June 1215 by King John.
Recent photos of the 5,280-pound monument inscribed with the Ten
Commandments and 14 other texts that attest to the bond God has to
our laws and liberties and placed in the lobby of the Alabama
Judicial Building by Chief Justice Roy Moore reminded me of the
memorial at Runnymede.
The Magna Carta Memorial does not mention God as Moore's
courthouse memorial does but the document it honors vociferously
does. Like our own foundational charter of freedom, the Declaration
of Independence, its preamble acknowledges God as the ultimate source
of human law and liberty.
The preamble of that Great Charter of English Liberties concludes,
"Know ye that we, unto the honour of Almighty God, and for the
salvation of the souls of our progenitors and successors, Kings of
England, to the advancement of holy Church, and amendment of our
Realm, of our mere and free will, have given and granted ... these
liberties following, to be kept in our kingdom of England for ever."
The Declaration of Independence also establishes the tie between
human rights, laws, liberty and God. It begins with an appeal to "the
separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of
Nature's God entitle" a people. Then it asserts, "We hold these
truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they
are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that
among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The Magna Carta Memorial has stood in Runnymede for nearly five
decades. Moore's monument stands to be removed from public view, on
the order of Alabama's Supreme Court, "as soon as practicable."
Earlier this month an 80-year-old reader of this column named
Pauline called me to talk about the pending removal of Moore's
monument from his Alabama courthouse and her dismay at so many
efforts to dismiss God from our public life.
She was eager to let people know that Moore had supporters from
all over the country who were gathering in Montgomery to protest the
court order to remove the granite monument after U.S. District Judge