Sunday, October 2, 2016

Rule of Law

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. - Romans 13:1-5

When the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal throughout the United States, Alabama's Chief Justice Roy Moore sent out a directive to Alabama's 67 probate judges to not issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Moore claimed that Alabama law superseded a federal court ruling. Luckily most of Alabama's probate judges ignored Moore.

Moore and his supporters said, "If it's not God's law, it's not law." This does not follow what the Bible tells us. Romans 13:1 says, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." I believe that most of America's laws are inspired by God. I certainly believe that the Obergefell decision was based on love and the freedom to love. And remember that God is Love.

The United States remains a country founded on the principle of freedom, a place where my God can be a whole lot more tolerant than the damning deity depicted on signs in front of the Alabama Judicial Building this week.

In America, the rule of law is the Great Commandment. Without it we are lost, a lawless land controlled by the tribe with the biggest band and the biggest stick. That's not America. It's ISIS.

Moore's supporters on Wednesday said they couldn't understand why the chief justice was even on trial before the court of the judiciary. They argued that a charge against Moore is an attack on God and an assault on religion itself.

Which is as absurd. It is a protection of religion.

Moore, the top judge on the highest court in all of Alabama, was on trial for flouting the Rule of Law, for putting his own beliefs – again – above the decisions of the United States Supreme Court.

Moore was accused of ordering Alabama probate judges to deny marriage licenses to gay couples, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that essentially made gay marriage legal in all states. Moore argued Wednesday his order was just a suggestion – even if it did say "ordered and directed" right there before his signature.

"I would not defy a federal court order," Moore testified – even though he was kicked out of the same office in 2003 for defying a federal court order. His follow-up was closer to the truth.

"I don't defy federal court orders when they are within the law," he said.

Within his version of the law.

The Court of the Judiciary stood for the Rule of Law this week, unanimously finding that Moore should be suspended without pay for the rest of his term for putting himself before his duty.

It had little choice.

Because Moore, again, put his own beliefs and his own flavor of religion above his duty, his country and his oath. He violated the one thing he was sworn to uphold.

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