Monday, May 24, 2004

Commandments Debate Still Smoldering in Alabama

According to Salon (Edit: actually it's an AP piece, CNN has the same story) the Alabama primary is being cast as a referendum on the Religious Right.

Supporters of former Chief Justice Roy Moore have lined up to run for one congressional seat and all three state Supreme Court seats up for election.
It is unclear whether Parker and other conservative Christians can ride into office on a bandwagon built for Moore, who became a hero to the religious right last summer for defying a federal court order to remove a 2 1/2-ton granite monument of the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. Moore eventually was thrown off the bench by a judicial ethics panel last November because of his refusal.
"If the Moore faction wins three or four of those seats, and especially if Parker beats Brown, I think the perception will be ... that the church faction of the Republican Party is now more powerful at the ballot box in Alabama than the business faction of the Republican Party," said Jess Brown, a government professor at Athens State University.

But if all four lose, Brown said, "I think you're going to have to conclude that Chief Justice Moore has more political baggage than political advantage, and that his political fortunes in Alabama might not be too good."

As I have said before, I am largely sympathetic to Justice Moore, and I even supported him when the issue was removal of his own personal 10 Commandments plaque from his office. But I think he was misguided in trying to provoke a showdown over an issue that has only symbolic value. I think the real agenda here is to portray conservatives as victims of a creeping left-wing conspiracy -- always a bad move. If his supporters cannot win on the superiority of their policies, they are a liability to the conservative cause not an asset. If they can, there is no real reason to raise the issue at all.

Repeat after me: We beat the left because we are better than they are, smarter than they are and dogone it, it just doesn't matter if they like us.

NOTE: Looking for background on this story, I came across this piece:
The firing of a Hoover Chamber of Commerce employee for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments lapel pin has fueled debate over on-the-job religious speech.

But wait...
"This termination was not about religion or Christopher's particular beliefs in support of Judge Moore, as the chamber is not against religion or Judge Moore," Bolt [the employer's attorney] said. "Rather, Christopher was terminated for making political statements while he was in the course and scope of his employment."

There isn't really enough detail here to make a firm decision, but on the face of it, it sounds as if the conservatives are again picking the wrong fight. What ever happened to being wise as serpents?

No comments: