Moore than Monument

I just wanted to comment on an article in your paper a few weeks ago. I picked up a copy to read as I took the Metro home. Inside I found a debate about an event that was happening in my home town. While I was not caught off guard by this, I still felt that I needed to say something to fill in some holes that were left by both sides. The article I am referring to is the article about Chief Justice Roy Moore and the Ten Commandments.

I felt it was my responsibility as one of the few students at AU who is from Montgomery, and that has actually seen the monument, to comment. Along with following the situation, I want to avoid stating my opinion on the philosophical aspects of this case, but rather to simply give some more information on the particularities.

One main detail was the situation around the installation of the monument. First, Moore did not inform the other justice of the Alabama Supreme Court that he was planning to place a monument inside the rotunda of the courthouse. So it was in essence a "one man" decision and was not a decision by the entire state courthouse.

Second, Moore decided to install the monument in the middle of the night, long after the other justices and employees had gone home. Not only did he choose an odd hour to place the monument, but he also chose to film the entire event. If you are curious about the installation you can purchase a video of the event from the Coral Ridge Ministry for a $19 donation. The fact that he had the installation video taped and then had the tapes sold through Coral Ridge adds some questionability to his motives of placing the monument in the courthouse.

There is a question about who all those people were who were lying down in front of the courthouse and participating in the rallies around Moore. While I do not want to call into question their motives or reasons I simply want to let you know where they are from. Many, if not most, were not from Montgomery or other parts of Alabama. Many organizations from outside the state sent delegations to Montgomery in support of Moore. Yes, there were people from Alabama and even from my home town at the

rallies, but a large portion were from out of state. I simply want you to know that this was not an isolated event or that these people are only found in Alabama.

Last, I want to expand on the notion that this only happens in Alabama, and that it is the only state "backward" enough to have this happen. First, the Coral Ridge Ministry is located in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., not in Alabama. Also, there have been many other cases similar to the one in Alabama. In the Sept. 8, 2003 issue of Time there is a brief article that highlights four of these other cases. The cases all take place outside Alabama, and many well outside the South. The author, Elisabeth Kauffman, cites 14 court challenges where the Ten Commandments are on display on public land or in government buildings. Some of the states involved included Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, Washington, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Kentucky.

All that is simply to say that just because something happened in Alabama, it doesn't only happen in Alabama.

I hope this is of some benefit to the AU community and that it helped fill in some of those holes in the information of the previous editorials.

Matt Powell is a first-year MPP student in the School of Public Affairs.

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