I haven't said much here about now-former judge Roy Moore, the Alabama chief justice who was removed from office this week. The man's demagoguery has been so blatant I figured I'd let his media mongering and foolishness speak for themselves.
But I was reminded of Moore this morning in church by the Old Testament reading. The passage, from 2 Kings 18, tells the story of Hezekiah, a reformer and one of the few good kings Judah ever had. ("Good" both as in righteous and as in capable.)
Hezekiah began his reign, at the age of 25, with a campaign against idolatry:
He did right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done. He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. …
But here's the part that struck me and reminded me of Roy Moore:
He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan.
Like the Ten Commandments, the bronze serpent was a gift from God and from the hand of Moses himself. But what began as a symbol and means of salvation for the people itself became an idol.
Moore and his supporters have repeatedly spoken of the removal of Moore's graven image of the Ten Commandments as taking "God" out of the courtroom. We saw people prostrating themselves before the monument. We even saw a red-faced Alabaman screaming "Take your hands off our God!"
But the monument isn't God, and for Moore and his followers, it doesn't even represent God. It is Nehushtan. It should be broken in pieces.