By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, June 30, the President of the Southern Poverty Law Center Richard Cohen publicly demanded that Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) fire the director of legal staff for the Administrative Office of Courts, Win Johnson, for a letter he wrote to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R). In the letter, Johnson suggested that Alabama officials should somehow defy Friday’s US Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges declaring that marriage is a fundamental right and that the states are obligated to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.
President Cohen said in a written statement: “Chief Justice Moore should insist that Win Johnson, the director of the legal staff of the Administrative Office of Courts, resign his position immediately in light of the letter Mr. Johnson wrote in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in the same-sex marriage case.”
Cohen concluded, “No one who urges resistance to the Supreme Court’s ruling and who claims that ‘[p]ublic officials are ministers of God assigned the duty of punishing the wicked and protecting the righteous’ should be serving as an official in the Alabama court system. The fact that Mr. Johnson says his letter was directed to all Alabama officials, not just the governor, makes the letter more outrageous, not less. To maintain the integrity of the Alabama judicial system, Chief Justice Moore must act immediately.”
Director Win Johnson said in his letter to Governor Bentley that Jesus Christ came to save the world by His death and resurrection and, “Came to advance His Father’s kingdom, not watch man run rampant upon the earth as if Christ had never come. As if it were the days of Noah!”
Johnson wrote that, “Public officials are ministers of God assigned the duty of punishing the wicked and protecting the righteous.” Johnson said that Bentley, “Cannot serve two masters; you must pick – God or Satan.”
Johnson went on to say that, “The criminal laws against homosexual sodomy are for the protection of the righteous, particularly the young, the weak, the vulnerable, who need the law to teach them right from wrong when in a vulnerable state. The US Supreme Court, although it claims to have done so in 2003, cannot take something that God calls a crime and declare it not a crime.” For most of Alabama’s history, sexual relations between members of the same sex were treated as criminal activity. A 2003 decision by the US Supreme Court declared that states had exceeded their authority and struck down laws criminalizing such behavior.
Johnson warned, “We’re facing something even worse now, the civil government taking a new step and actually requiring the approval and sanctifying by the state of an evil behavior,” by requiring that states give marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
According to Johnson, obeying the ruling would mean the state of Alabama would be protecting “so-called marriages of same sex couples …[a]gainst those who think their lifestyle is evil. That’s you and me, bible-believing Christians, the Church, etc.”
Johnson asked, “Public official, what will you do? Will you stand up for the law of Alabama, for the people, for the weak and vulnerable, for the law of God? Or will you capitulate? Will you become complicit in the takeover by the wicked?”
Gov. Bentley, who strongly objected to the ruling, previously conceded to reporters: “I must follow the law.”
Johnson responded, “Law? What law? There is no law anymore, there’s just opinion. One day this, one day that. When the law becomes merely the opinion of a handful of people on the courts, there is no longer any law. There is tyranny. There is chaos. But there is no law.”
Johnson compared public officials who obey the court ruling because the court ordered it to “the Nazi war-crimes trial defense.” “My superiors (or the courts) told me to do it,” Johnson stated. “You’re not standing for the rule of law when you capitulate to a law that defies God and exposes people to the wicked. You’re just a coward making excuses!”
Johnson accused gay marriage advocates of being, “Those who would rend the society apart with their denial of what’s good and evil?”
Johnson advised state officials, “Your duty is to stand against the ravages of a superior authority that would go beyond its rightful power and force upon the people something evil. That’s what the founders of our country did when Parliament exceeded its powers. That’s what the Puritans in civil government in the 1600’s did when the King exceeded his powers.” Both of those actions led to lengthy and bloody wars: the American Revolution and the English Civil War.
Johnson wrote, “On Judgment Day, you won’t stand in front of the media, the advocates of ‘Equality,’ or even the federal courts; you’ll stand before the King of Kings, the Judge and Ruler over the Kings of the Earth, Jesus Christ. His law is not subject to the vote of man, and He, as the good and loving author of that law, does not exempt any nation from it.”
Johnson concluded, “Don’t acquiesce to the takeover (actually the takedown)! Use your authority and every legal angle to oppose the tyrants! If necessary, just say, ‘No.’ It is not rebellion for you to say, ‘Your interpretation of the Constitution is wrong, beyond your authority, and detrimental to this nation.’ In fact, it’s your duty. You’re not opposing the rule of law, you’re upholding it by saying that.”
Friday’s ruling has been widely criticized by conservatives.
US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his dissent to the controversial decision, “A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.
“The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003.”
The Montgomery based Southern Poverty Law Center has represented same-sex couples in their pursuit of marriage rights. Chief Justice Moore has been an outspoken critic of the legal theory behind the redefinition of marriage by the courts.
As of press time, Chief Justice Moore has not fired Director Johnson.