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




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