15 August 2003

If nothing else, Chief Justice Roy Moore (Alabama) has reminded us of the importance of separation between church and state. I, for one, cannot believe that his narrow, religiously founded moral views can (or at least would) be separated from his legal consideration of the merits of an action before him. Judge Moore's contempt for legal process—whether he agrees with it or not, there has been a judgment issued against his particular use of the Ten Commandments display by a court of competent jurisdiction—says volumes about the rule of law in Alabama.

   I should not be excessively surprised. Once upon a time, during the 1980s, I was sent to a military "graduate school" in Montgomery, Alabama. It just so happened to be in early Spring. This particular school was boring in the extreme, and filled with too many "hoo-rah" types. So I decided to see about attending Passover services. Nope, no listing for a synagogue in the phone book. Let's try the Chamber of Commerce. The nice middle-aged lady who answered the phone responded to my polite request for contact information for a synagogue near the base with "Go to hell you Christ-killer!" (I remember it as being all one word).

   If that ended up in a piece of fiction, nobody would believe it. Unfortunately, it is all too consistent with the attitude that "My religion is so right that it can be used in a way that disrespects others" apparent in Justice Moore's actions.

   Fortunately, I do not practice in Alabama state courts (although I have appeared in Alabama federal courts). Thus, I am not in contempt of the Supreme Court of Alabama. Frankly, Justice Moore's actions are beneath contempt.