September 2, 2003
The Eleventh Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Exploit the Lord Thy God for Cheap Political Gain.
by The Angry Liberal
History, I believe, furnishes no
example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.
This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as
well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their
me talkin', hillbilly boy?
I guess we're all missing quite a little show in Alabama. It seems the state's chief justice, Roy Moore, has set an interesting precedent. It turns out that all of these laws that our legislators cooked up over the years are just sort of guidelines. If you don't like a particular law, it's okay to just ignore it. As a matter of fact, it's okay to call up a bunch of your inbred buddies and kick up a big stink while you ignore a particular law. Feel free to gather up a whole flock of fellow Deliverance extras and camp out on the courthouse lawn. Can't you just smell the B.O. and homemade hooch from here?
Yeeeeeee - HAAAAAA!
Okay, now that I've gotten that off of my chest, let's discuss recent events in Montgomery. It seems that a majority of the citizens of the great state of Alabama sent some embarrassing crank named Roy Moore to run the state's supreme court. How this happened, we can only speculate. Maybe a lot of citizens are practitioners of voodoo and were attempting to inflict pain on Roy by stabbing his name on the punchcard ballot. Regardless of how it happened, Moore wound up in charge. Back in 2001, Moore sneaked a big hunk of granite with the Ten Commandments carved on its upper face into the Alabama Judicial Building. I'm guessing Moore needs to have all ten commandments handy because 1) he probably couldn't commit such a complex document to memory, and 2) he probably has trouble counting all the way to ten. Why, you ask, would the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court have to sneak something into his place of employment? Simple. Moore knew that he was breaking the law. He knew that if he told the world of his plan, he would never be allowed to place his little knickknack on government property. So, like a common criminal, Moore had the world's largest religious paperweight clandestinely placed in the ol' courthouse rotunda without telling a soul. Not even a saved one.
As soon as word of this flagrant violation of the law got out, people who actually believe in the United States Constitution were upset and sought to remove this rock. Unlike Moore's criminal placement, these decent Americans didn't sneak the rock out in the middle of the night. They did what good Americans do when somebody is ignoring the law. They went to court. And to absolutely nobody's surprise, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson of Montgomery ruled that the rock had to go. The Federal Court of Appeals affirmed, and the U.S. Supreme Court passed. And Moore, also a judge (what an amazing coincidence!), had this to say:
Yeah, Roy, those judges can be a real pain in the ass.
But, wait! The Ten Commandments provided the moral foundation for Alabama's law? Tell us, Roy, which of the Ten Commandments provided the moral foundation for this:
From and after the first of February
next, it shall not be lawful for any free person of color to settle
within the limits of this state; and should any free person of
color, after that time, settle in this state, he, she, or they
shall be liable . . . to receive thirty-nine lashes . . . and if
any such free person of color shall not depart this state within
twenty days after the infliction of the punishment last mentioned,
he or she shall be . . . ordered to be sold as a slave for the
term of one year . . . And if any free person of color shall not
depart this state within twenty days after the expiration of said
year, he or she shall forfeit his or her freedom; and . . . be
sold to the highest bidder, and the proceeds of the sale of said
free negro so forfeiting his or her freedom, shall go, one half
to the informer, and the other half to the state.
Apparently Roy Moore thinks that the bastards who wrote this wretched 1833 law, which allowed the state of Alabama to profit from selling into slavery African Americans who committed the unspeakable crime of simply living in the state, were inspired by God to do so.
I'm glad I got to have a little fun at the beginning of this piece, because I'm just plain furious right now. I encourage you to read every page of the previously mentioned 1833 Alabama State Law Digest, which is presented as scanned pages from the original document. Punishments for slaves ranged from lashes to branding on the face in the courtroom to the Christian right's favorite, the death penalty.
After brushing up on Alabama's glorious legal past, consider Alabama chief justice Roy Moore, who profanes the very deity he purports to worship with attempts to link God to Alabama state law. Look upon his hair, dyed "damnation black" to cloak the gray that God saw fit to bestow upon him. Then ponder the following fact: This man, who is a lousy judge, a lousy Christian, and a lousy American, is the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
The truth is that the state of Alabama has one of the darkest and most disgraceful legal histories of any state in the nation. Every major stride in the state's civil rights struggle has been forced upon an unwilling citizenry by the federal government. Last week, you saw yet another example of a white male Alabama leader, utterly unable to abide by the U.S. Constitution without federal intervention, being once again forced to recognize that said constitution is not just a good idea; it's the law. Perhaps as a sign that Alabama is finally assuming its responsibility as one of fifty states, the other eight supreme court justices overruled Moore and ordered that the U.S. District Court ruling be complied with. I congratulate these men and women for standing up to the knucklehead in charge. If the state continues to play well with others, perhaps one day the federal government will remove Montgomery from the list of nuclear first strike targets.
Ironically, the actions of Ragin' Roy may have once and for all disproved the existence of God. After all, if God really did exist, I promise you that Roy Moore would have been reduced to a charcoal briquette the very first time he described God's word as the foundation of the vile and obscene history of Alabama state law. Not even God would have the kind of self-control necessary to let this guy's body temperature remain a cool, comfortable 98.6.
Well, Montgomery is as it should be, at least for the time being. Moore has been suspended by Alabama's Judicial Inquiry Commission. And despite Moore's hopes of a nasty confrontation on the courthouse steps, complete with a Mayflower truck crushing grief-stricken Christians after removing the Big Ten, the rock has instead been simply relocated to a supply room. The U.S. district court ruling stated that moving the giant sculpture to a private location would constitute compliance. Personally, I can think of a better private location for the two-ton rock. Of course, Roy Moore would have a little trouble sitting down for a while . . .
(Note: For those of you who think I am picking on Alabama, rest assured that I could have dug up similar discarded laws from a great many states. I am only picking on Alabama inasmuch as it is the state that decided that somebody like Roy Moore should run its courts. All of us need to be reminded from time to time that America's past leaves us all plenty about which we should be embarrassed and humiliated. Those who ignore or romanticize the past will repeat its mistakes. Well, that ain't gonna happen on my watch. And by the way, to the decent Alabamians out there who oppose Roy, sorry about the redneck humor at the beginning. As fellow Southerners, I believe we are entitled to certain liberties when poking fun at our own.)
otherwise noted, all original