Letter to Ronnie Musgrove

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove
Office of the Governor
PO Box 139
Jackson MS 39205

Dear Governor:

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is not a hero. He is a monumental embarrassment to his state and this nation. As the top judge in Alabama, defying and scorning the rule of law, he has set a dangerous example by acting with contempt toward the Constitution and the judiciary. He (and the sad cast of fanatics rallying around him, including several hardened criminal anti-abortion demonstrators) deserve censure, not praise from you.

Instead you emulate him, transparently seeking publicity in offering to place a set of biblical edicts in Mississippi's seat of government. Your electioneering scheme to encourage other governors to flout the law by doing likewise ignores a roster of decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court on down.

As a public official you have taken an oath of office to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, not your bible and one religious set of edicts. You were not elected state preacher but governor of all the people, not just Christian people. The Constitution is a godless document whose only references to religion in government are exclusionary, such as that there may be no religious test for public office. Read it someday!

Your public statements reveal a pitiful grasp of our secular nation's inception, laws and principles. Individuals may or may not have a "Christian heritage," but the United States government and individual state governments expressly have only a secular heritage.

You write, "Too often, freedom of religion is confused with freedom from religion." Too often, freedom of religion is confused with the right to impose dogma on others by governmental decree. Religious liberty is meaningless unless it encompasses the right to dissent.

You insultingly write: "It would be my honor to host this monument as a symbol of every [emphasis added] Mississippian's dedication to the fundamental principles of the Ten Commandments."

This, coupled with your comment about "our Christian heritage," thus effectively disenfranchises any Mississippian who is not a Christian! Fourteen percent of the U.S. adult population is not religious. Additionally, many believers respect and revere our constitutional separation of church and state, and understand that the Ten Commandments, as something sacred to them, belong on private, not governmental grounds.

The First Commandment alone ("Thou shalt have no other god before me") shows so clearly why the Ten Commandments may not be posted in public buildings and schoolrooms.

The State of Mississippi has no business telling citizens which god they must have, the number of gods they must have, or that they must have any god at all!

We urge you to abandon your ill-begotten crusade to mix religion and government, and imperil Mississippi taxpayer money with this unconstitutional action.

Yours very truly,

Annie Laurie Gaylor
for FREEDOM FROM RELIGION FOUNDATION

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