Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore faces his state’s Court of Judiciary today, which could oust him for defying a federal judge’s order to remove a Ten Commandments display from the Alabama Judicial Building. He will be prosecuted by state Attorney General Bill Pryor, whose nomination by President Bush to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is resisted by Senate Democrats who have questioned him about his strong religious beliefs. WorldNetDaily caught up with the chief justice in St. Louis Oct. 25. In part one of this in-depth exclusive, conducted by freelance writer and radio host Jim Bennett, Moore not only argues his case, but he also responds to his harshest critics within the Christian community. In part two, tomorrow, Moore also takes aim at the media, at the controversy surrounding Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin, under fire for his comments in church meetings, and the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-disabled Florida woman.
Q: Some describe the tactics against you by the ACLU and other civil liberties groups as cutthroat. Was it that way at the beginning, and how has it changed?
A: I’m still finding their approach is very cutthroat. Their approach is very deceptive. That’s what it is. They yell, “separation of church and state!” but they want to exclude the knowledge of God. And they’ve led people to believe that the phrase “separation of church and state” actually separates God and government, and God from our life and Christian principles. That is absolutely not true, historically, legally or logically. It’s completely the opposite.
The very phrase “separation of church and state” mandates an acknowledgement of God. It mandates that you recognize that God separated the jurisdiction of the church from the jurisdiction of the state. … Throughout the Old and New Testaments you see a separation of those things which belong to Caesar, and those things which belong to God.
But they belong to Caesar not because Caesar had complete sovereignty, but because God had given a certain realm of jurisdiction to Caesar. Caesar could not interfere with the realm of conscience. That belonged only to God. So separation of church and state, even if you didn’t know the Bible, if you went back in history to the 16th, 17th, 15th and 14th centuries, you would find that the kings of Europe, who had ruled by divine right from God, and the pope in Rome, who was the self-declared emissary of God on earth, both recognized God.
Separation of church and state doesn’t forbid the recognition of God, it mandates the recognition of God. Only God would separate those jurisdictions; man certainly wouldn’t. And man certainly isn’t.
The very efforts of federal district judges to exclude God from our country is a violation of the First Amendment and an intrusion into our field of opinion. In 1878, in the case of United States vs. Reynolds, the United States Supreme Court said, “to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty.”
They quoted the “Bill For Establishing Religious Freedom” by Thomas Jefferson. That bill said that “[the judge or magistrate] being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order.”
In these two sentences lie the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what belongs to the state. Now, as I say that, I realize I’ve quoted a lot of legal jargon, but it’s very simple: It said that magistrates, judges, are not to intrude in your opinions and restrain Christian principles, godly principles, on the supposition that they have an ill tendency. That’s a complete destruction of religious liberty. And our Supreme Court recognized that that would be an intrusion by the state into the church.
Today that’s exactly what’s going on. So when organizations such as the ACLU holler, “separation of church and state,” or when Americans United For Church and State want to forbid the acknowledgement of God, they’re doing the exact opposite of what they say they’re doing. They, in fact, are interfering with the freedom of conscience. And that’s what’s wrong with this country – that American people, Christian people, do not understand that separation of church and state does not forbid the acknowledgement of God.
Q: But how is it, Mr. Chief Justice, if there is such a clear-cut case for your perspective, that so many other legal minds have reached the exact opposite conclusion?
A: Well, it’s because of what Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
And that’s exactly what has happened, in a country founded upon the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God; in a country about which James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, said that we’re entitled to have a constitution because of the laws of God; in such a country, we’ve been convinced that the First Amendment, whose only purpose was to allow the worship of God, actually forbids the acknowledgement of God. It’s exactly contrary to the First Amendment.
The very definition in the First Amendment of religion, given by Madison, Mason, United States Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story in 1833, even the United States Supreme Court in 1878 and 1890, recognizes a divine Creator and duties that you owe to Him because of a higher law.
That’s why federal district judges skip around the very definition of religion. That’s why, in my case, the federal district judge said, in his own opinion, the court does not have expertise to define religion. Well now, when you can’t define the word, you can’t interpret the law, which is the only role of judges. Judges don’t make law, so when a judge rules in accordance with a statute or an amendment and says, “I don’t know what the words mean,” he can’t give an order.
That’s why this order is unlawful. It’s unlawful because it does not comply with the First Amendment, and it’s unlawful because it intrudes into the sovereignty of the state under the Tenth Amendment. That simply means that there are certain things that belong to state sovereignty. Establishment of a justice system is one such thing. The Constitution of Alabama says that, “We invoke the favor and guidance of Almighty God to establish justice.”
Now, if a judge tells you you can’t recognize God, he is intruding his powers into the state’s sovereignty. He’s not qualified, not authorized to do that, and therefore this ruling is unlawful. The rule of law – which many people say I’ve violated because I didn’t follow what a judge says – is not what a judge says! It is the statutory written words, in this case the First Amendment. …
Q: Ayesha Khan of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State said if Chief Justice Roy Moore “cares so much about the Ten Commandments, he would recognize that they are holy, they are sacred and they deserve far more than his shenanigans and his exploitation of them for his political agenda.” How do you respond?
A: Well, of course, I’ve been accused throughout of doing things for political motives. Recognizing the very foundation of our country and the foundation of the law has now become political motivation? I mean, it’s absolutely unbelievable that judges take their oaths, “So help me God.” They go into court, and they say, “May God save the United States of this honorable court,” and then they forbid the acknowledgement of God. To acknowledge God is something for political opportunity? I think it’s an obligation under the Constitution.
And certainly, it doesn’t make sense for a chief justice in the third year of his term to be charged with ethics violations because he will not abide by an unlawful order and to be criticized by virtually every newspaper in the state. To call all that “political opportunity” doesn’t make sense.”
What they’re really dealing with are the hearts and minds of the millions of Americans who know it’s not wrong to acknowledge God. They know it’s right under this country. And they’re fighting against the grain. They’re trying to do something that actually violates the Constitution. And they’re going to use every argument, every ploy, every guise, to confuse the issue.
That’s just to confuse Christians who don’t really understand sound doctrine. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
Fables like the American Civil Liberties Union standing up for our liberties, when in actuality, God has given us our liberties, not the ACLU, not the United States government. You see, the United States government is not there to give you your rights. In the Declaration of Independence it was clearly written, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” You see, government is there to secure the rights that God gave us. Jefferson went on to say in the Declaration that if it doesn’t [secure our rights], it should be abolished.
Q: Your critics repeatedly have implied you orchestrated the installation of the monument in a clandestine fashion, “under cover of darkness.”
A: [Laughs] “Under cover of Darkness.” That’s just another one of those phrases they use to imply some form of illegality or unlawfulness in my actions, so they say, “It was installed at night!” Well yes, it was installed after work hours. It was scheduled to go in at 6 o’clock on July 31st, 2001, and it did not get delivered until nearly 9 o’clock. It was still light, but it was getting dark. And it did take all night.
The next morning, I opened it up to the world and told them what had been installed, and why it had been installed and why it was installed after work hours: to prevent injury to people. And we had to lay down plywood and other things to prevent damage to the building. It’s common sense that you don’t install something in the middle of the day that weighs two-and-a-half tons in a busy building. And of course, they use these little sayings and things to confuse people.
Q: Criticism from the ACLU and Americans United for Church and State is to be expected, but what about some of the critics within the Christian community, such as Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. You’re a Southern Baptist yourself. He says, “However much sympathy I may have for Judge Moore’s beliefs and convictions about the Ten Commandments and the role they have played in Western Civilization and American jurisprudence, I am dismayed at the prospect of a judge defying a court order. One of the foundational principles of American law is that we believe in the rule of law.”
A: Well, the answer to that is very clear. A lot of people are just like they said they would be in the Book of Revelation. “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”
In the church today, they don’t recognize the sovereignty of God. They want to surround the Ten Commandments with secular documents to secularize it and admit that there is no God higher than government. Indeed, they are violating the very precepts that Jesus Christ stood upon. When Pilate asked Jesus, “Don’t you know I could have you crucified, or I could release you?” Jesus said, “You would have no authority but that it were given by God.”
They fail to recognize the 13th chapter of Romans, that all power is of God. And when people in the church fail to recognize God because government says they can’t, and try to conform their actions to fit that scenario, and deny God, they’re denying the Son. And Jesus said, “If you deny Me before men, I’ll deny you before my Father.” And that’s exactly what’s going on today. When you deny the Father, you deny the Son. You can’t confess the Son if you deny the Father who gave Him to us.
Jim Bennett is a freelance writer and radio host. He serves as the news director for Moody Broadcasting Network’s WDLM-FM, reaching the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa.
Editor’s note: “THE MYTH OF CHURCH-STATE SEPARATION” – the special November edition of WND’s acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine – documents conclusively that the modern legal doctrine of “separation of church and state” is the work of activist judges, and has utterly no basis in the Constitution.
Moore wrote a treatise on his battle to retain the monument in the July issue of Whistleblower magazine, WND’s monthly print publication.
In the August issue, entitled “LAW-LESS: Why many Americans fear attorneys and judges more than terrorists,” Roy Moore is the subject of an in-depth profile. Subscribe to Whistleblower magazine.