In God We Trust: Kentucky Defends Law Requiring State Homeland Security Officers To Proclaim God’s Greatness

The lawsuit in Kentucky is working its way through the legal system contesting a 2006 state law requiring state homeland security material to recognize the necessity of faith in God for true security. State Rep. Tom Riner, an ordained Baptist minister, has defended the law out of his belief that “the safety and security of the state cannot be achieved apart from recognizing our dependence upon God.”

Under KRS 39A.285, the General Assembly found:

(1) No government by itself can guarantee perfect security from acts of war or terrorism.

(2) The security and well-being of the public depend not just on government, but rest in large measure upon individual citizens of the Commonwealth and their level of understanding, preparation, and vigilance.

(3) The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God as set forth in the public speeches and proclamations of American Presidents, including Abraham Lincoln’s historic March 30, 1863, Presidential Proclamation urging Americans to pray and fast during one of the most dangerous hours in American history, and the text of President John F. Kennedy’s November 22, 1963, national security speech which concluded: “For as was written long ago: ‘Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.'”
The law requires such things as a plaque that reads, ”The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”

KRS 39G.010(2)(a) further requires the executive director of the KOHS to:

Publicize the findings of the General Assembly stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth by including the provisions of KRS 39A.285(3) in its agency training and educational materials. The executive director shall also be responsible for prominently displaying a permanent plaque at the entrance to the state’s Emergency Operations Center stating the text of KRS 39A.285(3)[.]

The law is being challenged by Edwin Kagin and other atheists, but recently the state court of appeals ruled in favor of the state in a 2-1 panel decision. In the decision in Kentucky Office of Homeland Security v. Christerson, the panel ruled “We disagree with the trial court’s assertion that the legislation seeks to place an affirmative duty upon the Commonwealth’s citizenry to rely on “Almighty God” for protection of the Commonwealth. The legislation merely pays lip service to a commonly held belief in the puissance of God. The legislation complained of here does not seek to advance religion, nor does it have the effect of advancing religion, but instead seeks to recognize the historical reliance on God for protection.”

The weight of authority has supported references to God on currency and in ceremonial settings. Here, however, state officers are being instructed to proclaim God’s protection over Kentucky (it is not clear God’s protection extends to nearby states like Tennessee or Virginia). As noted in a recent column, the separation of church and state appears increasingly out of vogue with American politicians. We now appear to have (or be close to having) a majority of anti-separation Supreme Court justices who favor a type of state-supported monotheism. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a 2005 dissent that there is a clear majority on the court that opposes “the demonstrably false principle that the government cannot favor religion over irreligion.” He noted that “the three most popular religions in the United States, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam — which combined account for 97.7% of all believers — are monotheistic.”

Source: Blaze

22 thoughts on “In God We Trust: Kentucky Defends Law Requiring State Homeland Security Officers To Proclaim God’s Greatness

  1. Reagan was right, when he said that someday we’d reminisce about the time when Americans used to be free, but he had no idea in what ways we’d lose our freedoms.

  2. Italics are out of control
    The claim that “The legislation complained of here does not seek to advance religion” is not relevant. The Constitution does not forbid “advancing” religion, but “an establishment”.
    To say that the statement is “lip service” is to say it is hypocrisy.
    Is one free to say, after “paying lip service”, “But nobody believes that shit nowadays, you know, in my opinion.”?

  3. I think during the persecutions if you believed…..You could be saved…..oh…yeah…the belief had to be the way that you were being tried for….then again…not much difference….

  4. “The weight of authority has supported references to God on currency and in ceremonial settings.”

    That’s why we MUST rid our currency, pledge, etc. of religious references. They represent a kind of gateway drug to the madness Kentucky is attempting.

  5. I solemnly swear that Ahura Mazdā’s protection and my obeisance to him (a monotheistic god, actually the progenitor of Scalia’s 97%’s god) is necessary for me to keep my job!

    Personally I think this opens a class action lawsuit against god in KY. god continues to fuck up in protecting the poor, their civil rights, keeping away natural disasters and so forth. If you can bring a court action for blasphemy, why not a class action against god for breech of contract?

  6. Funny Jill, you don’t look Zoroastrian. You people are okay I guess, but I wouldn’t let one of you marry my daughter.

  7. Despite the assertions of Sen. Riner, I suspect that most of the good old boys in Kentucky prefer to profess their faith in Smith & Wesson for security.

  8. “The legislation merely pays lip service to a commonly held belief in the puissance of God.”

    Does it strike anyone else as odd that in the Appellate Court’s decision, the purpose of this legislation was to pay “lip service”. It seems to me that if
    people are legislating merely to pay “lip service” then they don’t deserve their pay. .Aren’t we all led to believe that Laws and Statutes are enacted to deal with issues of some weight. Perhaps this phrase is an indication that in Kentucky legislating is not really considered to be serious business.

  9. it seems to me, that made history of mankind, the performance of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost’s job ratings should be poor to failure. Except, if you were rich, a tyrant, or some fat priest. I wish I could say, God help us, but I figure that would be a waste of time.

  10. I try to invoke the Flying Spaghetti Monster for my security. For that reason, Italian restaurants are especially safe.

  11. Jay S.: Ye best take care in invoking the Noodly One! Doest ye not know of the importance of Pirates in His order for the world? An’ pirates be not so good fer yer security! Arrrrr!

    Mike S.: I know you didn’t mean anything in reality about Zoroastrians, but keep in mind that they are still around – I know a few, and those individuals happen to be exceptionally nice people. You could do a lot worse than having your daughter marry one of them!

    If the bill in question just had a sort of “sentiment of the legislature” paragraph that asserted this theological theory and cited those presidential speeches, then I could see the Appellate Court’s “lip service” line being not unexpected (if not really good law.) But given that the paragraph goes on to require that plaques be erected and that officials make certain statements asserting this theological theory, it’s way more than mere “lip service.” (Is it possible that the members of the Appellate Court sought to avoid doing the politically difficult thing, and intentionally set up the next level of appeal by writing such an odd/weak opinion?)

    And about that theological theory… Not all monotheists, and not all members of the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism/Christianity/Islam/Others) hold that God interferes in the world to grant “security” to certain people or nations as a reward for their piety (or for any other reason, for that matter). Could part of the appeal of this law/decision be to introduce the theological controversy and thus put the higher court in a position of ruling on a point of theology if it wants to uphold the law as written?

  12. “Mike S.: I know you didn’t mean anything in reality about Zoroastrians, but keep in mind that they are still around – I know a few, and those individuals happen to be exceptionally nice people. You could do a lot worse than having your daughter marry one of them!”

    Tomdarch,

    You may not be old enough to know this, but this phrase was in vogue in the 40’s and 50’s as people began to realize that there was a lot of prejudice against Jews and Blacks and it was wrong. They used this phrase to hide their own bigotry. I paraphrased the formulation because my aging brain, at the time I commented, didn’t remember how it really went. The phrase was “Some of my best friends are Jews (blacks, etc.), but I wouldn’t want one to marry my daughter”. It was then adopted ironically by comedians to indicate a clueless bigot.

    As far as Zoroastrians go, they are wonderful people, except those that follow Angrymainyu, and my daughter will marry who she damn well pleases.

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