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.