Volume 11, Number 1, July-August 2007

Books Worth a Look by Bill Buckman
So Help Me God: The Ten Commandments, Judicial Tyranny, and the Battle For Religious Freedom
By Roy Moore wiht John Perry, Broadman & Holman Publishers, (c) 2005 by the author

Over the past few years, some of you may have followed in the news the saga of the Ten Commandments Monument in the Alabama State Judicial Building. Roy Moore is the man who is responsible for placing that monument there, who, at the time was the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. The book reviewed in this Servants' News is his side of the story. The opening chapters of the book are also an autobiography of Roy Moore.

Born on February 11, 1947, Roy Moore grew up on an Alabama farm in Etowah county. His parents were Evelyn Stewart and Roy Baxter Moore. His father had been an army sergeant in World War II; after his discharge he was a farmer and construction worker. Roy preferred, when the necessity for punishment arose, the "hickory switch" to his dad's "hour-long lectures." His dad also shared with him at an early age the truth of God's love and Jesus' sacrifice. Roy maintained straight A's in all his subjects at Etowah High School, was the Boy's State representative, and held office as Senior Class President of his high school, all while working several jobs.

Roy was accepted at West Point in the summer of 1965 and graduated from the academy in June of 1969. He lost his dad in the beginning of his junior year in October of 1967. After some further training, he served in Germany and then Vietnam. He was a company captain and dealt with a lot of drug and disciplinary problems, earning the non-complimentary moniker of "Captain America."

In 1974 he resigned his commission and entered the University of Alabama School of Law. He began his legal career as the first full-time Deputy District Attorney in Etowah County. He was sworn in on October 1st, 1977 and immediately began to set an exceptionally high conviction rate. He was disturbed to see so many young people brought into the courts on charges of crimes and believed the reason for it was that they had not been taught biblical principles. About this time, he made a plaque of the Ten Commandments on two pieces of redwood. Moore tried to make some reforms in the Alabama judicial system, and in the process, made some enemies. He had some setbacks and lost his job. In his discouragement, he took up karate and did some traveling, working for a while on an Australian cattle ranch.

On December 14, 1985 Roy married Kayla Kisor. They strongly agreed that the Ten Commandments would be the basis of their home. They taught their children "not only the letter but the spirit of the law." He came to understand that God's law was "not only a personal guide to living, but the moral foundation of our nation's law and justice system" (p. 44-45).

On pages 47 and 48, Moore explains how the current understanding in many people's minds of the term "separation of church and state" came about. It is based on the opinion of justice Hugo Black in the Supreme Court case of Everson v. Board of Education on February10, 1947. Black, an associate justice from Alabama, stated, "[T]he First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach." Commenting on Black's assessment, Moore writes, "Those simple words inaugurated half a century in which a recognition of God was confused with 'religion' and 'the separation of church and state' separated God and government." Moore, in most of the remainder of the book, makes his case that this is absolutely not what our Founding Fathers intended. He quotes from many of the Founding Fathers, their contemporaries, and many of our national leaders since, as well as from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, to show that these men believed in a personal God whose His law was the basis of our laws and our freedom. Moore believes, as our founders did, that our inalienable rights come from this sovereign God of the Bible. The only "separation of church and state" our founders intended was that there be no officially sanctioned state church. They certainly did not foresee God being excluded from our schools, our courts, and almost our whole public life as has been the trend in the last several decades.

Moore returned to his legal career to be elected as a justice in Etowah County and later as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Throughout this career, Judge Moore took the strong stand that God should be publicly acknowledged in our courts. To that end he prominently placed his redwood plaque of the Ten Commandments in his county courtroom and opened his court sessions with prayer. When he moved on to the Alabama Supreme Court, he privately funded and commissioned a 2˝-ton granite monument of the Ten Commandments to be placed in the rotunda of the Alabama State Judicial building. For this he has been strongly attacked by the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and several other organizations that do not wish to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Christian God.

In telling how the monument of the Ten Commandments was eventually removed from public view and how he also was removed from office, Moore discusses much historical material as well as many current issues. He covers Alfred the Great, Magna Carta, Pilgrims and Puritans, William Blackstone, the origin of the ACLU, the effect of teaching evolution in our schools, homosexuality, adultery, abortion, and much more.

In regard to his refusal to remove the monument, Judge Moore writes, "It would violate my oath and my conscience. To deny God would be to recognize man as sovereign and would be a violation of the first commandment…as well as the First Amendment. Judge Thompson's order, running counter to the declared will of the Supreme Judge of the world, was null and void; disobedience was a duty, not a crime" (p. 209). On page 240, he writes, "The decision announced that the court deemed me guilty of violating the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics. Judge Thompson declared that I had shown 'no contrition for my actions,' and that I had given them no assurance that I would not do the same thing again. Because of this, the COJ [Court of the Judiciary] voted to remove me from the office of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court." At the time, Moore "wondered how one could ever show 'contrition' for acknowledging God?"

Since his removal from office, Judge Moore has, with others, drafted the Constitution Restoration Act, and is now promoting it. "The CRA would protect from federal court interference any public official's acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government" (p. 250-1).

On p. 184 Moore writes, "Too many lawyers have the same problem: they are 'embarrassed' to acknowledge God." Some people might ask, "Is Mr. Moore a Christian? Does he understand the same doctrines from the Bible that I do?" But are we willing to boldly stand up publicly, as he has, for what we understand? Or would we be "embarrassed" (Matt 10:32-33)?

Judge Moore writes in an easy-to-read style with a little humor. He even puts in a little of his own poetry, which some might think trite, but is pleasant reading nonetheless. The book also contains 16 pages of photos of himself, his family, his career, and the infamous monument of the Ten Commandments.

In 1 Corinthians 11:7, the apostle Paul writes, "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head," and which is further enlightened by verse 3, which says that "the head of every man is Christ" (NKJV). For the past several decades, has this nation been trying to cover its real head? Should we be ashamed? Judge Moore, to the best of his understanding, has not covered his Head.

Judge Moore, in selecting his "knowledge filter," has chosen to follow a different course than some current judicial understanding. He has wisely chosen the Ten Commandments and the Word of God. I highly recommend his book.     &


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