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Separation of church and state in Alabama court

Published (Volume 76, No. 4)

Are you offended? Many, it seems, are. Recently, the Ten Commandments were finally removed from the Montgomery Court House where Judge Roy Moore fought so diligently to keep them in place. It seems that all means were tried, even filing a lawsuit stating that the removal of the 10 Commandments from the courthouse would deny freedom of religion, as defined in the first amendment. The ACLU, however, says that if the monument remained, it would have infringed on the separation of church and state. Who is right? Who is wrong? Possibly more important, who’s to say?

Throughout the years, there have been numerous encounters between the ACLU and Judeo-Christians. The most famous being the removal of religion from schools. The most recent is the dispute over the 10 Commandments. First there was a removal in Georgia, now there is the ordeal taking place in Alabama, next may be Tennessee. According to the Jackson Sun, there have already been cases of removal in Tennessee, one in the Rutherford Courthouse in Murfreesboro and two more in Chattanooga. The ACLU has now taken notice of three plaques hanging in the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center, The Correctional Center Chapel and The Administration building. These plaques contain the Bill of Rights, the 10 Commandments, and the Mayflower Compact. One of the women who raised the 8000 dollars needed for each plaque, Marilyn Eloeffel, said that the displays were made specifically to be Constitutional. They were each fashioned after a court-approved version in Indiana. Eloeffel also calls the Alabama judge “Courageous.”  Some however do not see Moore in the same light Eloeffel does.

David Gushee, a Professor of Moral Philosophy at Union University and writer for the Jackson Sun, says that although Moore’s intentions were good he has caused more harm than anything. According to Gushee, Moore decided to use civil disobedience while legal actions were still unused.  Had Moore followed the legal course of actions it is possible that the monument would still be in place. Yet, disobeying a direct order from the Alabama Supreme Court made the Court all the more zealous.

With world issues moving ever closer to home, it’s becoming more and more important for people to stand for what they believe in, whatever that may be.

Jared A. Walters is a Political Science major from Selmer.