Here Comes the Judge

Judge Roy Moore isn’t cool. The recently chosen GOP candidate for the US Senate from Alabama flashes pistols at his rallies. He wears a cowboy hat and rode a horse to the polling booth on election day. He says nutty things, channeling wild, half-remembered rumors from the rightwing deep web.

Patrick Buchanan says that Moore is a throwback to an older kind of conservative, a species that hasn’t been seen in DC for some time. Buchanan should know. He’s nearly as uncool as Moore.

Still, my instinct is to defend Moore, and not just because we’re both Alabamians. It’s because Moore gets trashed for saying things that, not too long ago, were common sense. His “extreme views” often reflect the nearly universal heritage of Christian public theology.

Among Moore’s zany beliefs (his “incendiary remarks,” as reported by the BBC) is the idea that “God’s wrath is felt on earth.” Perhaps that’s wrong, maybe incendiary. But Moore is in the good company of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, and Jesus.

His explanation for high crime rates in the U.S.? “We have forgotten God.” Moore doesn’t say it as elegantly, but it’s the kind of thing you could hear from Benedict XVI or Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

He thinks that only God can heal our racial divisions. Sounds a bit Pauline or Johannine to me. He’s skeptical about evolution, an opinion shared by not a few scientists.

He calls Islam a “false religion.” Can this really be a surprise? Moore is a Christian, and Jesus Christ is the center of his faith. The Qur’an flatly contradicts Christian convictions about Jesus. One or the other is true – Jesus is the eternal Son of God, or He’s not. If one is true, the other is false. Logic – what are they teaching in schools these days?

Moore believes homosexuality should be illegal. It’s like Moore wants to take us back to the benighted . . . well, the benighted early 2000s.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld anti-sodomy laws as late as 1986 (Bowers v. Hardwick). When it reversed that decision in 2003 (Lawrence v. Texas), fourteen states still had anti-sodomy laws on the books. At the time, sodomy was a capital crime in Idaho.

 

Finally – get this – Moore says, “God is the only source of our law, liberty and government.” He lost his job as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court because he insisted on symbolizing this belief with a monument of the Ten Commandments.

Moore would remind his critics of those nagging references to “Nature’s God” and the “Creator” as the source of inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence.

Put the Declaration aside: The notion that God is the source of law and government, the Guarantor of liberty, is nothing but the common mind of the Christian church. Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Barth, and all the rest: None would say anything different.

The BBC might want to review the laws of King Alfred the Great – one of their own – which began with an English translation of the Ten Commandments.

Judge Moore hasn’t kept up with the swirl of the cultural revolution. He isn’t cool, and that’s the cardinal sin. For the first commandment saith: Be cool, as I your heavenly parent am cool.

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  • Drihtnes

    Refreshing perspective.

  • Research Berean

    Glad I’m not cool. I am fire for the Lord.
    Great article thank you!
    Signed…
    A next door neighbor of yours in TN.

  • Mark

    He’s certainly entitled to his beliefs/statements but he and his supporters shouldn’t be surprised that many others don’t share his beliefs.

  • Tim Ridolfi

    Interesting perspective on Moore. The problem I have is not so much what he believes but his unwillingness to realize that he is a public servant, not a member of the clergy. We are governed by the Constitution and the laws of the land. The Bible is not the foundational document of our government or culture. It never has been.

    • Win Johnson

      So committed secularists, like you, can interpret the Constitution & “laws of the land” any way they’d like, but committed Christians must throw aside their beliefs & believe as you do. Correct? I’ll prove it. Define the word “marriage.”

      • Tim Ridolfi

        Alas, you do not understand the message of my post, so you fly into a blind rage in an attempt to diminish civil discourse. Your mischaracaterization of me as a “committed secularist” is hardly insightful or accurate. I am a “committed constiutionalist.” If a law it not to my liking (as many are), I seek their change through legislative and judicial channels. Judge Moore presents himself as the final arbiter of what law is good or bad. He defied judicial order when he refused to removed the statue of the Ten Commandments. He believes he was right in doing so because of the misguided belief that America was founded as a Christian nation and the Bill of Rights are based on the Ten Commandments. As sincere as his convictions are, that does not make them right. As to your question/comment about marriage, I will not dignify it with a response. Suffice to say, we are not in agreement over the principle of “rendering unto Caesar.”

        • Win Johnson

          “Committed constitutionalist” has no meaning without a framework for interpreting the Constitution. Moore follows a biblical view, as you pointed out; therefore, he understands the founders never intended to eliminate religion or religious symbols from the public sphere. The Constitution does not contain any requirement close to such. Thus, those who told him to remove the monument were acting beyond their authority, which always was & always is limited by the Constitution to which you claim to be committed. The monument btw was removed without Chief Justice Moore’s participation because it would have been a violation of his oath and his conscience to do so. But conscience no longer matters in the modern secularist nation that the U.S. has become, so he was also removed from office – long after the monument had been removed. He wasn’t removed from office for imposing his religious view on the Constitution, & he wasn’t removed for disobeying a federal court. He was removed for not denying his belief that he had to “acknowledge God” in order to do his duty under the oath he took before God. And you are so immersed in the modern legal culture that you can’t even see that your “committed constitutionalism” is infused with that secularism which I accused you of holding. And not in a blind rage, but with a thorough understanding of what Moore did, why he did it, & what the modern legal/constitutional culture is. It is anti-Christ, & as it devolves into ever more insanity & wickedness, it is being judged. Sink with it. Or stand with Judge Moore. P.S. you ignored the marriage definition challenge, I assume, because you know it proves me correct – that the courts have gone utterly insane. Continue to ignore, but you will see the systematic criminalization of anyone not willing to bow to the modern secularist view of law & constitution, if people refuse to listen to Moore.

          • Tim Ridolfi

            “Committed constiutionalist” is a famework for interpreting the constitution. Justice Moore believes the U.S. Constitution is subservient to the Bible. I believe the two are separate and should not be joined. The late Justice Scalia was a man who understood both in a manner far better than Justice Moore.

            There is no law denying the display of religious symbols, per se. However, there is a law against erecting structures on public property without a permit. This was not Justice Moore’s private property, it was public property and he did not have the right to erect the monument without proper authority. As for taking it down without his permission, that is to be expected. He broke the law and was removed for that reason. He can claim he was obeying God but he was only obeying his will, not God’s.

            I will gladly pass on the “marriage” question because it is answered in the previous paragraph.

          • Win Johnson

            You don’t know AL law. The Chief Justice of the AL Supreme Court is the landlord of the building. He has the authority to do just about anything within reason. The Judicial Building Authority, of which the Chief Justice is a member, deals with the money for the building & would have ultimate say on what goes on. But that entity leaves the day-to-day operation & decoration of the building up to the Chief Justice, who is essentially the landlord or building manager. Also, the AL Supreme Court can & has the authority to overrule the Chief Justice on an administrative issue like how to decorate the building. They did so in the monument case but only after the federal court had ordered it removed. You’re wrong again. And you still haven’t answered the marriage definition question. I answered it for you though.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

            Sure, you can have whatever view you want to view the Constitution. You could take a Muslim view. You could take a Hindu view. But neither makes much sense when the Constitution is 100% secular. The eliminates the Christian view as well.

            The First Amendment wasn’t precisely part of the original document, but close enough (since it was ratified with the rest of the Bill of Rights just years later). It makes clear that Congress (later interpreted as all government) needs to stay out of religion.

            You mentioned Moore’s oath. What oath was that? The one to uphold the Constitution? I’m pretty sure his job had no religious element. If his being a justice meant he couldn’t be true to God, and this bothered him, then it was pretty foolish to take the job.

            you can’t even see that your “committed constitutionalism” is infused with that secularism which I accused you of holding.

            I’m outrageously secularist. The Constitution creates a secular society—good thing for all of us, Christians and atheists.

            Much of the rest of your comment seemed to be intended for someone else.

          • Win Johnson

            You’re blind to your own religious view, which you call secularism. There is no such thing as neutrality. The First Amendment does not preclude a religious view of the words in the Constitution, particularly when it was written in a time when religion infused the thinking of the founders & everyone else in the society to a greater extent than it does now. But secularism doesn’t lead to a unified view, it leads to a multiplicity of views. It is polytheism, with everyone interpreting it as they see fit. It means chaos, confusion, insanity – the very thing God promises to send to a society that forsakes him.

          • Mark

            Many believe that a multiplicity of views makes more sense than a unified view stemming from a particular interpretation of Christianity (fundamentalist Christian).

          • Win Johnson

            There’s a difference between a unified view & utter atomization, meaning each person their own little god. The latter is where we’re headed. The words university & universe come from the Latin for single song. The universe, created by God, is not unitary. It is diverse. The God who created our minds is not some simpleton; He is vast, & He shared some of that intelligence with us by creating us in His image. Thus, while there is one God & one bible, there are many viewpoints on life. Paul discussed the Church as a body, one head with many other parts each doing its part. The world of philosophy has never gotten past the problem of the one & the many. Christianity solved it long ago because God revealed Himself as Trinitarian, one & many at the same time. One member, different from the other 2, doesn’t take priority over another, for each is important, but the unity is also there. Therefore, I can speak of the devolving of society into the chaos because when each person claims to know or determine his or her own TRUTH, that metastasis of the many denies the Godhead. It’s the perversity of diversity. When one person, however, rules a society claiming to be the be-all, end-all as to how things run, then you have One claiming priority over the opinions of all. Both situations deny the God of scripture. The U.S. Supreme Court has claimed to be the univocal TRUTH as to how to interpret the U.S. Constitution. It has become the One over the many – over the State Constitutions, over the State Courts, over the 10th Amendment, even over the Constitution itself, for their opinion is now law; it never was supposed to be. What is shocking is not that Moore stood up to that tyrannical body. What is shocking is that more in authority are simply kowtowing without hesitation. That is the One over the many, even while the society disintegrates into a multitude of voices, not even able to limit gender to male & female. Tyrants take over when the people run amuck. Don’t y’all have a clue as to what’s happening?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

    Among Moore’s zany beliefs (his “incendiary remarks,” as reported by the BBC) is the idea that “God’s wrath is felt on earth.”

    Yep, pretty zany, considering that this guy isn’t running for pastor but rather for senator in a country governed by a 100% secular constitution.

    • Win Johnson

      Bob, I thought I’d copy you with what I said to Tim’s comment.
      “Committed constitutionalist” has no meaning without a framework for interpreting the Constitution. Moore follows a biblical view, as you pointed out; therefore, he understands the founders never intended to eliminate religion or religious symbols from the public sphere. The Constitution does not contain any requirement close to such. Thus, those who told him to remove the monument were acting beyond their authority, which always was & always is limited by the Constitution to which you claim to be committed. The monument btw was removed without Chief Justice Moore’s participation because it would have been a violation of his oath and his conscience to do so. But conscience no longer matters in the modern secularist nation that the U.S. has become, so he was also removed from office – long after the monument had been removed. He wasn’t removed from office for imposing his religious view on the Constitution, & he wasn’t removed for disobeying a federal court. He was removed for not denying his belief that he had to “acknowledge God” in order to do his duty under the oath he took before God. And you are so immersed in the modern legal culture that you can’t even see that your “committed constitutionalism” is infused with that secularism which I accused you of holding. And not in a blind rage, but with a thorough understanding of what Moore did, why he did it, & what the modern legal/constitutional culture is. It is anti-Christ, & as it devolves into ever more insanity & wickedness, it is being judged. Sink with it. Or stand with Judge Moore. P.S. you ignored the marriage definition challenge, I assume, because you know it proves me correct – that the courts have gone utterly insane. Continue to ignore, but you will see the systematic criminalization of anyone not willing to bow to the modern secularist view of law & constitution, if people refuse to listen to Moore.

    • Win Johnson

      You must have never felt God’s wrath. How blessed you must be! Hope that continues to work out for you.

      But, Bob, here’s a question. Does the Constitution, in being so 100% secular, require us to defy the God of wrath & judgment?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        No, I’ve never felt God’s wrath. I’ve had bumps in the road, but I’ve seen no reason to imagine God behind them. Ditto the good things.

        And wrath? I think you Christians need to get your story straight. Half the time, you’re bragging that this guy is a god of love, and the other half, you’re apologizing for his righteous wrath. Maybe the guy needs an anger-management course.

        Does the Constitution, in being so 100% secular, require us to defy the God of wrath & judgment?

        Haven’t you read it? It’s the governing document of the United States.

        No, and it doesn’t require us to insult Allah, either. Nevertheless, given pleasing Allah and following the law, the Constitution demands the latter. What do you suppose the takeaway is when we look at the equivalent Christian example?

        • Win Johnson

          I’d say neutrality leads to hell no matter how you interpret the Constitution with respect to the God who created us.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

            The document that controls things in US society is the Constitution. You have your religious rights thanks to the Constitution, not because God had anything to say about it.

          • Win Johnson

            “unalienable rights” was the term in the Constitution for rights already existing, already given by God, which the Constitution charged civil government in this country with protecting. They are not given by the Constitution. Without God, there is no such thing as unalienable rights.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

            No. “Unalienable rights” was a phrase from the Declaration of Independence. That document is important as history, but it has zero power today. The Constitution is the governing law, and it says nothing about religion except to restrict it (Article VI).

          • Win Johnson

            You’re serious? The Declaration of Independence “has zero power today?” When did SCOTUS

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

            1. The Constitution is the law. The DoI isn’t.

            2. Where did “defy God” come from? Just your imagination, I’m afraid. The point is: Christianity is legal today in the US courtesy of the Constitution, not the other way around. When US law and religion can’t be easily resolved, law wins. Remember the 1890 case about Mormon polygamy? The Mormon church lost.

          • Win Johnson

            Define law for me.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

            I’m not sure where the issue is. The DoI is merely a historical document. No one consults it for governance of the country, nor did they ever. The Constitution, however, is the fundamental law.

            If you truly don’t know what “law” means, look it up. Give me the definition you like and we can probably move ahead with that.

          • Win Johnson

            No, I asked the question to prove that you don’t know what you’re talking about when you say things like “the Constitution is the governing law,” & “the Declaration of Independence is merely a historical document . . . with zero power.” Please define what law is. And try to avoid statements like, “The authoritative proclamation of an authority,” which is the exact type of tyranny from which we extracted ourselves in the 1700’s . . . let me see, using what legal document? Oh yes, it was the Declaration of Independence.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

            You have something to say? Then say it. I don’t know how to explain it any better than I have.

            If I have it wrong, then clearly explain the problem. And also explain why the Supreme Court bases every decision on the Constitution and none on the Declaration of Independence.

          • Win Johnson

            I don’t think you can say that the US Supreme Court has never relied upon the Declaration of Independence. (A quick search of US Supreme Court opinions lists 332 opinions in which the Declaration was mentioned. I don’t know how many of those opinions in which it was used authoritatively or simply mentioned as a factual or historical document.) Even so, the US Constitution is the “fundamental law of the land,” but that doesn’t mean the courts use no other sources for interpretation or authority. That would be silly, seeing the Constitution is so short & frankly deals with a narrow range of law.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

            Our conversation has blundered into the weeds. I don’t much care to rehash Civics 101.

            The interesting disagreement we seem to be having is how the Constitution and Christianity fit together. Do you want to summarize this? Or do you think that we’re in agreement?

          • Win Johnson

            If you take the Constitution out of context, as with anything, including the bible, you can make it say just about anything. Therefore, Scalia, Thomas, & other Justices who are originalists, who understand & respect that, try to be faithful to the original intent. The original intent was never to expunge a Christian understanding of morality & law which had governed Western Civilization since at least the 8th Century A.D. The Founders never intended for “religion,” the term used in the First Amendment, to mean that law was to be godless. There’s a vast difference between the institutions of State & Church, which are to be kept separate, and the fact that law must only be determined by an acknowledgement of the God of Creation & the bible. Otherwise, there’s just opinion – yours, mine, & anyone else who can get into a position of power over the rest of us, particularly in a judgeship. Thus, secularism leads logically & unrelentingly to tyranny. That includes a 100% secular interpretation of the US Constitution, which is the statement, I believe, you used to begin your posts.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

            The original intent was never to expunge a Christian understanding of morality & law which had governed Western Civilization since at least the 8th Century A.D. The Founders never intended for “religion,” the term used in the First Amendment, to mean that law was to be godless.

            The First Amendment is pretty clear: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Any law that singles out religion (or just Christianity) for benefit is unconstitutional.

            That benefits the Christian as well as the atheist. I’m sure you don’t want Satanist prayers in school or opening the city council meeting, for example. Or Muslim or Scientologist or whatever.

            the fact that law must only be determined by an acknowledgement of the God of Creation & the bible.

            You’ve lost me. Where are you getting this?

            Are you saying that non-Christian countries can’t have laws?

            Otherwise, there’s just opinion – yours, mine, & anyone else who can get into a position of power over the rest of us, particularly in a judgeship.

            Yes, our laws are just opinions. Are you saying that there is an objective morality that guides things? I’ve never seen evidence of such a thing.

            Thus, secularism leads logically & unrelentingly to tyranny. That includes a 100% secular interpretation of the US Constitution, which is the statement, I believe, you used to begin your posts.

            That’s a shame for us, because our Constitution is very clearly 100% secular. Are we not using the same definition of “secular”?

          • Win Johnson

            You’re confusing the basis for law with religious sectarianism & institutional Christianity. The acknowledgement of the true God as the basis for law is fundamental to a true understanding of law.
            Yes, other nations, other religions have laws. They are based on the system as understood by the adherents of those religions. If their law is not based on the God of the bible, then they rest on a false foundation. But Secular Humanism has no system, no foundation. We are headed toward that disintegration of our legal system, as everyone’s opinion becomes the law.
            Humanism is the worst of all bases for legal systems because it can’t be unfaithful to itself, much less to a foundation from which it grew. It is the root of chaos, or anarchy, & it leads to tyranny, a tyranny perhaps by one of those non-Christian systems, which though imperfect, is better than the chaos of Humanism.
            Again, the founders of our country & the authors of the US Constitution understood the difference between the imposition of a religious institutional tyranny, sanctioned by law, & the basis of law itself, that is, the moral foundation of law and the legal system. Hence, they understood rights as given by God, not by government. The government is instituted to protect those rights, not create them. You can have religious freedom under a Christian system of laws, but you can’t under a Muslim system of laws.
            Humanism doesn’t even know the difference between religious liberty and personal preference, between fundamental rights and government-sanctioned privilege. Ultimately, it knows nothing. It can only feed off of the rotting corpse of a Christian civilization, claiming it’s improving society while it picks the bones clean. Savorless salt is what the culture becomes, a bland equality caused by a race to the bottom, the lowest common denominator reached by treating the basest instincts as equivalent to the most honorable of virtues. That is inevitable because Humanism has no standard but man – at his best or at his worst. Ultimately, none of it matters. It is cultural death, national suicide; Humanism cannot be the basis of the Constitution and cannot say that it stands on any law.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Roy Moore quote about Islam:
    “False religions like Islam who teach that you must worship this way are completely opposite with what our First Amendment stands for,”
    It’s not that he thinks Islam is false, it’s that he apparently thinks that the First Amendment therefore doesn’t apply to it. Freedom of religion apparently only applies to Christianity (and presumably only Roy Moore’s version into the bargain.)
    Your article also chickens out about homosexuality: do you then agree with Moore that it should be illegal?
    He’s also a brother conspiracy theorist and refers to Native Americans as “reds” and Asian Americans as “yellows”: go on, spin that.

    • Win Johnson

      You’ve misinterpreted what he was saying. True Muslims cannot believe in the First Amendment, for it contradicts their religion that the State should impose one religion on everyone, as in requiring everyone to be Muslim or become 2d class citizens if they don’t convert. Which do you follow first? Your God or your nation’s founding document. For Muslims, the answer is the former. because their faith demands a state religion – Islam only. Therefore, “False religions like Islam who teach that you must worship this way are completely opposite with what our First Amendment stands for.”

      As for homosexuality & it’s legality, read your bible. No, read the laws of every nation since the dawn of time, including a dozen States in the USA who criminalized it until 2003, when the US Supreme Court unconstitutionally said it could not be criminalized.

      As for being a “birther,” read the Constitution about the citizenship required of anyone aspiring to be President of this nation. The Constitution matters. You can disagree on the facts, but one’s birthplace is critical to determining whether you should be President.

      As for the reds &yellows comment, haven’t you ever been to Sunday School & sung the song that says, “Red & yellow, black & white, they are precious in His sight.” He was referring to that song, which is anti-discrimination. Y’all are clueless, purposely so, I imagine.

  • RustbeltRick

    He also believes Sharia Law is currently in effect in Indiana or Illinois (he can’t really pinpoint where), but I suppose incendiary and wildly false claims like that are no biggie when he’s in your tribe.