In 1776, 56 courageous men signed the Declaration of Independence, which at the time was an act of treason against England. The second paragraph of the Declaration begins by stating: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator …”
References to the Almighty are included throughout the document. That they believed in God, there can be no doubt. And it wasn’t just a ceremonial belief, but one which they held so deeply that they declared they were willing to “pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor,” to uphold – a price they subsequently were required to pay.
The Declaration listed 26 grievances against King George, whom they accused of demonstrating a “history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states.”
Rereading the Declaration of Independence in preparation for this article reinforced my belief that the courts, in general – and particularly an elite group of activist federal judges – are now once again perpetrating tyranny upon the states.
In 1776, the evil was perpetrated by a king. Today, it is done by an activist judiciary, who are usurping power that is not granted by their respective state and federal constitutions. Increasingly, this nation is looking less and less like the country our Founders fought to create and it will take the same resolve they demonstrated to reverse the moral freefall of the past four decades. If the courage that our Founders exhibited in 1776 can’t be found in leaders today, the culture war is lost.
Fortunately, for us, there are some judges standing for traditional values who will not bow to these self-appointed arbiters of the new morality. Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is the brightest star in the firmament. He began his uphill battle to honor his God as a jurist 11 years ago as a circuit judge, and has become known as the “Ten Commandments Judge” – but, as he is quick to point out, his battle is not about the Ten Commandments, but about whether or not the state will acknowledge God as God.
The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court was elected overwhelmingly by the Alabama voters, who knew how deeply he felt about the right of all Americans to freely pursue their faith in the public sector. He has been under continual assault by the ACLU and other groups dedicated to dismantling the true meaning of the First Amendment for more than a decade.
Chief Justice Moore has the responsibility and the authority to decorate the Alabama Supreme Court Building under the Alabama Constitution. Included in the items he selected for the building is a beautiful 2.5-ton monument containing the Ten Commandments and selected quotes from our nation’s history. It is the belief of Chief Justice Moore, as well as most other Americans, that the foundation of all Law is the Ten Commandments, which God gave by revelation to Moses and recorded in the Bible.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals assigned a three-judge panel to hear arguments regarding the removal of the monument after a complaint was filed by the ACLU. On July 1, they issued their ruling which was adverse to Chief Justice Moore. The Chief Justice was then given 21 days to appeal to the entire 11th Circuit. As of this writing the chief justice has made no indication that he will appeal.
Because Chief Justice Moore cannot in good conscience remove the monument without compromising his strongly held faith, he will be in technical violation of a court order. This will trigger an investigation by the State Judicial Inquiry Commission. If they find that the chief justice has acted improperly, they have the power to remove him from the bench, while he appeals his case to the United States Supreme Court.
Please don’t overlook the reason Chief Justice Moore is in jeopardy of being removed from an office in which a majority of citizens of Alabama elected him to serve – for refusing to remove a monument which contains the Ten Commandments. And why will he not remove them? Because he truly believes that God has revealed the foundation of all law through them and that to remove the monument would be to deny the God who is the revealer of the Ten Commandments. For Chief Justice Moore, this is a First Amendment issue.
Why does the appeals court take the position that the monument must be removed? Because the chief justice is exercising his faith in the public sector. He has abridged the “separation of church and state.” For the 11th Circuit Court, it is a First Amendment issue. What does the First Amendment say?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Look for this phrase “separation of church and state” in the First Amendment. It is not there. If you concede that the First Amendment contains the principle of separation, when did church become God? We now see the judiciary systematically removing God from the public sector in case after case.
No reasonable American could conclude that Chief Justice Moore is in violation of this first article of the Bill of Rights. The federal judiciary has turned this Amendment on its ear to provide cover for its assault on people of faith which began in earnest in 1947. They have been successful because no worthy opponent to their philosophical atheism has been willing to confront them, without regard to the personal cost it might extract.
Many well meaning Christians have agreed to accept the crumbs which have fallen from the gods of the federal judiciary’s table, who occasionally allow God to be acknowledged, but only as long as it is ceremonial in nature. Under such a view, we still have “In God we trust” on our coinage, but does anyone doubt that Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State would allow school children to hold a dollar in their hands if he thought the children might take that phrase to heart?
The reason the 11th Circuit is so adamant about the removal of this monument is that Chief Justice Moore has made it very clear in the hearings he takes God to heart. And so do millions of other Americans.
Chief Justice Moore’s case brings the entire culture war of the past four decades into one issue. In the Court record of the hearings, the presiding judge articulated the issue: “… the issue is can the state acknowledge God.” God in His infinite wisdom has accentuated the real issue in the very setting of the hearings, for on the fa?ade of the federal court building where the case has been heard is a sculpture of the Grecian goddess, Themis. I wonder why the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center or Americans United for Separation of Church and State, never sued for the removal of Themis? Could it be that no one takes Themis seriously?
To the question, “Can the state acknowledge God?” Judge Moore says not only “Yes!” but, more importantly, “It must!” He realizes that to fail to do so wipes out hundreds of years of Western civilization based on the rule of law, and ushers in an age where the law is whatever the presiding judge says it is. Just look at Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O’Connor’s flip flop on sodomy between 1989 and 2003.
Our nation’s morality isn’t being destroyed by activist judges – it is being destroyed by atheist judges, and it is time for God-fearing Americans to stand up and say: “Enough is enough!”
On Aug. 16, at 10:00 a.m., Vision America 21 will be sponsoring a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court building in Montgomery, Ala. Thousands of pastors, God-fearing Americans and elected officials will be there to express their support for Chief Justice Roy Moore. More importantly, we will be acknowledging our firm belief that the God of Chief Justice Roy Moore is our God as well, and the Constitution of the United States has not authorized judges to forbid Americans to acknowledge Him in the public sector.
For more information, go to Vision America.
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Rick Scarborough is the president and national co-chairman of Vision America.