Moore issues defiant statement

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Citing his disappointment in the associate justices of the Alabama Supreme Court to uphold a federal court order to move a monument of the Ten Commandments from a public area of the Alabama Judicial Building, Chief Justice Roy Moore made his first statewide speech in many weeks Thursday afternoon in Montgomery.

Justice Moore, standing on the steps of the judicial building, addressed a crowd of mostly out-of-state supporters for about 10 minutes, comparing his battle over the granite monument, at times, to the battle over slavery; and as something he could not, in good conscience do.

"The people of this state elected me as Chief Justice, to uphold our Constitution which establishes our justice system, on invoking the favor and guidance of almighty God. To do my duty, I must acknowledge God. That's what this case is about.

"Judge Myron Thompson said Š 'Can the State acknowledge God?' He said that the 'acknowledgment of the Judeo-Christian God crosses the line between the permissible and impermissible, and that the acknowledgment of God is to violate the Constitution of the United States.'

"Not only does Judge Thompson put himself above the law, but above God as well," Moore continued. "I have been ordered to do something I cannot do - and that is violate my conscience."

Moore went on say that if everyone followed "the rule of law means to do everything a judge tells you to do, we would still have slavery in this country. If the rule of law means to do everything a judge tells you to do, the Declaration of Independence would be a meaningless document.

Moore went on to compare "the rule of law" to the Roe vs. Wade decision - calling it a slaughter of innocent babies. Moore even compared himself to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his speech - for not following the rule of law - or man.

"I saw enough is enough, and we must dare defend our rights, which is the motto of this great state. No judge or man can dictate in whom we can believe, and in whom we trust."

Moore also acknowledge the placement of a temporary wall around the monument - a means of the state hoping to avoid the penalties imposed by US District Judge Myron Thompson for failure to remove the monument.

"I was dismayed and angry to learn that while I was away someone had placed a shroud around the Ten Commandments," Moore said.

He went on to say he will not move the monument.

"I will not violate my oath. I cannot forsake my conscience. I will not neglect my duty, and I will never, never

deny the God upon whom our laws and our country were founded."

Moore's stand at the judicial building however, could be futile, as Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor has already filed a notice with Thompson that the monument would be moved under the associate justice's order.

"The taxpayers of this state should not be punished for the refusal of the chief justice to follow a federal court order," Pryor said.

Over the past few weeks, Moore had refused to grant state media interviews regarding the monument and suit, opting instead for national exposure on network television programs like Good Morning America, and news programs on CNN, Fox News Channel and others. Moore reportedly left a family member's funeral Thursday after hearing of the wall's construction to obstruct the view of the monument, according to his spokesman Tom Parker.