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Roy Moore says moral issues aren't his only fight

By Holly Hollman
DAILY Staff Writer 340-2445

ATHENS — Roy Moore came to Athens on Thursday with a Ten Commandments pin on his lapel and a penchant for spouting Scripture from memory.

That aspect of his personality gives him the churchgoers' vote for governor in the Republican primary against incumbent Bob Riley, said Madison Street Baptist Church pastor Mike Westmoreland, who attended Moore's speech.

Moore's platform, especially on taxes, will give him broad appeal among other Republicans, Westmoreland said.

Moore spoke at Southern Buffet to an audience that included ministers and churchgoers who referred to him as "Brother Moore" and "Judge Moore" and said, "Amen," when agreeing with his message.

That message included his stances on moral issues.

He spoke openly against abortion for any reason and gambling, and in support of Bible readings in schools and the choice of students and staff to pray publicly in schools.

Moore said government should not teach faith or make someone pray, but it should support anyone's right to acknowledge the "sovereignty of God."

He said there are ethical problems with stem cell research, but he said he has not taken a stand on that issue.

"I don't think we have a problem with that now in Alabama," he said.

Moral issues aren't his only fight, Moore said.

Moore, the former state Supreme Court chief justice who lost that job in November 2003 for refusing to follow a federal judge's order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building, said he's not a single-issue candidate.

"I won't be bringing the Ten Commandments back to Montgomery," he said. "They've got a home at Coosa Valley Church. I'm not about religion at all. I'm about God."

Issues he would address as governor include working with private and religious organizations to rehabilitate prisoners, stopping annual property-tax reappraisals and pushing for term limits for legislators.

Although Moore doubts whoever is elected will see a $500 million education surplus that legislators currently are arguing over how to spend, he would support returning it to taxpayers.

"They're going to spend every bit of it and ask for more next year," Moore said of legislators. "I think it should be returned as a tax rebate."

Moore said he would also push legislators to protect Alabama workers from those who don't pay taxes. Moore said he would propose legislation to punish people and businesses who hire illegal aliens. He said employers should conduct background checks to make sure their employees are legal.

"They're hiring illegal aliens for their own profit," Moore said. "They're taking advantage of the fact that they are illegal, and they can save money by giving them low wages and not pay Social Security like they would an Alabama citizen."

Moore said his platform is built on his desire to return government to the people.

"People don't determine what comes out of Montgomery now," Moore said. "Special-interest lobbyists do. You can't get to your legislator without tripping over a lobbyist."

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