The American Civil Liberties Union is suing Roy S. Moore, the Etowah County (Alabama) Circuit Judge, for having the Ten Commandments on the wall of his courtroom and for beginning each session with a prayer, on the usual grounds that a “wall of separation” stands between government and religion. Judge Moore agrees—up to a point. While recognizing that he is indeed part of the government, Moore points out that he represents Alabama and not the federal Leviathan. Therefore, he is upholding state law as well as the fundamental premise on which the Republic was founded: that the unalienable rights of Americans come from Cod and not from government. In the opinion of Judge Moore and the great majority of Alabamians, the cart is now before the horse because the government in Washington has assumed the role of the Creator, and as a result the rights of all are in danger.
The original legal action against Moore stemmed from a suit brought by the chief litigator of the Alabama ACLU, Joel Sogol, on the part of three Etowah County residents and something called the Alabama Freethought Association. An Alabama state court ruled that prayer and the plaque containing the Ten Commandments had no bearing on the conviction of an arsonist who claimed he did not receive a fair trial in Moore’s decidedly pro-Judeo-Christian courtroom. Thereafter, the ACLU brought suit in federal court (where they always seem to succeed), but U.S. District Court Judge Robert Propst ruled that the plaintiffs had no standing to file the lawsuit. At present, the ACLU appears to be beating the bushes of Etowah County for new plaintiffs. Should Sogol fail to find them, he hopes to get the original suit against Moore brought before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
Judge Moore is the sort of fellow the ACLU loves to hate. He is an avowed states’ rights man and views with alarm the federal government’s destruction of the 10th Amendment. Moreover, Moore is a Southern conservative Middle American, which is to say he is a Jeffersonian who fears the power of “consolidated” government. But what enrages the ACLU is the fact that the good judge is a devout Christian, fie has traveled the state, speaking to thongs of Alabamians in a language they can understand; “If we don’t make a stand, our children and grandchildren will lose their country. . . . We must not let government become God.” Like Patrick Henry, whom he is fond of quoting at length, Moore says he is willing to risk everything for liberty. At the Christian Coalition’s national meeting in Washington, D.C., this past August, “Judge Roy” delivered a rousing speech in which he blamed our current descent into barbarism on an immoral ruling class that has subverted the Constitution. Moore, a populist, proved to be among the most well-received speakers at the gathering, particularly among Southern attendees, which is not surprising considering the organization’s penchant for praising such statists as Lincoln and for serenading its faithful with such bloody-minded anthems like “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
The case of Judge Moore is one of the latest skirmishes in the war that, as John C. Calhoun understood, will determine whether the people or the federal courts rule. If the ACLU has its way with Judge Moore and others like him, then the people and their Constitution will be the losers. But Moore, a learned. God-fearing man, is not alone in this fight. His courageous and principled stand has won him the warm support of most of the citizens of Alabama and their governor, Forrest Hood (Fob) James, Jr., who remarked when a United Nations commission on human rights threatened to take action against the state’s reinstitution of chain gangs earlier this year; “What jurisdiction does the U.N. have in Alabama?” Still unwilling to brook outside interference in Alabama’s affairs, Governor James has promised to call out the Alabama National Guard (one of the nation’s strongest units) should Moore lose his case and find himself facing punishment from federal authorities.
What began as just another attempt by the ACLU to harass a conservative Christian may lead to a showdown between the sovereign State of Alabama and federal authorities. A determined faceoff over nullification indeed would do wonders to relieve the tedium of presidential politics, not to mention what it might do for the return of constitutional government. Should Governor James call out the Guard, and should it remain loyal to Alabama, the ACLU litigators may wish they had never heard Roy Moore’s name. Picture, if you will, Governor James activating the Guard and the President immediately “federalizing” it. At that point, the Guardsmen would have to decide to whom they owe allegiance. Considering that the Alabama National Guard is comprised mainly of “good old boys” (and as one of them, I do not use the term pejoratively) whose distrust of Beltway globalists and meddling do-gooders mirrors their governor’s, results could be interesting. The worst nightmare of statists is of a genuine populist counterrevolution based on the belief that all government is ordained of God and that men have the right to throw off an ungodly government. The case of Judge Roy Moore, if all parties involved stick to their guns, has all the makings of a constitutional crisis of the first order.
Judge Moore labors under a decided financial disadvantage vis-à-vis the deep pockets of the ACLU.
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