Mind Matters

by Rev. Robert H. Tucker

Number 280
January 26, 1998



Alabama Judge Roy Moore is standing firm. "A rare display of conviction and courage," said one religious leader, and 88 percent of Alabamians agree. Another judge is threatening him with contempt of court. The issue? Judge Moore posted the Ten Commandments in his courtroom, defying anyone to take it down.

I thought, "Absolutely brilliant! What a way to subvert America's court system," although I think the good judge has just the opposite in mind.

How will the God-fearing judge rule on a defense attorney's objection to proscribed court procedure by pointing out that the judge's insistence on those procedures violates the first commandment, "You shall have no other gods before me?"

Given its place of honor, I wonder if the judge will require all lawyers to sign an oath testifying to their sexual fidelity in order to practice in that court. After all, "Thou shall not commit adultery" is now on the wall, and it would be highly inappropriate for officers of the court to be in violation of the commandment. Reflecting on his decision, this crusading judge may even lead the charge to bring lawyers in conformity with other professions by making sexual relations with a client a matter of disbarment.

Also, when the punishment phase of a murder trial is before the court and the District Attorney pleads for the death penalty, the defense attorney needs only to direct the jury's eyes to the guiding principle of the court hanging on the wall: "Thou shalt not kill." What a boon to the anti-capital punishment crowd.

The Alabama judge will have an opportunity to have the pre-Civil War South rise once again as his decisions reflect the tenth commandment's acceptance of slavery.

Is this what the good judge had in mind? Obviously not. He was posting an icon to the past-a past which existed before all the church-state separation folk, ACLUers and liberals began eroding morality and subverting traditional values. The Ten Commandments are not posted to be followed, only deliberately and defiantly posted.

My former seminary professor stated that "Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living." The good judge, and his cheering supporters, illustrate well the distinction.

--Robert H. Tucker
26 January 1998


© Robert H. Tucker, 1998.
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