Moore Theocracy in Alabama?
As dangerous as Moore was as a judge, his campaign is an all-out assault against the establishment clause (separation of church and state) of the First Amendment and against personal liberty. On his website, judgeroymoore.net Moore outlines the five planks of his campaign tiled: Return Alabama To The People. The first four planks of his platform are what most Conservatives and Libertarians would want; the last plank however, is a complete deal breaker: “Preserve our moral heritage.” Whose ‘moral heritage’ is he referring to?
Here is plank five in all its ugliness:
On the first bullet point, what does Judge Moore mean by “defending the right…to publicly acknowledge God as the moral foundation of law, liberty, and government”? What if government officials choose not to make such an ‘acknowledgement,’ or decide they would prefer to keep their government statements neutral to religion and/or God? What if teachers want to teach students that the moral foundation of law, liberty, and government is based on the philosophy of John Locke, Thomas Paine (Deist who first named our country “The United States of America”), Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and countless others who understood the tyrannical dangers of combining the state with the church? European Monarchies were based on the belief that Kings and Queens were given ‘divine right’ by God to rule over the masses. The founders believed that the people should rule – not some God appointed figure head. The Constitution of the United States is a secular document by design. There was a time when religion determined the moral foundation of law, liberty, and government; a period of time we now refer to as ‘the Dark Ages.’
Morality - Preserve our moral heritage.
- Defend the right of every person to include teachers, judges, and state, county and municipal offices to publicly acknowledge God as the moral foundation of law, liberty, and government.
- Oppose gambling, pornography, and same-sex marriage.
- Secure God-given inalienable rights of life, liberty, and property.
As important as the debate is regarding the ‘moral foundation of law’ is, rather than reargue my position on the importance of church/state separation or whether or not the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian values, the remaining two bullet points of Moore’s fifth plank are of profound importance. If Moore is opposed to gambling, pornography, and same-sex marriage how can he possibly say that he is in favor of securing the rights of Liberty, and Property (at least ‘Life’ would likely be safe under a Moore administration)? Let’s look at each of these individually.
If Moore is opposed to gambling, then he does not believe in the right of the individual to do what he or she pleases with his or her own property (money is property). The only legitimate opposition he could have would be against a state lottery. Otherwise, if adults choose to gamble their own money, then the government has no say (by the same token, if an individual gambles his or her money and loses, the government should not bail this person out).
Moore cannot be serious about securing the individual’s right to Liberty if he chooses to ban pornography (provided all parties involved with the pornography are consenting adults). Regardless of what he wants to do in Alabama, with the First and Fourteenth Amendments, pornography is a form of speech and therefore is constitutionally protected. Pornography may be offensive to most Alabamians, but freedom of speech can never be voted away regardless of how a majority of people feel about it. This is why the First Amendment was written to begin with; to protect unpopular speech and to protect those who speak out against the government. If there is no market for pornography in Alabama (or anywhere else), then no pornography will be bought or sold in Alabama.
Gay marriage falls under Liberty. Personally, I believe the government should get out of the marriage business altogether. Be that as it may, married couples have certain benefits unmarried couples do not (wrongly). Going back to the Fourteenth Amendment, all laws are supposed to be applied equally (equal protection). The Fourteenth Amendment, being part of the U.S. Constitution, trumps anything any state wants to do restricting personal liberty. If a hetero sexual couple can legally be married, so can a gay couple - complete with all the legal benefits of marriage.
Perhaps another benefit Moore and his supporters overlook when it comes to church/state separation is that the state cannot force a church to marry anyone. Alabama is heavily populated with Christian conservatives; gay couples would likely have a difficult time finding a church to marry them regardless of the legalities involved. But if a gay couple does find a church that would marry them who is the government to tell them no? The bottom line is marriage is nobody’s business other than the individuals involved.
Return Alabama Back to the People?
Like so many Americans, Judge Moore is under the false impression that the United States is a democracy rather than a representative constitutional republic. What’s the difference? The difference is that individuals have the rights of Life, Liberty, and Property (and all rights which fall under these rights) regardless of the majority’s wishes in a representative republic. In a democracy, there are no such assurances. In a free society, there will always be certain individuals, views, and behavior that is unpopular; we all must recognize this. My opposition to Roy Moore is not because he is an evangelical Christian, I am opposed to Moore because he wants to make his personal beliefs law while he ignores laws he does not agree with. Moore only wants to return Alabama to certain people of his faith. Bans on such things as gambling, pornography (any literature which the theocrats find objectionable), and gay marriage does not sound like the sort of laws which are characteristic of a free country. Our American heritage is one of personal liberty, not one reminiscent of a theocracy. Hopefully Alabama voters will recognize this.
Stop Roy Moore (New blog permanently linked under "Resouces")
More to come...