11/22/05: A Poem by Roy Moore Received as an Email Forward; Correspondence/Debate Below
RE: POEM BY JUDGE ROY MOORE
The following is a poem written by Judge Roy Moore from Alabama. Judge Moore was sued by the ACLU for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom foyer. He has been stripped of his judgeship and now they are trying to strip his right to practice law in Alabama. The judge's poem sums it up quite well.
America the Beautiful,
or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrims' pride;
I'm glad they'll never see.
Babies piled in dumpsters,
Abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty;
your house is on the sand.
Our children wander aimlessly
poisoned by cocaine,
Choosing to indulge their lusts,
when God has said abstain.
From sea to shining sea,
our Nation turns away
From the teaching of God's love
and a need to always pray.
We've kept God in our temples,
how callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool,
and Heaven is His throne.
We've voted in a government
that's rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless Judges
who throw reason out the door,
Too soft to place a killer
in a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby
before he leaves the womb.
You think that God's not angry,
that our land's a moral slum?
How much longer will He wait
before His judgment comes?
How are we to face our God,
from Whom we cannot hide?
What then is left for us to do,
but stem this evil tide?
If we who are His children,
will humbly turn and pray;
Seek His holy face
and mend our evil way:
Then God will hear from Heaven
and forgive us of our sins,
He'll heal our sickly land
and those who live within.
But, America the Beautiful,
if you don't - then you will see,
A sad but Holy God
withdraw His hand from Thee.
Judge Roy Moore
I've read into the Roy Moore case before. A couple things are clear to me regarding both him and this email.
First, if all American judges were like Roy Moore, we would soon have about as much liberty as modern Iranians do. This is no exaggeration. Moore and his supporters want to establish a theocracy in the United States. If you don't believe it, it can only be because you haven't carefully considered the man's stated opinions. Go and look them up.
But also: If you're curious about what life in a theocracy is like, go read a bit about life in contemporary Iran. Luckily for us, the Founding Fathers didn't want a theocracy on our shores. We have all benefited from their wisdom. Or perhaps you disagree?
Second, consider the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."
This seems pretty clear to me. I'm not sure why it is that in recent decades so many Americans seem not to understand it.
I am a Christian myself, but I'm certainly glad American judges judge cases based on state and federal law rather than their interpretation of the Ten Commandments. Think about it. Would you trust a fundamentalist preacher to impartially judge legal cases? I wouldn't. Hell, I've listened to a few fundamentalist preachers. I wouldn't trust one to bring in my mail.
Third: Roy Moore might have some legal training, but he probably shouldn't think of starting a second career as a poet.
* * *
It's best for our neighborhood to keep the current street layout.
Only like this can both streets flourish as they should.
* * *
Follows some correspondence provoked by my above reply. The woman who initially forwarded me Moore's "poem" wanted to rebut my remarks. A long-term correspondent of mine, she is the source of many of the most interesting Bush-Republican email forwards I've gotten over the years, some of which I've posted at the Manhattan Reichstag Review.
Her letters are almost classics of a certain genre. What to call this genre though I'm not quite sure.
* * *
I entirely disagree with your comments in response to Judge Moore's poem. To me having life the way that Judge Moore voiced it in the poem is not representative of a theocracy. It actually is the way life used to be when it was decent and wholesome.
People my age can hardly believe the cheap decline of our society. To most people my age it is shocking to see the deterioration. I hear people saying this all the time. I don't view this as progress, but a slide into degradation. Once again, given that you are only in your thirties now, you have not come from where I've come from. You were born after the 1960's, when America changed for the worse. Years ago life was more beautiful, love was more permanent and beautiful, and families were more celebrated as binding units. Values were more soundly based on morality, and, believe it or not, sex was better when not advertised with every flick of a TV or every product ever sold. In movies when people met, one person didn't suddenly slam the other against a wall and almost rape them as if it is a normal way to appreciate love. Wherever you turn, this erosion of what was once a beautiful and wholesome life is more and more apparent. Perhaps you can imagine what I'm saying by simply re-visiting in your memory such movies as "Oklahoma," "The Sound Of Music," "My Fair Lady" and so on. You may say to me that these are just fairy tales, but speaking from my own experience, such movies were more representative of the decency in this country and the world at that time. TV today is becoming X-rated and children, unfortunately, are daily having their values distorted by this trash. Decency is what is lacking. There is hardly any decency left today. I think of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah when I think of the world today. There is a constant slide into indecency and I always wonder when God will suddenly not bless America. Coming from my youthful years to the present, all I see is one big nasty decline into an age of disgust. This is not progress. Instead, I believe, we are literally playing with fire.
Just before coming in to check my computer I listened to an argument to take Christ out of Christmas. What should we then call it? The "Mas" season? Christmas is Christ! Christ is the whole reason for Christmas! It's just another example of the sickness of our world. If people don't want to celebrate Christmas with Christ then they should make up their own shabby holiday. They should leave those of us who have honored Christmas for years alone to continue to do so. How much more disgusting can you get?
Once again, my opinion is immovable. I have been somewhere you haven't had the privilege of being; I honestly liked it better in those days when decency was practiced. It made life more beautiful. Perhaps Judge Moore is not a good poet, but his words are filled with truth.
* * *
All your talk about the past and values, etc., is not really to the point. Do you really think bringing Biblical religion into state and federal laws is going to make society more moral? I don't. I think it would corrupt Biblical religion by mixing it with politics as it would corrupt America by undermining the project of the Founding Fathers: a state that doesn't legislate religion.
Taking Christ out of Christmas is wrong. Making prayer part of public school curriculum is wrong too.
* * *
I can understand your point and the point of our American Forefathers not wanting to mix religion and politics. Still, in the days of the forming of this country's stand on issues, I do not believe these same Forefathers tried to eradicate the word of God from public places. Their motives were different; at least it seems that way to me. Today, all we hear is "take In God We Trust off of our money," "Take Christ out of Christmas," no displaying the Ten Commandments in public, no singing any songs in school that allude to religion and Blah Blah Blah. It sickens me as on the other hand people are killing babies just prior to birth and sucking them out of the womb, while immorality is rampant. Sexual promiscuity is prevalent in upper elementary school now and girls are wearing jeans so low at the waist that nothing is left to the imagination, as we wonder why pregnancy in our youth is so prevalent. In fact, my neighbor, an oral surgeon, was just yesterday telling me of his disgust upon having a 12 year old girl in his surgical chair. When he neared her side he glanced down and could see as far down as POSSIBLE! He was so disgusted. It all makes people of my age angry and troubled. The movies, the liberal politicians, the music (Rap) is ruining our lives and what is sad is that so many people are blind to this fact. Even the gay marriage issue is preposterous. The fact that there are 400,000 sex offenders loose in this country is also troubling as children are abducted and killed regularly. Even these idiots are privy to enough sexual material to keep their addictions constantly roused.
What has happened is they have taken the idea of our Founding Fathers and stretched it to a point where values are no longer honored and decency is lost. Yes, the pendulum has swung way too far and if it continues I do not believe that God will continue to bless this country.
* * *
On values. I'm seriously considering doing a tally of Jesus' words in the Gospels, a kind of systematic study. I'd go through the texts and categorize all Jesus' sentences according to the general topic of his concern. The categories, tentatively, might be as follows:
1) the Kingdom of Heaven (its nature, how one enters it)
2) the sin of pride
3) the sin of greed (earthly wealth)
4) the sins of anger (violence, refusal of forgiveness)
5) sins related to sex (adultery, lust, etc.)
6) family values
7) the poor and their needs (the mission to help the poor)
8) "Who I am" (Jesus on himself, his relation to the Father)
9) predictions of the future (predictions of his crucifixion, the Second Coming, etc.)
10) religious hypocrisy (the scribes, Pharisees, etc.; the need for humility rather than self-righteousness)
I would go through the Gospels and tally up by category how many sentences Jesus devotes to each of these topics. I cannot speak with perfect confidence yet, but I do have a prediction about what I'd find.
As follows: I believe Jesus, when speaking of morality, devotes less than 3 percent of his statements to sins related to sexuality.
On the other hand, I believe, also in this register of morality, that he devotes probably 70 percent (or more) of his statements to condemnations of 1) the desire for material wealth and 2) religious pride, self-righteousness.
Why then is it that American Christians are so obsessed with
1) sexuality; with
2) homosexuality (to which Jesus devotes not even a single word); with
3) family values (in regards to which Jesus' statements are almost uniformly contemptuous)?
And how can these same American Christians remain indifferent to the things Jesus seemed so concerned about, namely:
1) the sinful desire for earthly wealth; and
2) the arrogance of the self-righteous, i.e., those who are certain of their righteousness and boldly judge others.
Now let me be clear on this. I am confident Jesus would have condemned abortion, as I'm confident he considered lustful behavior and adultery both sinful. On the other hand, however, I'm convinced he considered sexual sin of far less concern than the sins of material greed and religious self-righteousness. I'm convinced of this by the nature of his teachings in the Gopels.
Consider, for one example, how Jesus deals with the rich man and his brothers in the tale of Lazarus the beggar (Luke 16:19-31) and compare this to Jesus' treatment of the adulteress in John 8.
How do you understand these things? For myself, the answer is evident: Many American Christians are not so much Christians as they are simply social conservatives. They are social conservatives whose pet issues have very little to do with the worldview taught by Jesus Christ, a figure they really know little about. Or again: Many American Christians fly the banner of Jesus of Nazareth without really paying attention to what he taught.
I think you are in many respects a good Christian, yet when I read your tirades on the "decline of values" in America I nowhere see that you are basing these tirades on Jesus' words. Rather you are basing them simply on American social conservatism, which is not necessarily the same thing as Christianity.
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