Judge Roy Moore, elected last year as chief justice of Alabama's Supreme Court, recently fulfilled a controversial campaign promise to keep the Ten Commandments in his courtroom.
In August, Moore unveiled a 5,280-pound granite monument in the rotunda of the state judicial building.
The memorial, paid for with private funds, includes the Ten Commandments and 14 quotations from Presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Madison.
Moore says he displays the Ten Commandments in judicial buildings because they are the foundation for America's legal system.
"It is required that this nation acknowledge God's law as its foundation, because both the Constitution and Bill of Rights enshrine those principles," he says.
Moore's displaying the Ten Commandments on a wooden plaque in a northeastern county courtroom gained him national attention. It also paved the way for his campaign for higher office.
Moore's actions have angered civil libertarians and won praise from conservative Christians. Stuart Roth, southeast religion counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, says the monument is consistent with the Founding Fathers' commitment to religious freedom. "The Ten Commandments, whether people like it or not, are one of the cornerstones of the moral and ethical and legal codes of the world," Roth says.
The Civil Liberties Union of Alabama and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State have asked Moore to remove the monument. "It's clear to me the monument is there to promote a particular religious viewpoint—Judge Roy Moore's religious viewpoint," says Bob Varley of the Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. "The Supreme Court does not belong to Judge Roy Moore. It does belong to the people of Alabama, all the people ...1