Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has been overruled by the other eight judges in the Alabama Supreme Court, who said that the “rule of law” must be followed and the Ten Commandments monument must be removed from the courthouse.
The question I have is: what law? The US Constitution states clearly: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The first thing that must be understood is that “respecting” does not mean “giving respect.” It means that Congress is prohibited from making laws with respect to the establishment of religion. In other words, the establishment of religion is none of Congress’ business. There can be no law regarding religion from the federal government. The Constitution makes it perfectly clear (to one who deigns to read it) that there can be no federal law that applies to Roy Moore’s monument. It is clearly a matter of the people of Alabama (who, let us remember, elected Moore while he was being called “the Ten Commandments judge”).
The question of whether or not a granite monument of the Decalogue constitutes “establishing religion” (which it does not) is irrelevant to the issue. More relevant, but of limited importance to the issue at hand, is the prohibition of the free exercise of religion being imposed on the state of Alabama by Judge Thompson.
The real issue is what constitutes law. Judge Moore is being accused of not respecting the law by not submitting to the will of Judge Thompson. How is it that the dictates of a Judge are law? When the US Constitution prohibits the federal government from making any law regarding religion, how can Judge Moore be breaking a law by ignoring the ruling? In this case, what people mean when they say “obeying the law” is “obeying the Judge.” But a federal judge cannot create law by fiat.
In order for Judge Moore to break federal law, there would have to be a law with respect to religion prohibiting religious symbols from appearing on state property. Again, the First Amendment prohibits such laws from being made by Congress, so all that Moore can be accused of is not submitting to the dictates of a judicial despot.
It is a matter of ignorance to insist that the First Amendment was written to prohibit state organizations from incorporating religious aspects into their functions. The First Amendment was written when several states actually had official state religions, and representatives from those states wanted an amendment guaranteeing that their states could be free to do what they wish in regards to religion. It wasn’t until the sixties that the First Amendment became the scalpel of the left used to excise any acknowledgement of religion from public life.
Further complications arise from this faulty reading. For example, what is to be done with the Alabama state constitution itself? After all, it begins by “invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God,” acknowledging that the very source of the law is God. How can this be allowed to stand if Judge Thompson is correct in his interpretation of the First Amendment? Judge Thompson noted in his ruling that the monument caused people to be “offended.” If a mere engraved rock is offensive to a secularist, what more a preamble to the state constitution citing God as the source of the law!
Interpreting the First Amendment to say that religion cannot be acknowledged by the state is more than just wrong; it is of itself a “religious” point of view. In the end, all it can accomplish is the establishment of secularism as the official State Religion; a system that all but denies the very foundation it is based upon.
There is something much deeper to this than a Judge putting a granite monument of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse. If it were truly wrong to allow a religious expression like this to exist, one would need to begin tearing down all of the statues of the Grecian goddess Themis that we call “Lady Justice.” But nobody is clamoring to abolish Themis from state property. This is probably because nobody believes that Themis is actually the source of anything in our legal system.
So, we are left with a system that allows the expression of religious themes as long as they are expressed without belief. Therefore, Judge Moore is in the wrong because he actually believes that the Decalogue is an important historical aspect of the Alabama legal system.
The saddest part of this tale is that the eight Supreme Court justices in Alabama have decided that obeying a Federal Judge’s bidding constitutes “the rule of law.” It will be impossible to do anything about the oligarchic advancement of the judiciary if everyone concedes their usurpation of authority over law.
One thought on “The Rule of Law vs. the Rule of Judges”
Nicely put. Well done!