Moore's Ten Commandments ordered to be removed by August 20
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has two weeks to remove the 5,280-pound display of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building rotunda. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, who last November ruled that the display was unconstitutional, made good yesterday on his promise to issue a 15-day removal order once the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Moore's appeal.
The 11th Circuit affirmed Thompson's decision in July. The decision immediately sparked a series of responses in Alabama. Moore said he would take the case straight to the U.S. Supreme Court. Christian groups encouraged civil disobedience and nonviolent protests to block the monument's removal. And the Alabama House passed a bill prohibiting U.S. marshals from removing the display.
In response to the actions to protect the monument, Thompson carefully worded his order yesterday. "It is the initial obligation of the State of Alabama, not this court and not any federal official, to remove the monument," Thompson said in his eight-page order. "The court, at this time, does not envision a scenario in which there would be an opportunity for any physical confrontation between federal and state officials or between federal officials and anyone else."
Thompson suggested that monument be moved to a private office in the state judicial building. The state judicial building houses the Alabama Supreme Court chamber and offices of appeals court judges.
Because Thompson is placing the responsibility to remove the monument on Moore and state officials, he also set a consequence if it is not out of the rotunda by August 20. In his order, Thompson wrote that the state of Alabama would face "a fine of $5,000 a day for the first week…with the amount of the fine perhaps to double at the beginning of each and every week thereafter." The Birmingham News reports that the order was delivered to the governor, attorney general, treasurer, state comptroller, and director of the administrative office of courts.
A spokesman for Moore has called the removal mandate an act of "judicial tyranny."
The day before Thompson's order, Moore filed a brief statement with the court anticipating a removal notice. Moore said in the two-paragraph statement that Thompson, as a federal judge, has no authority to demand the monument's removal because Alabama's constitution permits the acknowledgement of God by the state.
This is the argument that Moore plans to make to the Supreme Court. Last week Moore said in an interview with The Birmingham News thathe is "pretty confident" that the U.S. Supreme Court will review the case. But precedent is not in favor of Moore. The court has recently denied hearing similar Ten Commandments cases from Kentucky and (two from) Indiana.
Other Ten Commandments stories include:
- Ten Commandment challenges spread | Disputes have arisen in 14 states. Many rulings go against the displays (The Christian Science Monitor)
- GOP to urge council to accept free legal help in monument fight | Republicans want La Crosse to keep fighting for the Ten Commandments monument in Cameron Park (La Crosse Tribune, Wis.)
- Monument with Ten Commandments in Polk County could draw a fight | Those who want to display the Ten Commandments on a hulking monument planned for a Polk County administration building say they are prepared to fight a possible court challenge (Associated Press)
- Spiritual digs | Religion and science intersect as faithful try to unearth proof (The Dallas Morning News)
- Experts, dealer clash over James Ossuary's authenticity | Tempers flared over the question at the showing of a documentary about the case and a new interview dismissing an Israeli finding that led to the arrest of an antiquities dealer on suspicion of forging sacred artifacts (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)
- Archaeology in Lebanon goes begging | Historical sites—arguably the country's richest natural resource—are neglected for lack of funds (The Daily Star, Lebanon)
- Christian TV broadcasters embroiled in legal dispute | Flap could remove FamilyNet and Daystar from Dish Network's satellite lineup (Charisma News Service)
- KOCE considers 10 bids | The highest bidders for the local PBS station at Golden West College are religious ministries (Independent, Huntington Beach, Calif.)
- Also: Religious networks bidding for KOCE | The Orange County public television station now has 10 suitors. Some worry about the future of educational TV if a ministry wins (Los Angeles Times)
- Non-believers abandon legal challenge to Thought for the Day | It ends a year-long wrangle after the society had claimed its right to propose speakers when the producer of Thought for the Day's sought more challenging contributors. (The Guardian, London)
- 'Boy Meets Boy' takes reality dating to a new level | It's what you think it is—a gay man chooses from 15 male suitors. The wicked twist is that three of the suitors are only pretending to be gay. (Dallas Morning News)
- Also: Homosexuality seen as accepted by media (The Washington Post)
- Also: Gay-themed TV gains a wider audience (The New York Times)
- Girls 'led astray' by Kylie dress code | Jim O'Neill, chairman of the Professional Association of Teachers, fulminated against popstar influence on "totally inappropriate" outfits better suited to a club than school. (The Guardian, London)
- Cardinal George challenges media over gays | Cardinal assails headline that ran in Sun-Times (Chicago Tribune)
- Also: Cardinal denounces same-sex headline (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Column brings out the worst | Ninety-nine percent of people express their beliefs to me with tolerance and love. I've heard this past week from the 1 percent (Ken Garfield, The Charlotte Observer)
Missions and ministry:
- Four letters that shook the world | What Would Jesus Do? (or WWJD to those in the know). The slogan was devised to help young Christians handle everyday dilemmas. Then Al Gore used it to signal his moral rectitude. Now it's a fashion movement—and the message has gone mainstream (The Independent, London)
- Praying for all corners of the world | Baptist missions convention for girls provides a look at other cultures (The Tennessean, Nashville)
- Salvation Army is a good neighbor and community resource | The arguments against the Salvation Army's proposed rehabilitation center in Tallevast just don't square with the facts (David Atkins, Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
- Christian activists urge churches to do more in battle against AIDS | But some religious groups still consider it proof of immoral conduct, and those infected with the virus unworthy of help (Voice of America)
- For many surfers, fellowship is pipeline to deeper spirituality | Around the world, a growing number of surfers are taking those feelings and using the ocean as a pulpit from which to preach their faith (Associated Press)
- Evangelist's 'miracle water' reportedly contaminated | Leroy Jenkins fined $200 (Associated Press)
- Bad behavior is out | Christian families team up for baseball without beer, foul language or too much competition (Religion News Service)
- Christian poets perform as 'laborers to win souls' | These guys have a way with words—a gift they're using to spread the Word (The Dallas Morning News)
- Looking at education, religiously | Christian Educators Assn. celebrates 50th year at 34th annual convention at Hilton Glendale (News-Press, La Crescenta, Calif.)
- Bible break helps students, study says | A secular group evaluates an off-campus program at Oakland public schools. (The Sacramento Bee)
- County wants permanent injunction for Christian school | Injunction sought to prevent the Cornerstone Christian School in Coralville from operating what authorities have said is an illegal child care facility. (Sioux City, Iowa, Journal)
- University of New Orleans sued over leaflet policies | Missionary wants to hand out tracts (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)
- Also: University of New Orleans sued over blocking distribution of tract (Associated Press)
- Cult worries surround Bible group | University Bible Fellowship, an international evangelical Christian group, has become a fixture—in some cases, a controversial one—on college campuses (Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs)
- UCLA to survey college students on religion | Researchers at UCLA will spend $1.9 million to survey the religious habits and attitudes of college students, an area they say has been largely ignored by campus leaders (Los Angeles Times)
- Deciphering The Da Vinci Code | Dan Brown may or may not actually believe what he writes, but he writes so well in this genre that the average reader will not even care. That is the problem. (Crosswalk)
- Also: Does The Da Vinci Code crack Leonardo? | The short answer is no. (The New York Times)
- Moving spirit | A review of A Brand From the Burning: The Life of John Wesley by Roy Hattersley (Stewart Weaver, The Washington Post)
- Mary Magdalene: Saint or sinner? | A new wave of literature is cleaning up her reputation. How a woman of substance was "harlotized" (Time)
- To be Catholic in America | A review of Peter Steinfels's A People Adrift (Kevin Starr, Los Angeles Times)
Anti-missile nuns sentenced:
- Despite prayer: prison | Protesters' pleas don't sway judge as nuns are sentenced (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)
- U.S. gets justice; nuns get prison (Diane Carman, Denver Post)
- Missile silo martyrs | The secular media swoon as nuns attack nukes (Vincent Carroll, The Wall Street Journal)
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