Voters in Alabama overwhelmingly approved the public display of the Ten Commandments Tuesday.
The vote adds an amendment to the state’s Constitution which reaffirms religious liberty for all people, allows the display of the Ten Commandments according to certain “constitutional” standards, and forbids the expenditure of public money in defense of the amendment or the displays it authorizes.
The measure, favored by more than 71 percent of Alabama voters, reads, “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, providing for certain religious rights and liberties; authorizing the display of the Ten Commandments on state property and property owned or administrated by a public school or public body; and prohibiting the expenditure of public funds in defense of the constitutionality of this amendment.”
The amendment’s leading advocate, Dean Young, heralded its passage as a watershed moment for the state. He said, “The people we were hearing from are super excited to have this opportunity to go down in history as the first state to acknowledge that we want God, that is the Christian God, in their Constitution. This is the first time in the history of the country that a state has taken such a stand in acknowledging the God of the Old and New Testament.”
Young, a resident of Orange Beach, served as a strategist for Judge Roy Moore’s 2017 run for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions after his appointment as Attorney General. Moore came to national prominence in the 1990’s after controversy erupted over his display of the Ten Commandments in his Etowah County courtroom.
After his election as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore made national headlines again when he installed a 5,200 pound Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building in Montgomery.
The ACLU of Alabama promised that they will not let the display of the Ten Commandments go unchallenged. They said that the amendment’s “passage will encourage public bodies to erect constitutionally questionable religious displays featuring the Ten Commandments and give officials false comfort that they will be safe from costly litigation as a result. They will not be.”
The Amendment’s sponsor, Senator Gerald Dial, believes its passage represents an important statement about American values. He said, “I think this sends a strong message not only to the state but to the whole nation that this country is founded upon the principle of the Ten Commandments, and I think it will be a step forward.”
Scott Slayton writes at One Degree to Another.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Joe Raedle/Staff