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Former Chief Justice Roy Moore Campaigns on Return to Morality

Gigi Douban

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore campaigns at a GOP gathering in Gardendale. He's seeking the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Luther Strange.

Out on the campaign trail, U.S. Senate candidate and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore defended his stance against same-sex marriage and religion in government on Monday night. Moore was the featured guest at a gathering of the North Jefferson County Republican Club in Gardendale. As an Alabama Supreme Court Justice, he was removed from the bench twice since 2003 – and for some, it’s helping cement his spot among the top three contenders in the August 15th Senate primaries.

Dozens of Republican voters noshed on pulled pork sandwiches and cornbread at a Jim ‘N Nick’s Monday night as Moore made the rounds greeting people and shaking hands.

Later, he told the crowd America is an immoral society. And the only way to change that, he said, is to go back to “God’s law.” Moore would, for example, tell President Donald Trump there’s no reason to discuss transgender rights in the military.

“We’re talking about something that would actually decimate the morale of the military,” he said.

A woman asked Moore about Shariah law, which is a framework of Islamic rules. She said she worries, for instance, about Muslims demanding breaks for prayer during the day. Moore said this is a problem.

“False religions like Islam who teach that you must worship this way are completely opposite to what our First Amendment stands for,” he said.

Moore has no regrets over the two decisions he made that led to his removal as an Alabama Supreme Court Justice – first refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse, and second, ordering state probate judges to keep enforcing a ban on same-sex marriage despite a federal Supreme Court ruling legalizing it. But it’s just that boldness that resonates with voters like Wanda Bennefield. She drove 45 minutes from Cullman to hear Moore speak.

“He sounds like what I was expecting and it just made me a little more sure that that’s who I’m wanting in there to help get us back on the right track,” she said. She’d always admired Moore, but she feared voting for him would mean a wasted vote. Seeing him in person changed her mind.

 Plus, she says the attack ads that have been flying between the other two leading candidates — Congressman Mo Brooks and incumbent Sen. Luther Strange – have turned her off to them.

But Moore didn’t win over everyone. Retired Navy commander Reggie Daniels left Monday’s event not feeling totally sold on any of the GOP candidates.  Daniels said he worries about Moore’s rocky history as the uncompromising Chief Justice Alabama’s Supreme Court, and how his actions might sit with the average American. Daniels said it’s a little familiar. “Well he kind of reminds me of Trump in a way, to be honest with you,” he said. “He’s a fighter. And that could be good, that could be bad.”

It just depends, Daniels said, on what he’s fighting for.

One of Moore’s opponents, 37-year-old Bryan Peeples, briefly spoke to the group, as did Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington, who is making a bid for governor.

Peeples and Moore are two of eight Republican candidates running in the Senate primary.