Board of Education (1947).
“The wall of separation of church and state meant exactly that the federal government was to stay out of the affairs of religion, and government in general was not to tell people how to worship God,” he said. “And that’s exactly what it is doing by saying that you can’t worship God.”
Moore said that the historical context of the Constitution’s writing and the wording itself should be enough to provide a clear understanding of the Founding Father’s intention. Moore said the Founders understood religion to be, “the duties which we owe to the Creator and the manner of discharging them.” The Constitutional Restoration Act 2004 (CRA) was recently introduced in Congress to restrict the appellate jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court and all other federal courts to that jurisdiction permitted them by the U.S. Constitution. Moore says that every state and all three branches of federal government acknowledge God in their respective charters. The acknowledgement of God is not a legitimate subject of review by federal courts, he says.
“The only purpose of the First Amendment was to acknowledge God,” Moore said. “James Madison said on Aug. 15, 1789, ‘I apprehend that the meaning of the words shall be that Congress shall not establish a religion, and force the legal observation of it by law or compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience.’ Well, it was all about God. And today we are saying that it prohibits acknowledging God.”
Moore said in his case regarding the Ten Commandments monument that the acknowledgement of God is the demarcation point between what is acceptable and what is not.
“The federal district judge in this particular case said that the Ten Commandments could be displayed and did not dispute that they are one of the most important foundations in American law,” Moore said. “But he said when you are acknowledging the Judeo-Christian God from whence they came, you’ve crossed the line between the permissible and impermissible. This issue is not about the Ten Commandments. It is about who gave the Ten Commandments.
“The [Alabama] Attorney General asked me three times [during the trial] if I would continue to acknowledge God if I were returned to office. I said, ‘absolutely.’” Moore said to fail in that acknowledgement was not only to deny God, but the Alabama Constitution he swore to uphold.
Nearly every state has in its constitution an acknowledgement of God as the foundation for liberty and justice, Moore said. Those establishing documents, he said, are coming under fire by judges and politicians who “get into office and remove any acknowledgement of God … undermining the faith upon which the Constitution was founded and the people’s confidence in representative government.”
“One of the things liberals want to do is get liberal judges, Democrat and Republican, in place so that they can change the laws and then call them precedents,” he said. “Then they can change the meaning of the First Amendment. They’ve done this for years. We’ve got federal district judges declaring what they think the Constitution should be, not what it is.”
The trend is dangerous, Moore said, because the religious liberties Americans have enjoyed for more than 200 years are systematically being denied.
“Freedom of conscience is being taken away from little children in school who want to fold their hands and say a prayer before their meals,” he said, “or from football games where the majority of the people want to ask God to protect the football players on the field from injury. It is being taken by a few who say they are offended. What are they offended about? Acknowledging God.”
Moore said the battle to acknowledge God is one that should concern every Christian.
“Any Christian that does not stand up for the acknowledgement of the Father can’t claim His Son as Lord,” he said. “The Ten Commandments monument represents an acknowledgement of God. I did the right thing when I refused to remove the acknowledgement of God from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building, and I will continue to fight for the job to which I was elected. To be removed from public office for doing that which you are sworn to do certainly sets a bad precedent.”