Between 3,500 and 10,000 people from as far away as California trekked to Montgomery Saturday to support Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and his 5,300-pound Ten Commandments display in the judicial building's rotunda. (Montgomery Advertiser, The Birmingham News, Tuscaloosa News, Huntsville Times, Times Daily, Associated Press)
"When God gives you a champion, get behind him," said Jerry Falwell, one of the speakers at the rally. "We may have to visit [Moore] in jail someday. Like Martin Luther King and his army of a generation ago, we shall overcome."
Moore spoke mainly in poems he'd written, with such lines as "In houses and schools across the land, it's time for Christians to take a stand."
"It's not about me," he said. "I will pass away as every politician and every pastor, but the laws of God will remain forever."
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson was cast as the chief villain at yesterday's rally. He has ordered Moore to remove the monument by Wednesday. Moore has petitioned the Supreme Court for a stay of that order.
"Judge Thompson has violated his oath of office by disregarding the constitution by attempting to usurp an elected judge of the state of Alabama," said Conservative Caucus head Howard Phillips, calling for Thompson's resignation. "That's why we hold them in contempt."
Alan Keyes (like Phillips, a former presidential candidate) attacked Thompson's ruling as a "lawless act" that's part of an effort to tell Americans they have no right to live in communities "with laws that reflect our beliefs… . What we are faced with now is an effort to set the stage for religious persecution."
Vision America President Rick Scarborough summed up the feelings of the supporters, many of whom said they'd support civil disobedience in support of the Commandments display if the Supreme Court doesn't issue the stay. "We're here because we believe our God has been insulted," he said. "Judicial tyranny has drawn a line in the sand. We will not go any further in expurgating God from our culture."
But there's a big difference between 3,500 and 10,000. How many really attended? Don't be too surprised by the conflicting reports. Reports couldn't even get the number of the atheists involved in a counter-rally, who numbered either one, two, or three dozen.
Meanwhile, Alabama newspapers continue to editorialize against Moore and his Commandments display—sometimes even in the straight news pages.
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