Commandments' Day Of Reckoning?

An unidentified man sits in a window of the State Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala., some 50-feet above the ground after climbing the metal structure that protects the windows during a protest over the removal of the Ten Commandments monument on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2003. Several hundred people were attending a rally in support of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore who was suspended for failing to follow a federal court order to remove the monument from the building.
Defenders of the Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama Judicial Building are preparing to peacefully resist its anticipated removal this week.

Demonstrators gathered on the courthouse steps say the 5,300-pound monument could be moved in the early morning hours Monday or Tuesday as the business week gets under way.

Whenever workers finally come to remove the monument, supporters of Moore from across the nation intend to keep it from going anywhere by locking hands and dropping to their knees.

Some of the more than 100 demonstrators have kept vigil at the courthouse since last week and are committed to staying as long as it takes to make sure the display stays put.

"I got more energy since I don't know when — God gave me strength," said Scott Campbell, who arrived Thursday from his home in Gurley in north Alabama.
A few people outside the building Sunday want the monument removed.

"I'm here to check out the circus," said 21-year-old Jeremy Jordan of Montgomery. "I thought church was supposed to be separate from the state."

State Chief Justice Roy Moore, a Southern Baptist, had the monument installed July 31, 2001, and has resisted all attempts to have it removed despite his suspension and any number of court battles at all levels.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ordered the washing machine-sized marker removed.

Moore, has vowed to do everything within his power to keep the display at the Alabama Judicial Building. Moore was suspended Friday for his defiance of Thompson's directive.

Many Christians are torn over whose law should be respected — God's or the government's. Few, like Adam Taft, are absolutely sure of their answer.

"If it weren't for God, we wouldn't have this country now," Taft, 20, said on his way into Ridgecrest Baptist Church. "I feel strongly about it — it's the right thing to do."

At Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church, worshippers said they want the Ten Commandments in public life but have reservations about Moore and his handling of the dispute.

"It was forced down our throats," Debbie Stack said of the marker. "This has taken the focus off of God and put it on a man."

Moore has pledged to argue his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, and a citizen's group plans to file a federal lawsuit Monday in Mobile claiming their First Amendment rights are being violated by the monument's pending removal.

Moore contended in an interview last week with the CBS News Early Show that a federal judge has no authority to make him remove it.

"This case is not about a monument and not about politics. It's about the acknowledgement of God," Moore said. "The judge himself said in closing arguments before the court, that the issue is, 'Can the state acknowledge God?'"

"Indeed, we must acknowledge god because our constitution says our justice system is established upon God. For him to say that I can't say who god is is to disestablish the justice system of this state.

Moore argues that he is justified in defying the order because court orders, including those he might have issued himself, are only legitimate if they are based in law.

He also argues that the monument doesn't violate the Constitution's clause forbidding Congress from making laws that promote religion, because "A monument is not a law."

Moore argued the notion of separation of church and state was misunderstood.

"It's not separating God from government. It's not separating the acknowledgement of sovereign from government," he said. "There's a moral law which the state has to honor."