Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore stood up for what he believed, despite the cost. And he says he has “absolutely no regrets.”
A special ethics panel removed Moore from his post claiming he “placed himself above the law” when he disregarded a federal court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandment from the courthouse.
Moore’s repeated attempts to mix his personal religion with governmental power were dangerous. Why would someone who is appointed to uphold the law, break the law? The civil disobedience argument can fly for a “normal” protestor, but certainly not for an elected state judge sworn to enforce the law.
Moore’s removal, however, does not end the issue concerning the display of religious symbols. The court failed to address the issue of whether posting of a Judeo-Christian fundamental set of ideals constitutes the establishment of religion.
The debate rages on. Neither side has religion exactly right: conservatives have a tendency to ignore the establishment clause and liberals have a tendency to ignore the free exercise clause.
Moore is entitled to his personal beliefs but he should have kept them separated from his duties as a judge. It is ridiculous to deny that the government is made up of individuals, and each of those individuals has a right to exercise their religion.
That’s just a fact. However, when government officials bring religion into their jobs as government officials, that’s not free exercise, that’s establishment. When the government funds the exercise of a particular religion that’s establishment.
Posting the Ten Commandments in a public courthouse violates the establishment clause and show that the free exercise clause does not extend to government officials while they are acting as government officials. Moore’s removal was appropriate, but maybe it’s all a part of his “big plan.”
Kaye Dallas for the Editorial Board