Alabama

Supreme Court Sends Alabama Racial Gerrymandering Case Back to Lower Court

The Supreme Court rules in favor of those challenging Alabama's redistricting as racially gerrymandered and harmful to African Americans.
PFAW Foundation

Radical Anti-Choice Group Heads To Alabama To Support 'Poet, Warrior, Statesman' Roy Moore

Operation Save America, the radical anti-choice group that grew out of the original Operation Rescue, will be holding a multi-day event in Montgomery, Alabama, in June to express its support for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s activism against marriage equality and abortion rights.

OSA head Rusty Lee Thomas writes in a press release today that the event will bring together “hundreds of gentle Christians from across the nation” for a march drawing on “the historical lessons of Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma.”

A description of the event on the group’s website boasts that “[f]or years, Operation Save America has stood faithfully with Chief Justice Roy Moore, a poet, warrior, statesmen [sic].” It specifically praises Moore’s work to develop a legal framework to support radical anti-choice “personhood” laws and his ongoing standoff with the federal courts over marriage equality.

(In case you weren’t familiar with Moore’s poetry, here’s a representative example.)

OSA:

We are praying for God to record His name in Montgomery and by His Spirit bid His people come to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom to the gates of hell (Abortion mills in Alabama). They will not prevail against the Church of the living God (Matthew 16:18). They never have and they never will. Jesus is Lord!

For years, Operation Save America has stood faithfully with Chief Justice Roy Moore, a poet, warrior, statesmen. Through his many battles, we supported his righteous stands in the face of persecution and tyranny. Today, the Alabama Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Moore continues to stand against injustice and once again we are going to come alongside to help.

Moore, along with Justice Tom Parker, have rendered Decisions from the court that directly or indirectly have taken on Roe vs. Wade. Currently, Moore is acting faithfully as a Lower Magistrate to resist “Gay Marriage” in his state. He is taking another just stand and once again, we will stand with him.

Alabama is also working on establishing “Personhood” for the preborn child who is made in the image of God. Alabamians are willing to stand upon the self-evident truth established by God’s Word and we our coming to stand with them.

There are at least four death camps in Alabama still applying their grisly trade to murder babies made in the image of God. This evil defiles the land and invokes God’s judgments upon us. We are coming to stand in the gap and make up the hedge. We want to give God a reason to show mercy in the midst of the American holocaust.

It’s not surprising that Operation Save America, one of the most radical anti-choice groups in the country, would find ideological kinship with Justice Moore.

Thomas has claimed that the September 11, 2001 attacks were divine punishment for legal abortion. OSA’s former director, Flip Benham (father of the new Religious Right martyrs David and Jason Benham), also used the organization to promote a fringe right agenda:

As leader of OSA, Benham has condemned the interfaith Sandy Hook memorial, protested in front of mosques while shouting “Jesus Hates Muslims” and blamed the Aurora shooting on the Democratic Party, which he said promotes a “culture of death.”

He has also protested LGBT pride events, interrupted church services during a sermon by “ sodomite Episcopalian bishop” Gene Robinson and was found “guilty of stalking a Charlotte abortion doctor after passing out hundreds of ‘wanted’ posters with the physician's name and photo on it.”

Alabama's Shame Grows with Bill to Make It Harder for Gays to Marry

No one should be fooled for a moment that this has anything to do with religious liberty.
PFAW

Alabama Supreme Court Orders Probate Judge to Violate Federal Court Decision

Roy Moore's colleagues seem to share his disdain for the rule of law, as well as the rights of gay and lesbian Alabamans.
PFAW Foundation

From Selma to Shelby County to Ferguson

This op-ed was originally published at The Huffington Post.

Fifty years ago in Alabama hundreds of peaceful marchers calling for voting rights were violently attacked by state police. Fifty years later Americans from all walks of life are expected to gather this weekend to mark the anniversary of what became known as Bloody Sunday and embrace the spirit for courage, sacrifice and justice of those women and men who marched, were beaten and no doubt underestimated the impact that their bruises would have on future generations.

The events of that day and the tense days and weeks that followed shocked our national consciousness and became a catalyst for passage of what some call the "crown jewel" of the civil rights movement, the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It's a law that held bipartisan support and helped protect countless Americans from discrimination at the ballot box for almost five decades.

Every year since that bloody day we have honored those 600-plus marchers who put their lives on the line in pursuit of basic democratic rights and racial justice. But this year, with a passion as never before, we must do more than just give lip service. This time marchers of today must clearly connect with the purpose in the pain that started in prayer on a Sunday morning and ended on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, with blood and tears in the afternoon. Why? Because as John Legend so eloquently put it last week, "Selma is now."

The shadow of Bloody Sunday is there, nearly two years after a core provision of the Voting Rights Act was gutted by the Supreme Court in the Shelby County case, as we practice patience for Congress to restore and strengthen what was taken away. When our leaders say that they honor those who refused to turn around, will they also commit to restoring the kinds of voting protections that they were marching for?

Today, 40 bills to restrict voting rights have been introduced in states across the country, from voter ID legislation to proposals reducing access to absentee ballots to bills that would make it more difficult for those with past criminal convictions to vote. When our leaders say they honor those who were beaten and bruised with billy clubs 50 years ago, will they also commit to voting against proposed laws that would make it harder for all people to have an equal voice in our democracy? Will they commit to confirming the highly qualified Loretta Lynch, a woman with a strong commitment to civil rights, to lead -- as the first female African American -- the Justice Department in effectively monitoring and enforcing the voting rights laws we already have and those yet to come?

Today, African Americans and Latinos, especially males, endure being routinely profiled, targeted, and attacked by the police. The report released this week from the Department of Justice about policing in Ferguson, Missouri, revealed that 93 percent of arrests were of African Americans, though they make up only 67 percent of the city's population. It showed and confirmed that African Americans in Ferguson were disproportionately likely to have force used against them by the police. When our leaders say they honor those who were hospitalized for peaceful protest 50 years ago, will they also commit to fighting against discrimination and violence at the hands of those meant to serve and protect our communities?

Selma is now, and the march continues. Selma needed protection for voting rights then, and Selma needs protection for voting rights now. Many civil rights leaders, past and present, and even future leaders, will be in Selma this weekend. But thousands of others who can't be there in person will not be excluded from being a part of a new march. Men and women will with great intent make sure every registered voter gets to the polls to vote in every election, will minister with an activist heart to their neighborhoods when violence upends daily life, will use social media as a tool to motivate participation in work aimed at ending all forms of discrimination in the name of religion, and will organize their communities in active opposition when yet another bill is introduced to undermine, restrict, or deny basic civil and human rights.

On the evening of that Sunday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. informed the media that ministers would march and called for clergy from around the country to join them. He said, "The people of Selma will struggle on for the soul of America, but it is fitting that all Americans help to bear the burden. ... In this way all America will testify to the fact that the struggle in Selma is for the survival of democracy everywhere in our land."

I was not there then, but today as with every day, especially because of the Shelby Counties and the Fergusons, I give thanks and will not forget that struggle. On March 7, 1965, the world watched as nonviolent mothers, fathers, students, workers, faith leaders were beaten, tear gassed and hospitalized. On March 7, 2015, let the world watch as this next generation genuinely honors those who had the courage to take a stand that Bloody Sunday "for the survival of democracy." How? By registering, advocating, teaching, speaking up, marching and continuing their work in pursuit of voting rights, freedom, and justice as if our unseen bruises, our lives, our souls depend on it.

PFAW Foundation

AL Gov's Pastor Urged Him To Defy Federal Courts On Marriage To Prevent America's Collapse

In a sermon earlier this month, Gil McKee, the pastor of the Tuscaloosa church attended by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, recalled how he pleaded with the governor to stand with the state’s Chief Justice Roy Moore and refuse to follow a federal court ruling legalizing marriage equality in the state.

Bentley provoked the ire of some of his fellow conservatives when he said he wouldn't stop state probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, putting him in direct conflict with Moore.

McKee told his congregation that he had had a long talk with Bentley urging him to defy the courts on marriage, implying that same-sex marriage could lead to the collapse of the United States.

“Here’s what I said to our governor yesterday,” McKee said. “'Governor, I don’t care if all 49 other states go for this same-sex marriage business, let’s be different in the state of Alabama. Let’s do what we know is the right thing to do … The reality is, we’re still living in a very conservative state. The people who are conservative and who are Christian, if you’ll just step up and lead out on this thing, if you’ll give the word to our chief justice to call all our probate judges…and say, "listen, don’t you issue one single license until the federal government does its thing and we decide whether we’re going to follow it or not, don’t you issue one of those." I’m telling you, the people of this state would rally behind that.'”

He added that he would be willing to go to jail in protest of same-sex marriage, because “there’s nothing gray about this issue. Not if you’re going to go by what God says, and God has made it very clear that marriage is between one man and one women, period. That settles it. That’s it.”

Later in the service, McKee prayed for elected officials to defy laws that go against God’s law:

“Lord we want to pray for those who are in places of leadership in our county, Lord, in our city, Lord, in our state. Lord, for those who are Christians, if it comes to the point of defying a law or an order that goes against your law and order, then God give them the courage to do it.”

Roy Moore: Ban Gay Marriage To Keep Bisexuals And 'Transgendered' From Marrying Multiple People

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore doesn’t seem to quite understand the LGBT community that he is so set against, telling the Associated Press this weekend that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, bisexual and “transgendered” people will then demand to marry two people each. “Can they marry two persons, one of the same sex and one of the opposite sex? Then, you've got a family of four or how many?" he asked:

Moore argues that no federal court, even the U.S. Supreme Court, has the right to define marriage.

"You're taking any definition of a family away. When two bisexuals or two transgendered marry, how large is that family? Can they marry two persons, one of the same sex and one of the opposite sex? Then, you've got a family of four or how many?"

Moore also resisted comparisons of his standoff with the federal courts over marriage equality to former Gov. George Wallace’s stand against desegregation, saying that one major difference is that Wallace eventually backed down, and he won’t:

Moore's actions have drawn inevitable comparisons to former Gov. George Wallace's 1963 largely symbolic "stand in the schoolhouse door" aimed at preventing desegregation at the University of Alabama, nine years after education segregation was ruled illegal.

Moore said there is another difference.

"George Wallace moved," he said, noting how the former governor eventually stepped aside.

"I can't move from my position because I'm bound to uphold the Constitution," Moore said.

Matt Barber: States Should Defy Roe And Jail Abortion Providers

Matt Barber joined Steve Deace on his radio program yesterday to discuss the actions of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who’s urging judges in his state to defy a federal judge and refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Barber told Deace that whether or not the United States Supreme Court has “the authority to redefine the institution of marriage, which cannot be done, it’s contrary to reality to say that it’s anything other than the male and female,” Moore is on “solid legal ground” in claiming that the Alabama Supreme Court takes precedence over the federal district court that issued the marriage ruling.

Deace asked Barber why the conservative movement was less willing to defy the federal courts during Judge Moore’s 2003 standoff over placing a Ten Commandments monument in his courthouse or after Roe v. Wade, “when the court said, ‘We’re going to start just massacring, dismembering little innocent babies.’”

Barber agreed that states should have simply ignored the court’s ruling in Roe: “Why, back when the courts issued their ridiculous, non-scientific ruling in Roe v. Wade, why didn’t states like Texas and other states say, ‘Okay, well thank you for your opinion, but nope, here in the state of Texas, you kill an unborn child, you’ve committed murder, we’re going to throw you in jail for it’?”

Later in the interview, Deace repeated his prediction that a sweeping marriage ruling would ignite an even greater culture war battle than Roe did.

Barber agreed, saying the “goal all along” of the “sin-based, sodomy-based marriage” movement has been to persecute Christians.

“Religious liberty and so-called gay marriage cannot coexist in harmony,” he said. “If the Supreme Court goes Roe v. Wade on this decision and divines a new-fangled right to sin-based, sodomy-based marriage, Christians will be being persecuted across the country. They will be told, ‘You either put your stamp of approval on sin or you will be pushed to the fringes and marginalized and you will not be able to carry a job or function in society.’ That’s been their goal all along anyway.”

Michael Peroutka In 2004: 'I'm Still Angry' Maryland Didn’t Secede

As Brian wrote last week, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s judicial philosophy is closely tied to the work of Michael Peroutka, a Maryland-based activist and longtime member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, who has been a major funder of Moore’s campaigns and activism.

Although Peroutka quit the League of the South last year during a successful campaign for a Republican seat on the Anne Arundel County Council, claiming he was unaware of the group’s racist views, he has for years been a fixture at the group’s events, including leading the group in the “national anthem” of “Dixie” in 2012, the year before he was elected to join the organization’s board.

Peroutka was even less guarded about his Confederate sympathies in a 2004 speech to a League of the South event in Montgomery, Alabama, which the group posted online in 2012. At the time, Peroutka was running for president on the Constitution Party ticket, a spot that Moore had been offered but passed up.

In the speech, Peroutka tried to appeal to the neo-Confederate group by reminding them that his home state of Maryland “was below the Mason-Dixon line." Referring to the 1861 arrest of pro-Confederate members of the Maryland legislature, he added, "And we would have seceded if they hadn’t locked up 51 members of our legislature. And by the way, I’m still angry about that."

Peroutka went on to boast to the group that his children were carrying on his views, his daughter by refusing to play “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in her school band and his son by referring to the Confederate battle flag as “the American flag.”

He added that his daughter, Elizabeth, who now helps to run the family’s foundation, was known by her peers as “Beth Booth” after John Wilkes Booth.

Even in 2004, Peroutka was extolling Moore, crediting the judge for inspiring him to run for office and boasting that he had Moore’s support because “we believe the same things.”

Right Wing Round-Up – 2/13/15

  • Kyler Geoffrey @ Towleroad: AL Pastor Rails Against ‘Comedic’ Gay Marriages, Claims You’ll Be Able To Marry Roaches In 2016

Mat Staver: Homosexuality Is 'Very Deadly And Damaging'

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel stopped by VCY America’s “Crosstalk” yesterday to discuss his group’s attempt to stop judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Alabama. Staver praised Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore for flouting the ruling of a federal court on the matter and lashed out at the Supreme Court for rejecting Alabama’s appeal of the marriage case, saying that Alabama “does not have to obey” any future Supreme Court ruling “that there’s some invented right to same-sex marriage and therefore you can’t have marriage as a union of a man and a woman.”

“That is so far off the beaten path, so far removed from the Constitution that it is no rule of law,” Staver said. “There is a limit to what the court can do, there is a limit to what the people can stomach. If that court were to say, the laws of gravity were fine for the founders but we have progressed, we’re a progressive society and we think they have changed, you would say, ‘That’s nuts, have they lost their mind?’ The question is: Have they lost their mind by saying there’s a constitutional right for same-sex marriage?”

“Have they literally lost their mind?” he asked.

Staver added that legalizing same-sex marriage is “harmful” to children because it tells them that “your moms and dads are absolutely meaningless.”

“Why would we take a relationship of same-sex unions, same-sex sexual activity, protect it and elevate it when we know that it’s a very harmful and it’s a very deadly and damaging relationship?” Staver asked. “Why would we elevate some kind of bad relationship, bad activity, dangerous and harmful, unhealthy activity to a protected status?”

Bryan Fischer: 'Gay Gestapo' Forcing Alabama Judges Into 'Slavery'

Bryan Fischer is outraged that a federal judge may order the dozens of Alabama probate who are refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples to back down. On his American Family Radio Program today, Fischer said that such an order would be tantamount to “tyranny” and “slavery” enforced by the “gay gestapo.”

“There’s a court hearing today before the federal judge, and she may order these probate judges to violate their own conscience and their own religious scruples,” he said. “She may order them to violate their conscience. You know what that is, ladies and gentlemen? You are ordered by an agent of the government to violate your conscience? That is tyranny.”

“When you are ordered by an agent of the government to violate your own conscience in something that you do, that is slavery. If you are forced to violate your conscience to do work, that is tyranny, that’s Tammy Bruce, that’s the gay gestapo. Tammy Bruce is the one that coined the term ‘gay gestapo.’ That’s the gay gestapo at work. You either do what we tell you or you’re going to get punished.”

Roy Moore's Showdown With The Courts Over Gay Marriage Tied To The Work Of Neo-Confederate Leader

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore threw his state into turmoil this week when he ordered probate judges to defy a federal judge’s ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Moore, who has a history of making extreme anti-gay statements, insists that the federal judge is the one who is really breaking the law since she violated divine law by ruling for marriage equality.

Moore’s call for statewide defiance of the federal judiciary’s “tyranny” stems from a belief that the Constitution was made to protect biblical commandments, so that anything that goes against his personal interpretation of the Bible is therefore in violation of the Constitution.

Moore shares that belief with a powerful ally: Michael Peroutka, a neo-Confederate activist who is also one of the most influential behind-the-scenes figures in the Religious Right’s reimagining of American law.

Peroutka, who once held a leadership position in the neo-Confederate League of the South and remained a member of the group until it hampered his run for a local office in Maryland last year, promotes this theocratic view of the law through his group the Institute on the Constitution. Speaking at an event at the Institute in 2011, Moore gushed that Peroutka would help lead America to a “glorious triumph” over the federal government’s “tyranny.”

But Peroutka is more than a friend and ideological ally to Moore: he has funded Moore’s activism for more than a decade, and in 2012 bankrolled Moore’s successful campaign for the top seat on the Alabama Supreme Court.

After Moore was removed from his original position on Alabama’s high court in 2003 for defying a federal court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building, Peroutka paid for the ousted judge to go on a national speaking tour to build support for his cause. He also funded a group that held rallies in support of Moore.

Over nine years, Peroutka contributed over a quarter of a million dollars to two groups founded by Moore, the Foundation for Moral Law (which is now run by Moore’s wife Kayla) and the now-defunct Coalition to Restore America.

In 2004, the far-right Constitution Party tried to recruit Moore to run for president on its ticket. When he declined, Peroutka stepped in to run in his place.

This neo-Confederate leader helped to lay the ideological groundwork for Moore’s current standoff with the federal courts, a standoff which many commentators have compared to Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s decision to defy federal law on desegregation.

Peroutka thinks states should defy and ignore federal rulings on gay rights since federal judges have “no authority” to rule in marriage cases, because marriage was already defined by God and the Constitution was designed to enforce such divine arrangements.

Peroutka said last year that such rulings would “coerce” state officials to “declare that which is sinful and immoral” to be “valid and right,” even forcing them to “participate in it.” Such “evil” decisions, according to Peroutka, must be “resisted at every level of government, even the lower levels of government, most especially the lower levels of government,” since local governments are the true “protectors against those who would force these things on us tyrannically from above.”

For example, after a federal judge struck down Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage last year, Peroutka insisted that Sen. Rand Paul move to impeach the judge who made the decision, defund the court, and press for his state to defy the ruling: “He should use every influence he has in Kentucky to have people not obey this; the Kentucky legislature, the Kentucky courts, should not obey this, this is not lawful.”

Peroutka also believes that local officials should defy their state legislatures on issues like marriage equality. After Maryland’s general assembly voted in 2012 to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, Peroutka declared that the assembly’s decision to “violate God’s laws” effectively invalidated its legal authority, since any law that contradicts divine law does “not constitute a law – even if it were enacted and signed.”

Using an argument similar to the one Moore is now making in Alabama, Peroutka said that lower-level officials could ignore not only the marriage equality law but any law passed by the state’s general assembly, since it had invalidated itself by breaking biblical decrees: “Is it possible that those who are sworn to uphold the law, such as police and sheriffs and judges and prosecutors, may soon come to the conclusion that the enactments of this body should be ignored because they are based not in law, but in lawlessness?”


For the same reasons, Peroutka believes Roe v. Wade is invalid and supports religious tests for public office, since atheists and non-Christians do not believe in the basis of constitutional law…the Bible. He also deems the teaching of evolution in schools to be “anti-American” because evolution challenges what his reading of the Bible says about the origins of humankind. “The promotion of evolution is an act of disloyalty to America,” he once declared.

In Peroutka’s view, anything that breaks the “organic law,” or biblical law, is automatically unconstitutional.

Peroutka believes that America needs to “go back to what God called marriage, not what the state has perverted the definition to be, but what God called marriage.” Since biblical law doesn’t permit same-sex marriage in his view, then civil law can’t either: “There is no way we are ever going to validate homo- or sodomite-‘unmarriage’ because God defined marriage as between a man and a woman once and forever.”

“I always go back to these two standards: What does God say and what does the Constitution say?” Peroutka explained in 2013.

He added that the United States will have a small, limited government as long as it adheres to biblical standards. But he believes that the Union’s victory in the Civil War — or as he calls it, “The War Between the States” — enabled the federal government to greatly expand its powers, thus undermining the authority of biblical law and leading to such evils as same-sex marriage.

“Ever since then, there’s been this huge black hole of centralized power that’s formed in Washington, D.C.” he said. “People sometimes talk about ‘The War Between the States’ as being about the issue of slavery. I believe that history is written by the winners, it wasn’t about that at all. What it was about was consolidating power into the hands of a few people.”

“[T]he real effect of the war and the Reconstruction after the war was to take the very foundation of our understanding of our rights away from us, that is to say that they come from God, and put them in the hands of men and say that they come from the Supreme Court or they come from the legislature or they come from the executive,” he added.

The end of the Civil War, Peroutka claims, produced an “evil anti-God, anti-Christian revolution” that led to a “tyrannical consolidation of power” in Washington, D.C., undermining the “biblical worldview that acknowledges Christ’s authority over all things.”

Peroutka also contends that the gay rights movement isn’t just “federalizing homosexuality” but “federalizing perversion,” even claiming that the federal government violated the Constitution by imposing civil rights laws on the states.

“[T]he so-called civil rights laws are not law,” he said in 2013. “They never should’ve been passed. They’re not law now, they weren’t law then. They aren’t law now because there is no such thing as a civil right.”

Since Peroutka believes “rights come from God” and not civil government, he argues that all civil rights laws are illegitimate since “the term ‘civil rights’ is kind of an oxymoron. There’s no ‘right’ in the sense of a permanent, fixed, thing that you have, that can be defended, if in fact it comes from the civil government.”

Now Moore is once again putting Peroutka’s words into action, threatening state judges who lawfully issue a marriage licenses to a same-sex couples. Because in the eyes of Moore and Peroutka, their personal reading of the Bible takes precedence over the law of the land.

Alabama Marriage Mess Shows Dangers Of Distorted 'Religious Liberty' Claims

Across Alabama, local judges are openly defying a federal judicial order to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The New York Times reported yesterday that 44 of the state's 67 counties were not granting licenses. The state is a checkerboard, where gay and lesbian Alabamans are locked out of full citizenship across vast swaths of the state based on the whims of local officials.

As many observers have pointed out, this week's events make Americans recall the state's historic resistance to federal court orders striking down segregation. But they show us an image of the future, as well ... or at least the future as the Far Right would have it.

Emboldened by the Supreme Court's distortion of religious liberty in the Hobby Lobby case, some state legislatures are considering bills that would allow government officials to decline to perform marriages that offend them religiously. A number of states are also considering legislation to let people exempt themselves from anti-discrimination and other laws if compliance would offend them religiously. While misleadingly framed as protecting religious liberty, these bills are really intended to allow discrimination and to let conservatives impose their religious beliefs on others.

So what would America look like if we allowed such massive holes to be poked in laws that are supposed to protect everyone? What if lesbian and gay couples were legally treated as outsiders in their home communities, had fewer legal rights than anyone else in those communities, and had to travel anywhere from another neighborhood to another county to find a bakery willing to make a cake for them, a hotel willing to rent them a room for the night, or an employer willing to grant them spousal employment benefits? What if a woman's ability to find adequate healthcare depended on finding an employer and a pharmacist with compatible religious beliefs? What if people's basic rights varied depending on where they were, and upon the prevailing religious beliefs of people in the area? What would such a religiously balkanized nation look like?

It would look a lot like Alabama does today. And it would be ugly.

For decades, the Far Right has fought tooth and nail to impose their religious beliefs through government fiat. They have fought to prevent gays from marrying, to prevent women from exercising reproductive choice, to have public schools indoctrinate other people's children with their own religious beliefs, ... the list goes on. And when they fail at changing the laws to match their religion, they seek exemptions from those laws in the name of "religious liberty."

As People For the American Way Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery has written in his most recent report, that isn't what religious liberty is about. And it isn't a vision of America that is true to our founding principles.

This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Fischer: Roy Moore Is A Modern Day Martin Luther King, Jr.

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer hailed Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore as a modern-day Martin Luther King, Jr. for his order to state probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a federal judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban.

Fischer laughably asserted that it is the federal judge, not Moore, "who is standing in the courthouse doorway ... in defiance of both the law and the Constitution," before praising Moore and the probate judges who are refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay couples as the heirs of MLK.

"What Judge Moore and these probate judges are doing is in the finest tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr.," he said. "They are waging the civil rights battle of this decade, using nonviolent protest to do it":

Roy Moore Will Stop Alabama From Turning Into Sodom And Gomorrah

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is on a warpath to thwart the implementation of a federal court ruling that struck down his state’s ban on same-sex marriage, telling probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples even as the Supreme Court has allowed marriages in the state to begin.

Moore, a favorite of Religious Right activists for his anti-gay rhetoric and disregard for federal court rulings, posted a piece on his Facebook page today declaring that same-sex marriage and homosexuality are both wrong just because: “Homosexuality is wrong and we all know it. Marriage of the same sex is wrong and we all know it.”

“This is ground zero in the battle for what God has defined as marriage,” the piece continued. “What He has said about homosexuality. How do you want to leave your country? Will your children, grandchildren ask why did you not fight for what is (was) right?”

The post has since been removed, but we’ve captured it here:

Moore also posted a statement from his wife, Kayla, who leads the Foundation for Moral Law, a legal group founded by Moore. Kayla Moore’s statement cites Leviticus to condemn homosexuality as an abomination and slam the federal court’s ruling.

“Founded by Chief Justice Roy Moore, The Foundation for Moral Law's goal is to be the sword of the spirit for Christians all over who don't want to see Alabama or America become the next Sodom and Gomorrah,” she said. “We will continue our battle against evil, and judicial immorality.”

She called on gay people and their allies to turn away from their “sexual lust” and turn to God: “Today the sacred institution of marriage is being destroyed by the LGBT community and liberal politicians who ‘want change’ as did our President; and they make their rulings based on their emotions and not law. Every human being wants to find meaning in their life, some find it in religion, some find it in material things, certain people find it in sexual lust; however, all they need is Jesus Christ. We as Christians do not condemn homosexuals; instead we point them toward eternal life through Christ Jesus.”

“These are the days of Elijah! There has never been a greater time for the kingdom of God to unite. Recall the story of Elijah, particularly as he stood up to the prophets of Baal,” she said, adding that God is “calling on all of the body of Christ to make a stand against the malignant spirit that envelops our court rooms and society.”

In essence, Judge Granade's ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, is not only in direct violation of the Alabama Constitution, but it also violates "God's Natural Law", as well as the right of the people who voted to ban same-sex marriage in 2006 and won by an overwhelming 81%. In Leviticus, Moses instructs the children of Israel on what God told him, "If a man lies with a male as he does a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them" (Lev. 20:13). And in the New Testament Paul warns that same-sex activity is the result of rebellion against God and leads to destruction (Romans 1:26-27). Jesus died for our sins, but He still calls sin what it is. He did not condemn the woman taken in adultery, but He told her, "Go, and sin no more." (John 8:11).

Today the sacred institution of marriage is being destroyed by the LGBT community and liberal politicians who "want change" as did our President; and they make their rulings based on their emotions and not law. Every human being wants to find meaning in their life, some find it in religion, some find it in material things, certain people find it in sexual lust; however, all they need is Jesus Christ. We as Christians do not condemn homosexuals; instead we point them toward eternal life through Christ Jesus. However, we are only a small portion on the kingdom of God; Pastors, Deacons, Youth, and Ministers, These are the days of Elijah! There has never been a greater time for the kingdom of God to unite. Recall the story of Elijah, particularly as he stood up to the prophets of Baal. Elijah's story is in the book of Kings. As you read you see how isolated and alone he felt in the culture in which he lived. Instead of conforming to the ungodly ways of his people God told Elijah to stand up and speak for him and he did.

In such times that we live in we might ask ourselves "is God in control?" Well I assure you, God is very much in control, and these days are special times when God is watching and waiting for his people to fight and stand up and speak for Him. Now we are under grace and not under the law, but the righteousness that comes by faith can be no less than the moral law that comes directly from God. These are not the days of God stepping back and allowing our state and society to submit to the rule of the wicked. Rather, these are the days He is calling on all of the body of Christ to make a stand against the malignant spirit that envelops our court rooms and society. The body of Christ, the church, is the grass roots of the Foundation for Moral Law. The sole purpose of our nonprofit organization is to uphold the Constitution and promote the moral and biblical principles to our government.

Founded by Chief Justice Roy Moore, The Foundation for Moral Law's goal is to be the sword of the spirit for Christians all over who don't want to see Alabama or America become the next Sodom and Gomorrah. The Foundation has always stood alongside God's People. We promote the biblical and moral principles that this country was founded upon. We will continue our battle against evil, and judicial immorality.

NOM Praises Roy Moore For Standing Against 'Judicial Tyranny' On Marriage

On Friday, The National Organization for Marriage joined the growing list of anti-LGBT groups that are coming out in support of Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore’s attempt to convince his state to defy a federal court ruling overturning a ban on same-sex marriage.

NOM President Brian Brown, whose international petition site CitizenGo was already on record supporting Moore, wrote to NOM supporters on Friday that the many federal court rulings in favor of marriage equality in the wake of the Windsor decision represent not just “bullying” but “tyranny.”

“[T]his is the kind of principled stand we need more of our public officials to take—and we need to take such a stand ourselves, too,” he wrote.

We need to stand up to this kind of bullying whenever we encounter it, but especially when it comes dressed up in the robes of the state authority. Indeed, then we shouldn't call it merely bullying at all, but assign it the true name it deserves: tyranny.

Tyranny is precisely the word, for example, to describe the rash of judicial rulings that has swept across the country since the Windsor decision in summer of 2013 that overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act. And that's not just my opinion: it's also the opinion of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, the Honorable Roy Moore.

Justice Moore sent a letter to Alabama's Governor, Robert Bentley, this week urging him to "continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of [the state of Alabama] and for our posterity."

Moore's letter came in the wake of a ruling by a federal judge in Alabama that claimed the state's "Sanctity of Marriage Amendment" is supposedly unconstitutional. The amendment was approved by 81% of voters in just 2006, winning every county in the State. The judge's decision is currently stayed pending review by higher courts.

Moore encouraged Governor Bentley: "Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority" [emphasis added].

Marriage Supporter, this is the kind of principled stand we need more of our public officials to take—and we need to take such a stand ourselves, too.

In the same email, Brown touted his work pushing anti-LGBT laws overseas, lamenting that “the biggest threats to marriage are unfortunately coming from the West” and accusing Obama and LGBT rights activists of attempting “to export a radical view of marriage to the rest of the world.”

And as we work, let's remember that we're not alone in this fight! Lately, I have had a few opportunities to meet with marriage leaders throughout the globe, such as at the recent Vatican Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman. The experiences of these countries make it clear that we have a global fight to preserve marriage, and that the biggest threats to marriage are unfortunately coming from the West — led by the United States (and the lawless actions of President Obama) but also including some countries in western Europe.

It's nothing short of a new western imperialism for the Obama administration and his allies among gay and lesbian activists to attempt to export a radical view of marriage to the rest of the world. (Indeed, Pope Francis, on his recent trip to the Philippines, called it a kind of "ideological colonization.") There's something ironic in all this, seeing how President Obama's foreign policy strategy (to the extent he has one) is supposedly predicated on the idea that America must work in concert with the international community. You'd think that advice would apply to Obama's attempt to redefine marriage, as well, since the overwhelming majority of countries around the globe have rejected same-sex ‘marriage'...

And that leads me to a positive bit of news to share in closing this week: if you haven't already heard, the national parliament of Macedonia recently voted overwhelmingly (72-4) to create constitutional provisions limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. And the people of Slovakia are very likely to do the same in a national referendum in little over a week's time!

Roy Moore: 'Institution Of Marriage That God Ordained' Is 'Under Sustained Attack From Federal Judges'

In an interview Friday with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore defended a letter he sent to Gov. Robert Bentley urging him to ignore a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying that he was just like abolitionists and desegregationists standing up against the “rejection of God’s law by the federal judiciary.”

Moore told Rios that the case is similar to his famous defiance of a federal court order to remove a monument of the 10 Commandments from a court building because the 10 Commandments spat “symbolized the rejection of God’s law by the federal judiciary” and “now we see the institution of marriage that God ordained under sustained attack from federal judges":

Later in the interview, Rios asked Moore what he would say to Christians who are upset that he’s breaking the law by defying the federal courts.

“This is not against the law, this is for the law,” he said.

Moore, who in 2004 helped lead a campaign to preserve segregationist language in Alabama’s constitution, compared his stand against marriage equality to a defiance of federal courts on slavery or segregation. He added that he also puts abortion rights in that category, because “everybody recognizes Roe v. Wade is not in accordance with the Constitution”:

I think we’ve got to look back. Courts are not always perfect, Sandy. The United States Supreme Court is not always perfect. What would you have done in 1857 when they came out and said slaves were property. If you were a judge, would you have followed that opinion? Or in 1896, I think it is, in Plessy v. Ferguson, when they said that separate but equal was the policy that we had to adhere to, would you have followed it?

We’ve got to realize that courts, whether they’re federal, state, Supreme Court are not always perfect. And sometimes their rulings will contradict the Constitution, as did the United States Supreme Court opinion in Dred Scott, as it did in Plessy v. Ferguson, as it did in Roe v. Wade. Everybody recognizes Roe v. Wade is not in accordance with the Constitution, but you know, there it is as law. So I submit to you that we’ve got to look at these things very carefully.

Roy Moore Supporter: LGBT Rights Advocates Are The Real Anarchists Because They Defy God's Law

When Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore sent a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley this week urging him to ignore a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on gay marriage, many in the Religious Right were elated.

One of those rejoicing is Janet Mefferd, who on her radio program today called Judge Moore’s stand against the federal court a “wonderful thing to see”  and invited Wisconsin pastor Matt Trewhella on to her program to discuss it.

Trewhella has written a book on what he calls the "doctrine of the lesser magistrates," the idea that lower courts and elected officials can defy civil laws that they think defy divine law, and Mefferd told him that she “cracked up” at progressives calling Moore’s position “lawless” because “who has exhibited more lawlessness on the issue of marriage than the left and the pro-homosexual crowd?”

Trewhella agreed: “Absolutely, they’re the ones who are the anarchists here. What Roy Moore is trying to do, and hopefully Gov. Bentley here, is to restore order.”

“This whole idea of judicial supremecy, this whole idea that everyone has to listen to the federal judiciary is absurd, and they’re the ones who don’t have history or law behind them,” he said.

Later in the program, Mefferd falsely claimed that President Obama had refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, prompting Trewhella to repeat that supporters of LGBT rights “are the anarchists” while “people like Judge Moore and Gov. Bentley, they’re the ones that are doing right, they’re the ones actually trying to restore order from the disorder that lawless men have created.”

He went on to explain that marriage equality is “an attack upon Christ” and the next step in a government plot to destroy the family “by imposing licentiousness through law,” starting with the decriminalization of adultery and no-fault divorce laws.

“This isn’t just happening by chance, this is by design,” he said. “We have a federal government that is giving the most base men amongst us the force of law behind their filthy practices.”

As it happens, just this month, Trewhella was invited to share his views in a sermon to the Montana state legislature, which the Christian News Network reports was well received by many in his audience:

“The cold-blooded murder of the preborn, the imposition of homosexual marriage upon our states, no-fault divorce, the decriminalization of adultery, the phalanx of laws created by the State to invade our domestic affairs, disarm the people, seize our property, and harass our persons—all point to the growing tyranny in America,” he declared.

Trewhella then pointed to numerous biblical examples of interposition where the people of God refused to commit evil and chose to obey God rather than men—from the midwives who refused to kill the firstborn male children in Egypt contrary to Pharaoh’s command to Daniel’s refusal to obey a decree issued by King Darius that prohibited him from praying to God.

“Understand, God is the ultimate authority. The Bible says plainly, ‘The Most High rules over the realm of mankind,'” Trewhella preached to the more than 30 lawmakers gathered. “He created us, and thus knows best how we are to be governed. God is the ultimate Law-Giver and Ruler.”

“As God’s minister’s you are to govern according to His rule,” he continued. “You are—as it says in [Romans 13]—to reward those who do good and punish those who do evil. You are not to make law or policy which contradicts His moral law or His word.”

Trewhella said that the majority of the problems in America today stem from moral relativism out of its abandonment of God.

“God’s moral law as the ‘higher law’ provides an objective standard whereby one is able to discern right from wrong, or good from evil. The ‘higher law’ exists independent of the authority of any government, and all governments of men are accountable to it,” he explained. “It is the tyrant state that abhors an objective standard. It does not want to be accountable. It flourishes in a subjective environment. And that is why you are watching Western Civilization crumble before your eyes.”

“May God help you do right by Him,” the pastor and author exhorted.

“I had many [legislators] come up to me and tell me, ‘This is something we need to look into more and learn more about,'” he explained. “When people are taught for the word of God regarding civil government, they are able to see the purpose, functions and limits of civil government,” he said, adding that when citizens remain ignorant of these matters “it makes it much easier for the state to do things beyond its biblical or constitutional limits or restraints.”

Following the presentation of the sermon on Sunday, Trewhella also taught at meetings throughout the week in various cities, including in Plains, Missoula, Butte and Bozeman. In addition to the attendance of local residents, several government officials were present at the meetings as well.

“It’s been really good what’s happened here,” Trewhella said.

Roy Moore’s Approach To The Constitution: 'They Didn't Bring The Quran Over On The Pilgrim Ship'

In January of last year, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore denounced the decriminalization of sodomy and the separation of church in state in a speech to Pro-Life Mississippi and Pastors for Life in Jackson, Mississippi. Moore, who first received national attention when he lost his post for refusing to obey a court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument he erected in a courthouse rotunda, recently urged Alabama to flout a federal court’s decision finding that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Moore’s understanding of the Constitution is pretty well summed up by his belief that Christianity and the Bible should have privileged roles in U.S. government because “they didn’t bring a Quran over on the Pilgrim ship, the Mayflower.”

Upset that the military was allowing “two men getting married in a chapel,” Moore said that America is forgetting about God and only turning to public worship “when we get in trouble, when they bombed the Twin Towers.”

“They don’t acknowledge Buddha,” Moore said of elected officials. “Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammad didn’t create us.”

Moore, who once described homosexuality as a “criminal lifestyle,” also criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down bans “sodomy” bans in Lawrence v. Texas.

He said that the “abominations” of gay rights and legal abortion are now putting America in direct confrontation with God.