I was noodling around on Google yesterday, looking for articles about the anachronistic celebrity Roy Moore, when I ran across a 2005 article by Tim Noah at Slate that presented a piece of poetry drafted by the Ten Commandments Judge, who had just considered but then decided against a third-party run for president:

Babies piled in Dumpsters,

Abortion on demand,

Oh, sweet land of liberty;

your house is on the sand.

We’ve voted in a government

that’s rotting at the core,

Appointing Godless Judges

who throw reason out the door.

Too soft to place a killer

in a well-deserved tomb


But brave enough to kill a baby

before he leaves the womb.

You think that God’s not angry,

that our land’s a moral slum?

How much longer will He wait

before His judgment comes?

Pretty subtle, huh? The apparently ironic title of the poem, says Noah, was “America the Beautiful.” And it’s as good an example as I’ve seen of the seething hatred of this country harbored by a lot of Christian Right super-patriots. A slightly longer version of the poem posted by the Foundation for Moral Law, a group founded by Moore and currently headed by his wife, concludes with the threat that “A sad but Holy God [will] withdraw His hand from Thee” if America doesn’t shape up. This is Christian Right code for the idea that any misfortune suffered by America is attributable to the sodomites and baby-killers who have caused God to stop protecting the country–a sentiment which, when expressed by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson immediately after 9/11, got them into a lot of hot water.

The “rotten at the core” government just “voted in,” notes Noah, was the administration of one George W. Bush. Moore’s hostility to Team Bush went back at least to 2000, when in a Republican primary he beat the candidate for Chief Justice hand-picked by Karl Rove as part of his successful effort to use the conquest of the Alabama judiciary as a wedge to separate the state’s business community from the Democratic Party (perhaps Rove was too distracted from other duties in 2000 to pay attention to Alabama). So Moore himself was then, as he is today, an example of the sort of extremist brought into power by the southern strategy of the Republican Party. And he’s still furious.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.