Archive for the “Christianity” Category
Christians and their religion
The Catholic child-abuse scandal continues making news. This should be no surprise, given that it went on for decades at the very least (and in fact we have no reason to assume it doesn’t go back centuries), and was worldwide in scope, not to mention pervasive within the R.C. Church. The latest revelations to emerge describe abuse that took place many decades ago, as NJ Advanced Media reports, at a private Catholic school in New Jersey (WebCite cached article):
Eight more former Bergen Catholic High School students have come forward to accuse former staff members at the school of sexual abuse.
The eight have levied their allegations since it was revealed in August that the all-boys high school in Oradell had reached a $1.9 million settlement [cached] with 21 men who said they were sexually abused at the school.
The eight men, who are now between the ages of about 55 to 75 years old, say they were sexually abused when they were teens between the years of 1956 and 1977, said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston lawyer who represented some of the previous alleged victims.
The timeframe of the alleged attacks is similar to the one provided by the other alleged victims who settled with the school. They had said they were abused between 1963 and 1978.
The school itself, not the archdiocese of Newark (in which it’s located) or the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers (the priests who staff it), reached the settlement with one victim. Apparently the archdiocese plays no role in the school’s administration, so — at least for now — they’re not involved.
Note that the Christian Brothers who run this school are part of the worldwide order of Christian Brothers who, back in 2003, filed suit to block the Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, and succeeded in preventing that body from releasing the names of abusive priests (cached). Despite that, the Christian Brother order figured prominently in abuse investigations in Ireland, and elsewhere.
At any rate, I expect Catholic apologists will repeat their old rationale for why they don’t think their holy Church or its clergy did anything wrong: The accusers are just in it for the money, and one of them — so far — got some. There was no abuse, they’ll say; accusers made it all up long after they left school, just to get some money for themselves and their attorneys.
While I agree money might motivate some accusers, the “profit motive” can’t explain all the accusations that have been leveled, around the world, for decades, nor does it account for the fact that many investigations — again, from all around the world — have substantiated that abuse did, in fact, take place, and moreover, that in a lot of cases the Church hierarchy did, in fact, cover it up and on occasion enable the abusers by moving them around.
I expect to hear more about this. I also expect to hear a lot more whining from Catholic apologists about how terrible it is that accusers are coming forward now and how terrible it is that at least one of them (so far) was paid off. It’s as though the victims somehow owe it to the Holy Mother Church to keep silent — forever — about the abuse they’d endured, because … well! … it’s the Holy Mother Church. Or something. Because for some reason, no one is supposed to say anything bad about the Holy Mother Church. Or something.
Photo credit: Bergen Catholic High School Web site.
Hat tip: Secular Web News Wire.
Tags: bergen catholic high school
, catholic church
, catholic clerical abuse scandal
, catholic clerical child abuse
, catholic clerical child abuse scandal
, child abuse
, christian brothers
, clerical abuse
, clerical child abuse
, edmund rice christian brothers
, oradell NJ
, priestly pedophilia
, priestly pedophilia scandal
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
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For almost a year now, I’ve said the movement I call “the Great Neocrusade” — i.e. an effort by fierce Rightists in the US to eradicate Islam from their precious “Christian nation” — turned violent. There’s been a lot of vigilante “justice” meted out, over the last year, to various Muslims (and to non-Muslims who were assumed to be Muslims). The Neocrusaders would say this is just a counter-Islamist-terror campaign, except for the fact that none of the victims were terrorists, and hadn’t said or done anything (aside from appearing Muslim) to make anyone suspect they were terrorists. They simply happened to cross the path of one or more sanctimoniously-enraged Neocrusaders.
The reality is that — notwithstanding events like the San Bernardino, Boston Marathon, and Ft Hood massacres — Islamist terror is still extremely rare in the US. Americans are more likely to fall prey to domestic, Right-wing terror, and vastly more likely to be victimized by ordinary, simple, mundane sociopaths not motivated by any religion or particular ideology at all. So really, there’s no reason for Neocrusaders to stomp around beating up on random Muslims — even if they view it as justified in order to save Americans from terrorism.
You’d be surprised where Neocrusaders are lurking. There are more of them than you think, and not just in cosmopolitan parts of the country (i.e. big cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.) where one expects to find Muslims and other foreign faiths. They can be found even among the reserved, quiet, pious folk of “middle America.” An example of this, as KWCH-TV in Wichita KS reports, is a plot the feds recently broke up in the “heartland” town of Garden City, KS (WebCite cached article):
Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall says Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 51, and Patrick Stein were all charged with domestic terrorism.
Beall said the three were planning to bomb an apartment complex and mosque in Garden City occupied by a Muslim community of about 120 Somali refugees.
Beall said the men planned to carry out the attack on Nov. 9, the day after Election Day.…
Beall said the men wrote a manifesto, which they wanted published after the bombing.
According to an affidavit, the were a part of a group called the Kansas Security Force and the Crusaders.
“These are militia groups whose members support and espouse sovereign citizen, anti-government, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant extremist beliefs,” read the affidavit.
Beall said the men’s arrest is a part of an eight month long investigation.
For the last year, the Right — led by GOP presidential nominee Donald “it’s my own orange hair!” Trump — has blustered and fumed over Muslim refugees living among us, and how horrifically dangerous they are. Supposedly. It’s only natural, after all, because isn’t it obvious that all Muslims everywhere are terrorists, bent on killing “infidels” wherever they may be? Wouldn’t it make sense, therefore — according to Neocrusaders’ thinking — that it’s better to kill them before they kill us?
Fortunately for the country, but unfortunately for the Neocrusaders, those Somali refugees in Kansas aren’t very likely to become terrorists … but sanctimonious Christianists don’t let little things like “facts” get in the way of their towering fury.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: christian terror
, christianist terror
, curtis allen
, garden city KS
, gavin wright
, islam in the us
, kansas security force
, kansas security force and the crusaders
, patrick stein
, right wing
, right-wing terror
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As I’ve blogged quite a bit, the “violent Neocrusade” continues apace. That’s my name for an ongoing campaign by sanctimonious, Islam-hating Americans to (attempt to) purge their precious “Christian nation” of all of its Muslims. Their tactics amount to a kind of counter-terror: Since there are Muslim terrorists, Neocrusaders feel entitled to employ terror against Muslims in return.
The problem is, a lot of the time — in their ignorance — they end up picking the wrong targets. CBS San Francisco reports on the latest example of this phenomenon (WebCite cached article):
A Richmond man identifying as Sikh was attacked Sept. 25 in what he describes as a violent hate crime, the Sikh Coalition said Friday.
Maan Singh Khalsa, 41, was driving home from work at 9 p.m. when he was stopped at a red light near Hilltop Mall Drive in Richmond, half a mile from his home, according to the Sikh Coalition.
The article describes the attack, bolstered by a recorded 911 call. Accordingly, police have taken this report seriously, making two arrests and seeking three other men.
For some reason, many Americans confuse Sikhs with Muslims. But their religions are different — and very much so. About the only thing both religions have in common is that they’re monotheistic. Otherwise, they’re completely different. Islam is an Abrahamic faith that originated in what is now Saudi Arabia; Sikhism is a Dharmic faith founded in India. The former descends from the religion practiced by ancient Hebrews of the Levant; the latter descends from the Vedic faith practiced by Indo-Aryans. Americans, especially of the Neocrusading variety, are ignorant; when they see a Sikh man wearing a turban, they often think, “Muslim!” when in fact that assumption is usually false.
As I’ve said so many times when addressing the lunatic rage of Neocrusaders, I have to say: I get it. Really. I do! I capisce. Yes, there are Muslim terrorists in the world. Too many. They’ve attacked innocent Americans unjustly and savagely: At Ft Hood, the Boston Marathon, in San Bernardino, in Orlando, in Paris, and elsewhere. These — and many more such barbaric attacks around the world — are undeniable examples of how “the Religion of Peace” is no religion-of-peace at all. But, what Neocrusaders in the US don’t realize is that Americans are vastly more likely to be killed by ordinary, non-Muslim (and non-religious) sociopaths (cached), and also more likely to be killed by home-grown Right-wing and/or Christian terrorists, than by Islamist terrorists. The danger of Islamist terror is real, but it’s overstated, and the risk won’t appreciably be reduced even if Islam were outlawed tomorrow and every Muslim in the country deported. It just wouldn’t make a dent in the violence that occurs daily around the US.
The solution is for Neocrusaders to grow the fuck up, for the first time in their lives, and deal with their irrational fears, rather than lashing out like toddlers throwing a tantrum. There are ways to deal with the dangers that exist, without stomping around as part of a latter-day “People’s Crusade.” I should point out — as someone who studied the Middle Ages — that the original People’s Crusade didn’t end well for those who led and participated in it. American Neocrusaders would do well to take note of the rashness and irrationality of their medieval predecessors.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
, christian nation
, richmond CA
, violent neocrusade
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Christians really despise what they call “moral relativism” — i.e. the notion that morality is decided by humans and not dictated from on high by the Almighty. The result, Christians claim, is a moral and ethical “free for all” with individuals deciding their own morals and ethics. They say this allows people to grant themselves license to misbehave, denying their deity’s role as the sole arbiter of morals (WebCite cached article). But even so, that doesn’t prevent these same Christians from engaging in moral relativism, themselves!
Perhaps no event has brought this relativism to light better than the revelation of Donald “it’s my own orange hair!” Trump’s “hot mic” moment from the 1990s (cached) … which you, Dear Reader, no doubt have heard more about than you care to already. Keeping in mind that what Donnie talked about, in that moment, was — as vice president Joe Biden explained, candidly (cached) — sexual assault, it’s true that some Rightists have disavowed him, and some have even expressly revoked their endorsements (cached). Yes, at long last, some folks on that side of the aisle have finally recognized that Donnie is an infantile man-child, 70 years old going on seven months.
Yet, many others are standing firm with him and refuse to acknowledge there’s anything wrong with Donnie bragging about how he could assault any woman he wants and get away with it because he’s a star. Most of these are devout Religious Rightists who profess high morals. Among those who’ve doubled down in their defense of little Donnie is Sean Hannity of Fox News (cached):
Here, Seanie displays his ability to rationalize Donnie’s hypersexed frat-boy bravado using a variant of fallacious appeal to tradition: The legendary King Solomon, you see, had a whopping 300 concubines (in addition to 700 wives who were princesses). So gee, Sean, because Solomon had such a vast harem, I guess it’s OK for your pal Donnie to go and grab as many pussies as he wants and never be prosecuted for sexual assault? Is that what you want us to think? After you’ve blustered and fumed for over a decade over how morally bankrupt the American Left has been? Really!?
Note, it’s not just Hannity’s appeal to the Biblical Solomon being used to rationalize Donnie’s horrid spew. Former New York mayor (and Trump BFF) Rudy Giuliani used a couple different justifications for his pal (cached):
Rudy Giuliani defended Donald Trump’s crude remarks about women Sunday, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” that “men at times talk like that.”
But the former New York City mayor also admitted that what Trump was describing in a 2005 video is sexual assault.…
Tapper pressed Giuliani on Trump’s claim — in the video from a 2005 “Access Hollywood” interview published Friday by The Washington Post — that because he is a star, he could walk up to women and “grab them by the pussy,” asking who Trump did that to.
“First of all, I don’t know that he did it to anyone. This is talk, and gosh almighty, he who hasn’t sinned, throw the first stone here,” Giuliani said.
Tapper said: “I have never said that; I have never done that. I am happy to throw a stone. I have been in locker rooms. I have been a member of a fraternity. I have never heard any man, ever, brag about being able to maul women because they get away with it — never.”
Giuliani responded: “We’ve taken it to an extra degree of what he said. But the fact is that men at times talk like that. Not all men, but men do. He was wrong for doing it.”…
“Gosh almighty, there were an awful lot of things, particularly Hillary Clinton attacking the women that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted, sexually abused — and she was the leader of the attack against them — so maybe he felt that at least put in context the kind of anger there would be at him,” Giuliani said.
So, because everyone’s a sinner, according to the Rudester, no one is allowed to hold Donnie accountable for his words. Also, because Hillary went after her husband’s accusers in the 1990s, that also makes Donnie’s words just fine.
Call me crazy, but I’m with Tapper: I’ve listened to a lot of men brag about a lot of things, but never once have I heard of them say he could freely commit sexual assault (not because they’re famous, or for any reason). I have never heard any such words come from the lips of any man. Not once. Ever! So when Giuliani claims that “men talk that way” … well, no, Yeronner, as a matter of fact, they don’t.
Yes, the Rudester did tell Tapper that Donnie’s bragging was wrong, and said he wasn’t trying to excuse it; however, by using these rationales to dismiss Donnie’s words, that’s precisely what he was doing! If the Rudester had truly meant to say that Donnie’s bragging was wrong, he’d have said it was wrong — and then he’d have stopped talking. But he didn’t do that. Instead, he carried on, as though Donnie’s words weren’t inexcusable.
Look, let’s not kid ourselves here about the Right. Sure, they talk a good game about morality and how important it is and how everyone must live up to the highest moral standards, because the Almighty demands it of us … but whenever another Rightist they love is caught saying or doing something that’s undeniably immoral, they just reel off excuse after excuse, including the old reliable “we’re all sinners, no one should cast stones” thing (i.e. the Pericope Adulterae in the gospel according to John) and they whine that the Left is just as bad (which is the old “two wrongs make a right” fallacy). Sorry to say, that’s not going to fly, either.
If one wants to run around condemning the sins of others — as the Right is wont to do, especially in the case of Donnie’s despised opponent in this election — then one can’t say, on the other hand, that one isn’t allowed to condemn the sins of one’s own colleagues. It’s blatant hypocrisy, which — as it happens — the founder of Christians’ own religion explicitly ordered them never to engage in, not at any time or for any reason. Yes, that means even in the context of a presidential election.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Hat tip: Raw Story.
Tags: 1 kings 11:3
, 2016 presidential election
, donald trump
, hot mic
, john 8:1-11
, king solomon
, king solomon's wives
, moral relativism
, moral relativity
, pericope adulterae
, presidential election
, rudy giuliani
, sean hannity
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Yes, folks, here comes yet another entry on the massive list of what I call “disaster theology” — i.e. when religionists attribute catastrophic events to something their deity despises — that involves hurricanes. Yes, with Hurricane Matthew raging just off the coast of Florida (WebCite cached article), making headlines everywhere, it was inevitable that someone would declare it a sign of “God’s wrath” over … well, something, anything. In this case, some militant Christianist crank on the militant Christianist Website Shoebat.Com, run by the militant Christianist Shoebats (phony former PLO terrorist Walid, and his sanctimoniously-deranged son Ted) went and did just that (cached):
While all hurricanes are dangerous, something about this storm is particularly unique. As scientists have pointed out, it seems to be gathering strength where it should not, as though the storm was increasing in power from an outside force and in a way not seen before…
Florida is a nice place, but it unfortunately has become a lot like California, representing both the best and the worst that America has to offer. This is especially true in the area of homosexuality. While there are many conservative and religious Floridians, there are a tremendous amount of sodomites and immoral activity that takes place there. Given the serious moral decay of America that we see taking place before our eyes and the increasing disrespect for even the most basic of Christian morality, looking at this storm I began to wonder if perhaps, in some way, it was connected to this crisis.
The author of the article claims Hurricane Matthew is a storm of unprecedented power and is so unique that it can only be supernatural in origin. He also considers it significant that this hurricane is named Matthew, as in the saint who wrote one of the gospels, who happens to be depicted sometimes as an angel, and angels are the agents of God’s will, sometimes sent by the Almighty to chastise and punish. Our word “hurricane” comes from the Taíno people, who thought such storms were caused by powerful evil spirits. What’s more, this storm is hitting Florida today, October 7, on the Catholic Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and that commemorates a naval engagement, the Battle of Lepanto (1571), in which some Italian and Spanish lords defeated the Ottoman Empire’s navy, supposedly because they prayed the Rosary. And the Rosary is the most powerful prayer the Church has ever known, having been given to St Dominic Guzman, founder of the Dominican Order and, perhaps more importantly to this crank, a hammer of heretics (especially of the Albigensian/Cathar persuasion). And the Ottomans, who were defeated at Lepanto, were known to be raging pedophilic homosexual rapists. Supposedly.
The author of this ridiculous screed sums up his chain of laughable reasoning thus:
A hurricane- the storms from an evil being- named after the New Testament Evangelist whose symbol is an angel- a messenger of God and and executor of His will among and upon men- is about to make landfall on the exact area where two massive sodomite parades are taking place and almost to the day for the largest one, and the exact day the hurricane is scheduled to hit is the Feast Day of the Holiest Prayer in the Catholic Church used to fight the most wicked of sins and heresies given by the Mother of God herself.
Coincidence? You be the judge.
Yep, it all sounds really Glenn Beckian to me, too. The author finishes by ordering Americans to “stop sinning” — as though he has the authority to give such a command. (To be clear, he doesn’t.)
The crap about hurricanes being signs of divine wrath upon those insolent, sinning gays is actually an old Christianist schtick. Marion “Pat” Robertson invoked it in the wake of Katrina in 2005 (cached). Before that, in 1998, Robertson had predicted hurricanes (and other disasters) would destroy central Florida due to Disney World gay pride days (cached). Perhaps ironically, that year, Hurricane Bonnie formed and appeared to be racing headlong for Florida; but it veered a little to the north and made landfall in northeastern North Carolina, not far from Robertson’s headquarters in Virginia Beach. Hmm.
At any rate, any deity who uses threats of catastrophe in order to force people to knuckle under to his/her/its dour dictates, can’t really be a deity worthy of worship. And any religion that thinks its deity uses such tactics, is not one that any moral or ethical person should belong to. That militant Christianists think this way, only serves to demonstrate how truly vile their beliefs are.
Photo credit: CNN.
Hat tip: Dispatches from the Culture Wars.
Tags: andrew bieszad
, disaster theology
, gay pride
, hurricane matthew
, ted shoebat
, walid shoebat
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This blog entry is more of an “interesting tidbit” than anything else. It may well be an example of one type of metaphysics squeezing into another … although it’s too soon to tell how far it might go.
It seems American churches are opening themselves up to something new (to them, anyway), called the Enneagram. It’s a personality-typing model, symbolized (and supposedly explained) by a 9-pointed figure (hence its name, derived from Greek εννεα or ennea meaning “nine”). Religion News Service explains the Enneagram’s early seepage into American Christendom (WebCite cached article):
What’s your number?
It’s not a pickup line. At least, it wasn’t at the pre-conference portion of an event called “Why Christian?,” which was back this past week for its second year at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago.
No, this inquiry is actually just a standard part of the Enneagram, an ancient personality typing system that recently has exploded in popularity in Christian circles.
Ian Morgan Cron, who co-led the Enneagram Conference on Thursday (Sept. 29) with Suzanne Stabile, called it “disruptive spiritual technology.”
But it may not be as modern as it sounds, or as alien to the faith as some might fear.
In fact, some trace the Enneagram to a fourth-century Christian monk and ascetic named Evagrius, whose teaching later influenced the formation of the seven deadly sins, according to Cron and Stabile.
Others detect elements of the Enneagram within Sufism and Judaism.
As someone who knows about early Christianity, I have to call B.S. on the idea that Evagrius Ponticus had anything to do with inventing the Enneagram model. He did no such thing. He didn’t even invent personality typing. Not even close! Evagrius was an early Christian mystic, that much is true; he also taught that humans were prone to eight types of malicious thoughts, which all descend from a ninth, i.e. love of self, hence his association with psychology and the number nine. But none of that has anything to do with personality typing; it actually has much more to do with the subsequent Catholic notion of “seven deadly sins.”
No, this business about Evagrius supposedly inventing the Enneagram is a lie intended to make it appear native to Christianity. The truth about the Enneagram model is that it’s the product of 20th century Jungian mysticism, not the mysticism of a 4th century Desert Father.
This interested me because, around 20 or 25 years ago, I’d briefly looked into personality typing. I investigated the Myers-Briggs model, the Kiersey Temperament Sorter, and other personality-typing models. (Most, if not all, were based on Jung’s list of psychological types.) I took tests, which sometimes produced what seemed to be different results. Looking more closely at the questions, I realized that it was possible I might have answered some of them differently, at different moments. There was no way for any given test to actually pin me down to any particular one of its personality types; not consistently, anyway, without me making a concerted effort to recall the questions I’d seen already and ensure I answered them the same.
It turns out that, aside from introversion/extroversion distinctions (which may have at least some basis in reality), personality types are pseudoscience, plain and simple. Bullshit. A steaming load. The reality of human beings is that they can act in varied ways, at any given moment, based on dozens of factors at the time. Their minds aren’t locked into particular “types” of personalities, temperaments, etc. which dictate their words and actions. People may tend to act and speak in particular ways more than others, but that’s a far cry from the notion that their personality types define what they say and do at all times.
At any rate, this may be an example of one type of metaphysical nonsense (i.e. the Enneagram) being grafted onto another (i.e. Christianity). For anyone who wants to see an example of nascent syncretism, this may well be one.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: carl jung
, evagrius ponticus
, kiersey temperament sorter
, myers-briggs type indicator
, personality type
, personality types
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Most of my readers will have heard of Roy Moore, the erstwhile “Ten Commandments Judge.” He’d been the Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, who refused to obey a federal court order to remove a Decalogue monument from that state’s Supreme Court building, and was removed from office in 2003 due to his defiance (WebCite cached article). Since then, he’s remained just as petulant and defiant; he ran for the same office again in 2012 and was elected by the dutiful Christofascist folk of Alabama.
In his second stint as Chief Justice, it wasn’t the Ten Commandments that caused much trouble; rather, it was gay marriage and the Obergefell v. Hodges decision issued by the US Supreme Court last year. Like most of America’s Christofascists, Moore didn’t take this decision well. He tried to use his office to prevent gay marriages, ordering his state’s probate judges not to marry gay couples, on the grounds that they’re illegal under Alabama law. (Despite having been a judge for a long time, Moore apparently had never heard of the supremacy clause, by which federal law has primacy over state law.)
So earlier this year, Moore was disciplined for overplaying his hand, and as the Birmingham (AL) News reports, after months of wrangling, Moore was suspended from the state Supreme Court (cached):
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended from the bench for telling probate judges to defy federal orders regarding gay marriage.
It’s the second time Moore has been removed from the chief justice job for defiance of federal courts – the first time in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ) issued the order Friday suspending Moore from the bench for the remainder of his term after an unanimous vote of the nine-member court.
The COJ saw right through the bullshit that Moore and his lawyer, Mat Staver (of Kim Davis fame) spewed during the discipline process:
In its 50-page order on Friday, the COJ stated it did not find credible Moore’s claim that the purpose for the Jan. 6 order was “merely to provide a ‘status update’ to the state’s probate judges.”
“We likewise do not accept Chief Justice Moore’s repeated argument that the disclaimer in paragraph 10 of the January 6, 2016, order — in which Chief Justice Moore asserted he was ‘not at liberty to provide any guidance … of the effect of Obergefell on the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court’ — negated the reality that Chief Justice More was in fact ‘ordering and directing’ the probate judges to comply with the API orders regardless of Obergefell or the injunction in Strawser (federal case in Alabama).”
The COJ also did something very clever: They suspended Moore rather than removing him from office. While this might seem a milder punishment, it has an interesting ramification: As the article explains, it means Gov Bentley (also a committed Christofascist) can’t appoint a replacement for Moore on the Supreme Court. His position on the Court is essentially “dead,” with an acting Chief Justice drawn from the remaining justices. It’s all very clever. I guess the COJ learned a little from their previous bout with Moore, 13 years ago.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
, alabama court of the judiciary
, alabama supreme court
, christian right
, court of the judiciary
, federal law
, gay marriage
, judge roy moore
, justice roy moore
, mat staver
, religious right
, roy moore
, same-sex marriage
, supremacy clause
, ten commandments judge
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