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Alabama Judge Removed Over Refusal on Monument

November 18, 2003

Re "Panel Removes Alabama's 'Ten Commandments Judge,' " Nov. 14: The supporters of Alabama's former chief Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore just don't get it. Moore was fired not for expressing his religious views but for disobeying a federal court order. What kind of example would be set if an officer of the court is allowed to flout an order of the court?

Moore is free to embrace any religious belief (or none at all), but he is not free to impose that belief on others. A government agency that recognizes any god is guilty of just such an imposition. If Moore wants to showcase his faith, he can install the monument in his frontyard. Why do evangelical Christians find this so hard to understand?

Forrest G. Wood

Bakersfield

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Moore should be applauded for his refusal to remove the Ten Commandments monument from Alabama's state judicial building. How far will we go in stripping this land of its clear godly heritage in the name of the so-called "separation of church and state," a phrase that appears nowhere in our Constitution?

Our founding fathers would be grieved to see how far the judicial interpretation of the establishment clause (1st Amendment) has gone. Has the second portion of that clause been forgotten, that we are not to "prohibit the free exercise [of religion]"? The federal court's order to remove the Ten Commandments monument constitutes a clear violation of that free exercise as well as a denial of the moral principles on which our laws are based.

And if, as Alabama Atty. Gen. Bill Pryor stated in August, these same Ten Commandments "can be displayed constitutionally as they are in the U.S. Supreme Court building," does this same constitutional right not apply to Alabama's judicial building? God bless you, Chief Justice Moore. My prayers are with you and this great nation.

Kathy Cooper

Camarillo

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Suppose an attorney who happened to be a Buddhist were appointed chief justice of a court, say, in Alabama. And suppose that justice installed in his courthouse a figure of Buddha along with a plaque carrying 10 of the master's wise admonitions. Would the good people of Alabama abide that?

Keeping Christian symbols out of government institutions is scarcely a manifestation of godlessness. It's a recognition that God is perceived through many avenues, Christianity being only one of them. The oft-referenced founding fathers understood this and wrote freedom from government-sponsored religion into the short list of the nation's principles, the Constitution. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Shintoists and all the others should celebrate that principle as the liberator that it is. A judge who flouts it is unfit to serve.

Harrison Stephens

Claremont

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