The Ten Commandments, Judge Roy Moore, The Federal Courts and Luther

By Rev. Jack Cascione

 August 26, 2003


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National news organizations are broadcasting images of people protesting the removal of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roy Moore's 5000-pound monument of the 10 Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court and people praying around the monument.

Moore has been accused by US Federal Courts of promoting religion by displaying the Ten Commandments.

Confused reporting on the pros and cons of the controversy has also demonstrated how inept and poorly educated the editors, news writers, and reporters of the American press really are.

Numerous articles in the New York Times report why Judge Moore is wrong but don't explain Moore's legal argument or quote him. At least World Net Daily quotes both sides of the issue while also failing to explain or understand what is happening.

On November 19, 2002, World Net Daily reported: "Yesterday, U. S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson found 'Roy's Rock,' as it's nicknamed, violates the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution, which provides that 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.'"

"'Both in appearance and in stated purpose, the Chief Justice's Ten Commandments monument is ... nothing less than 'an obtrusive year-round religious display' ... to place the government's weight behind an obvious effort to proselytize on behalf of a particular religion,' wrote Judge Thompson in his opinion."

"The top of Moore's monument is engraved with the Ten Commandments as excerpted from the Book of Exodus in the King James Bible. The sides of the monument bear quotations from the Declaration of Independence and smaller quotations from James Madison, William Blackstone, James Wilson, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Jay. Also included in the engravings is the National Motto, 'In God We Trust,' and quotations excerpted from the 1954 Pledge of Allegiance and the Preamble to the Alabama Constitution."

"'The court is captivated by not just the solemn ambience of the rotunda, but by something much more sublime,' wrote Judge Thompson, who described the monument and its surroundings as 'a consecrated place, a religious sanctuary, within the walls of a courthouse.'"

"Judge Thompson noted that the monument has become a 'compelling place for prayer' for visitors and court employees."

FOXNEWS and CNN gave Moore a chance to defend himself. Moore explained

1. The Alabama Constitution acknowledges the God of the Ten Commandments.

2. The Federal Government has no right to make a law about the establishment of religion, which means it has no jurisdiction in his courthouse.

3. The Federal Courts refuse to define the word "religion" in the Constitution, which means they are no longer following the US Constitution. In other words, the American Courts will not define what they are opposed to.

World Net Daily quotes Moore on August 14, 2003: "The acknowledgement of Almighty God is the basis for our justice system. It is the source of our law. It is the foundation of our country," he explained.

"Separation of church and state never was meant to separate God from our government. It never was meant to separate God from the law."

"Moore asserted the federal courts, by their rulings against the monument, are restricting the First Amendment rights of Alabamans."

"Today [the freedom to worship God] is being taken from us by federal courts who misuse the First Amendment as a sword to take away our rights, instead of a shield to preserve them for us."

American Courts now claim that the mere acknowledgment that there is a God is an act of religion. This means the Devil has faith because he believes God exists.

By confusing Law and Gospel Judge Moore has missed his most compelling argument for displaying the Ten Commandments, which is, the 10 Commandments are not religion. No one can believe in the 10 Commandments. They do not identify who God is or prescribe any form of worship. They are a historic record of the Law.

Webster's New World Dictionary defines religion as, "The service and adoration of God or a god as expressed in forms of worship." Evidently, American Courts do not accept the dictionary's definition of religion.

The flawed reasoning of U. S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson above is that the 10 Commandments should be removed because people are praying around and to the monument. Myron concludes if people pray to something, it must be a religious object. What if they start praying to the courthouse?

The Federal Courts' refusal to acknowledge God's existence on the grounds of religion is more than likely motivated by fear of competition. If God exists, people may not worship the Judges. If the Law is religion then the Lawyers are America's priests.

Yes, the 10 Commandments are in the Bible, but so are sandals, food, sex, clothes, trees, earth, sky, sea, etc. Are judges practicing religion when they tell people not to steal?

Many who claim to follow Christianity incorrectly teach that people should have faith in the 10 Commandments and that their love for God and other people is an act of faith instead of the Law. Therefore they will not be able to understand Luther's explanation of Galatians 3:12 as follows from Vol. 26, page 270-271, of the Luther's Works in the American Edition:

Gal. 3:12. "But the Law does not rest on faith."

"The sophists say: 'The righteous shall live if his faith is formed [by love].' Paul, on the other hand, says: 'The Law does not rest on faith.' But what is the Law? Is it not also a commandment of love? In fact, the Law commands nothing else but love, as the text says (Matt. 22:37): 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, etc.' Again (Deut. 5:10): 'Showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me.' And again (Matt.
22:40): 'On these two commandments depend all the Law and the prophets.' Thus if the Law commanding love conflicts with faith, then love is not of faith. In this way Paul clearly refutes the gloss made up by the sophists about a 'formed faith,' and, putting the Law aside, he speaks only about faith. Once the Law has been put aside, love is also put aside, as well as everything that belongs to the Law; all that is kept is faith, which justifies and makes alive.

Paul is arguing on the basis of a very clear testimony of the prophet that there is simply no one who attains to justification and life in the sight of God except the believer, who attains to righteousness and life on the basis of faith, without the Law or love. The reason: The Law does not rest on faith, that is, the Law is not faith or anything about faith; it does not believe. Nor are the works of the Law faith. Therefore faith is something different from the Law, just as the promise is something different from the Law. But the promise is not grasped by doing; it is grasped only by believing.

As in philosophy, at the first division, substance and accident are distinct, so in theology the promise and the Law are as distinct as heaven and earth. But if the promise and the Law are distinct, then faith and works are distinct also. Hence it is impossible for faith to rest on the Law, because faith rests only on the promise. Therefore it only accepts and knows God, and it consists only in receiving good things from God. But the Law and works consist in doing and in giving to God. Thus Abel the sacrificer gives to God, but Abel the believer receives from God. Therefore from this passage in the prophet Paul draws the very forceful conclusion that the righteous shall live by faith, that is, by faith alone, because the Law does not belong to faith at all. The Law is not the promise, but faith clings to and rests on the promise. Accordingly, just as the Law and the promise are distinct, so are works and faith. Hence the gloss of the sophists, which joins the Law to faith, is false and wicked; in fact, it extinguishes faith and puts the Law in place of faith.

Paul is speaking continually about those who want to keep the Law morally, not theologically. But whatever is said about theological good works is simply attributed to faith alone."

When so many Americans don't understand that faith is religious belief and the Law is what people obey, the 10 Commands will be falsely regarded as religion. Hence Federal Judge Myron Thompson claims that displaying the 10 Commandments is proselytizing.

2003 Jack Cascione - All Rights Reserved


Rev. Jack Cascione, editor of Reclaim News, can be reached at
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