Friday, September 30, 2016

Roy Moore Suspended

Today might not be the "black moon apocalypse," but it does sound like it might just be the end of Roy Moore's career as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore has been mentioned a couple of times here on Augoeides, and is most famous for opposing the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama state courthouse.

That was the first time Moore was forced out as Chief Justice, for disobeying a federal court order demanding the monument's removal. So I suppose it should come as no surprise that history appears to be repeating itself. This time, he was suspended for interfering with a federal order to allow same-sex marriages in the state.

Moore’s misconduct regarding same-sex marriage litigation was sweeping and extensive. In January of 2015, a federal judge invalidated the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Moore promptly wrote letters to probate judges insisting that they remained legally prohibited from marrying gay people—in effect, demanding that they violate a federal court order. In May of that year, the judge explicitly held that probate judges must issue marriage licenses to all couples, same-sex or opposite-sex. The next month, the Supreme Court held that same-sex marriage bans violate the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Yet in January of 2016, Moore issued yet another letter ordering probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Then, in March, Moore penned a bizarre opinion calling the Supreme Court’s decision “immoral,” “tyrannical,” and “unconstitutional.” He declared that he would refuse to follow it and urged all other state judges to follow suit. In response to Moore’s repeated defiance of federal court orders, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a judicial ethics complaint against him. Moore secured Mat Staver, Kim Davis’ attorney, to defend him.

Alabama’s judicial ethics committee is not a beacon of progressivism. Its judgment in the Moore case begins with a declaration that many members of the committee do not “personally agree” with the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling or think it was “well reasoned.” But the committee unanimously concluded that Moore had abused his position, violated the integrity of the judiciary, failed to comply with the law and perform his duties impartially, and brought “the judicial office into disrepute.” In addition to suspending Moore, the committee ordered him to pay “the costs of this proceeding.”

If anybody still believes that the Poor Oppressed Christians are harmless and just want to be left alone, they should study Moore's career closely. I don't make fun of their hypocritical beliefs to be mean, but rather because they are not content simply practicing their faith. Until they can force everyone else to conform to their particular interpretation of Christianity, they will never be satisfied.

The United States is not a theocracy, Christian or otherwise, and it never will be as long as I have anything to say about it. How can religious beliefs of any sort be meaningful if people are not allowed to freely choose? Even if you accept the tenets of Christianity, I highly doubt that forcing it on an entire population will save one single individual from damnation. Conforming to laws and actual faith are two entirely different things, and always will be.

But I don't think that folks like Moore care about that very much. Their dogmatic approach to their religion has turned off plenty of people who might otherwise want to practice it, and again, if you accept the tenets of Christianity, those are now people who won't be saved. How could any devout Christian consider that a good thing?

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