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Nov 07 2012

Roy Moore Is Alabama’s Chief Justice Again!

He’s back! The people of Alabama have voted Ten Commandments judge Roy Moore back in as their chief justice. He won’t be bringing his Ten Commandments monument back to the courthouse, but told  supporters at his victory party to “Go home with the knowledge that we are going to stand for the acknowledgment of God.” Read more here.

Funny story: I actually owe Roy Moore a word of thanks. If it hadn’t been for his stupid rock I might not be blogging here right now, or doing any of the other stuff I do to fight people like … um … Roy Moore. As I wrote in the introduction to my 2006 book Liars For Jesus, it was because of a news story on AOL about Moore’s rock that I first became aware of the rampant historical revisionism being done by the Christian nationalists and, of course, its main perpetrator David Barton. Here’s what I wrote in my book intro:

One day about three years ago, I happened to be reading a news story on AOL about the Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama courthouse. Having a little time to kill, I decided to click on the link to a message board about the story. Little did I know when I clicked on that link that I was about to discover a whole new version of American history, or that six months later I’d be writing a book about it.

Once I got to the message board, I couldn’t resist the urge to respond to a few of the posts, many of which were defending the Ten Commandments monument by copying and pasting lies from what I soon found out were literally thousands of Christian American history websites. At first, my responses were short – nothing more than correcting a misquote or briefly explaining why something couldn’t be true. It soon became apparent, however, that these brief rebuttals were not working. I was usually accused of being a liar, and occasionally accused of being the antichrist. So, I began taking a little time to look things up, and started posting longer, more detailed rebuttals, complete with footnotes. Before long, other people who were battling the lies began emailing me posts from the both the Ten Commandments board and other boards, asking me whether or not they were true. Apparently, they had gotten the impression from my posts that I was some sort of expert on the subject. I wasn’t, but I did know enough about history to be able to answer many of these emails, or at least to tell the people where they could find the information to disprove whatever lie they were trying to disprove. Between posting my own messages on the boards and answering emails, what had begun as a click on a link to kill a few minutes soon became something I was spending several hours a day on.

From time to time over the next few months, someone would respond to one of my posts by saying that I should write a book. While I appreciated the compliment, I didn’t take the idea very seriously – at least not at first. For one thing, I was sure that there must already be plenty of books on the subject, written by people far more qualified than I was to write about it. When I tried to find such a book, however, I couldn’t. I found a few books that refuted the lies to a certain degree, but none providing the amount of information I was including in my message board posts. At this point, the idea of writing a book was starting to seem a little less crazy. When I mentioned the idea to a few of my real life friends, I was surprised to find that they didn’t think it was crazy at all. So, never having written anything before, and having no particular qualifications to write a history book, I started writing a history book.

Writing that book led to me blogging on Talk2Action, where, in May 2007, I wrote a piece titled “The Department of Defense — Bringing Historical Revisionism to a High School Near You,” which was about a David Barton essay on the “myth” of separation of church and state being in the JROTC core curriculum American history textbook. That piece caught the attention of a volunteer at MRFF, who brought it to Mikey Weinstein’s attention. A week later I was introduced to Mikey and suddenly found myself working for MRFF, where I’ve been ever since.

So, thank you, Roy Moore. If it hadn’t been for your stupid rock I might never have found out about David Barton or ended up working for MRFF, and I probably wouldn’t be sitting here writing this post right now.

 

11 comments

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  1. 1
    steve84

    He also advocated for the imprisonment and even the death penalty for gays and lesbians in a case. Just out of the blue in a custody case.

  2. 2
    godlesspanther

    I wondered how Moore could justify the fact that his rock, in and of itself, was a violation of the second commandment that was etched into it.

    It was the art critic, Lucy Lippard, who brought my attention to the fact that people who embrace an authoritarian and dogmatic structure cannot comprehend irony. It appears to be consistently quite true.

  3. 3
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    He also advocated for the imprisonment and even the death penalty for gays and lesbians in a case. Just out of the blue in a custody case

    Really? (Not that I doubt this sort of thing happens.)

    How is it that this is the sort of thing that doesn’t get one immediately removed from the bench? It’s a genocide-level death threat, and completely at odds with the law.

    I can easily see some other person facing severe penalties and public outrage for far less, even when a vocal portion of the public might agree. Say, a black judge saying that he finds most white people he meets through the court system to be assholes or something. Could you friggin imagine the backlash? But no, here you have some vile person saying, “I’d have teh gheys murdered if I had my way”. Fuck.

  4. 4
    hexidecima

    unsuprising. The majority of Alabamans are rather pathetic. It’s too bad we can’t move those few who are decent humans beings to states in the north and leave the wannabee Confederates to seethe in a pool of their own stupidity.

  5. 5
    TGAP Dad

    What’s the over/under on when the JTC will remove home from office… again? It seems wrong that he would even be eligible to run for that office, after having been removed under the conditions he was.

  6. 6
    chrisdevries

    Is it just me, or do other people find the fact that certain states hold *elections* for judges patently absurd?

    How can such a decision rest with the public, most of whom know next to nothing about the law, and couldn’t tell how well a judge was implementing it if their lives depended on it? Moore is clearly a bit of a rebel hero to those who would impose a theocratic government on their fellow citizens if they could; he is lauded for his commitment to his faith when, in fact, his faithful actions as a public servant constitute a violation of the First Amendment. Enough of Alabama’s population agree with his stance that faith comes first to keep electing him, but it is the duty of a judge (and especially that of the Chief freakin’ Justice) to adjudicate cases based on their legal merit, and Christianity plays no part in the legal system of the USA. How can Moore, who has so gleefully demonstrated, in the most public way he could, that his religious beliefs trump his civic duty, be trusted to uphold laws that he considers against his faith? How can he be trusted to treat an atheist defendant and a Christian defendant the same way?

    I know there are higher courts than his, but it seems to me that Roy Moore has demonstrated very clearly just how important he sees his religion in governing his life and his courtroom, and by extension, how irrelevant those of other, or no faiths, are to him. Equal treatment in his court? Not a chance.

    And don’t get me started on the election of district attorneys, or sheriffs…these people are all duty-bound to serve ALL of their constituents, but they can never be held accountable for actions they take that the majority (who votes for them) approves of, regardless of how illegal said actions are.

    The will of the people is often at odds with what is legal, moral, or both. Like it or not, American justice is secular; we know just how much Christian fundamentalists fear Muslims imposing their Sharia law on everyone…how is Moore imposing his evangelical Protestantism on the people of Alabama any different?

  7. 7
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    chrisdevries

    Sadly, appointments certainly don’t address any problem better than elections.

  8. 8
    steve84

    Appointments and term limits (10-15 years) solve most problems. It means it’s not a popularity contest, and the term limits take away most of the long term damage of partisan appointments.

    The US and Japan are the only countries that elect judges. That alone tells you it’s a horrible idea.

  9. 9
    steve84

    Oh and also consider that Americans also elect sheriffs and state’s attorney’s. So you have law enforcement, persecution and the judiciary at the whim of partisan politics. Only the dumbest of the dumb would see anything good in that. It’s one reason why the prison population is so high.

  10. 10
    Pierce R. Butler

    TGAP Dad @ # 5 – What soulful bond do you have with Roy M that you call him “home”?

    steve84 @ # 9 – I dunno if a presumption of innocence really applies here, but not all prosecutors are persecutors, not all the time anyway…

  11. 11
    changerofbits

    I hope somebody sues god in ‘Bama and the case gets appealed to his docket. I wonder how long he would “stand for the acknowledgement of god” if god were a no-show.

    Chris, keep up the great work! You’re a candle in dark of this liar haunted world.

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