Local Christians back Commandments
A CALL TO ACTION Members of the Russell Baptist Church choir lead supporters in praise and worship songs on the steps of the Alabama Judicial Building during a worship service on Sunday. SUBMITTED PHOTO
By Janet McDonald / staff writer
Sept. 6, 2003
It was not your average evening worship service for members of Russell Baptist Church.
Many of them traded the comfort of padded pews in an air-conditioned sanctuary on Sunday to sit in the hot sun on the hard concrete steps in front of the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery.
After a challenge from the Rev. Clay Chancelor, church members decided to move their worship to the steps of the building where the controversy erupted last month over a Ten Commandments monument
The 5,300-pound monument was placed in the building's rotunda two years ago by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.
A federal judge, however, ruled last year that the monument's placement violated the Constitution's ban against government promotion of religion. Moore was ordered to remove it.
But only after eight associate justices voted to remove it in the face of potential fines against the state, the monument was moved to another part of the building out of public view.
Moore was recently suspended by an Alabama ethics commission for ignoring the federal order; he could be permanently removed from the bench. He plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Answering the call
During a recent Wednesday night service, Chancelor asked church members about their thoughts on the issue.
Several members felt their rights as Americans and Christians were being taken away. They suggested the church take some form of action and not just watch the events unfold.
He said he believed if action was not taken, the United States would continue on a moral decline. He said he believes the state of the nation is similar to that of Jerusalem in Nehemiah Chapter 4.
Chancelor said he believes that the Ten Commandments issue is a "trumpet call" from God to Christians to take a stand for the word of God.
Other trumpet calls
In 1973, in the case of Roe vs. Wade, abortion became legal in the United States of America.
Chancelor estimated 150-200 people responded Sunday to his challenge to "put feet to their faith." A convoy of 20-25 vehicles including church buses and vans, left the church at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Service in Alabama
Church services began with the Russell Baptist Church choir leading worshipers in several praise songs. Two guitarists from the church provided music for the event.
Chancelor took the stage to commend Justice Moore for his stand. Chancelor encouraged Christians to take a stand for what they believe in and not sit idly by waiting on someone else to make a difference.
Since returning, Chancelor said he has received tremendous feedback.
Chancelor said he believes the trip accomplished several things for the a church body.
Trip renews faith
Chancelor said he personally feels renewed and refreshed since returning from Montgomery.
As for future plans to get involved in the issue Chancelor said he is waiting to see what happens to Moore.