Call Media over Imbalanced Coverage

Monumental Threat

Freedom From Religion Foundation Statement on Moore's Folly and Related Action Alert:

The suspenseful removal yesterday of the unconstitutional Ten Commandments monument blighting the rotunda of Alabama's Supreme Court building in Montgomery is a relief and a victory for common sense and reason.

The tide is turning in Ten Commandments cases.

More than two decades of litigation over this divisive issue are finally bearing fruit.

As the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in ordering the removal of Judge Roy Moore's 5,300-pound monstrosity on July 1:

"Every government building could be topped with a cross, or a menorah, or a statue of Buddha, depending upon the views of the officials with authority over the premises. A creche could occupy the place of honor in the lobby or rotunda of every municipal, county, state, or federal building. Proselytizing religious messages could be played over the public address system in every government building at the whim of the official in charge of the premises."

Judge Moore's extremism should serve as a warning and a wake-up call to thoughtful Americans.

This rogue judge, who was ready to defy the very U.S. Supreme Court itself, considers himself beyond the rule of law and subject only to his god and religion. His lawless actions reveal the danger that Christian fundamentalism poses to our secular democracy. The fanaticism of Muslim fundamentalism has gotten plenty of U.S. attention, but the "American Taliban" is a more pressing threat.

Moore's backers stand for a government based not on the First Amendment, but on the First Commandment ("Thou shalt have no other gods before me"). One need look no further than that first commandment to understand why the Ten Commandments have no place in government buildings and on government property. Under our Constitution, we are free to have any god we like, as many as we like, or no deity at all!

Unanswered as yet is what the future will bring for Moore. "Gov. Bob Riley revealed on Aug. 22 that Moore's lawlessness could have cost the state of Alabama as much as $1 billion in possible fines. Plaintiffs' lawyers have already presented a $700,000 fee for round one alone, and the costs to both sides are skyrocketing with each new act of defiance and obstruction by Moore." His associates on the Alabama Supreme Court suspended Moore, their Chief Justice, with pay last week. Now they need to remove him permanently from office as promptly as possible. Moore is a menace to taxpayers, justice, the rule of law and our Constitution.

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Although reason and the law have prevailed in this case, they are not necessarily prevailing on TV and in other media coverage.

Much of yesterday and today's coverage is simply giving Moore what he basks in: constant attention and "folk hero" status. His fanatical supporters, some with criminal records and many infamous for their antiabortion campaigns of intimidation, are not the only sources for interviews. Media can be referred, for example, to the Freedom From Religion Foundation or its stalwart chapter, the Alabama Freethought Association, which deserves much credit for taking the first legal challenge against Moore in the 1990s.

This morning's NBC's "Today" show and recent CNN coverage have dwelt almost exclusively on Moore and his mob backers. Newsweek magazine's article this week was disturbingly promotional of the judge:

http://www.msnbc.com/news/956599.asp

Please take the time to respond to any imbalanced coverage you witness, or to simply write an educational letter to your local newspaper supporting the removal of this monument to ignorance.

Check media websites to contact individual reporters or go to:

Newsweek

TIME
letters @time.com

CNN
http://www.cnn.com/feedback/

NBC Today Show

ABC
http://abc.go.com/site/faq.html#2

CBS
http://cbs.com (Scroll down and click on "Feedback" at the bottom of the page)

Short, succinct letters or emails concentrating on one or two points are most successful. Emails including name and mailing address have more credibility than anonymous missives. Thank you for helping to educate!

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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