January 11, 2006

Ten Commandments judge to run for Alabama governor

By Verna Gates

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - Former Alabama Chief
Justice Roy Moore, who was fired in 2003 for refusing to remove
a Ten Commandments monument from a state courthouse, officially
entered the race for Alabama governor on Wednesday.

Moore, 58, a fundamentalist Christian who supports school
prayer and opposes gay marriage, paid a $1,927 fee to register
for November's gubernatorial race at the state Republican Party

He is attempting to wrest Alabama's top job from Bob Riley,
a pro-business Republican. Riley has not officially registered
to run again, but has announced he will seek re-election,
setting up a showdown with Moore in the June 6 primary.

Moore made headlines in 2003 when he defied a federal
judge's order to remove a 5,000-pound (2.3-tonne) display of
the Biblical Ten Commandments from a public area in the state
judiciary building in Montgomery.

A federal judge ruled that the stone marker, installed by
Moore and his supporters in 2001, violated the constitutional
ban on government promotion of religion.

Moore, who was elected chief justice of the state Supreme
Court in 2000, contended the order was unlawful because it
countermanded his constitutional obligation to acknowledge God.
The standoff ended when state officials removed the display.

Moore later was dismissed from his position on Alabama's
high court by a specially convened panel of mostly retired
judges but he has become a hero of the Christian right.