Roy Moore, the Alabama state supreme court Chief Justice who has already been removed from the office once for refusing to obey a federal court decision ordering the removal of his Ten Commandments monument from the court rotunda, told a gathering of forced-birth activists last night that the the way to give “dignity” to LGBTQ Americans is “by giving them God, not government.”

The progressive website Left In Alabama obtained the video of Moore’s speech which is embedded above.

Convened by Operation Save America (OSA) and Abolish Human Abortion, the gathering of less than one hundred forced-birth activists and domestic terrorists at Fresh Anointing church cheered enthusiastically for Moore. The event largely morphed into an anti-gay rally as Moore and other speakers concentrated their remarks on the US Supreme Court’s recent Obergefell decision rather than efforts to shut down abortion access, which was the ostensible purpose of the event.

Moore, whose past legal opinions have indulged virulent bigotry against gay and lesbian Americans, won reelection to the Chief Justice position in 2012 after running an unabashedly troglodyte campaign. To the delight of bigots in the room, Moore called non-heteronormative relationships ‘undignified.’

Dignity is given by God, not by government. And he gave dignity to man and woman. In fact, you all know that, when you consummate a marriage, that act is a dignified act. But we can’t change it to an undignified act and call it dignity.

Moore has a longtime habit of imbuing English words with theological qualities that do not exist in any dictionary or even the Bible. According to the Mirriam-Webster online edition, “dignity” is defined as “a way of appearing or behaving that suggests seriousness and self-control” or “the quality of being worthy of honor or respect.” In other words, Moore is either claiming that lesbians and gays are not serious and lack self-control, or that LGBTQ Americans are unworthy of respect as human beings.

Of course, Jesus never actually addresses homosexuality in the New Testament, while the Old Testament describes marriage as a form of chattel slavery. And whereas Moore and his audience shout “amen” for the notion that their god wants only one man and one woman to ever marry, the Bible is actually filled with polygamous families.

Notably, Moore also believes that Christians — defined narrowly — are the only religious Americans who have any such dignity. Remarking on his past removal from office within the context of his own, dubious belief that the Declaration of Independence is part of the “natural law” of the United States, Moore indicated that he does not respect those who believe differently.

It was about the recognition of sovereign God. When they said ‘that’s unfair to other people; that’s unfair to other religions.’ Well, I’m sorry, but this country was not founded on Mohammed! It was not founded on Buddha! It was not founded on secular humanism! This country was founded by God and anybody that wants to argue that proposition argues against the whole history of our country and our birth certificate.

As exemplified by OAS, which habitually invades Christian churches which they believe to be insufficiently conservative on social issues, this religious chauvinism extends even to Christians who believe differently than Moore.

Continuing his linguistic contortions, Moore despaired that right wing evangelical Christians are losing the “freedom of religion” to exercise their personal bigotry in the wider world outside of their churches, saying that “freedom of worship” is an unjust banishment of sectarian beliefs to a private realm. Warning that “there will be consequences” for speaking out against marriage equality, Moore endorsed right wing victimization narratives that have emerged as culture warriors seek to ignore and rationalize away the fact that LGBTQs are the target of more actual, real, not-imaginary hate crimes than any other minority group in America.

Hypocritically, Moore has never once shied from asserting the power of the state to intervene in the private lives of gays and lesbians and rip their families apart, or to replace scientific fact with pseudo-scriptural nonsense while resolving matters of public policy. In fact, during his remarks last night Moore specifically decried the teaching of evolution in public schools as often as he mentioned abortion.

Of course, Moore’s entire argument rests on the flimsy foundation of his statement that the US Supreme Court is not authorized to “define marriage” in the Constitution. In reality, the Obergefell decision strikes down state laws against same-sex marriage by finding the Constitution does not allow government to pick and choose marriage partners for American citizens.

Executive Director Rusty Thomas denies the domestic terrorists in OSA

Apparently stung by BU’s continuing coverage of the violent felons and extremists in his group, Reverend Rusty Lee Thomas of OSA posted an article at Christian Newswire calling his aggressive organization “peacemakers.”

No person has anything to fear from gentle Christians, moms, dads, and children who follow the “Prince of Peace” and seek to be true peace makers. We condemn all violence and sign a pledge against it. We seek to overcome evil by doing good. Sadly, the greatest violence is what is happening in the womb…

OSA is a splinter group of Randall Terry’s defunct Operation Rescue, a group which has been linked to many violent actions and murders of providers over the years. Not only has Thomas been arrested and convicted for obstructing clinics, but he became Executive Director of the organization when infamous forced-birth activist Flip Benham, who has been convicted of stalking North Carolina abortion providers, stepped aside. Thomas, who blames the 9/11 attacks on abortion, has continued Benham’s tactics of distributing “wanted” posters that feature the faces of abortion providers, even going door-to-door in doctors’ neighborhoods. The OSA meeting in New Orleans last year was accompanied by a lawsuit attempting to access patient records so that women who receive abortion services could be identified for “counseling,” i.e. harassment.

Nor is OSA the only worrisome group of extremists with direct links to Moore. His Foundation for Moral Law has held several demonstrations alongside the neoconfederate League of the South calling for Alabama to secede from the union again. His friend and longtime legal adviser John Eidsmoe, who is now senior counsel for the Foundation, is also a favorite speaker for the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, which recently held a ‘prayer rally’ against gay marriage in Alabama and was credited by Dylann Roof for inspiring his massacre at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.

BU will be in Montgomery all week to cover the OSA gathering.

  • Becky Byrd

    God, when will that man GO AWAY?!