In Alabama, a candidate seeking to impose his personal religious beliefs on the entire country almost got elected to the U.S. Senate.
While it is scary to think that a person accused of preying on children almost got elected to the U.S. Senate, even scarier was the fact that someone who wants to abolish the U.S. Constitution and make our country a theocracy almost got elected.
And lots of people, apparently, were fine with that.
All the attention prior to Alabama’s special election last week focused on accusations that candidate Roy Moore preyed on teenage girls when he was in his 30s. And truth be told, without those allegations Moore likely would be on his way to a seat in the U.S. Senate today. But Moore was a deeply flawed candidate who should never be allowed to hold public office anywhere in our country because of his flagrant disregard for the law and his desire to nullify the U.S. Constitution.
While Republicans throughout the campaign maintained their respect for Moore, even referring to him almost always as “Judge Moore,” the fact is he was removed from the bench not once, but twice, because of his disregard for the law.
Judges are supposed to be impartial. They are supposed to uphold the rule of law. Moore did not do that and he was removed from office.
Moore, if you recall, said that homosexuality should be illegal. His homophobia, in fact, led the Alabama Supreme Court to suspend him when he refused to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide.
But it is his quest for a theocracy in America that is even more troubling. He was removed from his position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama because of his insistence on keeping a marble monument featuring the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Judicial Building.
I can respect anyone who believes that religion should be a part of their life. I loudly encourage anyone seeking change in their government to go through the process to try and achieve their goal. But I don’t think people should be allowed to ignore laws they don’t like or force their personal interpretations on others. And if they try to do so, then there needs to be an impartial judiciary to set things straight.
Moore, who swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution, violated that oath when he decided that he, personally, should be allowed to ignore the First Amendment.
I can forgive Moore for not knowing about Article VI of the Constitution, where it says that “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
But you don’t have to be a constitutional scholar to remember the first item mentioned in the First Amendment to the Constitution you have sworn to uphold: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...”
Many in Moore’s base have cheered his stand. They think God has been marginalized and, they say, we are a nation rooted in Christianity, and as such it should have a prominent place in our laws.
OK, that’s basically advocating a theocracy, a religion-based government, but my next question for everyone who wants Christianity to be the basis of our laws is what version of Christianity are you talking about? And once you choose one, does that in essence make all other Christian-based religions illegal?
Episcopalians, Unitarian Universalists, Presbyterians and even Quakers recognize LGBTQ rights. If you think gay rights should not exist, and these religions accept LGBTQ rights, should these religions be banned as well?
While most religions worldwide do not condone abortion, another hot-button issue, many, including American Baptist Church, United Church of Christ and others do not condemn members who have abortions. Should these religions be banned?
The point is that within the broad category that is Christianity there are a variety of beliefs which members abide by. And that is not even taking into consideration other religions. Do you really think the government should decide how, where or who you worship?
Our forefathers looked to the past and the persecution they were escaping when they came here when they were framing the Constitution. They did not want to make the same mistakes as their fathers before them, and then explicitly laid out a government in which government and religion would be separate and everyone, no matter what their beliefs or if they even believed at all, would be free from prosecution.
It’s the Christmas season, where Christians around the globe celebrate in their own way the joys of the season. It is also Hanukkah, and it is the season for Kwanzaa. In America, we are free to celebrate in any way that we see fit, under the umbrella of religion or just in recognizing that we all have the capacity, even in small ways, to make the world better for everyone.
Roy Moore may think that our country would be better under a theocratic rule where everyone was forced to abide by religious beliefs of his choosing, enforced by the iron fist of government. But for myself, and many more Americans who cherish the Constitution, keeping religion and government separate has proven itself to be a solid concept that helps us guarantee the rights of everyone, at the expense of no one.
Jim Lee is Editor for Gatehouse Media Delaware. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.