News Articles

Roy Moore called ‘modern-day Daniel’ as thousands rally to show support

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP)–Braving a typical hot, muggy summer day in the South, several thousand supporters descended on the Alabama State Capitol Aug. 16 to show their support for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and his decision not to move the Ten Commandments monument.

Praised as a “modern-day Daniel” by one speaker, Moore, in an unscheduled appearance, told the crowd that the rally was not about him.

“I will pass away, as every politician and every pastor will. But the laws of God will remain forever,” said Moore, who wasn’t listed on the program but made an appearance midway through the rally, drawing the day’s loudest applause. After speaking he was led into the capitol building by bodyguards.

Moore added that the issue is “about the acknowledgment of God upon which this nation and our laws are founded. … It’s time for Christians to take a stand.”

Two years ago Moore had a 5,300-pound monument showcasing the Ten Commandments placed in the rotunda of the judicial building, which is just down the street from the capitol. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson has ordered the monument removed by Aug. 20, saying that it violates the First Amendment’s prohibition of government-established religion. But Moore has refused to move the display and has appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. He could face fines and even jail time if the display is not removed.

Some Christian groups have promised civil disobedience in an attempt to keep the monument — which is indoors and not accessible at night — from being moved.

While an official count of the crowd was not released, most estimates had it being at least 4,000-5,000. Among the speakers were Liberty University chancellor Jerry Falwell, former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes and former Constitution Party presidential nominee Howard Phillips.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson sent a letter of support for Moore, while D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries sent a box full of 150,000 signatures supporting the chief justice.

Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., told those gathered that “when God gives you a champion, get behind him. Judge Moore is a champion, so get behind him. Let’s walk with him to victory. We may visit him in jail, and [that] may encourage a few hundred more judges to do the same thing.”

Falwell said that before flying to Alabama he was asked by someone why he was supporting a person who was “breaking the law.”

“I said, ‘Did you ask Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that question?’ He said, ‘I get it,'” Falwell said. “Civil disobedience is the right of every one of us when we feel that breaking man’s law enables us to keep God’s law.”

Falwell read a letter written by Methodist founder John Wesley to abolitionist William Wilberforce in the late 1700s. Wesley warned Wilberforce about the dangers of speaking out against slavery but concluded, “If God be for you, who can be against you?” Falwell said he was in Montgomery to tell Moore the same thing.

“We need a spiritual renaissance and we need it now,” he said.

The rally was sponsored by Vision America, a conservative organization co-chaired by former Southern Baptist pastor Rick Scarborough. Falwell, in fact, called Vision America the Moral Majority of the 21st century.

“This is not the end of this movement,” Scarborough said, reminding the crowd that much of the civil rights movement began in Montgomery. “It is the birth of this movement.”

Scarborough, in an interview with Baptist Press following the rally, said the issue is far greater than one monument or one man.

“It is not about a monument,” he said. “It is not about the Ten Commandments. It is about the ruling … that said a state cannot acknowledge God.”

He and other Christians are not “trying to force” their beliefs down “somebody’s throat,” Scarborough said, but they are “demanding as a society that the state” allow the acknowledgment of God.

“We must be able to acknowledge God, or there’s no difference between us and the former Soviet Union,” he said.

    About the Author

  • Michael Foust