Alabama Supreme Court’s chief justice suspended over Ten Commandants.

Well, it’s about damned time….

Alabama chief justice suspended

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Aug. 22 —The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court was suspended Friday pending an ethics investigation for his defiance of a federal judges order that he remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the state judicial building.

Chief Justice Roy MooreҒs actions next face a hearing before the state Court of the Judiciary after the Judicial Inquiry Commission found merit in complaints that he violated ethics rules for ignoring U.S. District Judge Myron Thompsons order.

Moore, who was suspended with pay, will have 30 days to respond to the Court of the Judiciary, which holds trial-like proceedings and can discipline and remove judges.

I’ve been following this story since it first came to light and was wondering when disciplinary action would be taken against Moore. The monument in question is such a blatant violation of the First Amendment that I find it amazing it’s taken this long for this case to come to a head. Especially when a Chief Justice is demonstrating a contempt for the rule of law he’s supposedly in charge of upholding. With any luck this will be the end of his career.

42 thoughts on “Alabama Supreme Court’s chief justice suspended over Ten Commandants.

  1. Well said, Les. The protesters (and the good judge himself, I believe) have likened themselves to civil rights marchers in Birmingham. Hmm. Maybe we should dust off the water cannons …

  2. What’s sort of freaky is A) most of the news stories seem rather sympathetic toward the “good judge” and B) there’s lots of media coverage of Moore’s supporters, cryin’ and carryin’ on about how their judge is being persecuted, but there don’t appear to be any other “normal” citizens saying “Duh, not all Americans are theists, and even if they were, it wouldn’t necessarily follow that they were Christian.  Of course the damn monument has to go.” 

    Maybe those protestors are afraid to come out, because they believe the Christians would try to kill them. 

    I have a bumper sticker “Don’t pray in my school and I won’t think in your church,” but there’s no way in hell I would put it on my car, because I’m pretty sure my car would promptly get vandalized.

  3. Being where I live, FLA, you have to be careful what you put on your car. My sis has a darwin fish much like the religion fish. She won’t put it on her car because of where she works. Too many christians who make their views very open and in your face. She did have a bumper sticker that got ripped off and someone wrote something nasty on her car.
    Why is it the christians feel persecuted but are the ones doing the damage?
    I am making a shirt that I will wear because I don’t care anymore. I’m sure it can be bought but it’s more fun to make.
    It says, When the rapture comes, can I have your stuff?
    I know, bad girl…lol

  4. Subject:  Letter of Admonishment
    To:  SEB, et al
    From: Mild Bill

    On or about July 2003, SEB and other persons on this medium were heard to utter,

  5. For the record, as I think I’ve stated before. I am a Christian and proud of this fact. I know what I believe, and will happily discuss these beliefs with others, if asked and/or if appropriate.

    That said, I also am a person who IM’ed Les the first time I saw this news item pop up on Reuters—expressing incredulity and absolute outrage that the senior state judiciator would use his authority to so blatently violate the U.S Constitution and the fundamental rights of the citizens of Alabama.

    But as I think about it, maybe I’m being harsh.

    Perhaps Moore is just using himself as the test subject in a bold new initiative. Maybe this isn’t about religion..maybe it’s about complete freedom to choose your own actions. Maybe he was suspended before phase II of his agenda was revealed…the one that frees every prisoner ever sentenced in Alabama who doesn’t feel they should have the law apply to them.

    Yes, maybe instead of being a totalitarian religous pusher who should be immediately removed from office, he is a true psychotic who should be immediately removed from office to the nearest hospital.

    Either way…

  6. MB, you’re right. I did demonstrate a double standard there. Thank you for pointing it out to me. You’ve given me something to consider.

    I was going to offer up a meek defense off top of my head, but on further reflection I think it’s a bit too meek so I’ll just hold onto it for now and contemplate my transgression a bit more.

  7. JethricOne

    I think you are being a little harsh on Justice Moore and I am not a Christian; I don

  8. MB,

    I partially agree with you, but let me elaborate on the first part.

    Putting something like that up as Chief Justice of a state is to give it the authority of your office and implication that the views of the chambers you are about to enter have bias towards certain viewpoints.
      – In this government building, Christianity
        is right; other views or religions
        are wrong.
      – Christians I see here will be given
        preferential treatment over non Christians.
      – Laws will be interpreted in line with
        Christian beliefs, potentially over the
        traditions of law and other common factors
        by which supreme courts are supposed to
        make their arguments.

    So if the placing of his monument had ANY implication of ANY of these things, then they are state-established religion and/or have the force of law and the contitution DOES explicitly forbid that.

    Of course, the courts have now agreed with me. Could he be punished for doing it in the first place? Probably not. Until there is a ruling against him, he can claim they are just art. It IS fundamentally offensive, though.

    My ire in the post above was not at his hyper-religious-right attitudes, though. It was that as the supreme interpreter of law in his state, he actively defied a court with jurisdiction over him—and I can’t say much more than you have already on that point He should be removed and disbarred.

  9. I have been making the rounds of the blogosphere’s comment boards with what I thought was an inocuous jest, to wit:

    Justice Moore and his supporters are defending a graven image. Nine out of ten isn’t bad, I reckon.

    You would not believe how much hurt pride this observation has elicited.  So far, no one seems to find it amusing.  I’m surprised.  After all, I believe in the one true religion, like everybody else.

    I suppose no one in this humorless country will get that one, either

  10. JethricOne

    Alas, I forever give people the benefit of the doubt.  I guess I know that many of these evangelical Christians are elitist and play with the truth (that sounds nicer than bigots and liars

  11. Think about it Bill—everyone who professes a faith thinks his the one true religion.  They can’t all be right, of course, but civilized relations demand we treat one another as if we are: freedom of conscience, and all that.

    No, I’m not European; I was born in Alabama and live in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

    What I’m joking about is the irony of believers in the Decalogue defending a sculpture, the creation of which is specifically forbidden by the Big Ten, along with all likenesses (representations).  That commandment is a relic of the ancient day when it was believed that likenesses magically facilitated curses and blessings (see voodoo.)

    This observation has elicited general incomprehension.  I can’t decide if witlessness or humorlessness is the cause.  My jest may not be funny to many people, but it is not meaningless.

  12. WB,

    Whenever I see references to “majority of the Christians I’ve met” I am reminded of the story from the bible of the Pharasie and the tax collector.

    Two men are standing in church, a nobleman who is standing there loudly saying “Yo GOD, aren’t I just the coolest dude you’ve ever seen! Lucky you created me like this and not that loser over there” (pointing at the tax collector.)

    The tax collector quietly apologizes to God for his sins, asks for the strength to do better and leaves.

    The bible makes it very clear which of the two is the preferred of God..and it isn’t the first.

    Very sadly, “Most of the Christians people have met” are the Pharasies. They are loud, obnoxious and absolutely get it wrong. They are a disgrace to the religion they seek to promote.

    Most Christians that you haven’t met ARE decent and benevolant people….and usually quiet and unassuming people who are trying to have a relationship with God, and to help themselves and others to hear and understand his message.

    By all means, if a minister starts spewing stuff about gays being the source of 9/11…run, don’t walk for the exit—-I would.

    But keep in mind what it is that you are escaping from…specific idiots in a specific building—the religion itself and the core beliefs that it espouce are still valid and wholesome (and incidentally have nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11.)

    Brett: I got it. It elicited a smirk. smile

  13. Les,
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE ATHEIST GOD OF BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!(Your comment box on your birthday entry has vanished.)

  14. Jethirc

    Like I said, my comments were a vast overgeneralization and were based on my observations of Church of Christ and Baptist congregations.

    Disclaimer:  When I use the word

  15. MB,

    You know the real problem with Southern Baptists? The politics.

    I have had such good experiences with them—-they are charming, hospitable, and so very glad to have had you visiting them—which I normally do a couple times a year with my grandmother.

    Okay, there was an easter service that went for three full hours of sermon. Shoot me…even my most devout relatives felt that was about 2.5 hours too long.

    But for the most part, they are just the quiet and devout fundamentalists—believing that the bible contains the whole, true word of god.

    But as I said, there is the politics. This fundamentalist attitude leads to all sorts of horrible battles within the church, which leaves the quiet and devout members as the wounded.

    They pass (or try to pass) hateful legislation at their annual conferences. Anti-gay, anti-women, anti-thought.

    What I find interesting is your comment that “if I have to accept a bunch of outright lies to be a member of the club, then count me out.” One big thing recently (since 2000, but still going strong) is a push that all employees of the church were required to sign the Baptist Faith & Message in order to remain employed. Check here for the actual document.

    Anyway, WB, I realize you were generalizing, and based on your experiences, I’m suprised you are so open minded about it smile

  16. Jethric

    Wow that Faith and Message was pretty interesting.  I liked this part under the heading Religious Liberty:

    God alone is Lord of the conscience (but your conscience better agree with ours), and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate (except when we say it shouldn


  18. It seems that there is no limit to the sensitivity of the populace. While I definitely see the value of the separation of church and state, I don’t see why the removal of one monument is important to it’s sucessful application. The courts of this land swear people in every damn day so that they may deliver testimony. This would have to go. Money would need to be changed to not mention in whom we trust. The point I’m making here is that people should pick their battles. Some things are more iconic and historical in nature and do not necessarily affect the governmental process. Where is the distinction between art and religious symbol? Should a museum that recieves government funding not be allowed to display The Last Supper, or any of the other thousands of Renaisance art pieces that depict Christian themes?      Whose to say?

  19. Erik,

    There are a couple things that make the Alabama case special.

    First, Moore did not inherit the problem of a religious statue that was installed years before he got there. He put it there himself, on his own authority.

    Second, after being told that this was inapproprite and that he should remove it by a court with influence over him…he refused to abide. This was his big mistake, because it changes him from “religous idealist” to “hypocrite”—a man who sentences others to loss of property, freedom or maybe even life..yet refuses to acknowledge the system that gives him this authority.

    And I do pick my battles. What I saw as a “simple” affront to one of many 1st ammendments rights violations in the country quickly became a call for his removal..when he snubbed the law that he is supposed to be the final arbiter of in his state.

    Finally, as both a Christian and a lover of humanities, I have no problem with Christian religious symbolism in state museums. Much of the best art work is religious in nature…nor do I have any problem with the display of Ancient, Jewish, Arabic, Hindu, Greek or Oriental art.

    Because such art is highly representative of the culture that produces it, it’s display is not specifically religious and does not imply a government mandate to worship the displayed gods or symbology…which in my mind is a key point in considering separation of church and state issues.

  20. It seems that there is no limit to the sensitivity of the populace. While I definitely see the value of the separation of church and state, I don

  21. It is my understanding that the whole uproar over the ten commandment sculpture was started by some lawyers who were offended by it’s location.  Who are these guys and who gives a damn if they are offended?  And what business is it for the federal government to step in?  I personally don’t see anything wrong with the sculpture or it’s location but then again, I’m not bald and stupid like some people.

  22. It is my understanding that the whole uproar over the ten commandment sculpture was started by some lawyers who were offended by it

  23. Whoah,
    Religion, if you have a particular one, should be a PERSONAL thing and not one flaunted in the streets. Most religions would consider that a sin. I’m not talking about evangalization.
    Now, the points Les make about preferred treatment of Christians couldn’t happen if religion was kept personal. Who would know, who would use whatever your beliefs are against you? Has this country learned nothing from its past?

  24. Oh, and Les, I’ve heard it told “In God We Trust” was placed on the dollar to show the world we weren’t “Godless commies” during the McCarthy days and the cold war.
    As a Catholic, I wish the Knights of Columbus had never placed “One nation, under God” in the pledge of allegiance.

  25. Yeah, that’s pretty much the reason it was done, Neil.

    That’s the thing some of these people just don’t seem to realize. They think that this stuff was there from the start and that makes it OK. Granted, someone should have stood up to challenge these things when they first were introduced, but it’s never too late to right a wrong.

  26. What passed for the “age of reason” that saw the rise of the U.S. is long past.  The unabashed agnostics and deists who once represented the guiding forces of our political philosophy and leadership would not stand a chance with today’s media piety-meters, and the grossly undereducated public they service.

  27. Jesus loves you. In fact so much so that He died for you.

    Jesus is coming back soon-be ready. Get right with God or get left!

    Just wanted to share that with you.

    Have a blessed day!


  28. If you believe that, then that’s just lovely. But what in the world does that have to do with the advancment of this topic? Do you really think you have provided a compelling argument for ANYTHING?

    This damn thread is what brought me to this blog to begin with. I feel personally compelled to demonstrate that not everyone in AL is a bible thumping fundie with no concept of the intent of our founding fathers. That stereotype is one of the few drawbacks of living in this beautiful state. Thanks for furthering it.

  29. Jesus loves you. In fact so much so that He died for you.

    Jesus is coming back soon-be ready. Get right with God or get left!

    Just wanted to share that with you.

    ok….great….is this really relevant? i thought not…
    honestly, this is the kind of propaganda that we all hear day after day…its not even your message, youve just heard it so many times you cant distinguish that.

  30. There is no seperation of church and State in the US Consitution.  Jefferson Letter to a assoicate is not law.  His expressed opinion to others is no way justification for your hate against religion.  Yet activist Judges on the supreme court declared there is a seperation between church and state. This is what you should fear. Anytime a judge can over ride the congress and force his view on us could some day be against your views.  Now it is a law.  So now stop your spin.  You left wing tards are a pledge on our nation. You probable defend homosexual marriage so your can stop truth and morality by removal of free speech from schools, because it may have some religions or moral absolute that a child might learn Had I realize I was defending asshole like you I would have left the military long ago.

  31. Howard buddy, you probably shouldn’t write here while dropping acid – it all just comes out as gobbledy-goop. Are you “in the wind” yet?

    Just pop another tab and click on that link you’ve saved to the ” underage girls in bondage” porn site. No one’s gonna miss your wisdom here.

  32. brock…not trying to “buddy up” to you or anything (not that there would be anything wrong with that),  but i wander if you think this howard guy is a christian…he appears to be defending religion or the church in the church/state issue.  i know i will be accused of being judgmental, but i will go ahead and say that this guy does not have solid reasons to be defending the church. 

    (not that i am better than you howard, just dont feel we are in the same camp)

  33. I don’t know if he’s a Christian or not, but the impression I get is that he doesn’t care enough about his opinions to say them clearly and correctly. I can make out a vague value stance here and there, but mostly I was simply frustrated trying to make sense of his post.

    But hey, aren’t you judging him. Several times you’ve mentioned how many here aren’t the right kind of Christians. Maybe no one is close enough to being the right kind of Christian to be worth saving.

    And if you don’t get taken to Heaven, won’t you be pissed as Hell?

  34. There is no seperation of church and State in the US Consitution

    Goody! Then you should have no problem with churches giving up their tax-exempt status to gain a stake in politics like the rest of the taxpayers. Pay up!

    No taxation without representation, IMO, goes the other way as well.

  35. Howard, we’ve covered the whole “there is no separation” issue before all over this website. The facts are against you on this one. I suggest you go study early American history a bit more carefully.

    And I don’t hate religion any more than I hate UFOs, unicorns, faeries or any of the other silly things people believe in that aren’t real.

    It’s clear from your rant on “activist judges” that you haven’t a fucking clue just what the job of a judge is. Part of that job is to determine whether or not a particular law stands up to Constitutional standards. These judges aren’t being “activist,” they’re doing their jobs.

    What the fuck does “you left wing tards are a pledge on our nation” mean? Did you mean PLAGUE? Damn, ignorant of history AND English.

    Your last two statements just made me laugh. Thanks, I needed someone… er… something to laugh about today.

  36. brock,,,do you believe in heaven?  i’ve never said anyone was not “the right kind of Christian”.  Christian is not a lable you can attain by going to church, reading your bible or posting a stace against staunch atheists. even the disciples themselves were not called christians until 30 years after the resurrection of Christ.  The never even called themselves that. actually the word christian is mentioned very few times in the bible.  now follower, believer, disciple.  christian is a word attached to people with Christ-like attributes.  i try not to call myself a Christian, i try to leave that up to others.  nor do i claim any particular denomination.  there are a lot of ways biblically to judge or make a statement, without being in sin according to the bible.  in matthew is says we will know them by their fruit, and Jesus says the world will know a follower by their love for one another.  it should be no suprise to anyone who has read the bible, that there are so many un believers in the world or so many false believers, and for that matter so many that are anti-Christ.  it is not a matter of being close enough.  you either are or your not.  may statements about howard are not meant to pronounce judgement on him like i am a higher authority or not.  it was just to have him think.

    an example of judging:  if i saw you wearing gothic clothing, or acting feminine, smoking a cigarette, or washing your car on my way to church on sunday morning,  i might think you were evil and wicked, a sinner on the way to hell….(those are never my thoughts, just using an example).  that would be judging in a way, that i am better than you, and judging that you are not righteous holy, whatever because of those things i saw having not actually known your heart….

    on the other hand should you tell me that you hate people, everyone is an asshole that does not believe the way you do, your for same sex marriages you dont give a damn what God thinks about it, christians, Jesus, and the bible are the reasons for the worlds ills,….then i could make a sincere judgement that you were not a follower of Christ, and if you were it would be my responsibility to restore you.

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