Dispatches from the Creation Wars

From a concurring opinion written by Roy Moore in a custody case in 2002. In this case, the father had been accused of abusing his children and the mother was petitioning the court for custody. The fact that the mother was now a lesbian was not at issue in the case, only the question of whether the father had been abusive toward the children. But Roy Moore could not help but rant on endlessly in a concurring opinion about the evils of homosexuality, writing in part:

To disfavor practicing homosexuals in custody matters is not invidious discrimination, nor is it legislating personal morality. On the contrary, disfavoring practicing homosexuals in custody matters promotes the general welfare of the people of our State in accordance with our law, which is the duty of its public servants. Providing for the common good involves maintaining a public morality through both our criminal and civil codes, based upon the principles that right conscience demands, without encroaching on the jurisdiction of other institutions and the declared rights of individuals.

The State may not interfere with the internal governing, structure, and maintenance of the family, but the protection of the family is a responsibility of the State. Custody disputes involve decision-making by the State, within the limits of its sphere of authority, in a way that preserves the fundamental family structure. The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle.

Roy Moore’s authoritarianism has been endorsed by prominent religious right figures like Alan Keyes, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, James Dobson and many others, all highly influential and well connected in conservative politics. Dobson even holds weekly strategy meetings with Karl Rove. Sometimes the comparisons to the Taliban are dead on accurate.

Comments

  1. #1 Perry Willis
    May 18, 2005

    Moore writes like he speaks. His style reminds me of those cranks who write letters that fill every bit of white space. His performances on “Hardball” have been quite comical. Matthews asks a question and Moore responds with long quotes from the Bible and the Founders, mixed with parantheticals. He strikes me as a man in the grip of something. He, no doubt, would describe that “something” as the Holy Spirit. But it comes across to me as more like mania.

  2. #2 Uber
    May 18, 2005

    This is actually refreshing, it removes any doubt that one might have about his state of mind.

  3. #3 Ginger Yellow
    May 18, 2005

    “It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle.”

    Ignoring for a moment the usual and still ludicrous argument that simply being a gay parent means you are brainwashing your kids into gayness, what the hell is he on about. What criminal lifestyle? Last time I checked, homosexuality was legal.

  4. #4 Uber
    May 18, 2005

    On an unrelated note Bobby Bowden Florida St football coach:

    ‘Bowden also said prayer was a large, yet voluntary, part of his football program and encouraged athletes to be more vocal about their beliefs.

    “The problem with us Christians is we won’t speak out,” he said.’

    Can he really believe that Christians don’t speak out? Does he live under a rock.

  5. #5 Matthew
    May 18, 2005

    Anyone have a clue how that is not an example of judicial activism but Mass. courts ruling that the state can not discriminate based on sexual preference is? The former isn’t even ruling in the bounds of what the case is about.

  6. #6 CPT_Doom
    May 18, 2005

    Here’s a question for the Constitutional scholars here. Judge Moore insists it is not “invidious discrimination” to “disfavor practicing homosexuals in custody matters.” Yet the assumption that someone is an unfit parent merely because they are homosexual does certainly violate the assumption of innocence under which our criminal justice operates. Without showing that this specific parent’s homosexuality has a detrimental effect on her children, the judge simply assumes it.

    Does that, in any way, violate the Bill of Rights? I know we are guaranteed a jury trial for clearly criminal behavior, but I do not know which, if any, of the first 10 amendments guarantees that the government simply won’t assume you’re a bad person.

  7. #7 Bill
    May 18, 2005

    Thanks for printing Moore’s remarks. I was surprised no one mentioned them during the controversy over the monument. Comments like Moore’s and the criticism of Lawrence v. Texas show that the religious right’s claims that they’re only reacting to have homosexuality shoved in their faces as if they wouldn’t care otherwise are bogus.

  8. #8 Jon Rowe
    May 18, 2005

    Ginger,

    That opinion took place a year before Lawrence v. Texas. And if I’m not mistaken Alabama was one of the 13 states that still had a “sodomy” law.

    Moore’s opinion, if anything, tells us why Lawrence was necessary. Sure gays could practice in Alabama and probably not have to worry about the cops breaking their door down unless they got really really unlucky. But those sodomy laws could be used by the law to stigmatize gays and turn them into a “criminal” class.

    The mere existence of a sodomy law could be used — and often were used — to justify why gays should be barred from being public school teachers and holding government positions.

  9. #9 spyder
    May 18, 2005

    “Roy Moore’s authoritarianism has been endorsed by prominent religious right figures like Alan Keyes, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, James Dobson and many others, all highly influential and well connected in conservative politics.”

    Do you think these guys(Rove, Kurtz included) sat around with massive amounts of survey data and determined that the only two issues they could use to lever themselves into the core structures of government were homosexuality and abortion?? Certainly logic wasn’t the formative element. Given that none of the “ten” commanding instructions mentions either of these, they must have created some pretty interesting, and perversely strange, polling questions.

  10. #10 raj
    May 18, 2005

    Moore is a horse’s nether region but I’ve long wondered….

    To disfavor practicing homosexuals in custody matters…

    what about those of us homosexuals who are so good at doing homosex that we don’t have to practice any more?

  11. #11 Ginger Yellow
    May 19, 2005

    It is an amusing usage, raj. Obviously, nobody ever refers to “practising heterosexuals”, but it also raises (in the eyes of Moore, anyway) homosexuality to the level of religion by analogy with “practising Catholic”.

  12. #12 Michelangelo
    May 19, 2005

    Here’s a question for the Constitutional scholars here. Judge Moore insists it is not “invidious discrimination” to “disfavor practicing homosexuals in custody matters.” Yet the assumption that someone is an unfit parent merely because they are homosexual does certainly violate the assumption of innocence under which our criminal justice operates.

    Given that a custody proceeding is not a criminal case, that really isn’t a valid argument.

    I think there is a Constitutional principle of equal protection under law that does apply in civil cases, though. I figure unless someone can come up with REAL evidence of REAL harm caused by being raised by an openly homosexual parent, there is no reason for homosexuality to be an automatic disqualifier. I don’t think anyone has ever presented that kind of evidence. Moore’s multi-page homophobic screed…er, I mean concurring opinion was little more than a “faith-based” rant.

    (Personally, as a divorced dad, I think the custody laws are so heavily biased against the father as to be unConstitutional, but that’s just my opinion.)

  13. #13 GeneralZod
    May 19, 2005

    Hey Michelangelo,
    Did you ever read Michael newdow’s (yes, THAT Michael Newdow) view on the subject? You might agree. (I have no kids, but he makes some good points, I think.)

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2102650/

  14. #14 Michelangelo
    May 19, 2005

    Thanks for pointing me to that article, Zod. Newdow’s absolutely right when he says, “All parents–absent a finding of true harm–should have an absolute right to 50 percent custody of their children.” That includes gay parents.

  15. #15 raj
    May 19, 2005

    Personally, as a divorced dad, I think the custody laws are so heavily biased against the father as to be unConstitutional, but that’s just my opinion.

    They might appear to be unfair, but that would not necessarily mean that they are unconstitutional.

    I sympathize, by the way. I really do. And, just to let you know, there have been a number of gay dads who have been denied equal protection regarding their children, too.