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Contact: Virginia Armstrong
325-665-0659 or 325-370-0437

Chief Justice Roy Moore's Case Defending The
Display Of The Ten Commandments In A Public Building

The U. S. Constitution's guarantee against an "Establishment of Religion" is not violated by the placement in the Alabama State Judicial Building's rotunda of a 2 ½ ton monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments and a variety of other quotes. To the contrary, interpretations of the Constitution by a U. S. District Court in Alabama and a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals do violate the Constitution. The monument was designed and commissioned by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in recognition of the moral foundation of the law.

  1. This suit should never have gone to court. The plaintiffs complained that they found the monument "offensive," that it made them feel like an "outsider," that Moore was "using religion to further his political career," that Moore was guilty of a "shameless political use of religion," etc. None of these highly personal, subjective feelings qualifies as a "case or controversy"--the only type of action that Article III of the Constitution allows federal courts to hear.

  2. There is no "law" involved in this case. A "law," by definition, commands, prohibits, or permits a specific action. Chief Justice Moore's installation of the monument does not command, prohibit, or permit any action by any party.

  3. There is no unconstitutional "establishment of a religion" involved in the monument's creation and placement.

    1. The Ten Commandments as displayed in the Judicial Building are memorialized as a fundamental source of American and English law and Western civilization. A "law" and its "source" are not the same thing. The Ten Commandments as the moral foundation of our law are supported by a variety of large, influential religious groups--evangelical Protestants, conservative Catholics, orthodox Jews, and Mormons (for example). If the Ten Commandments per se constitute a "religion," which of these "religions" is "established"?

    2. Interrelationships between law and non-legal values, reflected in the Ten Commandments, are inevitable. "Without religion, there can be no morality: and without morality there can be no law" (top-ranking British judge Alfred Lord Denning, 1977). Reflecting this truth, the U. S. Supreme Court has correctly ruled that "This is a Christian nation" (1892, 1931).

    3. A "pluralism" of fundamental religious and legal values can extend only so far. Both federal courts ruling against Chief Justice Moore argue for religious "pluralism"--asserting a "history of religious diversity" in America (the Court of Appeals) and branding any effort by law to recognize a single definition of "religion" as "unwise, and even dangerous" and as "tending towards a 'theocracy'" (the District Court). But the courts call for the impossible. "Values are necessary for the functioning of any society, and if they are not consciously adopted and publicly acknowledged, they will be smuggled in surreptitiously and often unconsciously. Values are always in real or potential conflict. And the state inevitably favors some values over others" (American historian James Hitchcock, 1981). Thus, American law can be based on the Ten Commandments or on a non-theistic value foundation. There is no alternative. And if public acknowledgement of the former constitutes "establishment of religion," so does the latter.

    4. All of the Ten Commandments have a secular significance to the law. Even the first four Commandments, most directly involving Deity, reveal that there are a Higher Authority and Higher Law to which human law must be submissive--the only sure safeguard against tyranny by human government.

  4. There is an unconstitutional establishment of religion created by the two federal court decisions.

    1. The District Court's assertion that the state "draws its powersfrom the people, and not God" is a religious position (an anti-theistic one). This assertion throws the power of the court behind a religious view in violation of the Establishment Clause.

    2. Both federal courts base their conclusions on the mythical "wall of separation" doctrine. This concept is not in the Constitution's text, is not supported by American history and tradition, and calls for the impossible (see #3b. and #3c. above). Because the mythical "separation" doctrine was created by the Supreme Court in 1947--156 years after the Establishment Clause was written, and therefore has no fixed content--federal courts have had to constantly re-define and create "tests" of "establishment." The most notably is the Lemon three-pronged test (Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971). Since 1971, various Supreme Court Justices have exposed the true nature of this myth and the "tests" it has spawned, describing them as "all but useless," "mercurial in application," "unhistorical," "non-textual," and productive of a body of Establishment Clause law that is plagued with "insoluble paradoxes" and "unprincipled, conflicting litigation." Despite these fatal flaws in the "separation" myth and Lemon test, both federal courts utilize them as the basic standards for finding against the Chief Justice and the monument.

In a 1798 letter to American military officers, President John Adams declared that "The Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the governance of any other." Chief Justice Roy Moore's installation of the Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama Judicial Building recognizes this truth. Chief Justice Moore does not violate the U. S. Constitution. The two federal courts who have ruled against him do.

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