The lawyers for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore made a really interesting and overlooked point amid this whole media circus about the removal of the Ten Commandments monument. They said Moore’s intent was to “establish justice by acknowledging the guidance and favor of Almighty God, placed upon him by his oath of office and the Constitution of Alabama.”
Until I read that, I, like many people, just wrote Moore off as another right-wing crackpot trying to turn America into a theocracy. But it turns out Moore has a really good point. He doesn’t see his crusade to inject religion into the government as a mission from God. On the contrary, he’s on a mission from the government itself.
In fact, in order to take office, Moore was required by the Alabama state constitution to take an oath before God. And that’s just one example of God’s omnipresence in our government. He’s everywhere from official documents to state seals (like this one and this one) to our own currency. What do people expect when we force schoolkids to say God’s name every day in the Pledge of Allegiance, when, in response to 9/11, the entire Senate rises to its feet for a rendition of “God Bless America”, where the President ends every speech by requesting God’s blessing? The Ten Commandments even appear in the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. Why not the Alabama Supreme Court, too?
I don’t think Moore should have the right to display the Ten Commandments in his courthouse, but I can see why he thinks he does.
Removing a 5,300 pound stone monument in Alabama is a good start. But if the move to get religion out of the government ends there, then Roy Moore is the victim of monumental hypocrisy.