Judge Roy Moore, the Republican Party's Senate candidate in Alabama, received two high profile GOP endorsements on Tuesday from self-professed constitutional conservatives — despite his own iffy relationship with the First Amendment.
"Judge Roy Moore has spent a lifetime defending and standing up for the Constitution while fighting for the people of Alabama. We need more people in Washington, D.C. that will stand on principle and defend the Constitution," said Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky in his endorsement statement.
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who has often worked with Paul on important issues, also endorsed Moore.
The notion that Moore supports the Constitution may come as a surprise to people who are familiar with the First Amendment.
When he was sworn is as a judge in 2001, Moore declared that "God’s law will be publicly acknowledged in our court." He backed up this statement two years later, when he refused to follow a judge's order to take down a 5,200-pound statue of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building's lobby. This led to his forced removal from office, although he was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court again in 2012. During his inaugural address Moore declared, "We’ve got to remember that most of what we do in court comes from some Scripture or is backed by Scripture."
Moore's second term also ended prematurely, after he was permanently banned for asking state judges to not follow the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. Moore's hatred for homosexuals has a long history as well: Citing his religious beliefs, Moore argued in 2005 that "homosexual conduct should be illegal."
He has also urged discrimination against other groups on the basis of his faith. In 2006, he argued that the Constitution was founded on specifically Christian principles and that consequently Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Muslim, should not be allowed to serve.
By 2014, Moore was willing to explicitly state that he did not believe the First Amendment included protections for those who did not share his religious faith.
"Everybody, to include the U.S. Supreme Court, has been deceived as to one little word in the First Amendment called ‘religion.’ They can’t define it. They can’t define it the way Mason, Madison and even the United State Supreme Court defined it, ‘the duties we owe to the creator and the manner of discharging it.’ They don’t want to do that, because that acknowledges a creator god," Moore said.
He added, "Buddha didn’t create us. Mohammed didn’t create us. It’s the god of the Holy Scriptures."
Most notably, during a debate last month with his primary challenger Sen. Luther Strange, Moore proclaimed, "I want to see virtue and morality returned to our country and God is the only source of our law, liberty and government."