FFRF Urges Governor to Remove Moore’s Bible Edicts

Supreme Affront

Alabama Governor Don Siegelman has been asked to remove the set of biblical edicts which Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore illegally erected this week in the Alabama Supreme Court Building to fulfill a “campaign promise.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, on behalf of its Alabama membership and chapter, the Alabama Freethought Association, called Moore’s action “supremely arrogant,” noting Moore erected the religious tablets in the court rotunda without consulting the other justices or the Governor’s office.

The Foundation pointed out that the first commandment alone, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” is reason enough to remove the 5,280-pound granite monument, which one Alabama reporter described as “about the size of a large washing machine.”

“Alabamans are free to have as many gods as they like, any gods that they like, or no gods at all!” noted Foundation spokesperson Annie Laurie Gaylor.

The Foundation cited the U.S. Supreme court decision, Stone v. Graham, decided in 1980, which said no recitation of a “supposed secular purpose” could blind the court to the fact that “The Ten Commandments is undeniably a sacred text” and is not confined to “arguably secular matters” but concern “the religious duties of believers.”

The Stone decision pointed out that the State may not show official support for religious edicts such as the Ten Commandments, even if publicly posted commandments are privately paid for, as is the case with Moore’s monument.

Moore’s unveiling of the surprise granite tablet Wednesday has already stirred great controversy.

Associate Justice Douglas Jonestone issued a three-paragraph statement this week strongly condemning Moore’s action: “People who govern in the name of God attribute their own personal preferences to God and therefore recognize no limits in imposing those preferences on other people. This practice not only robs the other people of their normal freedoms and immunities but also, throughout history, has eventually entailed hideous atrocities. Prime examples are Europe in the Middle Ages, Massachusetts during the Puritan era, and, more recently, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iran, Afghanistan and the other countries in the Middle East holy wars. Alabamians deserve better.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, with its activist chapter, directed by Patricia Cleveland, is willing to file a lawsuit if necessary to pursue removal of the biblical decalog.

The chapter has tussled with Judge Moore in the past when, as a county judge, he erected a handmade Ten Commandments in his Etowah County courtroom and illegally subjected jurors to prayer. Foundation member Gloria Hershiser was a plaintiff in an ACLU lawsuit challenging Moore. A ruling against him was thrown out on a technicality.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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