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 The Ten Commandments

The first "Justice Moore" conflict,
Part 4: 2004-JAN-01 until now

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Read prior events in the Chief Justice Moore case:
up to 2003-JUL, during 2003-AUG, the rest of 2003

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The monument was installed in the rotunda of the State Judicial Building, in Montgomery, AL on 2001-AUG-1. The building houses the Alabama Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roy Moore had been ordered by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to remove the monument because it violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and its principle of separation of church and state. It was removed on 2003-AUG-27, and installed in a storeroom that has no public access. Moore was suspended from office. He continued his fight to be reinstated and to restore the monument to the building rotunda.

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2004-JAN-8: Former Chief Justice Moore asked to be reinstated in office: Roy Moore appealed the decision of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary to the Alabama Supreme Court -- the body that he once led. He stated in legal briefs that:

"The Court of the Judiciary's crucial failure to distinguish between lawful and unlawful orders sets a dangerous precedent for all judicial officials in requires obedience to all court orders including those that are illegal and unethical."

He wrote that relocating the Decalogue monument would have forced him to:

"... forsake an acknowledgment of God....Both the Alabama and the federal constitution prohibit Alabama from forcing public officers to choose between their job and their God." 

He said at a news conference:

"I've been removed from public office -- the highest judicial office in this state -- by an unelected, politically appointed body, and they did not question why I did not obey an unlawful order of the federal court. Basically, I was given the choice to fail to acknowledge God or keep my job....We are at a very critical point in our country to determine whether the federal government can tell us what to think. A lot of people seem to be missing it." He hopes to write a book which define his interpretation of such terms as "the rule of law" and "separation of church and state." 1

Some might argue that former Chief Justice Moore has every right to think whatever he wishes to on religious matters. Freedom of religious thought and belief is solidly guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, taking action based on those beliefs may or not be permitted under the same Amendment. Differentiating between freedom of religious thought and freedom of religiously-based action is a critical principle. For example:

  • A parent might believe that the Bible

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2004-JAN-30: Little support for bill to abolish the Judicial Commission:  After the Judicial Commission removed former chief justice Roy Moore from office, some of Moore's supporters suggested that the Commission be eliminated. The legislature would then remain the only group with the power to remove a judge. Some Republican leaders in the Alabama House have proposed the abolition. Some comments:

bullet John Giles, of the Christian Coalition in Alabama likened the process whereby judges evaluated judges is like a " guarding the hen house...." He said: "We embrace restoring us to the original constitutional process of the Legislature impeaching judges."
bullet House Speaker Pro Tem Demetrius Newton, (D-Birmingham) said: "I think it's a horrible idea." He is concerned that having the legislature discipline judges would politicize the process.
bullet Representative Greg Albritton, (R-Excel) favored the proposal. He said: "The Legislature has given up way too much authority to the executive and judicial branches. It's time we faced responsibility and took on that job ourselves,"

However, there appears to be  little support in the Senate for such a move. The Associated Press surveyed senators and found that 3% supported the proposal, 70% were opposed and 27% were undecided. Among House representatives, the vote was 22% in support, 54% opposed and 24% undecided. 2

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2004-JUN-2: Former aide to Roy Moore wins state Supreme Court GOP primary:  Tom Parker was victorious over incumbent justice Jean Brown. Three other Moore supporters who tried to win at various GOP primaries were defeated. CNN reported that: "Parker told his supporters, many of whom knelt in prayer near a Ten Commandments display as word of victory came, that their vote was their 'civic duty in maintaining our way of life. Judges take an oath of office to support the Constitution. But we here in Alabama experienced a sad spectacle of state judges abandoning the Constitution in order to comply with an unlawful order of a federal court that did not even have jurisdiction over them'....[Alabamians are] fed up [with judges who] give lip-service to principles but then cave in to cooperate with the ACLU and liberal activist federal judges. We don't need politicians who will run for something, we need politicians who will stand for something." 3

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2004-JUL-17: USA: Monument to tour the country: Former Chief Justice Roy Moore has given the Texas-based group Veterans Standing for God and Country permission to take his Ten Commandments monument from its storage area in the Alabama Judicial Building on tour around the U.S., ending in Washington, DC. Moore has asked Congress to allow the monument to be displayed at the Capitol building. He wrote: "At a time when our sacred institution of marriage is being assaulted by those who would deny the law of God, Americans need to be reminded of our moral foundation. I have agreed to allow the Veterans Standing for God and Country to display the monument in various locations across the country."

A member of the group, Wiley Drake, who is the pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, CA said: "We need to bring back to the attention of the American public that they need to acknowledge God in public because it is absolutely necessary for this nation to survive."

John Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, hopes that the monument will eventually be on display in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. If that cannot happen, his second wish is that "...Congress will graciously welcome the foundation of our moral law in our nation's Capitol." 4

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2004-OCT-04: End of the road: Court rejected Moore's appeal: The U.S. Supreme Court decided to not consider former Chief Justice Roy Moore's request to reverse his expulsion from office by an Alabama judicial ethics panel. This ends his three-year battle. As is customary, the court made no comment on its decision. Moore issued a statement in which he said that it was hypocritical for the "liberal Supreme Court" to reject his appeal even as the justices begin each session with the phrase 'God save the United States and this honorable court'....Obviously, when they open their courts this way the majority of the court doesn't really mean it." The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State commented: "Now, no court on this planet has ruled in Moore's favor. It is truly time for him to understand that he has lost." 5

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2005-MAR-30: Roy Moore's book is released: So Help Me God: Broadman and Holman released Roy Moore's book: "The Ten Commandments, Judicial Tyranny, And The Battle For Religious Freedom."

A review by states:

"Chief Justice Roy Moore believes the state must acknowledge the moral principles on which America was founded and that it is not illegal to do so. While the separation of church and state may be a credible and legitimate tenet, it has been largely misconstrued and abused during the last forty years."

"Moore was sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. His critics, both within conservative circles and without, have maintained that he violated the law by disobeying the order of a federal judge to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments. But Moore brilliantly argues that those who have ordered him to violate his oath have, in fact, broken the law."

"So Help Me God will articulate why he believes elected and appointed government officials have the right and the obligation to acknowledge God as the foundation of American government and jurisprudence."

Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store. As of 2005-OCT-04, it was available new from for $16.49 plus shipping, and was available -- both new and used -- at a much lower cost from Amazon Marketplace Sellers.

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His later actuvities:

  • 2005-OCT-03: Roy Moore is running for governor of Alabama:  Former Chief Justice Roy Moore announced that he will be running for governor of Alabama in 2006 as a Republican. This could lead to a conflict with Governor Bob Riley (R) in the Republican primary on 2006-JUN-06. 6 He lost in the June primary by a nearly 2 to 1 margin. 7

  • 2006-JUN: He ran for governor of Alabama but lost in the primary by almost a 2-to-1 margin.

  • 2009-JUN: He ran again for governor and failed again in the primary.

  • 2011-NOV: After a failed bid to be considered for the presidency in both the Republican and Constitutio Party, he announced that he would seek his former post as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. in the elections of 2012.

  • 2012-NOV: He was reelected as Chief Justice.
  • 2015-FEB: In response to the growing campaign across the U.S. to legalize gay marriage, he said:

    "Homosexuality is an inherent evil, and if a person openly engages in such a practice, that fact alone would render him or her an unfit parent. ... [Homosexuality] is abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature." 8

  • 2015: He played a major role in preventing the attainment of marriage equality in Alabama, at least for a while.

  • 2016-SEP: The 10 Commandments monument is now at Coosa Christian School which is located in The Church at Wills Creek in Gadsden, AL.

Sarah Cantey, writing for WIAT-TV in Birmingham AL said:

"Jason Ellen, leading teaching pastor at The Church at Wills Creek, said, 'We don’t have a plaque here that says it’s Judge Roy Moore’s because we look at this as the ten commandments as God’s, but we tell them the story about what the judge used it for and what brought it here.'

School administrators say it’s an excellent teaching tool. Amanda Justus, the administrator at Coosa Christian School said, 'I want them to stand on their beliefs and have a firm foundation in what they believe in. So when they get out into this world with all everyone else’s opinions, that they show compassion for those beliefs, but stand firm in what they believe in'." 9

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Related essays on this site

bullet Developments involving posting of the Ten Commandments:
bullet A detailed analysis of the Ten Commandments
bullet Recent U.S. court rulings on separation of church and state
bullet The Istook Constitutional Amendment: 1995-1996
bullet The Istook Constitutional Amendment: 1997-1999
bullet Prayer in the public schools

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References used:

  1. "Ousted Alabama justice seeks return to office; Moore calls his expulsion 'dangerous',", 2004-JAN-8, at:
  2. "Little Support For Abolishing Judicial Commission," Associated Press, 2004-JAN-30, at:
  3. John Mercurio, "Rep. Herseth, Judge Parker ... Mayor Barry?," CNN, 2004-JUN-3, at:
  4. Jannell McGrew, "Moore to move monument," Montgomery Advertiser, 2004-JUL-17, at:
  5. Kyle Wingfield, "Supreme Court rejects Commandments case,", 2004-OCT-04, at:
  6. "Ousted Alabama chief justice to run for governor," Associated Press, 2005-OCT-03, at:
  7. "Roy Moore," Wikipedia, as on 2015-JUN-29, at:
  8. Michelangelo Ignorable, "Meet Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, Who Isn't About to Give Up His Anti gay Crusade," Huffington Post, 2015-FEB-09, at:
  9. Sarah Cantey, "10 Commandments monument now located in Gadsden," WIAT-TV, 2016-SEP-29, at:

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Site navigation: Home page > Religious LawsTen Commandments > here

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Copyright 2004 & 2016, by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-JAN-10
Latest update: 2016-OCT-02
Author: B.A. Robinson

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