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5 faith facts about Roy Moore: Evangelical in excelsis

If he's elected to the U.S. Senate he would become one of the nation’s most prominent evangelical torchbearers.

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore greets supporter Patricia Jones, right, before his election party Sept. 26, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala. AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

(RNS) — Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore just won the GOP Senate primary runoff. He has an excellent chance of becoming the state’s next U.S. senator, filling the seat left open when Jeff Sessions was appointed U.S. attorney general.

If Moore does, he would become one of the nation’s most prominent evangelical torchbearers. (He has already received the support of the Rev. Franklin Graham and the endorsement of evangelical radio personality James Dobson.)

Here are five faith facts about Moore:

1. Moore is a Christian nationalist.

He believes the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian nation and that the government should privilege Christianity (or Judeo-Christianity) over other religions when it comes to policy.

“The First Amendment was established on Christian principles, because it was Jesus that said this: ‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and render unto God the things that are God’s,’” Moore told Vox’s Jeff Stein.

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2. He’s best-known for twice being removed as chief justice of the state Supreme Court after conflicts arose between his religious convictions and the law.

In 2003, Moore was booted off the court after an ethics panel found that he disobeyed a federal judge’s order to take down a 5,280-pound granite statue of the Ten Commandments he had installed in the lobby of the state judicial building.

Undeterred, Moore ran 10 years later for another term as chief justice of the state Supreme Court and won.

In 2016, he urged state judges to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — defying the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage, a ruling he sees as unbiblical. This time the chief justice was suspended for the remainder of his term for violating the state’s canon of judicial ethics.

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3. Moore and his wife, Kayla, are Southern Baptists.

The couple attends First Baptist Church near their home in Gallant, Ala., about 50 miles northeast of Birmingham. But Moore is known to barnstorm Baptist churches across the state.

In 2005, seeking to intensify Christian influence over American public life, he appeared at the pastors meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

“Separation of church and state does not mean separation of God and government,” he told conventiongoers, who interrupted him with applause.

Moore is known for quoting from memory long passages from the Bible (along with the Declaration of Independence, and the writings of the Founding Fathers and their contemporaries).

His home is adorned with multiple sets of the Ten Commandments, including a plaque decorating the four-poster bed he shares with his wife.

4. Moore said Islam is a false religion.

His antipathy for the world’s second-largest faith has been long-standing.

In 2006, Moore criticized newly elected U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s decision to take his oath of office with his hand on the Quran. The Minnesota Democrat is a Muslim.

Moore went further, writing in a post for WorldNetDaily, “The Islamic faith rejects our God and believes that the state must mandate the worship of its own god, Allah.”

Earlier this summer, he earned a “Pants on Fire” from PolitiFact for suggesting there are U.S. “communities under Sharia law right now.”

And on the campaign trail, in response to a question about Shariah, Moore said: “False religions like Islam who teach that you must worship this way, are completely opposite with what our First Amendment stands for.”

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5. Moore denies the theory of evolution.

In a Washington Post interview, Moore said “There is no such thing as evolution.”

While he acknowledged that species might adapt to their environment, he said that had nothing to do with the origins of life described in the Bible.

“That we came from a snake?” he asked rhetorically. “No, I don’t believe that.”

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