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dean's world is miles from mine

Dean Esmay on Judge Moore and CommandmentPalooza:

Because America's a good, decent place, and future generations will likely be appalled at the anti-Christian paranoia that's led to to ordering him to take those words down.

This has nothing to do - at least on my part - with being anti-Christian and I am insulted that Dean thinks that is where my feelings on this come from.

Judge Moore put that monument there in the middle of the night, without permission.

Judge Moore is a carnival barker, playing this for all he can, getting those born-every-minute suckers to genuflect before a hunk of stone while he does his proselytizing before the television cameras.

It wouldn't matter if he were Jewish, Wiccan or Buddhist - it wouldn't even matter if he were an atheist Secular Humanist touting his beliefs by propping them up on the courthouse steps.

What Judge Moore did was wrong and he was called on the carpet because of it. I, for one, think that this is what Moore wanted all along. A grand circus playing out before him, his fifteen tv minutes where he and his followers can cry about freedom of religion while I sit there and yell at the tv about my freedom from religion.

The bottom line is that monument had no business being placed there at all, especially in the sneaky manner in which it arrived.

I am not anti-Christian. I am anti-people who think they are above the rules and laws. Note, I said rules and laws, not commandments. The commandments are not legal matters that I am beholden to. I do not have to worship that one God that other people do. That makes the rest of the commandments moot for me which is fine, because I have the laws of this country to follow.

It is not "anti-Christian" paranoia that led to the graven image being removed; it's simply a legal matter that a man who is a Judge should think about obeying without putting up a pathetic fight.

Tell me, Dean, would you be so eager to defend a person who wanted the basic ideology of the Koran carved in stone and placed in the Courthouse?

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This is your captain speaking. Batten down the hatches for another round of 'I've been viciously attacked'. Sources indicate someone has disagreed with him, again. I'll level with you crew, It could get whiny out there. Be sure to use... [Read More]

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Comments

Engine room, this is the Captain, brace yourselves for another round of 'I've been viciously assaulted'

Expect incoming from a north by northwesterly direction.

That is all, Captain out.

Michele, I agree completely. I've been going round and round with quite a few people on this topic for a couple weeks.

Moore has done more than take advantage of suckers to get his 15 minutes of fame. He has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not qualified to sit on the federal bench. It is likely that he is done, having already been suspended by the Alabama Judicial Review Panel, or whatever it is.

Heck, even Rush Limbaugh agrees he has no business defying the court's decision. Then to add insult to injury for Moore and his ilk, it is quite unlikely that the Supreme Court will even hear his appeal. The law on which the decision is base may be suspect in the opinion of many on the religious right, but the decision on Moore's monument is right in step with Supreme Court precedent. Not much point in belaboring the issue.

Might I point out that to become a US Supreme Court Justice you must 1) be a judge or have been a judge and 2) be politically favorable to the current administration.

I think the man very smartly put his name in the ring no matter how wrong he is.

When Ashcroft draped a Greek Godess, all hell broke loose. There are elements of religion all over government buildings, and I question the authority of the Supremes in this case. No one was harmed! No one was forced to genuflect to the display. I assume that all the complainers in this case make a point of working on Christmas, Easter and, of course, on the Reverend Martin Luther King Junior's birthday. The man was the chief justice in that court, and posessed the authority to decide on decor. Sheesh!

hmmm you seem like a very bitter little liberal goth chick. Might I remind you that the protection in the constitution said the government shall not interfere in matters of religion, and that the people have the right at STATE LEVEL to determine their own religious policies? You seem to want a land void of any religion whatsoever. This is not what our forefathers intended. I am a non-christian and do not personally like organized religion, but should there not be other wars waged than on a hunk of granite?

By the way...lose the attitude. It is reaking up the blogging world. Have a great day.

If this is such a big deal for you people, why aren't you whining about the Ten Commandments being displayed in the Supreme Court?

I'm the pissed off liberal goth chick around here, buddy.

D

I'm anti-Christian...what do I get?

Speaking as one of those radical, right-wing, conservative-libertarian, Christian types, I tend to go along with Pastor Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping, especially his little bit of Bible thumping farther down the post.

So,JRS, if the people of your great state decide, en masse, to convert to Buddhism, you would have no problem?

The display in the Supreme Court includes other examples of laws and law-givers throughout history, so that the TC in the
display is understood as part of a pattern taken from different cultures and different eras.

Judge Moore has taken it on himself to put on display a Judeo-Christian-Protestant version of the TC as the 'basis' of our laws, and in doing so, implicity rejects anyone from different traditions such as Catholicism, Islam, etc., etc.
To say otherwise is intellectual stupidity, or a form of willful blindness.

The ignorance displayed by some people reminds me of a remark made by a politician and recorded by the journalist/iconoclast H. L. Mencken:

"English was good enough for Jesus Christ, and it's good enough for me."

According to Heb 10:15-17, Heb 8:9-11 and Jer 31:32-34, God will "put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them". There was never a need for the display in the first place. Secondly, in essence, this display was created against the very Commandments themselves (graven images). Those who were weeping on those Alabama Court steps would better serve God by putting aside this silliness and getting back to basics. Feed the poor and the hungry. Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.

I believe that, as I said already in my piece, I accept that Moore may well be as cynical and manipulative as you say. He went looking for this fight and is probably enjoying the publicity.

But I believe there's no problem, Constitutionally or otherwise, with his display. He's forcing a confrontation with the Federal judiciary on a matter where he, and many others including myself, believes that the Federal courts have taken the wrong path over the last generation or so.

I believe that over the last few decades we have been fed a steady nonsense about the "dangers" of religion in public life, and specifically about the supposed horrors of Christianity, Fundamentalist or Non-. While I don't think you're an anti-Christian bigot, Michele, I think that this widespread belief that somehow, having traditional religious symbols in areas run by the government does come steeped in an ideology that holds to a paranoia about religion in general (and Christianity in specific, since it is the dominant religion today).

So, I'm sorry if you're offended my friend, but I'm offended by the way the courts have routinely smashed democratic and pluralist values in the name of an insanely paranoid dogma about "separation of church and state," in direct conflict with both the spirit and letter of the 1st amendment--which I treasure above all the other amendments.

To answer your specific question: I wouldn't mind quotations from the Koran carved in stone and placed in the Courthouse. If the elected officials of that state determined that such a thing would be appropriate, I'd consider it to be perfectly in keeping with the 1st Amendment and basically none of my business anyway unless I lived in that state.

It's just what I think.

Just imagine: "Passing 10 Commandments monument.... must be Judaeo - Christian.... can't fight 10 commandments.... trying to be atheist.... trying to be Muslim.... trying to be Buddhist.... can't fight monotheism.... please.... remove monument.... falling under its spell...."
Puhleeeze!

I believe that over the last few decades we have been fed a steady nonsense about the "dangers" of religion in public life, and specifically about the supposed horrors of Christianity, Fundamentalist or Non-. While I don't think you're an anti-Christian bigot, Michele, I think that this widespread belief that somehow, having traditional religious symbols in areas run by the government does come steeped in an ideology that holds to a paranoia about religion in general (and Christianity in specific, since it is the dominant religion today).

I think it's important to remember that the intent of the framers (and of Madison in particular as the author of the First Amendment), was not to keep religion out of government, it was to keep the government out of religion. And this interest is not in the least recent; indeed, it was perhaps never more adamantly considered and argued that in the years leading up to the drafting of the Constitution and Bill of rights. Madison and George Mason co-authored the religious clause in Virginia's Declaration of Rights of 1776; in 1779 Jefferson drafted his Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom; and in 1785 Madison authored his Memorial and Remonstrance which was a broadside on all forms of establishment of religion—again, in the interest of the protection of religious freedom, not the restriction.

There is a natural tension in the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment: a restriction on one hand, and a protection on the other. But it's important to remember that the overall intent of the Amendment, and that argued for in the documents above, is not to protect the government from religion; it was to protect religion from government.

The substantive constitutional case law on this ranges all the way back to Reynolds v. United States (1878) which prohibited the practice of polygamy. Over the years the Court has decided on matters of prayer in school, "released time," nativity displays in government spaces, the use of peyote, and myriad other topics, and has ruled in a myriad of ways ... including a 1984 ruling by the Burger court (Lynch v. Donnelly) that the city of Pawtucket, RI could have a nativity display--a clear Christian icon--in it's city Christmas display. Further, in that case the court clearly stated that there are a large number of religious displays in government, including "In God We Trust" on our currency, which neither constitute the a formal establishment of religion nor the restriction of the free exercise thereof ... so I have difficulty seeing an effort afoot driven by the paranoia of religion in public life.

But that's the issue: the debate here reflects the extent to which many today have misinterpreted the "paranoia." Madison and Jefferson were paranoid, all right ... but they were paranoid of what they had learned through experience: that government is a threat to religion, not the other way 'round, and that the separation is actually meant to serve the spiritual interest, not the secular.

Why the misinterpretation? I’ll blame whom I always blame: the media. Just because.

... and I apologize for the typos in the post above ... must ... have ... coffee ...

Thanks, michele! This is exactly where I stand on this issue, but I appreciate reading it from someone on the other side of the ideological fence.

Repeat after me, y'all: THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION!!!

Thank you. That is all.

Amen, amen, amen.

I too am not a religious person. I believe that contrary to what many people are espousing this whole mess, ultimately, has nothing to do with religion. What it does concern, whether we like it or not, are the basic most fundamental ideas behind the Constitution and it’s Amendments, that being, a limitation on the power and reach of the Federal Government.

Through decades of “interpretations” rather than adherence the Constitution has severely gone by the wayside.

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”

What is so difficult about that? How can one come to the conclusion that Moore’s display of the Ten Commandments is a violation of the First Amendment? It’s not. What IS a violation of the First Amendment is the Federal Government’s action in forcing the removal of the Ten Commandments.

To use the excuse of “rules and laws of the country” is a cop out in my opinion. If the rules and laws of the country are in violation of the Constitution then we have a duty to violate those laws. Just because I don’t agree with Moore’s ideology doesn’t make him wrong. Also, like it or not, the basic premise of our judicial system is based on Judeo Christian precepts, most notably, the Ten Commandments.

Nowhere does the Constitution say that I, you, or anyone else has a right of freedom from religion. It implies that we have a right of freedom from a Federally mandated religion.

No, this isn’t about religion. It’s about the First Amendment. A violation of the First Amendment is a violation of everyone.

Daniel: "Also, like it or not, the basic premise of our judicial system is based on Judeo Christian precepts, most notably, the Ten Commandments."

Really?

Lets see, using the King James Version we have:

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Not illegal. That's what the First Amendment is all about.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Not illegal. First Amendment again.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Not illegal. God damn, that First Amendment thing ruins everything!

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

"Blue laws" still exist in some states, but are widely ignored. In most civilized states, they simply don't exist. And of course, the Sabbath mentioned in the Bible is Saturday, not Sunday.

5. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Failing to respect your father and mother isn't illegal.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

Okay, there's one.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Not illegal in most states, and the law is never enforced where it is.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

Two.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Three.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.

Not illegal. I'm trying to imagine how such a law would be enforced. Thoughtcrime! Thoughtcrime!

So, we have three out of the ten that are actually encoded as laws in this country. Those three are against murder, stealing, and perjury.

Are you SERIOUSLY claiming that only judicial systems based on "Judeo-Christian precepts" have laws against muder, stealing, and perjury?






Classic, Daniel. A more perverted interpretation of the 1st amendment in relation to this case, I have not heard!!!

Alan, you are wrong, the 1st amendment serves to protect religion, PERIOD. The endorsement of one religion over another, even a passive one, serves to denigrate others. Taht is the EXACT reason why the government is not allowed to do exactly what Judge Moore did - create a defacto denominational religious sanctuary in a secular government building.

All the defenders of the action claim that removing it is an attempt to prevent religion from interfering with government. And it is not. It is the tacit favoritism towards Christianity that is construed (and rightly so) as government intrusion into religion. Before the monument there was no question that the courthouse was a secular place free of any religious leaning. Afterwards you could certainly not say that, especially given testimony that employees there felt compelled to pray at the sanctuary.

Religion was not intruding on government in this case, although the actions of Judge Moore clearly indicate that his intent was to do so. What is in play is government endorsement of a particular sect. What the monuments defenders fail to recognize is that the government can interfere with religion in lots of ways other than naming Christianity the national religion, or forcing them to pray at a religious sanctuary.

By the way, I wish people would stop with the "In God We Trust" references. You do realize that motto is only 50 years old, and adopted during the Red Scare craze of McCarthyism. The previous mottoe "E Pluribus Unum" was far more appropriate, meaning "from many, one", but of course we had to dispense of a 150 year old motto in favor of differentiating ourselves from those horrid godless communists.

Lastly I would say that it's time for the religious right to stop with "common sense" defense of the monument. No, obviously if you ascribe good intentions to people the monument shouldn't offend anyone with common sense. But the constitution is trying to defend against those with bad intentions that seek to take advantage of your common sense for ulterior motives.

Thanks, Nick!!! Also, the three items you note that are reflected in our laws are not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. Thus making the Constitution devoid ENTIRELY of anything even resembling one of the Ten Commandments.

Nick,
I said the "basic premise" and I stand by it. Read up on what the framers had to say about it.

Shered,
Call it a perveted interpretation but it's still correct. Keep in mind I'm not defending the religious right.

Can you point me to one place in the First Amendment that makes ANY reference to your notion that, "government is not allowed to do exactly what Judge Moore did"?

"Congress shall make no law . . ." If I recall correctly, Congress had nothing to do with Moore's placement of the ten commandments. The First Amendment is directed towards Federal Government, not state or local, period.

As an example of the difference here lets look at the pledge of allegiance and it's use of the word "God". See, that IS a violation of the First Amendment. Not because of the use of the word God but, rather, because of the fact that the word God was inserted into the pledge of allegiance as a mandate from "Congress". Congress made a law respecting the establishment of a religion.

By the way, I hope you are not refering to me as a member of the religious right. I'm NOT religious.

Regards.

I am with Michele on this one. I am not anti-Christian, to claim that anyone against Moore and his actions is, is totally ludicrous. There are very clear intentions laid out by the FFs that this sort of thing not occur.

Just to make things easier for everybody, here are links to some of the important laws, amendments and principles:

1) First Amendment (dealing with religious liberty)

2) Fourteenth Amendment (makes the Constitutional articles and amendments apply to the states)

3) Alabama Constitution, Article III (Religious freedom in Alabama)

4) The Lemon Test (The standards the Supreme Court set to resolve questions of First Amendment religious constitutionality)

From Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotations:

"The monument serves to remind the appellate courts and judges of the circuit and district courts of this state and members of the bar who appear before them as well as the people of Alabama who visit the Alabama Judicial Building of the truth stated in the preamble of the Alabama Constitution, that in order to establish justice we must invoke 'the favor and guidance of Almighty God.'"
-- Judge Roy Moore, upon quitetly ordering the placement in the Judiciary Building of a huge stone monument containing an abbridgement of the Protestant listing of the first stone tables of the Hebrew Ten Commandments, a move which disturbed many legislators and citizens, since Moore did not even consult with other judges or elected officials, quoted from AANEWS 952 (August 29, 2001)

"if they want to get [my statue of] the Commandments, they're going to have to get me first."
-- Judge Roy Moore, upon the announcement of his eight associate justices that they withdraw their support of his violation of state and federal law by erecting, in the State Courthouse, a huge stone monument containing an abbridgement of the Protestant listing of the first stone tables of the Hebrew Ten Commandments, in Jeffrey Gettleman, "Thou Shalt Not, Colleagues Tell Alabama Judge" (The New York Times: August 21, 2003) ††

"All the Ten Commandments and prayer is an acknowledgement of the Almighty God. We will not back down from that."
-- Judge Roy Moore, to a group of supporters outside the hearing where the ACLU sued to remove from his courtroom his posted copy of an abbridgement of the Protestant listing of the first stone tables of the Hebrew Ten Commandments, quoted from Conrad Goeringer, "Ten Commandments Posting in Courtroom Challenged by Alabama Freethought Association" (September 13, 1996)

"Acknowledgment of God is not now, or ever has been, a violation of the U.S. constitution."
-- Judge Roy Moore, defending his "right" to promote the Christian religion above all other religions and above no religion at all while presiding in his Alabama courtroom, quoted from Conrad Goeringer, "Judge Says He'll Continue Courtroom Prayer Despite Ruling" (November 24, 1996)

"I consider it my duty to acknowledge God. To take down the Ten Commandments and to stop holding prayer would be a violation of that duty. I will not take down the Ten Commandments and I will not stop holding prayer."
-- Judge Roy Moore, defending his "right" to promote the Christian religion above all other religions and above no religion at all while presiding in his Alabama courtroom while threatening not to pay fines and mentioning the possibility of mass arrests, quoted from Conrad Goeringer, "Judge Says He'll Continue Courtroom Prayer Despite Ruling" (November 24, 1996)

"I feel that I'm sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Alabama, and those constitutions are founded upon a fundamental belief in God ... my display of the Ten Commandments and prayer before sessions are simply acknowledgments of God."
-- Judge Roy Moore, vowing to uphold different a Constitution than the ones under which we Americans live, quoted from Conrad Goeringer, "Judge Rules That Decalogue Is A Religious, Not Historical Statement" (February 13, 1997)

"If you're here tonight to support me, you shouldn't be here. This is not about me. This is about something far more important. It transcends race, it transcends politics, it transcends gender. This is about the laws of God."
-- Judge Roy Moore, laying it on thick at a rally to blast the ACLU and "working the evangelical crowd into a frenzy," quoted from William C. Singleton III, "Judge Blasts ACLU In Alabama Rally" (February 23, 1997)

"To restore morality we must first recognize the source from which all morality springs. From our earliest history in 1776 when we were declared to be the United States of America, our forefathers recognized the sovereignty of God."
-- Judge Roy Moore, a judge, flat-out declaring that atheists cannot be moral; also, in saying that "we were declared to be the United States of America," he makes a grievous error: we declared our own sovereignty, which eventually became a government made up of "We, The People," this did not happen to us from afar, as Moore pretends, we did this ourselves, from Maranatha Christian Journal, "Ten Commandments Judge Displays New Monument,"

"We've voted in a government
     that's rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless Judges who
     throw reason out the door,
Too soft to place a killer in
     a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby
     before he leaves the womb."
-- Judge Roy Moore, anti-atheist sentiments in a poem by a man elected for his impartiality, from "America the Beautiful" by the judge

"Worship With Your Vote."
-- Judge Roy Moore, his campaign bumper sticker, implying that to vote for Moore is to worship God, Philip Rawls, "Atom sculpture awaits place beside Ten Commandments monument," AP (October 27, 2001)

Sherard, perhaps I wasn't clear. I wrote: But it's important to remember that the overall intent of the Amendment, and that argued for in the documents above, is not to protect the government from religion; it was to protect religion from government. The purpose of the Amendment is to protect religion. Yes. We agree.

The point I was making is that many consider the removal of the statue as an attempt by government to squash religion, when in fact the historical record suggests strongly that the Founders' motivation for just this type of restriction was not a desire to squash religion, but rather a desire to protect it. The view of Madison, Mason, and Jefferson was, in essence “perhaps we won’t be able to have statues in courthouses, but that’s a small price to pay to keep government ... which has proven itself through Western history as capable of harming the free practice of religion ... away from religion.”

As a point of clarification for all regarding the interpretation of "Congress shall make no law" and the question of whether the Amendment applies to local statutes, the Supreme Court has consistently affirmed since the passing of the 14th Amendment that the14th extends the protections of the 1st to state and local legislation (as it does for the full Bill of Rights).

"By the way...lose the attitude. It is reaking up the blogging world. Have a great day. - j.r.s

But...we all like Michelle's attitude. We don't want her to lose it just on account of you. Get nose filters, kemosabe. And that's "reeking up".

Keep up the good fight, Michelle. Even when I disagree with you, I enjoy reading you and recomending you to my forum readers - don't change a thing.

Sorry,not meaning to troll. I just couldn't let that crack slide.

- Ironbear

Alan: But it's important to remember that the overall intent of the Amendment, and that argued for in the documents above, is not to protect the government from religion; it was to protect religion from government.

Courtesy of AU.org:

MYTH: The First Amendment was intended to keep the state from interfering with the church, not to bar religious groups from co-opting the government.

FACT: Jefferson and Madison held an expansive view of the First Amendment, arguing that church-state separation would protect both religion and government.

Madison specifically feared that a small group of powerful churches would join together and seek establishment or special favors from the government. To prevent this from happening, Madison spoke of the desirability of a "multiplicity of sects" that would guard against government favoritism.

Jefferson and Madison did not see church-state separation as an "either or" proposition or argue that one institution needed greater protection than the other. As historian Garry Wills points out in his 1990 book "Under God," Jefferson believed that no worthy religion would seek the power of the state to coerce belief. In his notes he argued that disestablishment would strengthen religion, holding that it would "oblige its ministers to be industrious [and] exemplary." The state likewise was degraded by an established faith, Jefferson asserted, because establishment made it a partner in a system based on bribery of religion.

Madison also argued that establishment was no friend to religion or the state. He insisted that civil society would be hindered by establishment, charging that attempts to enforce religious belief by law would weaken government. In his 1785 Memorial and Remonstrance, Madison stated flatly that "Religion is not helped by establishment, but is hurt by it."

ScottC: Thanks for the AU citation; the two Constitutional Law texts on my shelf clearly interpret Madison, Jefferson, and Mason differently than do the folks at AU ... which is interesting in itself.

Friends and neighbors,

This is not even a Constitutional querstion.

in Moore's state there is a monument's commission and laws and regulations for putting monuments and art in the State's court buildings.

The Judge did not follow the laws and regulations for installing monuments.

It has nothing to do with the Ten Commandments or any other First Ammendment principle.

Simply: the Judge didn't follow the law of monuments.

The Judge's actions are a confusion of what is going on. The Judge is a demogogue. And a liar. He should be impeached. He lied.

If this is such a big deal for you people, why aren't you whining about the Ten Commandments being displayed in the Supreme Court?

Because they aren't. Gosh, that was easy.

Boy, being pithy sure can bite you in the ass sometimes, can't it?