Alabama Voters Support Displaying Ten Commandments on Public Properties

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
November 7, 2018Politics

Alabama voters have approved a constitutional amendments regarding the display of the Ten Commandments on public property.

The majority 71.8 percent of voters in Alabama supported the “Alabama Ten Commandments Amendment, Amendment 1,” meaning they are letting the state constitution allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed on public property, which includes public schools and government buildings.

This would mean that the Ten Commandments can be shown on public property as long as it is in a way that “complies with constitutional requirements,” such as being posted alongside historical documents.

The amendment was on the ballot in Alabama on Nov. 6 as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, which means that Alabama lawmakers opted to put the decision before voters.

“Do the people of Alabama want to acknowledge God, the God of the Old and New Testament, the Christian God? Do we want to acknowledge the God that our nation was founded upon?” said Dean Young, chairman of the Ten Commandments Amendment political action committee, AP reported.

Young said he had been fighting for the amendment for 17 years.

“Alabamians will vote, they will reckon on that day with God how they vote on this, that’s how serious this is,” Young said previously, AP reported. “Either we stand for God or we won’t.”

Supporters of Amendment 1 say it will encourage schools and towns to post the Ten Commandments. One promoter, Dean Young, says the amendment sends a message that Alabama wants to “acknowledge God,” the Associated Press reported.

The amendment will also add to the state’s constitution the following three statements about religious rights:

  1. “Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his or her own conscience.”
  2. “No person shall be compelled to attend, or, against his or her consent, to contribute to the erection or support of any place of religious worship, or to pay tithes, taxes, or other rates for the support of any minister of the gospel.”
  3. “The civil and political rights, privileges, and capacities of no person shall be diminished or enlarged on account of his or her religious belief.”

The support for the amendment comes more than a decade after Roy Moore, the chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court at the time, refused to follow a court order to remove a 5,280-pound stone slab of the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the state judicial building in Montgomery in 2003. Following this, Moore was ousted by state judicial authorities.

He previously unveiled the stone in August 2001 without prior knowledge of the other justices in the Alabama Supreme Court.

Roy Moore in Alabama in 2017
Roy Moore speaks during a campaign event in Fairhope, Alabama on Dec. 5, 2017. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Moore was the Republican nominee in Nov. 2017 in the Senate special election in Alabama to fill the seat that had been vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but lost to Doug Jones (D). In the same month, nine women accused him of sexual misconduct, allegations that he has denied.

Randall Marshall of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama said the amendment doesn’t signify any major change, because the displays have to follow certain constitutional restrictions, according to AP.

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