There’s a controversial Kentucky law on the books that requires all homeland security documents to recognize mankind’s dependence on God. The 2006 state law, some say, is more reminiscent of a Middle Eastern theocratic proclamation than it is a Western legal mandate.
The regulation was put into place by State Rep. Tom Riner, a Democrat from Louisville and a Southern Baptist minister. He put the contentious “Almighty God” language into law without much fanfar. But now, years after it was enacted, the clamor is intensifying.
Edwin Kagin, an atheist who is leading the legal charge against the law, says, “It’s outrageous.” Kagin contends that the regulation is unconstitutional by both Kentucky and the federal government’s standards. He claims that the state is forcing religion on its residents and on a federal agency.
“The Constitution states that there shall be no attempt by the government respecting an establishment of a religion and that’s precisely what (the law) is doing,” Kagin said.
“What if the law said we cannot be safe without reliance on Allah, perhaps, or the flying spaghetti monster or anything you could come up with?” he continued. “A law such as this is a step toward establishing a theocracy in our state.”
While some may see Kagin’s views on the matter as a bit excessive, others say the law’s elements are uncommon. The state’s Department of Homeland Security, for instance, is required to prominently display a plaque that reads, ”The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.” And the department’s literature, too, must pledge the same allegiance to a higher power.
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Riner (who’s also a Baptist minister) doesn’t agree with Kagin’s feelings on the matter and he believes that the state is acting within its legal bounds. ”The safety and security of the state cannot be achieved apart from recognizing our dependence upon God,” Riner recently told Fox News.
“We believe dependence on God is essential…What the founding fathers stated and what every president has stated, is their reliance and recognition of Almighty God, that’s what we’re doing,” he continued.
He holds the Declaration of Independence up as the inspiration for the regulation. ”In that document, it sets forth the need for men to understand that our protection, our rights come from God, not government,” Riner said. ”Trusting God is our heritage. We will not surrender that heritage, which is a heritage of looking to Almighty God for His blessing.”
Legal action first began back in 2008 after a news report about the law was published. Atheists won the first court battle in 2009, when Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate took their side. Then, a three-judge appellate reversed this decision during the last round of legal sparring back in October. These judges found that the law does not violate the constitution.
The coalition against the regulation, which includes American Atheists, a well-known non-profit atheist group, is planning to appeal the decision.
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(H/T: Fox News)