All views should be respected

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2003

There have been many heated arguments throughout Alabama and the rest of the nation the past two weeks regarding Judge Roy Moore and a monument he had placed in the rotunda of the Alabama State Judicial Building.

As a newspaper, we've taken the position that what Roy Moore did, and continued to do was wrong - defying the law. That's all.

With that position, the newspaper - particularly myself - has been on the receiving end of a lot of what could be called "hate mail, telephone calls and e-mails." Some of them anonymously - even to the point of questioning my upbringing and Christianity.

That's understandable. In a free society, a Republic like we live in, that's an inalienable right. The expression of free thought is guaranteed in the First Amendment.

And I quote the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I've been quoting that a lot lately, and there's good reason. It's the one thing that protects the exercise of all of our religions, the ability of news organizations to report all of the news, and the ability for all of us to express our thoughts freely.

What we've seen over the past two weeks is a lot of the First Amendment in action.

Hundreds to thousands of people gathering at the judicial building to express their support of Roy Moore, the Ten Commandments monument, and the fight he's waging to keep it in the building.

We've also seen people gathering to voice their opposition to Judge Moore, the monument and the fight they're taking to the courts.

We've even exercised our right under the First Amendment to voice our opposition to Judge Moore.

And that's where it should end. But it's not.

People have taken our words - which are protected under the First Amendment - and manipulated them to fit their cause.

We've never said we had a problem with the Ten Commandments - or the monument. What we have said is that we have a problem with Judge Moore and his tactics.

People have taken the stance we've taken and attacked us as a newspaper and on varying personal levels.

In the past two weeks, we've been told we are the ones in the wrong. We should have more support and respect for what Judge Roy Moore is doing.

Whether people want to admit it or not, Roy Moore broke the law, and is using his current position for political gain.

These two weeks have been very troublesome for everyone at the newspaper. We all haven't agreed on everything regarding Roy Moore. But, we all agreed on the Ten Commandments - and we all respect them and what they stand for.

Individuals who disagree with us, that's fine. Individuals who attack us without considering what we are saying, or those who are manipulating what we say to serve their own purpose - that's just wrong.

You won't here me say another word after this week about the Ten Commandments monument. But, I ask you who challenge me to ask yourself, "Where is Roy Moore in all of this," and I challenge those who are so strongly in opposition to us to think just who is gaining the greater glory in this case - is God gaining the true glory from Roy Moore, or is Roy Moore gaining the glory?