Roy Stewart Moore was born on February 11, 1947 in Gadsden, Alabama. The oldest of five children, Moore learned about honesty, integrity, and the truth about God’s love from his father.
Moore served as a military police company commander in Vietnam and after leaving the army as a captain in 1974, was admitted to the Alabama School of Law in Tuscaloosa and graduated in 1977 with a Juris Doctor degree.
In 1984, Moore went into private practice in Gadsden and eight years later became a judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Alabama. He served in that position until his election as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2000.
In 2003, Moore was removed from his post for failure to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state courthouse despite contrary orders from a federal judge.
The former Chief Justice ran and lost the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2006 against Governor Bob Riley; however, he has announced his candidacy as a Republican for Governor of Alabama in 2010.
Moore penned his autobiography called So Help Me God about four years ago and is closely associated with the Foundation for Moral Law, which handles many Freedom of Speech cases nationwide, especially pertaining to religion. He and his wife Kayla have four children: Heather, Ory, Caleb, and Micah.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Judge Moore, let’s start off by talking about your platform. What is your plan to fund education?
Judge Roy Moore: Well, the funding of education is very difficult and, as we all know, every candidate running for governor now recognizes that especially in 2011 there is going to be a shortage of the General Fund. They’ve basically raided the entire rainy day fund and other contingent funds in Montgomery and the revenues have been falling. Proration has been declared this year and many times in the past.
I think we’re going to have to look at cutting part of the state bureaucracy in education and doing that it’s going to be difficult with the opposition of the Alabama Education Association. But, I think we’ve got to look at other alternatives. I think we need to look at how charter schools might help, independent funding from scholarships and granting organizations, tax credits… these things could be used to help fund education.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Do you have a plan for decreasing the dropout rate in high schools?
Judge Roy Moore: Well, the dropout rate is exorbitant. You don’t need to drop out of school if you can avoid it. A lot of that is up to the parental structure that is received at home. I think that too often we don’t involve the parents in our education system. Local school boards need to be involved. I don’t think the education system today addresses the concerns young people have. Too many of them complete their education in high school and then don’t have the skills to get jobs.
I think technical training could be increased in high school to give kids the necessary technical skills. I’m very familiar with the education system. I had one child just graduate this year from high school. I have another who just left for school this morning who’s in the 10th grade. My oldest boy graduated just a few years ago, as did my daughter. So, I’ve had many kids go through the education system. I know that when they graduate and they don’t have skills to get a job, it’s very frustrating.
I think we underestimate our children because when they graduate from school they want to be productive members of society. Most of them just don’t want to lie around the house and do nothing. They want to get out and get a job and they don’t have the skills; computer technology, electrical, mechanical, welding, etc. They really need technical training to be offered in the high schools. I think that would help lower the dropout rate.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Ron Sparks is running on a gambling/lottery platform. He wants some of that revenue go into funding college scholarships. What do you think about that idea?
Judge Roy Moore: When you start turning to gambling to fund schools you’re just defeating your own purpose. There are a lot of repercussions to gambling. You not only increase the crime rate, but you have illegal drugs, and other things in the community. You actually lose funding in the long run with gambling because initially it does provide some funds for education allowing the legislature to withdraw their support for historical and traditional means of funding education. So, I think it is counter productive.
One of the biggest drawbacks of that is right now, especially in Montgomery, a lot of people don’t have voice in the government. The old Latin phrase, “vox populi” which means “voice of the people,” is something that most people think they have in government. But, right now their voice in government is greatly controlled by special interests. With gambling you have one of the biggest special interest groups found in the country. And I think that would be a very destructive way to approach the problem. I think it increases immorality, I think it actually decreases funding in the long run.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Do you believe that gambling is a sin?
Judge Roy Moore: Well, it’s basically something that historically has been termed immoral. It’s not up to me to determine what is a sin and what is not a sin… there are a lot of sins around. But, it is a very destructive thing to the culture. As I said, it would lessen people’s representations in their legislature because they would not have a voice.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Do you have a plan to fund Medicaid?
Judge Roy Moore: Well, Medicaid, like everything else… I think the system of granting certain vouchers at Medicaid could help. In other words, Medicaid funding depends on how much the government spends and I think that they get a certain portion back from the federal government, according to a very complicated formula.
And I think that possibly a voucher system could allow people to buy their own insurance and health insurance. I think that might be able to help. But, it is an ongoing problem with the economy, like everything else.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Can you tell us about the Foundation for Moral Law?
Judge Roy Moore: The Foundation for Moral Law, of which I’m President, basically writes “amicus curiae” (“friend of the court”) briefs in federal district court cases needing United States Supreme Court decisions regarding religious liberty and regarding constitutional issues such as right to keep and bear arms.
We are operating out of Montgomery, Alabama, we’re self-funded, and have been running for a number of years. We employ attorneys to teach and educate the people about constitutional issues. We write articles and we also have a teaching ministry to educate people on the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; what it means, where it comes from, the value of it to individuals.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Would you consider yourself a Christian Nationalist?
Judge Roy Moore: Christian Nationalist… I don’t very well deal in labels. I don’t know… what is a Christian Nationalist?
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Well, basically, they believe in a revisionist history that holds that the founders of the country were devout Christians who never intended on creating a secular republic. They do not believe in separation of church and state.
Judge Roy Moore: I’ve never heard of anything like that. If you’re a Christian, you either believe in Christianity or you don’t. I’m a Christian, if that’s what you mean, but I don’t know… I avoid all forms of labels because the way I believe is personal and the issues that are involved in political campaigns today do not involve how you believe about your faith.
I mean, everybody’s got beliefs that they adhere to. We all live under the same law that is the United States Constitution, the supreme law of the land. It does not differentiate between what you believe; in fact, the law deals in what you do, not what you believe.
So, the right to individual consciences is one of the very basic fundamental for the First Amendment. It has nothing to do with government. Government deals in what you do and it doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist, Buddhist, or whether you believe in Hinduism. You are treated equally under the law.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Do you feel that God’s law supersedes man’s law?
Judge Roy Moore: The supreme law of our land is the United States Constitution, stated in Article 7. That is the supreme law of the land. The Declaration of Independence states in its first sentence about God’s law and it’s termed “the organic law of our country.” People interpret God’s law different ways.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Do you think that the Alabama constitution needs to be reformed? Counties can’t even decide their own local issues because the legislature has to pass the local laws.
Judge Roy Moore: Well, I think that some people have claimed that the Alabama Constitution is racist and other things. But, if you look back in history in 1986, I think it was, and the first attempt of the Alabama Legislature to write a new constitution was defeated by none other than Oscar Adams, the first black on the Alabama Supreme Court.
And the reason that it’s so long… if you’ve ever examined the amendments… have you ever looked at the various amendments?
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): I have and I believe that the Alabama Constitution is the longest one in the United States (and the world). Is that correct?
Judge Roy Moore: It’s got a lot of amendments. Do you know why? To get around the prohibitions and restrictions on raising taxes on property and individual income. I’ve dealt with the Alabama Constitution and I know that if special interests control the Alabama Legislature, then special interests would control the Alabama Constitution and rewrite it. And I think it’s very dangerous.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Is that why you voted against Alabama Amendment 2… a proposal to remove segregationist provisions and racist language from the Alabama Constitution?
Judge Roy Moore: Who said I voted against Amendment 2?
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): That’s what I have read on several internet…
Judge Roy Moore: Well, you read wrong.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): I see. You didn’t vote against it?
Judge Roy Moore: I don’t ever recall… when are you talking about?
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): That was about five years ago in 2004.
Judge Roy Moore: No, I didn’t vote against it. Was it against interracial marriages or something?
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): No, it was the segregationist language in the Alabama Constitution talking about separate-but-equal segregated schools, among other things…
Judge Roy Moore: That has been defeated by the United States Supreme Court. I don’t ever remember voting against something that the United States Supreme Court has already said was unconstitutional. I don’t know of any amendment that tried to reinstitute “separate-but-equal” schools. So, no, I did not vote…
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): It was not trying to reinstate “separate-but-equal.” Alabama Amendment 2 was trying to take that language out of the Alabama Constitution.
Judge Roy Moore: I’ve never opposed taking that language out because the United States Supreme Court has ruled it unconstitutional. So, it has no affect now whatsoever. I mean, taking the language out would do nothing to change the constitution because it’s not applicable legally now. You do recognize that, don’t you?
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Do you have a position regarding interracial marriage?
Judge Roy Moore: Am I for it? It’s legal.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Well, it had to be voted on to become legal.
Judge Roy Moore: It’s absolutely legal. It’s right for people to marry who they want.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Do you feel that homosexuality is a sin? Do you think it should be a crime in Alabama?
Judge Roy Moore: I think we’re far off of the point about political standing in the campaign for governor. I think we’re talking about moral issues, what I feel about this moral issue and that moral issue…
And it’s very obvious that I’ve written numerous briefs and legal opinions on the law, on homosexuality specifically. I wrote an opinion on it… feel free to go to that opinion, and get that opinion and research it and if you find that there is anything that is out of conformity with the law… the way I feel about moral issues has nothing to do with ruling on the law. I go by the law and that’s what I did.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): You know, I feel like all of that… a person’s character and how they feel about moral issues are very relevant tor someone who may end up in the governor’s office. So, I think that all of it should be brought into consideration.
Judge Roy Moore: I’ve opposed same-sex marriages. In fact, the majority of Alabama citizens have opposed same-sex marriages, have they not? Are you against it?
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): As a journalist, I’d rather not voice my opinion here.
Judge Roy Moore: Well, you know we have an amendment against same-sex marriages. It says that a marriage is between one man and one woman. I support that.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Do you feel like the ACLU is truly dedicated to removing the knowledge of God from the United States?
Judge Roy Moore: Yes.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): So, you don’t think they serve the purpose of protecting individual rights that are guaranteed to them in the constitution?
Judge Roy Moore: I don’t know what they are totally about. You asked me if they opposed the knowledge of God and I think they do, yes. I think if you asked them, they would say they did, too.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Regarding abortion, are you pro-life in every case including rape and endangering the health of the mother?
Judge Roy Moore: I’m pro-life. As it stands right now, abortion has been legalized by the United States Supreme Court in Roe vs. Wade. I think Roe vs. Wade was based on an illegal basis or wrongful basis, I should say. I would think that it needs to be re-examined and some definite change needs to occur in abortion policy.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville); What are your feelings about President Obama’s health care plan?
Judge Roy Moore: I oppose Obama’s health care plan, as do most Alabamians. Right now we’ve got problems in the health care system. Without a doubt, I think there are a lot of fraud and corruption and a lot of things that make it difficult for people.
But, I think that it’s still better than the system they have in Canada or England. A lot of people come from there to here to get medical care because they can’t get it where they are. I understand the wait in the doctor’s office in Canada was something like 9 hours.
Of course, that’s a debate that’s going on in Congress right now and I just think there is a lot of outcry against changing the system. I don’t think you have a choice.
It was touted that you don’t have a choice in health care, but that’s if you still had a private health care system. Once you dropped it you’d be condemned to go under the government health care system and I think that’s against individual liberty and an intrusion by the government into private enterprise. I think it’s going to be defeated and I think that it’s not much need to talk about it since it’s not going to go anywhere.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Do you know how your platform differs from Tim James’s platform?
Judge Roy Moore: Well, I’m sure there are a lot of differences in our platforms. But, I’m not going to get into criticizing another candidate.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Who, in your opinion, would be the Democratic frontrunner?
Judge Roy Moore: Again, that would be just my personal opinion. I don’t know. I know there are two of them right now; Ron Sparks and Artur Davis. I don’t believe anyone else is running.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): How do you feel about the recent Chuck Norris endorsement?
Judge Roy Moore: Well, I appreciate anybody that endorses me (laughs). But, frankly, he’s pretty well known…I do appreciate his endorsement.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): What character traits do you feel that you’d bring to the governor’s office from your experiences as a Circuit Judge and as a Chief Justice?
Judge Roy Moore: Understanding of the law. Every executive, judicial, and legislative official for the state and federal government are sworn to uphold the law.
For 15 or 20 years I’ve been writing on the law and studying the law and I think not all of the candidates have been able to do that. I think that understanding where the law came from, what it’s about, understanding the Bill of Rights is important.
Leadership… I’ve been in the military. I understand that you lead by example and you have to understand the delegation of authority to have an effective administration and I think I could do that.
Melissa Parker (Our Pratville): What would be the first thing that you would do if you were to be elected Governor of Alabama?
Judge Roy Moore: I’d end annual reappraisals of property. That is one of the first things I would do. I think it was implemented just to raise money. I think it’s a burden on taxpayers and homeowners and on businesses. It impedes the economy and I think it should be ended. I think we should go back to reappraisals every four years, as was the system before the present Governor took office.
Melissa Parker (Our Prattville): Would there be any particular bills you would try to pass in the beginning of your term?
Judge Ray Moore: I’d like to strengthen the ethical standards. Right now I don’t think that taking money from special interests is a good thing. I know the present Governor has tried to pass bills strengthening the ethical standards and I think that should be done whether it be the first thing I do or not remains to be seen. But, I think that’s one of the things I’d be interested in seeing done.
When the special interests control how legislators vote, you lose your vote. You don’t have a voice in your government and I think that’s going on in a large scale in Alabama.
Interview by Melissa Parker
© 2009 Our Prattville. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written consent of the publisher.