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Alabama Democratic Party:

"Director of Faith Outreach"
by Conrad Goeringer
from AANEWS by American Atheists

January 13, 1998

Who is standing up to religious right bigotry in Alabama? Not the Democratic Party, it seems. While the Republican organization remains enthralled to a religious right agenda which preaches everything from prayer in public schools to teaching creationist pseudo-science, the Democrats in that backward state have named a "director of faith outreach" and have decided to court the fundamentalist community for votes. We sincerely doubt that a proud, clear and resonating statement on behalf of state-church separation would be part of that agenda. But County Democratic Chairman Perry Knight gushed during a Democratic prayer breakfast this week, "I read the Bible, I pray, I teach the Bible, I preach the Gospel..." Then State Democratic Chairman Joe Turnham introduced David Ferguson as "faith outreach" director for the party; Ferguson holds a theology degree from Oral Roberts University and Pat Robertson's Regent University, although according to the Birmingham News, he split with the Christian Coalition founder over the issue of social services. He urged Democrats "not to write off the votes of fundamentalists."

Unfortunately, the whole tone within the party in Alabama is one of mixed waffling. Speakers at the Demo shindig told their audiences that they disagreed with prayer in public schools, or posting the Ten Commandments in government buildings, but only because "prayer is private and personal" or involves an "intimate relationship with God."

We'll agree on some of this, of course; prayer is indeed personal, but we take issue with anything about a "personal relationship with God." Even so, we would be more comfortable if Alabama's Democrats came out solidly in defense of state-church separation, and stayed away from religion -- instead of trying to co-opt it.

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Alabama School Prayer Law:
It's Baaack!

"Silent Prayer" Bill Introduced
in Alabama Legislature
by Conrad Goeringer
from AANEWS by American Atheists

January 15, 1998

Faced with a long record of unconstitutional legislation to promote prayer in public schools, Alabama legislators stood firm against state-church separation on Tuesday and began action on a bill which would require teachers to set aside up to sixty seconds at the start of each school day for a period of reflection and meditation. Critics charged that the new bill is simply a ruse to sneak religious ritual back into public schools, and is designed to replace the old school prayer law which was declared unconstitutional.

Introduced by Rep. Perry Hooper Jr. (R-Montgomery), the measure unanimously cleared the House Governmental Affairs Committee, drawing support from both Republicans and Democrats. There are reports, though, that some Democrats are working on "rival" bills which nevertheless have similar features. One by Rep. Jack Page (D-Gadsden) would require a moment of "silent reflection" and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of each school day. The Huntsville Times reports that the Alabama Democratic Senatorial Caucus is also preparing its own version of a bill which would "set aside 60 seconds each day for silent prayer."

In March, 1997, U.S. District Judge Ira DeMent struck down the state's controversial 1993 school prayer law which called for "non-sectarian" and "voluntary" prayer in public school classrooms. Since then, there has been resistance to the implementation of DeMent's order in a number of school districts.

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Amendment May Be Back

Gary Bauer's
Family Research Council
Energizing Prayer Agenda
by Conrad Goeringer
from AANEWS by American Atheists

January 21, 1998

Reports from Capitol Hill say that supporters of the Religious Freedom Amendment will make another try at moving the controversial legislation onto the floor of Congress for a full vote in early February. The First Amendment Center says that Rep. Charles Canady (R-Florida), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, again wants to move the proposal through the full Judiciary Committee and "fast track" the measure.

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Oklahoma), would permit a wide range of religious activities and rituals in government, including prayer and proselytizing in public school classrooms. Critics charge that the proposed amendment -- a centerpiece in the Christian Coalition's social agenda -- would effectively "gut" the Establishment Clause" of the First Amendment, and overturn decades of crucial, state-church separation law and court decisions.

Amendments to the Amendment to the Amendment

Crafting legislation which would meet the demands of the various religious groups clamoring for school prayer and other church involvement in government affairs has proved to be a daunting task. Indeed, the history of what is now known as the Religious Freedom Amendment is a convoluted one, marked by constant bickering among the groups supporting it, and a series of re-writes and amendments to the original version.

With the 1994 elections, Republicans gained control of both sides of Capitol Hill for the first time in four decades; and much of the credit was due to the energized, precinct-level army fielded by religious right groups, especially the Christian Coalition. Taking a cue from the GOP and the new House Speaker, Newt Gingrich who had paved the way for the Republican sweep with the "Contract With America," the Coalition quickly released its own religious-social agenda. It was known as "The Contract With the American Family" -- and it called for "A constitutional amendment to protect the religious liberties of Americans in public places."

In its "Contract," Coalition strategists claimed, "With each passing year, people of faith grow increasingly distressed by the hostility of public institutions toward religious expressions," and cited what it claimed were numerous "Examples of hostility toward religious values and those who hold them..." The CC then proposed a Religious Equality Amendment; House Speaker Gingrich turned the job of wording the legislation over to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Illinois).

The religious groups, though, quickly began fighting over the wording of the proposed amendment, and soon there were two competing versions, each supported by different organizations. Hard-liners said that the Hyde version was not sufficiently strong in its language. Both versions were constantly modified, and in 1996, one rendition introduced by Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Oklahoma) appeared and became known as the Religious Freedom Amendment. Backers of the RFA have attempted to rally support behind their version, saying that it has the "best chance" of being enacted. In March, 1997, a new effort was underway to move the Religious Freedom Amendment through the labyrinthian House Judiciary Committee. It was then shuffled for a round of hearings (there have been at least two other sets of hearings, as well) to the Constitution Subcommittee, where it was amended again, this time in a proposal introduced by Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-Arkansas) That version now reads:

"To secure the people's right to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: Neither the United States nor any State shall establish any official religion, but the people's right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage or traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed. Neither the United States nor any State shall require any person to join in prayer or other religious activity, prescribe school prayers, discriminate against religion, or deny equal access to a benefit on account of religion."

Critics charge that certain portions of the proposed amendment -- such as the not establishing religion or compelling people to participate in a religious activity -- is, at best, gratuitous; and they warn that the RFA has the effect of isolating and coercing non-believers or others who may not wish to participate in public displays of faith. And they see the final portion of the proposed measure, which prohibits denying "equal access to a benefit on account of religion," as a key to the public treasury, and a way of putting churches and other religious groups on the payroll for public subsidies.

Is the RFA Dead, or Dormant?

The Religious Freedom Amendment (in any of its versions) has never cleared the full House Judiciary Committee for a full vote of the House of Representatives. But the FAC reports says that according to Forest Montgomery, counsel for the office of governmental affairs at the National Association of Evangelical, RFA is back again on a legislative "fast track," because Mr. Gingrich "has promised that a prayer bill would eventually come up for consideration."

But American Atheists President Ellen Johnson is skeptical. "They don't have the votes," Johnson told aanews earlier today. "Nothing has changed since the the end of the last session that we're picking up, and if a vote were held today on the floor of the House, the RFA would be turned down." Johnson cautioned, though, that separationists need to be vigilant, and that hoopla over the Religious Freedom Amendment should not distract attention from other issues, such as the "religious persecution" legislation also being promoted by various interfaith organizations.

A Greater Role for Gary Bauer, FRC

Then why is there any movement in the Judiciary Committee over the RFA? The answer may rest with the growing political clout of Gary Bauer and his Family Research Council, a $60-million-a-year think tank and activist group head quartered in Washington, D.C. FRC spun off from James Dobson's Focus on the Family, and has emerged in the last year as a major power broker in religious right circles. Some observers say that FRC is even eclipsing Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, especially since the departure of former CC Director Ralph Reed. Reed has now established his own political consulting firm based in Atlanta, Georgia, where he plans to run election campaigns for religious right candidates.

Bauer and the FRC represent a wing of the religious right that has increasingly grown disenchanted with the inclusive, "bit tent" philosophy of the Republican Party. Bauer, while retaining contacts and ties with the GOP, nevertheless insists that key Republicans like Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott have sacrificed the religious right's social and cultural agenda for a platform of tax cuts and other economic policies designed to woo votes. This segment of the right splits with traditional conservatives, moderates and libertarians over issue such as the role of government in banning abortions, enacting a school prayer amendment, putting controls on media and other "culture war" issues.

Last Month, Bauer and the FRC organized key religious right activists and groups into a "Statement on Religious Freedom and the Right of the People to Acknowledge the Creator," as well as an effort to reenergize the push for passage of the Religious Freedom Amendment. Citing the controversy in Alabama where a federal judge has declared that state's school prayer law to be unconstitutional, a violation of state-church separation, the Statement called for a two-pronged strategy, legislation that:

Endorsing the Bauer-FRC Statement were:

Legal experts who signed on to the Bauer declaration included:

What's Ahead for RFA?

Which version of the RFA -- the Istook proposal, or the slightly modified rendition as amended by Congressman Hutchinson -- will come up for full Judiciary Committee review is uncertain. The former remains on a special web site operating out of the office of Rep. Istook, funded by public monies (

While backers may not have the votes to pass the RFA during the second session of the 105th Congress, they may nevertheless still push for a floor vote. The reason for that action would be to get as many representatives as possible "on record" so that their votes may be included in "voters guides" which have become an effective political organizing tool of groups like the Christian Coalition. Those who vote against RFA would be described as being "against religious liberty" or "the right of children to pray in our schools."

But for Bauer and other religious right movements, the Religious Freedom Amendment, or some form of prayer-in-government legislation, remains more than just a convenient political tool at election time. For atheists, RFA poses a serious threat to state-church separation; for the religious, it is a way of legislating their goal of "one nation under God."

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Yea or Nay for
Ten Commandments
in Green Bay?

County Officials Schedule Vote
for Commandments Display
Even a Majority Vote May Not Make the Practice Constitutional
by Conrad Goeringer
from AANEWS by American Atheists

January 23, 1998

Bowing to efforts by a religious activist group, officials in Brown County, Wisconsin voted 20-3 on Wednesday to hold a popular referendum on the November 3 election ballot to gauge public sentiment over a proposal to display a copy of the Ten Commandments.

Although the referendum would not be binding, this latest development culminates a six-month effort by religious groups, including the Christian Family Association, to place Decalogues in every courthouse throughout the state. CFA is based in Alabama, and was inspired by the controversial case of Etowah County Judge Moore, who has attracted national attention for his display of a hand-carved Ten Commandments plaque as well as his policy of opening court proceedings with a Baptist invocation. Moore has the support of CFA, Alabama Governor Fob James, and national groups such as the Christian Coalition.

Dean Young, executive director of the religious advocacy group, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper,">Officials had originally rejected CFA's request; the group then launched a petition drive. Observers suggest that the popular referendum is the Board's strategy of avoiding responsibility in rejecting the proposal as an unconstitutional violation of state-church separation.

Young said that Christian Family Association is launching similar efforts throughout that state, and in South Carolina, Indiana, Ohio and Idaho. He told the Journal that Brown County, "will be the first county in the United States where people will have an opportunity to say, 'We want the Ten Commandments in our courthouse, we want to acknowledge God in our courthouse.'"

Among the three Supervisors voting against the referendum proposal was Joan Mills; she told reporters that the measure was a clear violation of the First Amendment, adding "My hope is that the referendum will fail overwhelmingly, and most people believe that it will." Noting the role of Christian Family Association, she added, "I also objected to it because I don't think we should give credence and credibility to a group we don't even know."

Speakers were evenly divided over the merits of the proposal. And both sides in the issue expect a legal challenge to block the vote, or -- if it is held -- challenge the implementation of a "yes" decision.

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Colorado Atheist Challenges Cross;
Government May "Circumcise" Symbol
by Conrad Goeringer
from AANEWS by American Atheists

January 23, 1998

Colorado American Atheists Director Margie Wait has contacted officials to challenge a Christian cross located in Horsetooth Mountain Park; and her efforts have produced not only the usual list of responses, but perhaps one of the most outrageous attempts to "secularize" the symbol.

In a letter to Larimer County Attorney George Hass, Wait noted that a four-foot-high cross was erected on the Soderberg Trail of the public park as a memorial to an individual who had died in a climbing accident in 1987. "We think that the cross, which is the preeminent symbol of the Christian religion, symbolizing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, belongs in a religious cemetery or on church property and not on public property." She then cited legal decisions, the recent action of the U.S. Army to demolish a 37-foot-tall Christian cross that had been erected at Kolekole Pass on the Schofield military barracks in Hawaii, and the dismantling of the cross at Skinner's Butte in Eugene, Oregon.

"We respectfully request that the Christian cross in Horsetooth Mountain Park on the Soderberg Trail be immediately removed," wrote Ms. Wait.

That prompted a terse, three sentence reply from County Attorney George Hass, who said that, "This issue is under advisement."

Based on responses to previous complaints of this nature across the nation, officials usually respond in one of several ways. Rarely, they agree to remove the cross, knowing that they may well lose in the courts and be wasting money in a cash-strapped period of budgetary cut-backs. They can try to "sell" the cross and the property on which it sits -- a strategy used by San Francisco officials trying to defend the transfer of the Mt. Davidson cross to an ethnic group. Or, as is common, they can insist that the cross "is not religious," but instead is a "memorial" or "part of the history" of a community.

But County Attorney Hass came up with a more ingenious scheme which he is allegedly considering, according to a report published in the Ft. Collins Daily Reporter-Herald. Hass is considering "several options," including a form of circumcision where the tip of the cross would be removed so that it forms a "T." Other possibilities reportedly involve arguing that the cross is really just a warning for rock climbers that they need to be cautious while hiking in the area, or suggesting that the cross is a "memorial and does not represent the county's position on religion."

Wait expects to hear back from the County Attorney shortly, and said that she hopes the matter can be resolved without expensive litigation which the government may very well lose.

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News Flash:
Alabama Court Supports Moore

Alabama Supreme Court
Upholds Moore on Decalogue
Five Justices Excuse Themselves In Case
by Larry Mundinger (with Gonrad Goeringer)
from AANEWS by American Atheists

January 23, 1998

Details remain sketchy, but late this afternoon, the Alabama Supreme Court voted in favor of Judge Roy Moore, the Etowah County officials who displays a hand-carved Ten Commandments plaque in his courtroom, and opens proceedings with a Baptist invocation.

Preliminary reports indicate that only four of the nine justices cast votes, and five excused themselves from the case. Carol Faulkenberry of Gadsden, Alabama, who is part of the Freethought group which had originally challenged Moore, said that the decision vacated an order by Judge Charles Price that found the Decalogue display to be an unconstitutional violation of state-church separation.

We hope to provide you with more details this weekend.

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Alabama: Moore Can Keep
10 Commandments
United Press Interenational

January 24, 1998

Montgomery, Alabama (UPI) -- The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that Judge Roy Moore of Gadsden, Ala., may continue to open court sessions with prayer, and that he may continue to keep a plaque of the Ten Commandments on the wall of the Etowah County courtroom. The decision was 4-0, with five justices recusing themselves from the case.

There is no immediate word on whether the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will appeal the decision. The ACLU maintains the actions represent government-endorsed religion.

Moore and his supporters, including Alabama Gov. Fob James and state Attorney General Bill Pryor, say the circuit judge is exercising his individual freedom-of-religion rights.

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Moore, Decalogue Win --
For Now -- By Default

Alabama Ruling:
Temporary Win For Judge Moore,
But Basic Issues Remain Unanswered
Two Rulings From That State's High Court Based On Technical Points
by Larry Mundinger and Carol Faulkenberry
(with Conrad Goeringer)
from AANEWS by American Atheists

January 24, 1998

Yesterday's rulings which appear to support the cause of controversial Alabama Judge Roy Moore were base on technical points rather than fundamental constitutional issues. In two separate decisions, Alabama Supreme Court Justices found that Governor Fob James and Attorney General Bill Pryor had no legal standing to bring their lawsuit in the Moore case; that finding thus permits Moore to continue posting a copy of the Ten Commandments in his Etowah County courtroom, and beginning court proceedings with a religious invocation.

James and Pryor had hoped to elicit a ruling which, in effect, endorsed Moore's practices. But the Alabama high court decision noted, "As between the state and Judge Moore, there exists no controversy, whatever -- not even a contrived one. This is not what lawsuits are about."

The court also warned, "We will not, however, allow the judiciary of this state to become a political foil, or a sounding board for topics of contemporary interest."

Justices then addressed a second action which had been initiated by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Alabama Freethought Association. Those groups had sued State Chief Justice Perry Hooper, arguing that as Alabama's highest jurist, he had the authority to order a stop to Judge Moore's courtroom religious displays. The high court, however, disagreed, saying that while the Chief Justice is the administrative head of the court system, he lacks specific authority concerning Moore's Decalogue posting, and the Baptist prayer which opens the court sessions.

Both the governor and the attorney general expressed pleasure with the Alabama ruling, although they were disappointed that the case still failed to resolve the fundamental legal and constitutional issues. "We have to await another lawsuit, Pryor told the Huntsville Times newspaper.

The ruling has the effect of vacating a lower court decision involving Circuit Judge Charles Price. In 1997, he ruled that Moore's practices were unconstitutional, and said that the Ten Commandments could stay in the courtroom only if they were "secularized" by the addition of other historical documents.

This morning, Carol Faulkenberry -- an AFA activist and opponent of Judge Moore's courtroom decorum -- said that she had still not seen a copy of the actual ruling, but was disappointed with the outcome. Faulkenberry noted that the two cases involving Moore were legally convoluted, then added, "I'd like to see somebody do something to stop this mess."

The vote in the cases reflected the political volatility of the issue. The ruling was endorsed by five members of the nine-person court, with no dissenting votes. Justice Ralph Cook authored the verbal ruling, which was signed by Justices Janie Shore and Reneau Almon. Justices Gorman Houston and Hugh Maddox agreed with the ruling, and Maddox said that he felt that Judge Moore's Decalogue display and opening prayer were nevertheless constitutional.

The Huntsville Times newspaper noted that, "The seats held by Houston, Shores and Almon are up for election this year, although Almon has announced he will not seek reelection. Houston is running and Shores has not decided."

Temporary Victory For Moore? Another Lawsuit?

Friday's decision sends the whole question of Judge Moore and state-church separation back to square one. A new lawsuit would need to be filed by a resident of Etowah County, Alabama, and it could be years before the issue is resolved. AFA sued Judge Moore in April, 1995, only to have that suit dismissed from the federal courts three months later by U.S. District Judge Robert Probst, who said that the members lacked standing.

Supporters of Judge Moore are already interpreting the state ruling as a victory, and the decision may energize the growing nationwide effort to post copies of the Ten Commandments in government venues, including courthouses, school classrooms and public offices.

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Court Tosses Out
Ten Commandments Lawsuits
Reuters News Service

January 26, 1998

Montgomery, Alabama (Reuters) -- The Alabama Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Gov. Fob James over the Ten Commandments, telling the governor in clear terms: Thou shalt not embroil this court in politics.

The court Friday also dismissed a suit by the American Civil Liberties Union, which contended that Chief Justice Perry Hooper had the authority to order Circuit Judge Roy Moore to remove the Ten Commandments, which are posted on his courtroom wall.

The Alabama governor had countersued, asking the state's highest court to allow the commandments to stay permanently affixed to the wall of Moore's courtroom in Gadsden, Alabama.

The justices said the suits never should have been filed. "We will not allow the judiciary of this state to become a political foil or a sounding board for topics of temporary interest," Justice Ralph Cook wrote.

Circuit Judge Charles Price had ruled in November that the Ten Commandments and Moore's practice of inviting local clergy to his courtroom for prayers violated the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the government from establishing a religion.

Moore appealed that decision to the state Supreme Court, which has not yet taken up the case but has allowed him to continue displaying the Ten Commandments in the meantime.

The governor's lawsuit was in support of Moore and contended religious freedom, also guaranteed by the Constitution, was at stake.

The governor has already threatened to send the National Guard to Gadsden to prevent removal of the Ten Commandments. Gadsden is located in northeast Alabama, about 80 miles west of Atlanta.

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Fob James Sent Packing!
by Conrad Goeringer

November 4, 1998

Perhaps the brightest spot in last night's electoral tussle was in Alabama, where incumbent Governor Fob James failed in his bid for another term. James is nationally known for his combative stance on behalf of prayer in public schools and display of Christian iconography such as the Decalogue in government buildings. Gov.-elect Don Siegelman, a moderate Democrat, courted Alabama's religious voters, but failed to win the support of the state's powerful Christian Coalition due to his proposal for a state lottery in order to raise money for education. With an estimated 35,000 members throughout Alabama, this is a major setback for Christian Coalition. James won only 42% of the popular vote. We'll miss Fob James, who provided us with so much copy in describing the "Alabama prayer wars." He will live in our minds and clip files, though, as the governor who threaten to mobilize the state's national guard, police and even the University of Alabama football squad in order to defend against any "federal" order putting a stop to the posting of the Ten Commandments in county courtrooms.

  • Index: Prayer and Arrogance in Alabama
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    Panel finds Judge Moore
    may have broken ethics laws
    by Jay Reeves
    The Associated Press

    June 3, 1999

    Gadsen, Alabama -- Roy Moore is a small-town circuit judge, but his legal fight to keep a Ten Commandments plaque hanging in his courtroom generated big money as he traveled the nation telling audiences about his Christian crusade.

    While Moore railed against an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit to remove the display, volunteers took up donations for the "Judge Roy Moore Fund." A television preacher from Florida sent letters stating he had given $30,000 for Moore and needed more from donors.

    The appeals worked: The fund had raised "well over" $100,000 two years ago, founder Dean Young said Thursday. But the money has come back to haunt Moore.

    The Alabama Ethics Commission voted 5-0 that there was probable cause to believe Moore violated state ethics law, which prohibits public officials from using their offices for private financial gain. Director Jim Sumner said members believed Moore spent money on more than legal expenses and used the "mantle of his office" to solicit funds.

    Sumner said the panel consistently has ruled that public officials cannot create legal defense funds because of the potential for conflict. For example, he said, attorneys who appear before a judge or businesses seeking state contracts could feel obligated to contribute.

    The commission sent the case to Attorney General Bill Pryor, a Republican like Moore who has publicly supported the judge's right to display the plaque, including filing legal pleadings backing the judge and attending a 1997 rally for Moore on the state Capitol steps. Pryor now must decide whether to take the ethics case before grand jurors or find no justification for further legal action.

    Pamela Sumners, an ACLU attorney in Birmingham, said Pryor should disqualify himself because of his outspoken support of Moore's cause.

    The ethics panel's director said the law gives the attorney general another option. "If they have a conflict, they can send it back to us," he said.

    Pryor said he had not seen the ethics referral and could not comment on it. But he said that while he spoke at the 1997 rally for Moore, he had not spoken at any fund-raiser.

    Asked about his ability to handle the case, Pryor said, "I will handle it professionally."

    If charged with a crime and convicted of a felony, Moore could face up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine under Alabama's ethics statute.

    In an interview in his courtroom between hearings Thursday, Moore denied personally raising money or receiving any money from the fund, which he said is maintained solely by his attorney. Moore said he is being persecuted for his defense of Christianity.

    "If you acknowledge God in public, you're going to have stiff opposition," said Moore, seated beneath the hand-carved plaque of the Old Testament laws. "This is an effort by some, I believe, to stop the message."

    Moore's personal views had nothing to do with the commission's decision on Wednesday, Sumner said. "The message or the cause is irrelevant to this commission," he said.

    The ACLU challenged Moore's courtroom practices in a 1995 federal lawsuit that was dismissed. But the controversy was fanned anew by a lawsuit filed by Pryor and then-Gov. Fob James' legal advisor seeking to have Moore's practices declared legal.

    Instead, a state judge ordered Moore to remove the Ten Commandments plaque or alter its display. The Alabama Supreme Court eventually dismissed the case on technical grounds without resolving the issue. But the fight had generated wide attention.

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution in support of Moore, and Alabama's two Republican U.S. senators filed briefs supporting the judge. James threatened to call out the National Guard if needed to keep the plaque from being removed.

    Conservative broadcasters and television preachers also latched onto the case in support of Moore, who was soon flying all over the country speaking to Christian organizations. Young, a supporter and former spokesman for Moore, said he created the fund to help Moore.

    Moore said he never accepts honorariums for speeches, and that groups that invite him to speak "generally" pay his expenses. But Young said the fund was paying at least some of the judge's travel expenses when Young last controlled it two years ago.

    "I would go to the engagements and tell people if they wanted to contribute to the Judge Moore Fund, they could," said Young. "He never had anything to do with the fund."

    Moore said the fund is now run by his attorney, Stephen Melchior of Cheyenne, Wyo. Workers at the Etowah County Courthouse said Thursday that they regularly receive checks from Wyoming to pay part of the long-distance telephone bill for Moore's office. In April alone, records show Moore's office placed 27 calls to Melchior, most of which came during business hours.

    Sumner, the Ethics Commission director, said there "were indications the fund was being use for more than legal defense," but he declined to elaborate.

    Moore said he purposely stayed away from the money, but that did not extend to blocking the use of his name in fund-raising. D. James Kennedy of the Florida-based Coral Ridge Ministries mailed letters that included a photograph of Moore with his family as it sought money for the judge.

    "I certainly am not required to discourage anyone from contributing to the fund," Moore said.

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