Theocrat of the Week
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Apr 15, 2007 at 09:35:31 PM EST
About two years ago, I sustained a series of blog posts I called Theocrat of the Week. I have been thinking about it and have decided to resume the series. Except for this, the first in the new series, I will not cross post it anywhere, and it will be available exclusively at Talk to Action.

In the course of selecting the Theocrat of the Week, I shall consult with a Distinguished Panel of Judges, who will help me discern those individuals who embody the discriminatory, totalitarian and sometimes inquisitional spirit of the theocratic tradition. On occasion, we will also acknowledge those whose modesty may prevent them from acknowledging their role in facilitating the mission of the theocratically inclined. Of course, there are some well-known theocrats who are so obvious, their numbers should have been retired years ago. But since it is spring, a time of refreshment and renewal, nominations for Theocrat of the Week, are now open -- wide open. You may post your nominations here, or send nominations to Our Distinguished Panel of Judges at TheocratOfTheWeek@gmail.com. The winner will be announced next week in this space.  To kick off the series, Our Distinguished Panel of Judges is pleased to announce our first Theocrat of the Week:

Disgraced former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore.!

Mr. Moore, Our Distinguished Panel of Judges note, is so vain, he still calls himself Judge, as do his cult followers, although he was thrown out of office years ago. Shortly after his election as chief, Moore had a 2 1/2 ton monument to the Ten Commandments installed in the state courthouse. A camera crew from televangelist D.James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries was on hand to film the dead of night sneak installation. Kennedy then sold video's to help finance Moore's legal defense. Moore lost at every level, and defied a federal court order to remove the religious monument. This led to his removal from office.

While his contining to use of the title "judge" probably earns him a Theocrat of the Something award every time he uses, it, there are not enough weeks in the year. And so after a review of his columns at World Net Daily, our judges have decided to issue belated Theocrat of the Week recognition for his column of December 13, 2006 because it epitomizes Mr. Moore's distinctive theocratic sensibility. Moore believes that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is ineligible for the seat to which he was elected for the sole reason that he is a Muslim. Moore called on Congress to prevent him from being seated.

Mr. Moore bases his claim on two main ideas: One is that because some radical Islamic clerics think being a Muslim is incompatible with being an American Member of Congress, therefore it is. Quoting one of them, Moore declares: "While we certainly disagree with Idris' radical extremism, he at least knows what Islam is all about!" (Funny how Mr.Moore takes the word of an "extremist" who does not know Mr.Ellison over the citizens of Minnesota who do and elected him to the House of Representatives.) Mr. Moore's other argument is an appeal to tradition, since George Washington was sworn in as president on a Bible. This is the part that swung the Distinguished Panel of Judges to Mr. Moore over the many worthy contenders. Mr. Moore was one of those who sought to make an issue out of Ellison having been sworn into office with his hand on the Koran and not the Bible. But there is nothing in the Constitution that requires any religious text at all, let alone a Bible be used when a member of Congress is sworn in. All a Member of Congress has to do is to swear to uphold the Constitution. This, and all matters related to the oath of office, is covered in Article 6 of the Constitution:  

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
 

The practical effect of this was to ban religious oaths of office, which had been a requirement in a number of colonies prior to the ratification of the Constitution. The banning of religious oaths and tests for public office was the key to setting in motion the disestablishment of the official state churches in a number of colonies -- and inoculating the new nation against their return. Most of the colonies had experienced, and the revolutionary leaders knew well the bigotry and persecution of theocratic governance in the pre-Constitutional period in North America and Europe.

Thomas Jefferson' 1776 (passed in 1786) Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was a forerunner to the principles of religious equality and non-discrimination that are critical underpinnings of the Constitution and the First Amendment. The bill was explicit, as Jefferson wrote that the bill was intended to protect "the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."

In light of this, it is altogether fitting that Ellison was sworn into office using a Koran owned by Jefferson and borrowed from the Library of Congress. Moore, of course, does not mention that.

It would be difficult to find someone who more closely embodies contemporary theocratic opposition to the clear meaning and intentions of the framers of the Constitution of the United States than Mr. Roy Moore -- our Theocrat of the Week.




Display:
And also please make your nominations for future recognition. It is difficult for Our Distinguished Panel of Judges to sort through the vast number of worthy theocrats.

Please make your nominations here, or send them to TheocratoftheWeek@gmail.com

Your help is much needed, and appreciated.

by Frederick Clarkson on Sun Apr 15, 2007 at 09:42:30 PM EST


Being from Texas, I have noticed that former elected or appointed officials throughout the South revel in being addressed by the title of their highest attained office until their dying day. Judge Moore will no more shed his judgeship, at least in name, than former Texas Attorney Generals, who are normally addressed as "General."
Having said that, kudos to you on selecting a first Theocrat of the Week who combines boundless ambition with invincible ignorance of principles of law one would have thought familiar to him since a mere stripling.

by nogodsnomasters on Sun Apr 15, 2007 at 11:45:30 PM EST
its an affectation that is not unique to the South, however. Ex-Governors, Senators and Presidents from all parts of the country often do this too.

But there is a difference with Moore. Pols who are ousted from office because of violations of the law are rarely so presumptuous. What's more, few others will use the term as a respectful honorific, if the person has disgraced themselves and the office.

Moore casts himself as a martyr to the cause of Christian nationalism, and a lot of people buy it.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 02:26:22 AM EST
Parent

He and his followers nurse a profound sense of grievance over his ouster. Moore may cling to that "Judge" title harder than anyone else would ever bother.

by nogodsnomasters on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 03:10:46 PM EST
Parent




WWW Talk To Action


Short Takes
Pando Daily:  Journalist Mark Ames has published a must-read story about how Reason,the flagship magazine of libertarianism, published a special issue in 1976 promoting......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
GOP Leader Questions Candidate About Hate Group That Advocates Death Squads - Updated
Cross-posted from The Huffington Post. The head of Maryland's Republican Party, Joe Cluster, has called local candidate Michael Peroutka to the woodshed for a......
By jhutson (3 comments)
Short Takes
Bilgrimage:  Bill Lindsey discusses "an outstanding series of articles" by Frank Cocozzelli here at Talk to Action, originally posted in 2007, about the close......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
An Opus Focus on SCOTUS? (Part 1)
In light of the recent US Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby -- which exempts, closely held corporations that invoke "sincerely held......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
An Opus Focus on SCOTUS? (Part 2)
The following is the second installment of a three part sub-series regarding the influence of non-mainstream, ultra-traditional Catholics now sitting on the US Supreme......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
An Opus Focus on SCOTUS? (Part 3)
"The reaction of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should not be resignation to it,......
By Frank Cocozzelli (8 comments)
Access Denied: The Religious Right Opens Up A New Front On Its War Against Birth Control
Some commentators continue to insist that the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was no big deal. It's a......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
William Barber Takes Us to Church at Netroots Nation
Rev. Dr. William Barber II, the leader of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina gave a rousing, perhaps historic keynote speech at Netroots......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Hobby Lobby Case Linked To Secretive National Prayer Breakfast Group, "The Family"
As I introduce my new Center Against Religious Extremism report Hobby Lobby Case Linked To Secretive National Prayer Breakfast Group, "The Family"), In 2010......
By Bruce Wilson (2 comments)
Lessons in Taking the Long View in the Long Form
Historian Leo P. Ribuffo recently published a wise and erudite essay at History News Network. In it he discusses trends among historians regarding how......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Missing Pieces of the Story of Sun Myung Moon
The recent coverage of the life and death of Richard Mellon Scaife, a transformational figure in recent American history, was pretty underwhelming. (Fortunately, our......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
When I Won One Over My Old (Former) Friend Jerry Falwell
July 13th was the anniversary of our friend Jerry Sloan's confrontation on live television with Moral Majority founder, the late Reverend Jerry Falwell. This......
By JerrySloan (1 comment)
Vatican Defrocks A Bishop Over Sexual Abuse - But Not Finn.
Pope Francis recently indicated he is serious about ending child sex abuse and cover-ups by Catholic prelates by defrocking a former apostolic nuncio (a......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Bob Jones University and the Real Roots of the Religious Right
Historian Randall Balmer notes writing in Christian Ethics Today, that the real beginnings of the Religious Right lies not in 1973 Roe v. Wade,......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Becket Or Wreck It?: Little-Known Religious Right Group At Heart Of Hobby Lobby Case
The Supreme Court's recent (and horrendous) ruling in the Hobby Lobby case dealing with workers' access to contraceptives has turned the spotlight on the......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)

Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (1 comment)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
A Wiccan Witch In Salem
Since it's only two weeks from Halloween, I made my usual foray into Christian Right Country to find out what their plans are for this Halloween. I don't know where to be sad or......
irishwitch (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.