Roy Moore and Nehushtan

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.

  • WKD

    Wohoooo!

  • jackson

    I’ve wondered what I would say to my sister, who is very religious and very conservative, if we got into a discussion about Roy Moore (who I know she supports). Now I know what I can say — it’s all about a false idol.
    Thanks!

  • scylla

    Speaking of people falling down before false idols, check out Seeing the Forest’s
    Who is our economy for, anyway?” citing articles by Robert Reich and Thom Hartmann, and raising a question that Democrats with public access should be asking every day about every single item in the Bush/neocon agenda: “Who benefits and who loses?”
    It is horrifying to watch individuals on the right cloak themselves in religiosity and patriotism, while they contribute to an agenda that is profoundly unchristian, anti-american, and anti-life in its aims and tactics.

  • Adam Stein

    This was stunning, a rhetorical hammer-blow. Thank you.

  • Nate

    I just had a long conversation with a Southern Baptist Roy Moore fan last Friday night; I wish I had thought of this. Thank you.

  • http://bactra.org/weblog/archives/000146.html Three-Toed Sloth

    Assorted Reading

    Latest in an irregular series. No attempt at order or arrangement. Teresa Nielsen Hayden reminds us that the Web was once but a scientifictional dream. The post is hilarious, but of course, it’s also literally true. Murray Leinster’s 1946 story…

  • M Cockrell

    It’s not about “worshipping” the monument, it’s about freedom of religion & being able to exercise that liberty regardless of being the average “John Doe” citizen or the Chief Justice of the state of Alabama.

  • melissia

    Maybe we can start installing some other religious idols next to it, then, to preserve religious freedom?

    A statue of Buddha, perhaps? A carpet showing where one must face to pray to Mecca?

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    Just because I was curious, I did a little searching on the interwebs to find out what this 10-year-old comment was tracking back to. If anyone else is curious, see

    http://vserver1.cscs.lsa.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/000146.html


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