The New York Times has Judge Roy Moore’s back.
The Gray Lady came to the defense of the embattled chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in a piece by Emily Bazelon, the Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School. The backstory here is that a lowly federal district court judge, one Callie Granade, has imposed sodomy-based marriage on the state of Alabama, inexcusably disenfranchising all 697,591 voters who elevated protection for natural marriage to the state constitution in 2006.
Here are some key excerpts from Bazelon’s article:
But Moore’s frustration with the process by which gay marriage has arrived in his state, as opposed to the ultimate outcome, is understandable. The process has been peculiar. This is what has been at issue in Alabama since Jan. 23, when District Court Judge Callie V. Granade struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage. Districtcourt rulings, even if they’re about important matters of policy, usually affect only the people involved in the case in question.
...But in the case of Granade’s ruling on the gay-marriage ban, both the federal appeals court and the Supreme Court have stood aside, leaving Granade in the highly unusual position of remaking law and policy for the entire state of Alabama. Moore is telling state judges not to follow Granade’s order. To contest the statewide application of her ruling is a far more legitimate form of fist-shaking by a state official than contesting an order from a higher federal court would be.
If you don’t care much about process, then you probably don’t care that Moore has a point...[T]he objections Moore is raising are shared on the United States Supreme Court by Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia...
Roy Moore is right that on its face, Granade’s order doesn’t require state probate judges all over Alabama — who weren’t named in the case Granade heard — to issue marriage licenses. Granade merely instructed Alabama’s attorney general not to enforce the state’s same-sex-marriage ban. That means a probate judge could go along with her decision, as some have, (and as clerks of the court did in Florida, after a similar district-court decision there went into effect in January). But they don’t necessarily have to.
Sadly, while the most prominent newspaper in the country is coming to Judge Moore’s defense, Russell Moore, who speaks for the Southern Baptist Convention on matters of faith and public policy, is throwing him under the bus while continuing what seems to be a crusade to lead the denomination into unconditional surrender on issues of cultural engagement.
As quoted by the Christian Post, Dr. Moore wants Alabama’s probate judges to throw in the towel before the fight is even half over and either start issuing illegal same-sex marriage licenses or just quit. A probate judge who is determined to follow state law and the state constitution, Moore says, “would need to resign and protest it as a citizen.”
More sadly, Russell Moore’s position is predicated on a shallow understanding of Romans 13. "As citizens and as Christians, our response should be one of both conviction and of respect for the rule of law (1 Peter 2:13; Romans 13). Our system of government does not allow a state to defy the law of the land.”
Well, that is precisely the rub. The Bible does indeed teach respect for the law. The problem here is Judge Moore is the one who is upholding the rule of law, as even Bazelon admits. It’s homosexual activists masquerading as federal judges who are not. They are defying the law rather than abiding by it. A mature understanding of Romans 13 would lead probate judges to do exactly what Judge Moore has directed them to do.
Russell Moore’s Bible also contains the injunction, “We must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). Where does that verse fit in Dr. Moore’s analysis of things?
In the meantime, we can thank God for Franklin Graham, who said, in speaking of the culture war over marriage in Alabama, “No earthly court has jurisdiction over the infallible Word of God.”
In a late-breaking development, the Alabama Supreme Court has ordered every probate judge who issued licenses to same-sex couples in blatant defiance of the state constitution to explain himself. Probate judges have til next Wednesday (Feb. 18) to show up and justify their egregious disregard for the directive they received from Chief Justice Moore to actually follow the law rather than a misguided federal judge. The battle for natural marriage in Alabama is not over, not by a long shot.
Judge Moore and Alabama’s probate judges did not take an oath of allegiance to unconstitutional rulings by federal judges. They took an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Alabama. They should continue to act like it.