Tuesday, August 26, 2003
To those who are saying that Judge Roy Moore is being wrongly directed by the federal courts in violation of the state's rights of Alabama.
Their argument is that the US constitution cannot dictate to a state, that a state may define its own affairs.
Normally I would agree, but....
1. Have you read the Alabama constitution?
Specifically, Article 1, Declaration of Rights, Sections 1 and 3?
Article 1, Section 1, Equality and rights of men:
That all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Article 1, Section 3, Religious freedom:
That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship; nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles.
Does Alabama Article 1 Section 1 state that all men in Alabama have equal rights?
Does Alabama Article 1 Section 1 state that the rights of men in Alabama cannot be removed?
Does Article 1 Section 1 state that men are made by God?
Article 1 Section 1 state that men are endowed by a creator, but it does not say what that creator is.
It is true that the Alabama constitution's Preamble does invoke "Almighty God", and thus some may argue that this requires an inference of "Almighty God" throughout that constitution. However, nowhere is "Almighty God" defined as the Judeo-Christian-Muslim version, nor can it be without such a definition being inconsistent with Article 1, Section 3.
Can an Alabama office or official place a religious monument in a public building?
To do so would violate clauses 3 and 4 of Alabama Article 1, Section 3, to wit:
 that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship;
 nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry;
Does placing a religious monument in a public building violate Alabama Article 1 Section 3, Clause 3?
Placing a religious monument in a public building converts that building to a place of worship.
People are required to come to public buildings in order to gain the benefits of their rights to the governmental services provided there. More strongly, in the case of the Alabama State Supreme Court building, people can be compelled to appear in that building as a matter of judicial process.
Therefore, since "no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship", no public building in Alabama may lawfully be converted into a place of worship, at the least unless there is absolutely no possible compulsion for anyone to come there.
Does placing a religious monument in a public building violate Alabama Article 1 Section 3, Clause 4?
Taxes were used for building the Alabama Supreme Court building, and are used for maintaining it and the grounds around it.
Further, when Chief Justice Roy Moore places a religious monument in the Alabama Supreme Court building, he makes himself the high priest of his now-established (and illegally-converted) place of worship.
However, Judge Moore is being paid with tax money, the same tax money that paid for the building and pays now for its maintenance. He reinforces his defacto priesthood when he makes speeches or gives press conferences within or on the grounds of that building wherein he witnesses and advocates the God that he believes in; yet at the same time he is speaking as Chief Justice. Therefore, tax money is being used to maintain both a place of worship and a ministry.
Is Chief Justice Roy Moore correct in his declaration that he is upholding the constitution of the State of Alabama?
He is in fact in violation of Alabama Article 1, Sections 3 and 4.
Are those among Chief Justice Roy Moore's defenders who declare this to be a separation of powers issue and a state's rights issue correct?
The pleadings against Roy Moore at the federal court may be in error if they only allege violations of federal provisions, since those pleadings were not necessary to establish violation.
The more interesting question is whether or not the citizens have the right to appeal to the federal courts for a Writ of Mandamus or other order to enforce their state constitution against their top state officials should those officials go rogue. Well,
Do the citizens of a state have the right to appeal to the federal courts for a Writ of Mandamus or other order to enforce their state constitution against their top state officials should those officials go rogue?
US Article IV, Section 4, Clause 1 states: The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,..."
When the top judicial officer of a state abandons the republican form and begins to conduct himself and the resources of his office and/or the assets of the state in a manner contrary to that form, the people have a right to appeal to the federal government on the grounds that there is no higher state official to whom appeal may be made.*
US Article IV Section 4 Clause 1 requires the United States to step in and restore the republican form of government to the state in question.
* The only rebuttal I can think of to this would be for the defendant rogue to move for dismissal on grounds that the people have failed to exhaust their available state-level remedies, in that it appears that no one complained to the relevant county Sheriff for relief under Posse Comitatus. However, a weak argument against that rebuttal might be a lack of faith in the Sheriff's willingness to stand up to a "higher" elected officer, particularly a state Supreme Court Justice who in the normal course of things does have the power to issue orders directing that Sheriff. Therefore, given the general level of ignorance in this country among themselves regarding the true powers and authorities of county Sheriffs, and their own recent obsequiousness toward presumed federal authority, this argument might well justify jumping directly to the federal level.
What is the best net result?
The complainants got the correct answer, but to the wrong question.
Had the complainants asked the correct question, they would have gotten the same answer, but they also would have clarified the issue rather than further muddied it.
Case-wise, the best net result occurred in the order that was issued. But for the public, the better net result would have been the clear understanding that a rogue state Supreme Court Justice attempted to subvert state assets in support of his personal religion, and was stopped by the religious guarantees of his own state's constitution, through the proper protections provided the states by the US constitution.
Are the Ten Commandments "religious" in the sense that posting them in a public place by a public official constitutes a violation of the religious rights of people who do not adhere to the Judeao-Christian-Muslim (JCM) supersect?
The first four of the commandments are not universal principles, as the defenders of the Ten Commandments prefer to position the entire document; they are religion-specific proscriptions that require the JCM mindset.
1. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
2. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
4. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."
Are these statements of Commandments 1-4 correct?
Yes, well enough.
Actually, there is no explicit statement titled "The Ten Commandments" in the Bible. There is admonishment to keep the commandments, and many commandments given across the pages of the Bible, but no standalone listing of them. Theses statements of them include the explanatory and parallel commandments that fall into the same topic of each. Resource: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_10c7.htm
Keeping to the point, however, there is no statement possible of any of these four commandments that cannot be construed as religious. They are, in the legal sense, "administrative", in that they set a tone, require a perspective, and dictate personal behavior with respect to a deity as distinct from personal behavior with respect to other people.
While it may be argued that commandments 5-10 are merely universal principles, and there can be strong arguments mounted against even that contention in the case of certain of those, that argument cannot hold with respect to commandments 1-4.
Therefore, my conclusion is that to put all this into the proper perspective, one must break the commandments apart into at least three categories:
1. Universal principles;
2. Widely-accepted rules of thumb;
3. Religious proscriptions.
It is category 3, Religious proscriptions, that makes posting the Ten Commandments unconstitutional under both the federal and Alabama constitutions, and quite likely, nearly all if not all of the remaining state constitutions.
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