Friday, October 13, 2017

A Religious Zealot, And He's Not Alone

As of 2004, Talking Points Memo explains, the Alabama state constitution required "'separate schools for white and colored children"' and allowied poll taxes, a classic scheme to disenfranchise poor black people.  Set to pass, an amendment which would have eliminated the language was defeated, due in large part to the effort of Roy Moore, who claimed "this amendment is a wolf in sheep's clothing and the people of Alabama should be aware of it."

Nevertheless, the changes, as TPM concedes, were "purely symbolic," and right-wing political activism is not illegal or unethical per se. However, Chris Hayes described Tuesday another side to Alabama's GOP senatorial nominee and fierce culture warrior.

Hayes noted that Moore in 2003, then Chief Justice of the state's Supreme Court, founded the Foundation for Moral Law and named himself its President Emeritus. But now The Washington Post, Hayes stated, has found "Moore's wife Kayla, who is now president, was paid a total of $195,000 over three years through 2015." Additionally, it pointed out that Moore "once said publicly that he did not take a 'regular salary' from the small charity he founded."

As a believing Christian, he should have stated he did "not take a small, regular salary." That would have been technically accurate while

It turned out that Moore pulled hundreds and thousands of dollars from his 501(c)(3) public charity. The Washington Post reported that "privately, Moore had arranged to receive a salary of $180,000 a year for part-time work at the Foundation for Moral Law". (and) "he collected more than $1 million as president from 2007 to 2012....compensation that far surpasssed what the group disclosed in its public tax filings most of those years."

But that's not all. The foundation also gave him health care coveraged, covered his expenses. What happened when the charity ran out of money and couldn't continue to pay more salary? Moore in 2012 was given a promissory note for back pay eventually worth $540,000. Keep that in mind when you watch Moore say things like this: "It's been very hard for my wife and myself to wither two, maybe three, months of negative ads we couldn't answer because we didn't have it."

It's unremarkable that an aspiring politician would lie about profiteering off a charity and dishonestly play the victim card while castigating his opponent for negative advertising. But what is remarkabl- and reasonably common is that said politician is no ordinary Republican who invokes religion only when convenient. He's the theocrat who, The Washington Post reported shortly after he won the Senate primary,

unlike any other Senate candidate in recent history, made his belief in the supremacy of a Christian God over the Constitution the cornerstone of his campaign.

“I want to see virtue and morality returned to our country and God is the only source of our law, liberty and government,” Moore said during Thursday’s debate with incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, who was backed by President Trump and the Republican establishment.

The central argument of Moore’s campaign, The Washington Post’s Michael Scherer reported, is that removing the sovereignty of a Christian God from the functions of government is an act of apostasy, an affront to the biblical savior as well as the Constitution. He even carries a pocket pamphlet that he published with a legal theory of God’s supremacy.

Moore’s proud touting of his religious beliefs — which he promoted long before Trump’s rise — has not always seemed like the smartest career move. Twice, Moore was suspended from his job as the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to obey laws he felt violated his religious beliefs. Twice, his gubernatorial bids have failed....

The first suspension from the court came in 2003, when Moore disobeyed a federal judge’s order to take down a 5,200-pound statue of the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the state judicial building. Moore had campaigned on the promise that he would install the monument, and declared during his 2001 swearing-in that “God’s law will be publicly acknowledged in our court.”

Maybe unsurprisingly, then, he would not budge on removing the monument.

Following a lengthy legal back-and-forth that attracted national attention, the statue was removed in August 2003 on a federal court order. In November 2003, a judicial panel unanimously voted to oust Moore from office.

After two failed gubernatorial bids, Moore was elected for a second six-year term as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012. Again, he invoked the Bible during his swearing-in ceremony.

“We’ve got to remember that most of what we do in court comes from some Scripture or is backed by Scripture,” Moore said after taking the oath of office.

Again, the panel ousted him — this time, in 2016, permanently — after Moore reportedly urged state judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage. Moore has compared homosexuality to bestiality and called it “an inherent evil against which children must be protected.”

In a few months, Moore probably will become one of only 100 members of a very exclusive, and powerful, club. By most indications, he is a devout, God-fearing Christian which, we should not forget, is an accurate description of the "exotically devout" man who will become President of the United States if the current president is dislodged from the office he currently holds.

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