Ten Commandments (1)
Article ID: 1992
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 6,513
Times Read: 28,819
Posted: May 3rd. 1997
Times Viewed: 28,819
"M O R E O N M O O R E"
by Wren Walker
"THE SUPREME COURT CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS" - says Judge Roy Moore of Alabama.
Rather than backing down-more appropriately this should read "obey the law"-Judge Roy Moore of Alabama is increasing his efforts to push forward his personal campaign to force the Supreme Court to rule on "divine acknowledgment" in America.
The ambivalent posture of the Court-on one hand reaffirming decisions that call public religious displays on government property a violation of the church and state separation ideal while on the other hand refusing to comment on the appropriateness of the Congressional opening Christian prayer-has left many American confused and irritated with its lack of consistency in this matter.
And Judge Moore is demanding a decision be made now.
Why now? Because now is the time of the Rehnquist Court. The same Court that ruled in June that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was a 'bridge too far" in bringing real equality into the religious public square.
The same Court that stated that RFRA could not be justified as the "history of persecution in this country detailed in the [congressional] hearings [on RFRA] mentions no episodes occurring in the past 40 years..."
The same Court that just last week decided to reject an appeal by Sandra Nelson, who was transferred from her reporting job with The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., after refusing to stop her gay-rights efforts and other political activities while not working.
The same Court that refused to hear arguments that Indiana University's custom of featuring officially sponsored Christian prayer at graduation ceremonies breaches the separation of church and state. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in upholding Indiana University's practice last January, drew a distinction between collegegraduates and younger students. The appeals court added: ``The university's practice ... has prevailed for 155 years and is widespread throughout the nation. Rather than being in violation of the (Constitution) it is simply a tolerable acknowledgment of beliefs widely held among the people of this country.''
The same Court that now holds a conservative majority consisting of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas. Last term, the five prevailed most often in the cases decided by 5-4 votes.
Why now? Because now is the most opportune time to do so for people who want to establish once and for all that the United States is indeed a "Christian Nation" founded on the acknowledgment of a Christian god.
As Moore himself puts it; "I don't see how they (The Supreme Court) can avoid ruling on it. They've painted themselves into a corner. Congress opens its sessions with a prayer. The Supreme Court opens its sessions with "God save this honorable court." Our coins say "In God We Trust". How can that be constitutional and what goes on in my court not be?"
Good question. A question which, if Moore has his way, the Court will be forced to address in the near future.
And if it is indeed this same Court which will render that decision, I don't think most Pagans are going to like the answer...
our initial coverage of this circus...
I Want My Future America To Be A Free America!
A letter to the President from Starleine
The following is a letter written to President Clinton
& Vice-President Gore concerning Judge Moore's holy crusade:
|Dear President Clinton, |
I would like to address the issue of Judge Moore's position on the posting of the ten commandments in his Alabama courtroom. Upon hearing of this issue, I was shocked that it was even a consideration. As I learned that Judge Moore was supported by the government of Alabama as well as the majority of the House of Representatives, I became outraged.
Each citizen of this country is guaranteed his or her inalienable rights by the Constitution. Among those rights is the freedom of religion, which demands the separation of church and state. To allow Judge Moore to post the ten commandments of the Christian religion and begin his proceedings with a Christian prayer is a direct violation of the laws he has sworn to protect and uphold.
In the privacy of his home, Judge Moore has the right to practice his beliefs in any way he sees fit - short of harming another person. This is not the question at hand. He, like all other Americans, is guaranteed that right. His religious freedoms deserve to be recognized.
However, those beliefs have no place in the public courtroom. This is not merely a violation of the laws upon which our nation is based, but it is a violation of every citizen of this country. It is Judge Moore's obligation to uphold those laws.
I firmly believe that if Judge Moore was not of the Christian faith, he would be stripped of his position. If he were displaying passages of the Koran or the Wiccan Principles of Belief, he would be forced from his bench. But because he displays Christian doctrine, he is supported by both state and federal government. This is unlawful. Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that religious freedom is granted solely if one is a member of the Christian faith.
As a seventeen year old who lacks the right to vote, I understand that my voice is small. But I cannot allow the impediment of the rights of all Americans to satisfy members of any one religion or philosophy. It is my hope that you will take some measure to uphold the Constitutional rights of millions of American citizens over the desecration of those rights by one man and his supporters.
As leaders of our nation, you have a duty to uphold the law and support the rights of those you govern. As a citizen, it is my duty to demand that my rights as well as those of my fellow Americans be met. Equality and freedom are the law. Please do not fail that law, or you fail this nation and its people.
(Name submitted on original letter)
Vital information about me: I'm a seventeen year old high school student living in Central Florida. I have studied the Craft since I was 13, but only in the last 2 years have I become serious. I hope anyone who reads this will be inspired to speak out against the powers that be. We cannot allow them to manipulate the law to serve their beliefs. It is our obligation to ourselves, the human race and the future of both.
Peter May Face Some Competition...
(for That "Pearly Gates" Position)
Somewhere in Etowah County, Alabama, sits a courthouse where cases are decided, justice is dispensed and the law of the land is upheld. That's why we have courts and those who enter this legal building should be able to expect just that.
|But in this particular courtroom, you may expect to see something else as well. Emblazoned on a wall above the judge's bench are hand carved copies of the Decalogue. Sounds judicial. But the Decalogue is the proper term for what has come to be known as the "ten commandments"- and their placement in a secular courtroom raises some very disturbing questions indeed.|
Judge Roy Moore has been the center of controversy not only about the posting of the ten commandments (which he carved himself), but his customary practice of opening his court sessions with a Christian based prayer. Well, that may be a comforting thought to some of the people who face Judge Moore. A spiritual man must believe in truth and a judge is certainly expected to believe in fairness. It would depend on your religious upbringing, of course. But then in this case, it really wouldn't. It all depends on Judge Moore's.
An Alabama state judge has ruled (twice) that Moore's display of such an overt religious article and the use of a Baptist invocation are violations of the "separation of church and state" stance of the First Amendment that forbids government endorsement of any religion. State Judge Charles Price ordered Moore to either remove the display altogether or incorporate other symbols in a way as to create a secular message. In his statement, Price stated " They (the ten commandments) may be displayed in every church, synagogue, temple, mosque, home and storefront. They may be displayed on lawns and in corporate boardrooms. Where the precious gift cannot and should not be displayed as an obvious religious text or to promote religion is on government property (particularly in the courtroom)." The invocation itself can only be considered a form of "state sponsored prayer that demonstrates a denominational preference (and) are proscribed by the establishment clause of the First Amendment."
Roy Moore in a supreme act of defiance has refused to either take down the display or stop the use of the opening prayer. And he has plenty of supporters.
Even before that should happen, James has vowed to call out the state militia and "even the University of Alabama football team" to keep the plaques from being removed. James was present on April 12th at a rally held at the state Capitol "To Save the Ten Commandments." It was estimated that 25, 000 people attended- with many carrying signs which read "Save Our Commandments" or "Kill the ACLU" (The ACLU supported the lawsuits brought against Moore.) It was a regular who's-who of religious right and conservative leaders from across the country. Among those rubbing evangelical elbows were Ralph Reed, formerly of the Christian Coalition, Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, and Bill Pryor, Attorney General of Alabama. Many organizations known to be of a similar persuasion, such as the Phyllis Schlafly headed Eagle Forum, the Concerned Women for America and the extremist anti-abortion Christian Defense Fund, also sent their support of Moore and James.
|"It's going to take an order from the President of the United States to strip those Ten Commandments down..." declares Alabama Governor Fob James.|
Gov. James' threat of the possible use of 'total resistance" on this issue underlines the growing sense of urgency under which these groups now operate. They are out to save America from the "unholy seige" that they believe seeks to wash us all overboard on a wave of sexual immorality and liberal subversion. Judge Moore has been quoted as saying that it is his "duty under the Constitution to acknowledge the Judeo-Christian God, not the gods of other faiths. We are not a nation founded upon the Hindu god or Buddha." "Your presence here today will send a message across this nation. This message is clear: We must-nay, we will-have God back in America again."
Ralph Reed, another speaker at the rally stated, "We say to the federal court, we say to liberal media, we say to the ACLU, you have gone this far, you will go no further." "Christians have no alternative left but to amend the Constitution of the United States, so we may exercise our faith in the public square." To Judge Moore, Reed said, "You do not stand alone...as long as there's breath in our bodies, the Ten Commandments will never come down from this courtroom."
Moore has stated that there can be no compromise. He will not allow any other type of prayer to be uttered in his courtroom. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Goddess Worshippers need not apply. If he is determined to defy the same law that he has sworn to protect over this "right" to post his personal religious agenda on a courtroom wall, then he should hang up his robe and go home.
|"God has chosen this time and this place, so we can save our country and our courts." - Alabama Atty. Gen. Bill Pryor.|
The judge, in his role as a private citizen, could very well use those same ten commandment plaques as shutters for all his windows, as a diving board for his pool, as a gate for his garden path or as the prototype for a new, fundamentally good breakfast cereal. In his house, on his car, upon his property and by law-that is his right to do so.
What Judge Moore, and others like him, CANNOT do is use the position of a government official to force one exclusive set of beliefs on anyone else. That is illegal, that is unconstitutional and that is beyond the powers granted to him as a judge.
Go home, Judge Moore...
Letters to the following government agencies listed in on this page can be sent to:
Send mail on this issue to the following-
The White House:
Alabama Governor Fob James has issued a challenge to the President to make a statement on this issue. Let President Clinton know that you will support him in upholding the First Amendment.
The U.S. Congress:
President Bill Clinton-President@whitehouse.gov
Vice-President Albert Gore Jr. at Vice-President@whitehouse.gov
First Lady Hillary Clinton at First_Lady@whitehouse.gov
While the Congress has not issued an official statement on the issue, there are several bills under consideration to "amend" the Constitution in favor of right wing conservative factions. let your Congressman know that you do NOT support such legislation.
Contacting The Congress:
E-Mail your Congressman from - http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/
A extensive list of information and government contact info is available at:
Or try these toll-free numbers to contact the Capitol switchboard:
1-800-972-3524 or 1-800-962-3524.
The House of Representatives:
The House of Representatives voted 295-125 to adopt a resolution supporting Judge Roy Moore in his stance to retain the Ten Commandments in a government office. This was a very unwise decision by the House and may have political ramifications on future bills pertaining to church and state issues. Tell your representative how disturbed you are about "official" government sanctions in favor of one religion over another. Remind them that this is a violation of your First Amendments rights!
You may contact your Representative at:
Another good source of contact information can be found at:
Americans for Separation of Church and State
1816 Jefferson Place
Washington, D.C. 20036
Attn: Barry Lynn(Keep these bookmarks for your records.)
Location: Tampa, Florida
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