IFAS | Freedom Writer | Summer 2000 | judge.html

Ten Commandments judge wins primary

Alabama's Judge Roy S. Moore, 53, who opens his courtroom with prayers from visiting ministers and posts the Ten Commandments on the wall behind his bench, handily won the Republican primary for chief justice of the state Supreme Court. Moore has the backing of Christian conservatives, which command a large voting bloc in the state. In the four-way race for the Republican nomination, Moore received 55% of the vote, easily avoiding a run-off.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Moore in 1995. A federal judge dismissed the suit, allowing Moore to continue the prayers and displaying the Ten Commandments.

Moore told The New York Times that his study of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison has convinced him that the United States is a Christian nation and that it was founded on Christian principles. "They did not say it's a Christian nation by establishment. In other words, you do not have to have to worship God as a Christian," he generously said. "But that did not mean that our principles, our foundation, our business organizations, our fraternal organizations, were not founded by Christian principles and that Christian principles did not govern the laws of the land."

In the general election in November, Moore faces Judge Sharon Yates, a Democrat. Wayne Flynt, a historian at Auburn University, warned Yates not to make fun of Judge Moore. "If she makes him a martyr, he'll win by a landslide."

The Times article concluded that if Moore achieves ultimate victory, it demonstrates that there are places in the U.S. "where voters are simply fed up with the breadth of the separation between church and state."

© 2000 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.