After a Supreme Court appeal failed, the 2.5-ton Ten Commandments monument was moved from the rotunda of Alabama’s Judicial Building today, complying with a federal court order. The monument, which had been installed by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in the rotunda secretly in the middle of the night in 2001, was moved to a private location in the building, according to the Associated Press. The removal of the monument came a week after the deadline imposed by US District Court Judge Myron Thompson. Moore had vowed to defy the court order, but the US Supreme Court refused to hear his emergency appeal, and the eight other justices on Alabama’s Supreme Court ordered the monument to be removed.
Moore claims that his motives in installing and protecting the Ten Commandments monument are pure, telling the AP that he will “never deny the God upon whom our laws and country depend.” However, the Washington Post contends that Moore is using the issue for his own political gain. Citing the fact that Coral Ridge Ministries videotaped the installation of the monument and used proceeds from the sale of these videotapes to finance Moore’s legal expenses, a Post editorial states that this “tells a story in itself about the extent to which he would exploit the Ten Commandments for his personal ends.” Moore was suspended on August 22 for “violating cannons of judicial ethics,” AP reports.
“This is a tremendous victory for the rule of law and respect for religious diversity,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, in a press statement. “Roy Moore has shamelessly exploited the Ten Commandments as a platform for political grandstanding. That is a disgraceful misuse of a religious code that many people regard as sacred.”