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


Why Is Bishop Robert Finn Still In Power?
As I reported in September 2014, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has been under Vatican investigation to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (0 comments)
Thus It Was Prophesied in 2012: Ted Cruz Will Be VP, Or a Supreme Court Justice
This is a transcript, of pastor Larry Huch and Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, from an appearance Rafael Cruz made at......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Crusin with Cruz
Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring, announcing his bid for President in the worship center at Jerry Falwell's University last night.  Mother......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Ted Cruz: Born From The Heart of the Dominionist Christian Right
[welcome, Thom Hartmann Show fans, here is a short introduction to my past coverage on Ted Cruz and the dominionist Christian right] Did you......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Coming Soon to Utah: An International Festival of Bigotry
An international network of some of the world's most vitriolic Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed orthodox religious leaders is holding its ninth global conference......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Bumpy Lane: Religious Right Operative Seeks To Build (Another) Church-Based Political Machine
Here's what the country doesn't need right now: another zealot aiming to mobilize right-wing pastors to become a force in electoral politics.Yet that's what......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
American ISIS: Christian Reconstructionists And `Biblical Law' In America
Every now and then, while scanning the day's news, I come across a headline that's hard to believe.Like this one: "California lawyer proposes ballot......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Will our Prisons Overflow with Christians this Summer?
Many leaders of the Christian Right, from megachurch pastors like Rick Warren to the top prelates in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Say You Want A Christian Nation?: Let's Try This One
Last week an article began circulating on social media claiming that 57 percent of Republicans in a recent poll said they believe Christianity should......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Are The Fundamentalists Winning?
We missed Evolution Weekend, which was held February 13-15 this year.   This worthwhile effort, which began the same year as Talk to Action,......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Mario Cuomo's Memorable Lesson on Challenging the Political Authority of the Church
It is never too late to remember. Here is a reposting of a column I did following the death of former New York Gov.......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Legacy of Francis Bellamy
"We assemble here that we, too, may exalt the free school that embodies the American principles of universal enlightenment and equality; the most characteristic......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
The Inquisitional Urge Gets the Better of Bill Donohue (Again)
Bill Donohue is at it again. The Catholic League president went apoplectic over President Obama’s seemingly innocuous comments at the February 5th National Prayer......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
John Dorhauer Recommended to Lead United Church of Christ
I am very pleased to report that John Dorhauer, who joined us early on at Talk to Action has been recommended by a national......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)

Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (8 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (3 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
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 (3 comments)
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 (5 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 (5 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 (2 comments)
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 (2 comments)
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 (1 comment)
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 (1 comment)

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.