Moore Turns Down Mississippi's Offer to Display Commandments

Alabama's chief justice, suspended for refusing to remove his Ten Commandments monument (search) from a courthouse rotunda, has turned down Mississippi's offer to temporarily move it to that state's capitol, a spokeswoman said.

Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (search) sent a letter to suspended Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (search) last week saying Mississippi would publicly display the monument for a week starting Sept. 7 and would encourage other governors to do the same.

But Moore turned down the offer, Musgrove spokeswoman Lee Ann Mayo said Wednesday.

"Justice Moore has decided to keep the monument in Alabama," she said.

For now, the 5,300-pound monument sits out of sight in the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery.

It was removed from public display in the building's rotunda last week to comply with a federal judge's order. Moore had defied that order, but his eight associate justices on the state's highest court voted to remove it in the face of potential fines.

Moore paid for the monument and wants to restore it to the rotunda. He claims the state Constitution expressly states that he must acknowledge the existence of God and has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The federal judge who had ordered the monument moved said its public display was an unconstitutional endorsement of religious doctrine by government.

"We hope the U.S. Supreme Court will override the federal court's decision," Mayo said.