Constitution Requires Separation of Church and State


By Tom Barrett,

For years I have stated that "separation of church and state" does not exist in the constitution. I was wrong. It does exist - in the Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In Article 52: Religion, it states, "In the USSR, the church is separated from the state." Fortunately for us, we have the US Constitution to protect us. Unfortunately for us, we have federal judges who interpret the Constitution like the Episcopal bishops recently interpreted the Scriptures.

Today in Alabama, because of an unconstitutional ruling by a federal judge, Eleventh Circuit Judge Myron Thompson, we face a constitutional crisis. Constitutional attorney Douglas W. Phillips, founder of the Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy, defines a constitutional crisis as "...a showdown between competing governmental jurisdictions," in his article supporting Justice Moore's stand. He continues, "This showdown is all the more likely if the Governor of Alabama sticks to his principles and supports Chief Justice Moore against the unconstitutional order of the 11th Circuit Court."

The order is unconstitutional because under the United States Constitution, each state has the right to govern its own affairs. The Preamble to the Alabama State Constitution reads, "We, the people of the State of Alabama, in order to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution and form of government for the State of Alabama." Justice Moore would violate his oath to defend the Constitution of Alabama were he to fail to acknowledge God.

More important, the order is unconstitutional because the federal government (specifically the Congress) is prohibited from regulating religion in any way. The First Amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise therof." As Moore has pointed out, he is not Congress, and no law has been passed. He is simply acknowledging the source of law, God Almighty. That is what has many judges all across the land red-faced with anger. They consider themselves the ultimate authority. How dare anyone - even God - claim to be a higher authority than they?

But God is the source of all law and justice, and His Ten Commandments are our heritage. Many people claim that our law is based solely on English Common Law. In fact, the Ten Commandments are the foundation of both English Common law and our American system of law. Almost 3,000 stone monuments of the Ten Commandments have been placed by elected officials in city halls, court houses, and public parks all across America. There is a good reason for this; the Scripture requires it. Read Deuteronomy 6:9: "And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."

Let's take a look at the history of the current events in Alabama. Most people think that this is a new story, but it actually began in 1995, when the ACLU (the Anti-American Communist Liberal Union) sued Judge Moore for having a Ten Commandments plaque in his courtroom. At that time Moore was not the Chief Justice of Alabama. He was just a simple Circuit Court Judge who understood where all justice comes from - Almighty God. He risked losing his job and possibly going to prison because he believed God's authority is higher than man's. Most Americans agree with Judge Moore. In national surveys 64 percent think the Ten Commandments should remain on display. In Alabama, the percentage leaps to 88.

After beating the ACLU, in 1999 Judge Moore faced anonymous ethics complaints that could have resulted in a $10,000 fine and twenty years in prison. The Ethics Commission refused to name the cowardly anonymous complainants, and even refused to tell the judge what the specific complaints were. It developed that someone (the ACLU again?) didn't like the fact that Moore supporters had put together a legal defense fund. There were no claims of impropriety in the use of the money; the anti-God forces behind the complaints simply didn't like the fact that Moore had money with which to defend himself. The ACLU has millions donated by socialist and atheists, but they prefer their victims to be penniless. I wonder why the ACLU didn't complain when Bill Clinton used the power of his office to raise millions for his legal defense fund. Clinton's fund was not needed because of a moral stand like Moore's, but because of his immorality with numerous women. Perhaps that is why the ACLU did not object. In any case, this attempt to silence the judge also failed.

In 2001 Roy Moore was elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court by an overwhelming majority. This is very interesting, because liberals would have you believe that all Americans are offended by any reference to God in public places. That may be true of a vocal minority in big cities. But in the real America, the vast majority understands that without God, we are nothing. Every voter in Alabama was well aware of Judge Moore's stand and his values. They didn't elect him in spite of his stand regarding the Ten Commandments; they elected him BECAUSE of his stand.

On August 1, 2001, shortly after he took office, Chief Justice Moore installed a granite monument bearing the Ten Commandments as well as quotations from our Founding Fathers in the Rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court. At the unveiling of the monument Chief Justice Moore stated, "To restore morality we must first recognize the source from which all morality springs. From our earliest history in 1776, when we were declared to be the United States of America, our forefathers recognized the sovereignty of God."

Moore went on to quote U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, a staunch liberal, who declared in a 1961 Court ruling that, "The institutions of our society are founded on the belief that there is an authority higher than the authority of the State; that there is a moral law which the State is powerless to alter; that the individual possesses rights, conferred by the Creator, which government must respect." Moore commented that, "Today, a mere forty years later, many judges and other government officials deny any higher law and forbid the teaching to our children that they are created in the image of an Almighty God, while they purport that it is government - and not God - which gave us our rights."

Just three months after the Ten Commandments monument was installed, on October 31, 2001, the ACLU struck again. They sued Justice Moore, demanding that the monument be removed. Interestingly, the federal courthouse from which the order was given to remove the Ten Commandments has on prominent display a monument featuring the Greek goddess Themis and the scales of justice. Somehow, the federal judge has failed to see the irony of his court displaying the likeness of a pagan goddess, while ordering the removal of a monument honoring the very foundation of all American jurisprudence.

On August 5, 2003, Federal Judge Myron Thompson issued an order giving Justice Moore fifteen days to remove the monument. Judge Thompson was "generous" on one point. He told Justice Moore that he could keep the monument in the Supreme Court building, but move it to a less prominent location. Justice Moore commented that he felt the Supreme Court of the United States of America had better things to do than acting as the Alabama Supreme Court's interior decorator. On August 14, Moore announced that he had "no intention of removing the monument."

Justice Moore stated that he will not obey this order because:

It would grant jurisdiction to a federal court, which is acting beyond the scope of its lawful jurisdiction;

It would violate his oath of office to the Alabama Constitution, which specifically declares the state laws to be under God;

It would ratify an unlawful and usurpatious application of the First Amendment; and most importantly;

It would concede that the God of Scripture is not supreme over the laws of the United States.

On August 16, thousands of Americans traveled from all over the nation and gathered in front of the Alabama Capitol Building to offer their support for Chief Justice Roy Moore. Former Ambassador and presidential candidate Alan Keys gave a passionate speech. Responding to charges that displaying the Ten Commandments and even demonstrating in favor of the monument somehow broke the law, Keyes said, "Would somebody point out to me the law that this judge is basing his decision on? Because if I'm breaking the law, or if Judge Moore is breaking the law, I'd like to know which law it is. I'd like to know who passed it. I'd like to know where it's written!" The crowd responded with cheering and applause.

Only God knows what the ultimate outcome of this particular battle will be. But the Word of God is very clear on one thing: God wins the war. I only wish that He had more soldiers with the courage of Roy Moore.

Justice Moore has made it clear that he believes everyone has the right to practice whatever religion they choose. But no one can deny Americans the right to acknowledge the foundation for our greatness as a nation. As Justice Moore has said, "This country was not founded on the Koran. It was founded upon the Bible." I could give you hundreds of quotes from our Founding Fathers that prove indisputably that they considered God's law the very foundation upon which America's laws were built. I will have to be satisfied with two:

"The Ten Commandments ... are the sum of the moral law." -John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration of Independence and university professor who educated many of the Founding Fathers, including James Madison, father of the Constitution.

"It pleased God to deliver, on Mount Sinai, a compendium of this holy law and to write it with His own hand on durable tables of stone. This law, which is commonly called the Ten Commandments...was incorporated in the judicial law." -William Findley, Revolutionary War soldier, U.S. Congressman

The Pledge of Allegiance, our National Motto ("In God We Trust"), our National Anthem, our currency, The Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution itself all have one thing in common. They acknowledge our utter dependence upon Almighty God.

Our President swears his Oath of Office on a Bible. Every session of Congress opens with prayer. The Supreme Court of the United States, to which Chief Justice Moore has appealed his case, itself has several depictions of Moses with the Ten Commandments on its premises.

What then do these God-haters hope to gain by attacking every reference to God and His Commandments at the state and local levels of government? They hope to win a series of smaller battles that will lay the foundation for their ultimate goal. Harold Titus, a highly regarded constitutional authority, is one who agrees this is their goal. "I know," he said. "I used to be an ACLU attorney. In the 1960's there was a definite plan to rid this nation of all public displays of any religious symbol of this nation's founding." The case against Moore, he said, is "just part of that plan," and the reason why the outcome is so critical.

These enemies of America lay awake at night dreaming of the day when they will be able to erase every reference to God from every aspect of our public life. God's Word says, "Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." God's Word shines light on these evil men, and they afraid of it. Like rats, they scurry back into the darkness, desperately longing for the day when they can banish the light.


The timeline of the Ten Commandments story:

The story of the Ten Commandments in Alabama:

Ambassador Alan Keyes' speech in Alabama:


Editorial from the Federalist: