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Extremist Leaders Join Ten Commandments Protests

A wide range of extremists attended rallies supporting Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and his Ten Commandments monument.

After a federal judge ordered a Ten Commandments monument removed from the rotunda of the Alabama State Judicial Building in August, Christian Right activists from around the country came to Montgomery, Ala., for two weeks of protests. They were joined by a gallery of radical right extremists, who used the occasion to promote their own causes.

On Aug. 16, as an estimated 2,000 supporters of the monument rallied on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol, anti-abortion zealot Neal Horsley, known for his Nuremberg Files Web site calling for trials of "abortion doctors," distributed the latest issue of his Abortion Abolitionist newsletter.

The lead story, "Let Them Be Shown Bullets," suggested that government officials like Florida Gov. Jeb Bush might be killed in retaliation for the impending execution of Paul Hill, who murdered a gynecologist and his escort in 1994.

Along with Christian Right stalwarts Alan Keyes and Jerry Falwell, perennial Constitution Party presidential candidate Howard Phillips (see related story, 'Our Terrible Swift Sword') spoke at the rally, calling on President Bush to nominate Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who installed the Ten Commandments monument without the knowledge of other justices in the middle of the night, for the next U.S. Supreme Court opening.

Phillips, who has advocated Christian Reconstructionism — which would institute Old Testament law in the United States — proclaimed that the federal courts have "no authority to restrict the establishment of Biblical religion in the State of Alabama."

The neo-Confederate movement was also well represented, with scores of rebel flags on T-shirts and in pamphlets handed out on the Capitol grounds during the big rally. The white supremacist League of the South, which called the Ten Commandments ruling "the essence of federal judiciary tyranny," promoted state's rights at its own rally on Aug. 20.

Though the League recently claimed 15,000 members, only 45 showed up in Montgomery, including president Michael Hill and Mississippi's John Thomas Cripps, who also heads the Free South group. The League called on Alabamians "to unmercifully hound" the "craven public officials" responsible for removing Moore's monument.

Olaf Childress, a neo-Confederate activist from Mobile, handed out his tabloid, The First Freedom, which praises former Klan leader David Duke and decries the "Jew World Order."