Moore: Pursuit of Happiness Means Following God’s Law

Roy Moore, the openly theocratic chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, spoke at the Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference a few days ago and declared that the phrase “pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence really means following God’s law.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” Roy Moore said Thursday at the Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall event, reciting the Declaration of Independence.

The pursuit of happiness, he continued, did not mean “two cars and four television and five homes and a lot of food.”

“It’s laws of God, for he is so intimately connected, so inseparably interwoven the laws of eternal justice with the happiness of each individual that the latter cannot be obtained but by observing the former, and if the formerly be punctually abated it cannot help but induce the latter. You can’t help but be happy if you follow God’s law and if you follow God’s law, you can’t help but be happy,” Moore explained.

This is not some airy hypothetical for Moore, either. This is the guy who wrote a ruling in a child custody case that the mother, who was lesbian, should be imprisoned or put to death and actually cited Leviticus to justify that. He really believes that the entire Mosaic law not only should be, but is, the civil and criminal law of the United States.

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  • wreck

    “The pursuit of happiness, he continued, did not mean “two cars and four television and five homes and a lot of food.””

    So Roy will forgo his $181,000 annual salary and go live in a cardboard shack and eat from dumpsters, right?

  • StevoR

    This is the guy who wrote a ruling in a child custody case that the mother, who was lesbian, should be imprisoned or put to death and actually cited Leviticus to justify that. He really believes that the entire Mosaic law not only should be, but is, the civil and criminal law of the United States.

    Dafuck?

    And I take it this guy is

    a) an actual Judge. How? Was that like an election for town sheriff type deal or did he actually have to go through some sorta law school?

    b) That the sole reason for that was that she was a lesbian, not say, actually more significantly a serial killer or something as well

    c) That ruling was overturned on appeal and didn’t get the go ahead – plus he was barred from serving and making such decisions in future?

  • Synfandel

    So, why didn’t Jefferson write, “…that among these are Life, Liberty and following God’s law”?

  • caseloweraz

    Nah, let him keep his salary as long — as he faithfully tithes 10 percent to the denomination of his choice.

    However, he should be limited to just one car and one home at a time. Who says there’s no such thing as secular charity?

  • StevoR

    Well the Bible does have one suggestion for attaining happiness :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTAhg64GIvg

    But I’m not sure even this Justice Roy Moore* would consider that good or legal!

    * Surely no relation of the great late astronomer Patrick Moore?!

  • gronank

    1. I find it amusing that the founding documents of the united states are treated as sacrosanct gospel, even to the degree that they aren’t even necessarily actually read.

    2. It is a remarkable achievement of religion to manage to disconnect what’s moral, right and good from any actual human needs and desires, its all about the sky fairy. Even when there is empathic concerns of humans somewhere deep down (such as religious opposition of slavery), the religious still need to point to this god fellow because it is unacceptable that they themselves are capable of morality.

  • StevoR

    @ ^ gronank : Looking at what they come up with sometimes, maybe they aren’t? (capable of morality that is, the right wing Christofascists I mean.)

  • Michael Heath

    The problem we run into with conservative Christians is their desire to leverage government power to restrict others’ behavior based on their own beliefs. Here Roy Moore’s acting no different than a typical conservative Christian whose fealty to politically charged religious dogma overwhelmingly trumps liberty and limited government.

    A bigger problem is how the media fails to distinguish the difference between conservative Christians arguing for how all of us should act, which is a protected right, and that same group demanding that government also infringe upon others’ rights based on conservative Christian beliefs – which is not a protected right but instead requires government tyranny. E.g., gay marriage and their efforts to deny U.S. Muslims equal rights. Conservative Christians would quickly fail to get away with these arguments and policy advances if the media would merely describe conservative Christian behavior in light of American ideals and the U.S. Constitution.

    Such demands for tyranny due to religion is about as anti-American you can get; and yet the media allows conservative Christians to get away with the big lie that they are the predominant moral defenders of the U.S. Constitution. I instead perceive them as the biggest enemy of the U.S. Constitution.

  • gronank

    @StevoR: I usually say that the religious sits on a range somewhere between pretending to be amoral and not pretending.

    And yes, I wouldn’t consider people who claim that any good they do (or bad they aren’t doing) is solely because of an external authority any more moral than my dishwasher. My dishwasher do a lot of good, no doubt about that, but it is amoral in doing so.

    At least for me, the necessary requirement for morality is the ability to understand the motivations and consequences of actions. (I hope) Most religious understands intuitively why it is wrong to kill or rape someone, they’re aren’t all psychopaths. But because of religion’s success in removing people from morality, they need to construct some god-justification for everything. Hence the pretense.

  • Jared James

    As the Rabbi allegedly said, “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”

    Someone should ask this dirtbag what it takes to be a full citizen with the unalienable rights to life and liberty. I’ll give you six to one the words Bible and Jesus figure prominently, while citizen, born, and human are inexplicably absent.

  • colnago80

    Re Michael Heath @ #8

    They get away with it because of the he said she said reporting done by the lamestream media.

  • frankgturner

    @ colnago80 #11 and @ Michael Heath #8

    I would say that they get away with it in the media because some of the media tycoons are ALSO conservative Xtians.

  • colnago80

    Re frankgturner @ #12

    Another example of the he said she said journalism practiced in the lamestream media is the treatment of Carly Fiorina. The lamestream media has completely fallen down on allowing her to sell herself as a successful CEO, allowing her to put her spin on her firing by HP. For instance, she claims that she doubled the size of the company during here tenure there. Sure she did, she did it by greatly overpaying to purchase COMPAC Computer.

  • John Pieret

    You can’t help but be happy if you follow God’s law and if you follow God’s law, you can’t help but be happy,” Moore explained.

    So, I have the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as long as I exercise that right they way you tell me to? I think there something in those words you’re missing.

  • Jeremy Shaffer

    You can’t help but be happy if you follow God’s law and if you follow God’s law, you can’t help but be happy,” Moore explained.

    Since Moore always seems such a petty, angry and miserable asshat I guess I can assume he doesn’t follow “God’s law”. Or maybe he’s just a petty, angry and miserable person and “God’s law” has nothing to do with it at all.

  • StevoR

    @ ^ Jeremy Shaffer : Or maybe he’s following the wrong god /gooddess?

    Not like there’s not a metric infinite fuckton of dieties t’choose between..

    Perhaps he’ll be lucky and convert to Pastafarianism one day? Ramen? Or the Church of Google or that religion with priority that might’ve been made by the Neandertals or red cave people or suchlike? (With so many religions out there one of them has to be right yeah?)

  • raven

    Declaration of Independence really means following God’s law.

    Which god’s law? There are hundreds at least of gods.

    There isn’t any such thing as god’s law. The world is only 28% xian and virtually all of them would be appalled if they knew what was in the OT. Most churches go to some length to hide it. The RCC burned the first English translator, Tynsdale, at the stake as part of an information control program. Which failed.

    OTOH, it would eliminate our fundie problem. False prophets are to be stoned to death. All of the fundie leaders would soon end up dead under a pile of rocks.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    Jeremy Shaffer @15 – Maybe it’s just that his dictionary is broken and the definitions of words are all wrong, because I know how friggin’ miserable I’d be if forced to follow “God’s law”.

  • theguy

    “The pursuit of happiness, he continued, did not mean ‘two cars and four television and five homes and a lot of food.'”

    Never mind some people need cars to get to work, need a friggin’ home so they don’t freeze to death (Moore and his fundie friends here are partially responsible; 40% of the homeless are LGBT) and people also need food to survive.

    “You can’t help but be happy if you follow God’s law”

    Moore has technically broken these laws. Stole money from the government to make a Ten Commandments statue (depending on your interpretation, may also violate the Commandment against graven images).

    Ultimately, people can’t be happy if they’re dead under a pile of rocks, which is exactly what Moore wants.

  • dan4

    @19: “Never mind some people need cars to get to work.” Moore said mentioned “two cars,” not a car.

    “…need a friggin’ home so they don’t freeze to death…”. Uh, Moore said “five homes,” not a home. C’mon, what Moore’s little speech was stupid enough on its own. You don’t need to engage in lies/mischaracterizations about its contents in order to criticize it.

  • dan4

    @20 strike the “what” from “what Moore’s little speech…”

  • busterggi

    Let me know when Judge Moore sells all his earthly goods and gives the money to the poor.

  • Kermit Sansoo

    Tabby Lavalamp says: Jeremy Shaffer @15 – Maybe it’s just that his dictionary is broken and the definitions of words are all wrong, because I know how friggin’ miserable I’d be if forced to follow “God’s law”.

    .

    Raised Southern Baptist, I was surrounded by miserable grownups mostly following God’s Law, clearly miserable, and desperately trying to pretend to each other (and themselves) that they were happy.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    What I continue to find quite laughable is how many right wing theocrats – Including Moore, who has a law degree and is the chief justice of his state’s supreme court – treat the Declaration of Independence as it if had legal effect…including the effect of superseding the constitution.

    It’s just downright bizarre that they think that.

  • thebookofdave

    The pursuit of happiness, he continued, did not mean “two cars and four television and five homes and a lot of food.”

    Okay, I get it. Material possessions are unfulfilling. Just tell us how many gods it takes to be happy.