ROCKIN' WITH ROY
Roys Rock rolled. It only took three minutes to jack it up and roll it out of the Alabama courthouse. You know the one - the two and a half ton slab of marble with the Protestant version of the Ten Commandments. Now, Roy the Rebellious is rash with religiosity. Thankfully, he is also powerless. And of course, anyone who disagrees is a God-hater.
Two years ago, in the middle of the night, after much bombast and ceremony, Judge Roy Moore moved the washing-machine sized monument into his states rotunda. Some group with the word eagle in their name paid for all of it. He never consulted with the other judges, he never informed the public. But he claimed that because he was a state judge, his oath required his constant acknowledgement of God and it was real important that he make that acknowledgement at all times, thus the rock.
He also made a lot of other claims - America is a nation founded by Christians, Christians are victims of religious bigotry and persecution, Federal judges will come in the night to confiscate Bibles, and if anyone in Alabama attempted to take the monument out of the state house, it would be a call for religious genocide. Whew. Were talking serious crackpot stuff, folks.
Now, I dont know about you, but if there are over 350 churches in Montgomery, Alabama - mostly all Protestant evangelical - doesnt it sound just a bit strange to hear that it is the Christians who are being persecuted? Gosh, all those hundreds of thousands of Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Scientologists, and Zoroastrians in Montgomery should be a little more considerate! The accusation that Christians, in Alabama, or anywhere else in the U.S., are victims of religious bigotry reveals how the meaning of the term bigotry has been inverted by fundamentalists. While seeking a Christian nation, by forcing others to submit to his rule, the judge is claiming discrimination. Oh, the irony!
But there were lots of ironies in the antics of Roys rabble who showed up to support the rock. Before the monument was moved, folks laid down and prayed before it. I wondered if that was violating the commandment that says not to worship graven images, but it didnt seem to bother any of the Christian defenders, so I guess it was okay. A protester carried a 10-foot cross stating that they can move the monument, but they cant take it out of our hearts. I wondered why, if it is in his heart, it is so important to have it in the state courthouse?
The greatest irony, however, is that in the South, where Roy and most of his supporters come from - where a Baptist church is on almost every corner - quality of life is..well, not the greatest. Just think, the people who have called for the Ten Commandments to posted in public schools, courthouses, airports, park benches, post offices, train stations, and telephone poles, live in the region of the country that has the highest rates of poverty, drug abuse, crime, divorce, illiteracy, incarcerations, executions, alcohol dependency, domestic violence, veneral disease, school dropouts, and gun related homicide. Something about that seems inverted, too.
Christian fundamentalism, like all other forms of religious fundamentalism, fosters ignorance and certitude through the use of force. It creates division, and prevents progress through unity. Keep that in mind, the next time you turn on your television and see a fellow braying like a donkey, and calling people God-haters. Better yet, next time you hear about another one of those car- bombings in the Middle East, ask yourself if the perpetrator is a religious fundamentalist just following Gods law.