Roy Moore's victory is a Republican embarrassmentBy Chandler Gory | 10/01/2017 7:57pm
In the wake of the special Senate election Republican runoff, which garnered national attention, I find it embarrassing to be an Alabamian.
However, I can find some solace in the fact that I’m not an Alabama Republican.
The election of Justice Roy Moore as the Republican nominee for Alabama’s open Senate seat is a failure of the Alabama Republican Party. During his time as a public figure in Alabama, Moore has cultivated a troubling history of racism, homophobia and zealous religious fervor that borders on delusion. After the many scandals within the Alabama Republican Party, you would think they’d try to elect someone with at least a little bit of common sense and good judgment.
But that would be too easy. No, they had to nominate someone who values the Bible over the law.
In Moore’s world, America is a Christian nation and the word of God is the law of the land. Both of those statements are direct antitheses to the text of the First Amendment and if Moore had his way, he’d probably rip up the Bill of Rights and replace it with the Ten Commandments. Except the 2nd Amendment, of course. What’s a good, Southern, God-fearing man going to do without his guns?
Moore has a knack for ignoring the rule of law in favor of promoting his religious beliefs. As a circuit court judge in 1990, Moore hung a wooden plaque of the Ten Commandments behind the bench in the courtroom. He also opened every session with a prayer, asking God to guide the jurors in their decisions.
If you think that sounds bad then I suggest you buckle up, because Moore was just getting started. Forget a plaque of the Ten Commandments. In 2001, the recently-elected chief justice erected a big, beautiful rock inscribed with the Ten Commandments—5,280 pounds of flawless granite paying homage to God. Then he placed it in the rotunda of the Alabama judicial building in Montgomery. What better place to put a religious monument than a building where judges practice law? A church, maybe?
But in 2003, Moore tragically lost his gig as chief justice. Apparently it really isn’t okay to erect monuments acknowledging the sovereignty of God in the judicial buildings of a secular nation. There’s that pesky First Amendment back at it, foiling all of Moore’s plans.
I could go on and on and on and on—but I won’t. What’s the point of bringing up the past? Who cares that Moore blamed 9/11 on America distancing itself from God? Or that time he issued an order that prohibited Alabama probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which ended up getting him removed from his position a second time. Unimportant. And if he happened to call Native Americans and Asian Americans ‘reds and yellows’ a couple weeks ago, well, that’s just him exercising his freedom of speech. When he rips up the Bill of Rights, I’m sure he’ll keep that part of the First Amendment in there.
I think you get my point. Roy Moore holds dangerous beliefs that are at odds with the basic, founding principles of the United States. ‘Big Luther’ Strange may have been a milquetoast, establishment candidate, but is that really so bad? I actually liked Big Luther. He was sensible and believed in the rule of law. The same can’t be said about Moore.
Don’t misinterpret my words; I’m not saying that politicians aren’t allowed to hold religious beliefs. Plenty of politicians that I support and admire are religious: George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, George Washington—I could list them for hours. In 2016, I supported Sen. Tim Kaine and Hillary Clinton whole-heartedly, and both Kaine’s and Clinton’s faith is very important to them. I didn’t care. American politicians have a long history of being religious and that’s fine. As someone who isn’t religious, I still respect others who are. The problem is when faith rules their decisions as lawmakers. Roy Moore takes religion to a whole other level and it isn’t one people should be supporting.
We are experiencing the death of the moderate Republican Party in Alabama and everyone should be afraid.
Chandler Gory is a junior majoring in political science. Her column runs biweekly.