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Judge Roy Moore
by Pieter J. Friedrich
21 September 2003Ten Commandments Monument

There are many amendments in our United States Constitution which are misinterpreted. But there is one amendment which is completely ignored -- the Tenth Amendment.


The State Supreme Court of Alabama ordered Chief Justice Roy Moore to remove a large granite monument of the Ten Commandments which he had placed on public display in the Alabama Judicial Building.

Judge Moore refused to comply with the demands of the State Supreme Court, saying, "Let me assure you. The fight to defend our constitutional rights to acknowledge God must and will continue."

The fight did continue. Judge Moore lost.

In a past stand-off with the Feds, Judge Moore placed a wooden plaque of the 10 Commandments on the wall of his courtroom, and refused to take it down when so ordered by a federal judge. The Feds threatened to send in U.S. Marshals to remove the plaque. Then Governor Fob James promised to meet any marshals sent to remove the plaque with state troopers and the Alabama National Guard. The Feds backed down.

The Feds didn't back down this time. On August 27th, 2002, the monument was removed from the public view. It was wheeled away and shoved in a closet.

We speak metaphorically about how America has turned its back on God.

In Alabama our metaphors became reality.

Jurisdiction and Religion

By what authority did the federal government remove the monument?

One of the main issues at hand was the issue of jurisdiction. Many people who opposed Judge Moore accused him of resisting the "rule of law." But one must ask...the rule of what law?

There are many amendments in our United States Constitution which are misinterpreted. But there is one amendment which is completely ignored -- the Tenth Amendment. The text of that amendment reads: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." The interpretation is simple. The individual states may do whatever they please as long as their actions are not in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Indeed, according to any sensible and historical interpretation of the First and the Tenth Amendments, the states have the right to go so far as to establish a state religion. At the time of the writing of the U.S. Constitution, many states had state-established churches which remained in place even after the signing of the Constitution. The Establishment Clause was included to prohibit the establishment of a state church by Congress; a 10-year-old child knows that there is a difference between laws passed by Congress and laws passed by the individual states.

Of course, to argue that the U.S. Constitution was intended to trump Biblical Law is ridiculous.

One must only turn to James Madison, the primary author of the U.S. Constitution, to prove just how ridiculous such an argument would be. In the Federalist Papers, Madison asked, "On what principle the Confederation, which stands in the solemn form of a compact among the States, can be superseded without the unanimous consent of the parties to it?" He answered his own question by saying, "The...question is answered at once by recurring to the absolute necessity of the case; to the great principle of self-preservation; to the transcendent law of nature and of nature's God."

Madison went further, however, when he said, "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to The Ten Commandments of God."

The First Amendment was intended to prevent Congress from establishing a state church. It was not intended to prevent the federal government from recognizing the transcendence of God's law, much less to prevent the state of Alabama from acknowledging the legitimate authority of God's Ten Commandments.

Judge Moore's Oath

The issue was not just one of jurisdiction. The issue was also one one of whether or not Judge Moore could break his word in order to obey the commands of a federal judge.

The preamble to the Constitution of the State of Alabama reads: "We, the people of the State of Alabama, in order to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution and form of government for the State of Alabama." Upon taking office as Chief Justice, Judge Moore was required to swear an oath to uphold the state constitution. As he said, "My oath of office to the Constitution requires an acknowledgment of God. It's that simple."

Judge Moore could not break his oath. To obey is better than sacrifice, yet Moore sacrificed himself in order to obey.

On What Basis?

U.S. District Judge Thompson, who ordered Judge Moore to remove the monument, said that the main issue was "if government can acknowledge God."

And so another issue arose in relation to the situation with Judge Moore: where does law come from?

Most Christians will tell you that law has no validity unless it is founded upon God's law. In fact, a few hundred years ago William Penn, the founder of the state of Pennsylvania, said, "Those people who are not governed by God's Law will be ruled by tyrants." One of Judge Moore's lawyers, Stephen Melchior, echoed Penn's sentiments when he said, "God is the source of our liberty...If the state doesn't acknowledge God, the state is in a position to say, 'You know those inalienable rights, forget about [them].'"

Dr. George Grant wrote that, "Apart from the succinct standard of the Ten Commandments, liberty is left to the whims of fashion and fancy, it is left to the benevolence of the elite and the beneficence of the powerful...without the unchanging standard, the unwavering foundation of ethics outlined in the Ten Commandments, we are left to the mercy of momentary affectations of juridical discretion."

In rejecting the Ten Commandments as the basis for legitimate law, Judge Thompson made it clear from whence the federal government draws its basis for law: from the air. From its twisted imagination.

To again quote Dr. Grant, "When the big laws are abandoned, you don’t get anarchism; you don’t get libertarianism; you get governmentalism." When the legitimate law of God is rejected, man gives himself up to the tyrannous and numerous laws of the State. As G.K. Chesterton said, “If men will not be governed by the Ten Commandments, they shall be governed by the ten thousand commandments.”

God is the only authority who can grant any legitimacy to law, and God's law is the only law to which man may legitimately bind man. In their efforts to force Judge Moore to remove the granite monument, the federal judges essentially sought to establish atheism as the national religion...with the State the god of the godless religion.

Could Moore Acquiesce?

A final issue arose. That issue was, could Judge Moore obey the demands of the federal judges while continuing in obedience to God?

He could not.

If Judge Moore had caved to the evil demands of the federal government, he would have been guilty of disobedience to the One True God. John Knox once said, "If ye obey the unjust commandments of wicked rulers, ye shall suffer God's vengeance and just punishment with them."

Judge Moore's civil disobedience was commendable and righteous.

Many Christians will argue that Judge Moore was sinning against God in his refusal to obey the civil authorities which God had placed over him. John Knox said, "All authority which God hath established, is good and perfect, and is to be obeyed of all men, yea under the pain of damnation."

It is true that you and I and Judge Moore are bound by God to obey all authority which God has established over us.

Yet, John Knox continues, "But do ye not understand, that there is a great difference betwixt the authority which is God's ordinance, and the persons of those which are placed in authority?" The federal government is falling far short of the requirements of legitimate government laid out in Romans 13:3-5. Most specifically, the federal government has set itself up as a terror to good works, and not to evil, and has publicly renounced its call to be the minister of God.

If a tyrant (Judge Thompson and the Feds, in this case) is guilty of disobedience to God, then it is our duty as Christians to oppose that tyrant. Remember that resistance to tyrants is obedience to God, and that if a civil ruler breaks covenant with God, the citizenry are duty-bound to throw off the shackles of the tyrannical State.

Judge Moore stood solid in his refusal to accept anyone but Jesus Christ as his Lord and King, and the righteous ruler as a legitimate civil authority. Judge Moore stood before the federal government, and said, like the Apostles Peter and John, "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

Conclusion

In his poem "America the Beautiful or So You Used To Be," Judge Moore wrote, "We've voted in a government that's rotting at the core/Appointing Godless Judges who throw reason out the door."

Thousands of years ago, a choice was placed before the nation of Israel. In Joshua 24:15, we read, "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

Let the resounding cries of the faithful American remnant be three:

"Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God."

"No King but King Jesus."

"As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

And, lastly, let the faithful American remnant stand as Judge Moore stood and defy the blasphemous federal government with the words, "We ought to obey God rather than men."

Pieter Friedrich, a homeschool graduate living near Sacramento, CA, runs Deux Ego and contributes to several conservative e-zines.

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