Moore let Alabama down

By Staff
Opinion, Hartselle Enquirer
Judge Roy Moore is known as the "10 Commandments Judge." It's a title he's worn like a badge of honor since 1996, when he fought for the right to display a hand-made wooden plaque of the Ten Commandments in his Etowah County courtroom, the same courtroom where he opened each session in prayer.
Moore became Alabama's chief justice in 2000, swept into office with a prayer and state's right fervor not seen since the days of George Wallace.
One of his first acts as Chief Justice was to install a 2 1/2 ton marble monument in the state court's main rotunda. The installation was done in the middle of the night and was filmed by a television crew from an Evangelical Christian television network.
Moore drew his line in the sand and it ran right down the middle of Montgomery. His message was simple: Alabamians – not the courts and certainly not the federal government – should decide how and where we will promote religion.
America's laws are based on God's laws and we should honor this heritage, Moore said.
Polls showed the majority of Alabamians were in favor of the 10 Commandment monument.
The 10 Commandments Judge was standing his ground. But that's when it became a slippery slope.
A federal court issued an order calling for the removal of the monument. It wouldn't have to be removed from the capital or even the judicial building.
It could be moved to an outdoor garden just yards from the rotunda.
Moore refused and was suspended as chief justice. He vowed to defy the court order and called on protestors to come to Montgomery to make their feelings known.
Last week, the 10 Commandments Judge was removed from office. He was not removed because of his support for the 10 Commandments or his love of God.
He was removed from office because he violated a court order.
The State Court of Judiciary made the right decision. They had a simple task
– determining if Moore violated his oath of office when he openly and publically said he would not follow an order handed down from a higher court.
But even more than the letter of the law, returning Moore to his position wasn't the best thing for Alabama.
We cannot have those who are charged with upholding our laws defying those they don't agree with.
We're not saying Moore does not have every right to his beliefs and we admire what seems to be an honest devotion to his religion.
However, you have to ask: is Alabama a better place because Roy Moore was our chief justice?
At a time when Alabama needs leadership, Moore had the perfect opportunity to step into the role. Instead, he chose to focus his attention on a marble monument.
That marble monument now sits in a closet in the Capital Building. Moore says he will return to public life, but hasn't yet said how. Talks of senate or even gubernatorial races are swirling.
But remember this: Not every good man is a good leader.

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