Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Moore’s last stand
The US Supreme Court has refused to block enforcement of US District Judge Myron Thompson’s order that Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s illegal Ten Commandments monument be removed from the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court by today (August 20). Thompson’s order is aimed at the State of Alabama. If they do not take the monument out of public space in the court building he will find the court in contempt and begin fining them, presumably tomorrow. Moore has lost every court battle and appeal on this issue and is now out of options. For five years, Moore has built his career on this issue and become a darling of the religious right while doing so.

Last weekend, thousands of supporters came to a pro-Moore rally. Most described themselves as common people rallying to the defense of religion. Many of them recited the usual misconceptions (or propaganda talking points) about separation of church and state. The most common of these is that the courts are somehow outlawing the Ten Commandments in the United States. If these protestors are sincere in that belief and in their representations of whom they are, then they have been horribly misused by their leaders. Imagine some mom in Arizona, struggling to make ends meet, who has been tricked into taking on the expenses of a trip across the continent to stop some sinister plot to abolish God (as if that would be possible).

At least 20 of those protestors were still there this afternoon and were arrested. Others are promising to stay all night. I assume there will be quite a media circus with lots of civil disobedience when the Alabama authorities finally do remove the monument—and they will; even Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor knows his higher court ambitions will not be helped by a contempt fine or jail stay. I hope those going to jail really do understand the issues and are not just dupes of unscrupulous leaders.

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