Famous 10 Commandments monument comes to Missouri, now heads to D.C.
By Allen Palmeri
September 28, 2004
HUMANSVILLE – The cause of religious liberty that unites former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Greg Thompson, the Humansville school superintendent fired Sept. 8 from his job because of his public acknowledgment of God, took on a symbolic significance Sept. 15-19 with the arrival here of the 5,280-pound Ten Commandments monument that resulted in Moore being removed from office.
Moore directed the monument to Humansville to draw attention to Thompson’s cause that has drawn nationwide attention. Its Missouri stop is one of several that will take the monument through 12 states, culminating with its arrival and display at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., Oct. 21 -23.
Jim Cabaniss, president of American Veterans in Domestic Defense, said Moore has contracted with the veterans to haul the monument around the country. Its first stop was in Dayton, Tenn., where the evolution vs. creation “Scopes Monkey Trial” took place in 1925 – an historic trial that launched a century-long debate over separation of church and state.
Thompson was fired from his position because he refused to remove a plaque bearing the Ten Commandments from a wall in the Humansville High School cafeteria.
“We see our judicial system as being one of our major domestic enemies in this nation,” said Cabaniss, a Korean War veteran. “The enemies of our Christian heritage are using our failing judicial system and activist judges to run roughshod over us.”
Thompson, founder of Asleep kNOw More, a ministry devoted to caring for the souls of America’s children, asked that the monument be displayed along Highway 123 at Harvest Fellowship, a church that meets near the city park. The display was met with great approval, he said.
“I’m very honored that I could be standing with all of those men and women who want to turn things around in this country,” Thompson said of the veterans who made it all possible. “It’s an absolute honor, and I will just try to do my part. In any foxhole, I would stand with any of them, especially Judge Roy Moore. I think he’s a brilliant man and definitely a man of God.”
Moore attends CrossPoint Community Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Gadsden, Ala.
Kerry Messer, a member of First Baptist Church, Festus, who lobbies for the Christian Life Commission of the Missouri Baptist Convention, said it is amazing that citizens would oppose displaying a plaque of the Ten Commandments in a public school or that they would object to a monument honoring the Ten Commandments in a state Supreme Court building.
“It shouldn’t be a debate,” Messer said. “Anybody that knows anything of our nation’s heritage would think that would be a proper thing to do. The fact that so many Christian citizens would be so elated over such an action demonstrates how far we have slipped from where we once were.”
Messer said the cases of Moore, who lost his job last November, and Thompson, indicate people are more inclined to believe government is the giver of rights, not God. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary wanted Moore to obey a court order, and attorneys from both the insurance company and the school district tried to convince Thompson to separate acknowledgment of God from his professional duties as superintendent. None of this tension would have arisen in the 1700s, Messer said.
“Our forefathers very wisely picked up on the concept of balance of powers,” Messer said. “The whole intent is that they have individualized authorities that balance each other out. They have areas of authority that are supposed to complement one another, not contradict one another.
“What has occurred over the last 100 years is our culture has adopted a false concept of the supreme authority of the Supreme Court. It’s a delicate balance, and it’s difficult to explain it in a short article like this one.”
Author and televangelist Pat Robertson explained it by calling on citizens to read Article III of the Constitution “looking for the line or phrase that gives the Supreme Court power to make laws or to discard laws that the Congress or state and local legislatures have made. You will not find it. The principle of judicial review was recognized by our forefathers and implied in the Constitution. But the limits of that judicial review are not clearly stated.”
Even as the United States House of Representatives takes up legislation to strip federal courts of their authority based on Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution, news articles commonly state that all such legislation may be ruled “unconstitutional” by the courts—a practice that Robertson, Messer and Les Wilson, pastor, Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, Willow Springs, said runs contrary to the Constitution itself.
“When unelected judges make laws and/or overturn laws passed by the duly elected representatives of the people, we have no republican form of government, no consent of the governed, no democracy, and no freedom,” Wilson said.
Or, as Messer noted, you have a government like the “United States Imperial Judiciary” determining whether people like Moore and Thompson even have a right to acknowledge God despite the existence of both the Alabama (1901) and Missouri (1945) state constitutions which would indicate that they, as freemen, do.
“There’s a debate in our country over where our rights come from,” Messer said. “Do they come from God or government? The clear answer to that is that our Founding Fathers settled that for us. This whole country was founded on the concept that since rights come from God, there is a point that when government is a steward of God, and when government violates that stewardship and becomes tyrannical, we are called to love our neighbor enough to stand up against a tyrannical government. It’s not our rights that we’re defending. We’re being called to defend the rights of the neighbors we love. That was the great debate that existed in this country for years before the Revolutionary War ever started.”
By encouraging the American Veterans Standing for God and Country, which is the project name that American Veterans in Domestic Defense is using, to bring the monument to Humansville, Moore is defending the rights of his neighbor, Thompson. At a March 31 news conference in Branson, Moore told Thompson, “I certainly support you in your cause.” The Alabamian has been steadfast in his criticism of a federal judiciary that continues to trump both the executive and the legislative branches of government.
It would be impossible for the federal court system to declare pieces of legislation unconstitutional, Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson argued, simply because the branches of government are co-equal and co-sovereign. In other words, as Jackson wrote, the Congress, the Executive and the Court must each for itself be guided by its own opinion of the Constitution. An example of how this doctrine would work today would be if the federal courts ruled homosexual “marriage” legal, leading the president to call the ruling “dumb” while he refused to enforce the law.
Thompson has led the charge in educating Humansville residents concerning the government – rather than God – giving people their “rights” since January 2003. That is when he encouraged teachers to recite the Pledge of Allegiance even as one refused because of the “under God” clause.
Reactions to the monument were positive.
“People say, ‘I didn’t know it was so beautiful. I didn’t know it had other Founding Fathers’ statements around it on all four sides.’” said Cabaniss. “They thought it was just the Ten Commandments on top.”
Cabaniss said that aside from hearing people talk about how beautiful the monument is, as he travels the country he hears comments from Americans who respect the stand that Moore took. Citizens are also glad to know that the veterans are involved in such a worthy cause, he said.
“Some people get emotional,” he said. “It’s not unusual for people to come away with tears.”
The monument was removed from the Rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building Aug. 27, 2003. It depicts the moral foundation of law in America and includes excerpts from the Ten Commandments of YHWH (God). The monument also bears quotes from the Declaration of Independence, our National Motto, the Pledge of Allegiance and the Judiciary Act of 1789.
One of the phrases on the monument, written by Francis Scott Key, reads, “Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just.” The context of that phrase is that freemen will conquer. Positive statements of that nature can be found all over the monument.
“We’ve never had a negative reaction to it,” Cabaniss said.