Birmingham--The battle over the Ten Commandments monument took place literally on the courthouse steps in Montgomery, Alabama. In the summer of 2001, Alabama's newly elected Chief Justice, Roy Moore, moved the 5,000 pound granite monument into the central rotunda of the State Judicial Building. The ACLU of Alabama, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Southern Poverty Law Center all sued in U.S. District Court to have it removed.
Back then, Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State said the monument was offensive.
"The heart of this case in my view is that everyone should feel welcome in a courthouse and no courthouse should contain a symbol which promotes one religion over others."
The lawyers argued the government was endorsing the practice of religion in general and Judeo-Christianity in particular. It was a showdown that led country music songwriter Bill Monaghan to croon....
The Ballad of Roy Moore: "Down in Alabama there's a fight going on. It's time to stand up for what's right or what's wrong. Judge Moore has drawn a line in the sand. He's chosen in this moment to be God's man. Let the demons scream, let the devils walk, but keep God's word in the courthouse hall."
Roy Moore knew he could lose his job as the State's Chief Justice, yet he dug in his heels and stood firm.
"It's about whether the State can acknowledge God. And certainly the Courts of this land need to get that when they open their court with 'God Save This Honorable Court', and can't explain who that God is. Do they use that name in vain? Are our courts so down-trodden they can't even know what they are saying anymore?"
People from coast to coast flocked to Montgomery to hear then-presidential contender Alan Keyes speak passionately about how God should not be stripped from the pledge of allegiance, schools, or town squares.
"Let me be granted again what the tyranny of the courts has sought to wrest from us.... The freedom to live in communities that are governed by laws that reflect our beliefs."
After a federal judge ordered Moore to remove the monument from the judicial building, the controversial rock toured the U.S. for a while. It has come to rest in Gadsden, at the Cross Point Community Church in Coosa Christian School.
Today, Roy Moore works for a Montgomery non-profit called the Foundation of Moral Law. The organization represents individuals involved in religious liberty cases.
"I speak and we speak and we also got approved to have a COE which is to teach lawyers about the constitution and particularly the First Amendment, so we will be opening the program doing that, which I am very excited about because most lawyers are not taught the First Amendment."
In 2005, Moore published a book entitled, "So Help Me God. " This man, who defied a federal judge and lost his job in the process, plans to publish his second book in the next few months. He says the seeds of victory are in defeat.
~ Donna Francavilla, December 10, 2008.