Former judge Roy Moore to speak at Foundations Festival

April 18, 2004|HERB BROCK

In his crusade over the Ten Commandments, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says he is obeying an eleventh commandment: Thou shalt not deceive.

Liberal lawyers and media have created an environment in the country in which too many people have been "deceived" into thinking that any insinuation of God in general or Judeo-Christian principals in particular into public places, either in words or monuments, is a violation of the separation of church and state, Moore said in a recent telephone interview from his office at the Foundation for Moral Law at Montgomery, Ala.

"People have been deceived into thinking something is true when it is not," Moore said. "When people hear the truth about separation of church and state and other issues surrounding the placement of the Ten Commandments on public property and related matters, they can't argue with the truth.

"The bottom line is that you cannot argue with the legal or Biblical truth about God and our society," he said.


Moore will bring his message promoting what he sees as the "truth" about the Ten Commandments issue and denouncing what he views as the "deception" used in prohibiting their placement in public places to Danville Friday night. Moore will deliver the keynote address at the opening session of the two-day Foundations Festival at Boyle County High School. His speech is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Moore said his speech will be about the "right of citizens to exercise their freedom of conscience under our First Amendment" and the "right to acknowledge God in the context of the state."

The 57-year-old jurist gained national notoriety as the "Ten Commandments judge" last November when he was removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court after refusing to obey a federal court order to remove a granite rendition of the Ten Commandments from the court building. Moore, who was elected chief justice in 2001 after a campaign in which he defended public displays of the Ten Commandments and thus was nicknamed the "Ten Commandments judge," claimed that his defense of the monument's placement in the court building was based on his upholding a clause in the Alabama constitution that "clearly" acknowledges God and calls on the state to recognize God.

To his supporters, Moore was viewed as a modern-day Moses. To his detractors, he was seen as a meddler imposing an incorrect interpretation of the separation of church and state.

Moore filed an appeal of the decision by Alabama's high court to remove him from office. The Supreme Court recused itself from the appellate case and assigned it to a special panel of retired judges. Moore said he expects the panel to hand down a decision within the next two weeks.

In the meantime, what started as specific cause in his home state has evolved into a national crusade. In addition to his work with the Alabama-based Foundation for Moral Law, Moore has been traveling all over the country, delivering speeches, teaching classes and supporting legislation aimed at "restricting the federal judiciary" from continuing to "unlawfully usurp" powers belonging to states and communities.

The throngs of demonstrators and the lines of satellite TV trucks have long since left the Alabama state capital, just as Moore has long since departed his seat with the state's highest court, but he said the message he was sending in his defense of displaying the Ten Commandments in the court building is louder and drawing more attention than ever.

"I have given speeches and testified in favor of legislation and taught classes in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Montana, Oregon, Colorado, just about every state North, South, East and West," he said. "I have talked not only to politically conservative groups and evangelical Christian groups but also to liberal organizations, and I have, by and large, been received well by people all over the political and religious spectrums. It doesn't matter what the leaning is of a particular audience, my message of truth is a universal one that is universally accepted.

"When people realize they have been deceived by liberal courts and federal officials and the media into thinking that there is no place for God in public, they are outraged. When they discover or rediscover that there are time-honored relationships between God and our U.S. Constitution, God and our laws and God and our country, they are moved to action. When they think about how God is mentioned in inscriptions on court buildings, invoked in prayers before each session of Congress, is printed on our money, is everywhere in both tangible and intangible forms - when they learn or relearn the truth - they, in one way or another, join the cause."

Moore said liberals have used "twisted and tortured" interpretations of the definitions of separation of church and state and freedom of religion. The separation doctrine is meant to protect religious organizations from interference from the state, and the Constitution prohibits the creation of a state religion but does not ban the observance or recognition of God in different forms in public settings, he said.

Moore acknowledged that many of his supporters have urged him to carry his campaign into a public office and run for governor or the U.S. Senate or U.S. House. "I have no plans at this time to run for any office," he said.

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