Alabama’s self-proclaimed “Ten Commandments Judge” is headed to Congress, and it would be a mistake to dismiss him as just another religious fanatic.
Roy Moore’s insistence that the Alabama constitution and his interpretation of the Bible supersedes the U.S. Constitution has twice gotten him removed as chief justice of the state’s supreme court, but it appears to be paving his way to the US Senate.
He won a decisive victory in this week’s Republican primary over Sen. Luther Strange to fill the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions became attorney general.
Strange had the less-than-enthusiastic endorsement of President Trump, who quickly erased all mention of the incumbent from his Twitter account after the votes were in.
Sessions and Moore are “committed reactionaries, true believers, calculated but genuine,” said a longtime Hill staffer familiar with both men.
Moore rose to national prominence – or notoriety – 15 years ago for refusing to remove a two-and-a-half-ton granite block bearing the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Supreme Court building rotunda. Both were evicted from the Court. Moore successfully ran to regain his old job 2012, but he was given the boot again when he ordered Alabama probate court judges to disobey the US Supreme Court decision permitting same-sex marriages.
Harking back to the old southern segregationist arguments of nullification, he insisted state laws took precedence over federal laws.
He has said the Supreme Court was influenced by “radical homosexual and transgender groups,” and its decision upholding same sex marriage was unconstitutional, violating not only Alabama laws but divine law as well and said his mission was “to acknowledge God over the state.”
The Democratic Senate nominee, Doug Jones, is such a long shot in red state Alabama (Trump beat Hillary Clinton there by 28 points) that national Democrats are “snubbing” him, Politico reported.
Democrats are hoping Moore’s many controversies may play to Jones’ benefit, but it is likely to be the other way around. Moore is a folk hero to evangelicals and former Dixiecrats who hate the godless federal government.
He contends that any mention of “religion” in the Constitution applies only to the god of the King James Bible, and it doesn’t apply to other religions. “Buddha didn’t create us. Muhammad didn’t create us. It’s the God of the Holy Scriptures.” Islam is a “false religion” and “completely opposite with what our First Amendment stands for.”
Moore’s version of the Decalogue is the King James Version, not the one cited by Catholics or by Jews in Exodus.
His webpage says, “Israel is the United States’ most important ally and partner in the Middle East and should reject agreements or policies that undermine Israel’s security. We should pass the Taylor Force Act and move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.”
But the most important thing for Jews to understand is that while Israel may be good for the Jews we don’t belong here, that this country belongs to fundamentalist Protestants like him, and that carries over to Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, gays, uppity women and anyone else who isn’t just like him, said Melinda Lee Maddox, the co-counsel and plaintiff in the landmark Ten Commandments case that forced out Moore and his granite slab.
The Bible-quoting, pistol-packing ex-judge is a longtime birther and Obama hater like Trump and ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio; wants the border wall built “immediately,” says “homosexuality should be against military policy,” insists there is “no authority for federal involvement” in the school systems, insists Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress and wants to return the country to the values and teachings of the Bible. And he makes it clear he means the Protestant Bible.
“Don’t take him lightly,” warned Maddox, “He is very smart and sharp.” He once told Maddox, who is Catholic, “This country was founded by fundamentalist Protestants. Y’all don’t belong here.”
When Roy Moore gets to the Senate there may be a lot more praying, but don’t expect them all to be praying for the same thing.