ANNAPOLIS – Ousted Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore Tuesday exhorted Maryland lawmakers to “have courage” and support the country’s foundation “under God.”
Moore, who was removed from the bench after he defied a court order to remove a display of the Ten Commandments in his Montgomery, Ala., Supreme Court, was invited to speak by Maryland Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick, who is involved in his own situation over display of the Ten Commandments.
Mooney is sponsoring legislation to permit the display of the Ten Commandments and to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Maryland public places.
“The First Amendment gives us an absolute right to acknowledge God,” Moore said, addressing the roughly 75 people from around the region who came to Lawyer’s Mall in support. “God gave us certain rights, created human beings and allowed government the right to secure the belief in God.”
The Frederick monument controversy was ignited by a 2002 lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union that argued it is an improper government-sponsored support of religion. The city sold the strip of park land that contained the lawsuit, and the ACLU dropped the suit. The issue was revived in another suit challenging the sale.
Moore doesn’t see it as a church-state separation issue. He has argued that it is evident that God created us, and therefore, a monument, or religious symbol has the right to be displayed.
Moore said Frederick’s current crisis exemplified a “spiritual war” and urged Christians to take a stand.
“It’s a blessing for this country that (Moore) would not compromise,” said Mooney, who was locked up in a Senate filibuster and missed much of the event.
“It is this God upon which the nation was found. Some things don’t belong to government,” said Moore. “It’s time for Christians to take a stand.”
The Alabama controversy began with a 2001 lawsuit brought by three Alabama lawyers.
Moore was forced out as chief justice last year after he refused to allow the court’s Ten Commandments monument, which he installed, to be removed, even after he was ordered to do so by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson.
Supporters from as far away as Parkersburg, W.Va., Davidsonville, and Harford County came to Annapolis in to demonstrate their devotion to God, bolstered by their support of the Founding Fathers and their intentions to include God in the public forum.
“The Constitution says Congress shall not establish a religion,” said Loretta Stewart, of Parkersburg, who came to the demonstration with her sister from Anne Arundel County. “(Moore) is exercising religious freedom, people are trying to take rights away from us.
A 57-year-old Vietnam veteran from Cecil County, Ron Jaggers has followed Moore’s case and agrees that the No. 1 priority should be to support the oath of office to the Constitution to the Alabama Supreme Court.
“The court is acting as a force and contradicting the rule of law,” Jaggers said.
Delegate Donald H. Dwyer Jr., R-Anne Arundel, came to the rally in support of Mooney. Dwyer said he wanted to expose the truth behind why Moore was removed – his refusal to deny the existence of God.
Paul Schmidt, 45, a pastor at St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Harford County for 11 years, trekked more than an hour to support the use of the expression “under God” at a time when lawyers are attempting to separate church from state.
“I realize how dangerous this is for all Americans,” Schmidt said. “We have to stand up and be counted.”
-30- CNS-1-20-04 .