When elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2000, Judge Roy Moore installed in his courthouse a monument with the Ten Commandments that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai carved into it.
Told by a federal court his monument violated the separation of church and state, Moore refused to remove it and was suspended — to become famous as "The Ten Commandments Judge."
Roy Moore is now the Republican candidate for the Senate from Alabama, having routed Sen. Luther Strange, whom President Trump endorsed and campaigned for.
Moore's primary win is a fire bell in the night for GOP senators in 2018. And should he defeat his Democratic opponent, the judge will be coming to Capitol Hill, gunning for Mitch McConnell.
Yet it is the moral convictions of the candidate that make this an interesting race for all Americans. For Moore is a social conservative of a species that is almost extinct in Washington.
He believes that man-made law must conform to the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," as written in Jefferson's Declaration of Independence.
If a law contradicts God's law, it is invalid, nonbinding. In some cases, civil disobedience, deliberate violation of such a law, may be the moral duty of a Christian.
Moore believes God's Law is even above the Constitution, at least as interpreted by recent Supreme Courts.
Homosexuality, an abomination in the Old Testament, Moore sees as "an inherent evil." When the high court, in Obergefell v. Hodges, discovered a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Moore, back on the Alabama court, defied the decision, was suspended again, and resigned.
Postmodern America may see the judge as a refugee from the Neolithic period. Yet, his convictions, and how he has stood by them, are going to attract folks beyond Alabama. And the judge's views on God, man and law are not without a distinguished paternity.
In his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Dr. King wrote: "(T)here are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'An unjust law is no law at all.'...
"A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law."
In his Declaration, Jefferson wrote that all men are endowed by their "Creator" with inalienable rights, and among these is the right to life.
Many Christians believe that what the Supreme Court did in Roe v. Wade — declare an unborn child's right to life contingent upon whether its mother wishes to end it — violates God's law, "Thou shalt not kill."
Throughout our history, people acting upon such beliefs have defied laws, and are today celebrated for it.
Abolitionists, in violation of laws they believed immoral, set up the Underground Railroad to help slaves escape to freedom. King believed that laws imposing racial segregation violated the American "creed" that "all men are created equal" and acted on that belief.
Thomas More is considered by Catholics to be a saint and moral hero for defying Henry VIII's demand, among others, that he endorse a lie, that the king's marriage to Anne Boleyn was not adultery.
Early Christians accepted martyrdom rather than obey laws of the Caesars and burn incense to the gods of Rome.
After Hitler took power in 1933, he authorized the eradication of "useless eaters" in the Third Reich. Those who condemned these laws as violations of God's law, and even attempted to assassinate Hitler in 1944, are today regarded as moral heroes.
Moore, should he win, is going to become an object of fascination in The Secular City. Yet his questions and concerns are those of the silent millions on the losing side of America's culture war.
Is the USA still a good and Godly country when 55 million abortions have been performed with the sanction of law in 45 years?
Do court decisions that force Christians to act against their religious beliefs have to be obeyed? What is the duty of Christians in a paganized and perverted society?
What is taking place today is a growing alienation of one-half of the country from the other, a growing belief of millions of Americans that our society has become morally sick.
Christianity and the moral truths it has taught for 2,000 years have been deposed from the pre-eminent position they held until after World War II, and are now rejected as a source of law. They have been replaced by the tenets of a secular humanism that is the prevailing orthodoxy of our new cultural, social and intellectual elites.
If elected, Judge Moore, one imagines, will not be rendering respectfully unto the new Caesar.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."