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Judge Roy Moore's Ten Commandments Monument

Religious Reactions

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Opposition to his efforts can also be found within the religious community. Although fundamentalists may like to see the government express support for their narrow religious vision, many others who are devoutly religious can clearly see the dangers inherent in such acts and make no effort to hide their support for keeping church and state separate. In the legal case filed against his monument, a brief from the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs included signatures from Alabama clergy from Baptist, Disciples of Christ, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Christ and Jewish groups. According to that brief:

    By displaying the Ten Commandments in the State Judicial Building, Justice Moore has usurped the role of private individuals and faith communities in shaping their own religious practices and views. Government efforts to promote religion drain religious practices and beliefs of their spiritual significance, thereby deprecating, rather than revitalizing, religion.

This is why the separation of church and state is not only an important political and legal principle, but why it is also important for religious groups. This is why such separation was originally championed by religious leaders and why you can still find the organizations like Americans United for the Separation of Church and State being led by ordained ministers. Roy Moore is no friend of religion; rather, he is a friend of religious fascism.

The placement of monuments in the rotunda has become a legal battleground in other ways as well. Shortly after the installation of the Ten Commandments display, Alabama State Rep. Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) raised the possibility that the rotunda might look better if there were also a monument to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This a reasonable request if the rotunda is being used to honor important facets of American history and law.

Roy Moore rejected this proposal, but Holmes pressed forward, and for the 38th anniversary of KingÕs “I Have A Dream” speech, he and supporters tried to place a monument honoring King next to Moore’s monument. They were stopped by security guards and in explaining his refusal to include such a monument, Moore said:

    The placement of a speech of any man alongside the revealed law of God would tend in consequence to diminish the very purpose of the Ten Commandments monument.

An atheist group has also requested that a seven-foot sculpture of an atom be placed alongside the Ten Commandments, but Moore has refused, arguing that such a display is not “in conformity with the purpose or theme of the foundation of American law and government.” But of course, the theme of the rotunda is not about American law and government; rather it is about honoring God, or at least Moore’s conception of God.

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