Friday, August 22, 2003
Judge Moore, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, installer and defender of the ten-commandments rock in 'his' court's foyer, is wrong.
So are most of the supporters who say that he is defending our rights.
He's not defending my rights.
I grew up in the northwestern end of the so-called bible belt. It wasn't safe there to raise any questions. But it was very safe to be oppressive and belligerently stupid. So I grew up without the luxury of having anyone to talk to about the bigger questions of life.
I know, most Christians would object that this is all they talk about, and children are encouraged to learn about these things. No, I say, they are not. They are encouraged to accept the official opinion without question and call it faith. They are not learning if there's no conversation and no What-if: they are just being programmed.
Programmed with allegation and fear.
Burn in hell if you disagree? That's not religion, that's tyranny.
Judge Moore is wrong because he put his rock on other people's property.
It's just that simple.
There's nothing stopping him from putting his rock in his own front yard.
But when he puts it in the foyer of the state Supreme Court, he's making a public policy statement. He's telling me that when I come in there, he's prejudiced. He's telling me that he's going to slant his rulings toward his personal religion, toward the unsubstantiated demands of his understanding of God.
His God, not mine. His Jesus, not mine.
I have a tax-based interest in the public property of the State of Alabama. And I don't appreciate anyone, no matter how well-meaning, putting a declarative and therefore exclusionary monument on my property, even if my share of ownership is miniscule.
And I don't appreciate yet another overwhelming voice in my ear if I walk through there, telling me that I am an outsider, that I can't get an objective conversation, that I'm not kissing the right feet.
Judge Moore is wrong. He has no authority to make a blanket religious statement on behalf of us all, including those who disagree or dissent.
And make no mistake about it. It is a religious statement, not merely an historical one. The proof in that is the overwhelming attitude of his supporters, who make no bones about it being an issue of their religious freedom.
Make no mistake about it. I love Jesus. But I can read for myself, and no man tells me what to do.
But neither do I have to be told when I am trespassing.
And Judge Moore is trespassing. Upon public property, and into the minds of the passers-by in that building who have an absolute right to a neutral space there.
Judge Moore has destroyed the neutrality of the legal sanctuary over which he presides.
Buy some very publicly-located land, Judge, and build a private park, and put your rock there for all to see.
In your own yard, not mine.
I'll even come visit (and shudder in awe) next time I'm in town.
Oh, and by the way...
No, Judge Moore is not doing the same thing as the US Supreme Court, who also have the ten commandments displayed over at 'their' place. Theirs is part of a larger display that actually does depict the history and evolution of our law. Other references and icons are included, indeed, integrated.
Judge Moore, on the other hand, according to the San Jose Mercury News, has refused to allow any additional items to be displayed alongside his rock.
That is exactly where he loses. In its sanctified space, Judge Moore's rock is a Judeo-Christian statement, not mere legal history. And in that capacity, it is an affront to all those of us who do not toe Judge Moore's party line.
Therefore, it must be removed from public property.
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