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Atheists sue to take God out of state's terrorism law

 
 
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 11:11 am
Posted on Tue, Dec. 02, 2008
Atheists sue to take God out of state's terrorism law
By John Cheves
herald-leader

An atheists-rights group is suing the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security because state law requires the agency to stress "dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth."

American Atheists of Parsippany, N.J., and 10 non-religious Kentuckians are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, set to be filed Tuesday in Franklin Circuit Court.

Edwin Kagin, a Boone County lawyer and the national legal director of American Atheists, said he was appalled to read in the Herald-Leader last week that state law establishes praising God " and installing a plaque in God's honor " as the first duty of the Homeland Security Office.

The state and federal constitutions both prohibit government from getting involved in religion, Kagin said Monday.

"This is one of the most outrageous things I've seen in 35 years of practicing law. It's breathtakingly unconstitutional," Kagin said.

Gov. Steve Beshear's office had not seen the suit and therefore had no comment, spokesman Jay Blanton said.

The requirement to credit God for Kentucky's protection was tucked into 2006 homeland security legislation by state Rep. Tom Riner, D-Louisville, a Southern Baptist minister.

"This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky," Riner said last week.

Riner said he expects Homeland Security to include language recognizing God's benevolent protection in its official reports and other materials " sometimes the agency does, and sometimes it doesn't " and to maintain a plaque with that message at the state's Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort.

In the suit, American Atheists argues that Homeland Security should focus on public-safety threats rather than promote religion. The suit notes that the federal and state homeland security agencies were created as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by Muslim fundamentalists, and it refers to those attacks as "a faith-based initiative."

The plaintiffs ask for the homeland security law to be stripped of its references to God. They also ask for monetary damages, claiming to have suffered sleeping disorders and "mental pain and anguish."

"Plaintiffs also suffer anxiety from the belief that the existence of these unconstitutional laws suggest that their very safety as residents of Kentucky may be in the hands of fanatics, traitors or fools," according to the suit.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 1,235 • Replies: 14
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Merry Andrew
 
  2  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 11:26 am
How does a group from Parsippany, N.J. have any standing in a case which concerns only the State of Kentucky? Just wondering.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 11:47 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Quote:
The plaintiffs ask for the homeland security law to be stripped of its references to God. They also ask for monetary damages, claiming to have suffered sleeping disorders and "mental pain and anguish."

"Plaintiffs also suffer anxiety from the belief that the existence of these unconstitutional laws suggest that their very safety as residents of Kentucky may be in the hands of fanatics, traitors or fools," according to the suit.

This last part seemed a bit over the top. But maybe it was just an excuse to call them fools. Smile

But over all, the language in the law does seem to violate first amendment principles. Should be loads of fun in court.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 11:50 am
@rosborne979,
I agree.

BBB
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 11:51 am
@Merry Andrew,
Hey, if Kentucky aint safe, aint non of us safe.

0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 11:52 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Quote:
"This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky," Riner said last week.


So... if a terrorist attack happens in Kentucky does that mean God can't keep them safe either? What will the minister have to say then?
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 12:03 pm
@squinney,
Quote:
"This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky," Riner said last week.

So in response they recommend a public outburst of superstition which happens to conflict with the basic principles of the constitution. Good plan. . That should help. When in doubt, attack the underpinnings of US law. Brilliant.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 12:06 pm
They sure have got this all wrong....

Name me one Terrorist that wasn't acting on God's orders.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 12:11 pm
Quote:
The plaintiffs ask for the homeland security law to be stripped of its references to God. They also ask for monetary damages, claiming to have suffered sleeping disorders and "mental pain and anguish."


Ah, now it becomes clear. Say, let's see if we can get this turned into a class action and each and every one of us could get a few bucks from the Blue Grass State. I've been feeling a lot of mental pain and anguish over this infringement on my rights, not to even mention the insomnia.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 12:12 pm
@ebrown p,
Wasn't Son of Sam acting on Dog's orders?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 12:16 pm
@ebrown p,
Quote:
Name me one Terrorist that wasn't acting on God's orders.


Name you one? How about all of 'em, Rollo. Self-delusion doesn't count.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 12:18 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Quote:
Ah, now it becomes clear. Say, let's see if we can get this turned into a class action and each and every one of us could get a few bucks from the Blue Grass State. I've been feeling a lot of mental pain and anguish over this infringement on my rights, not to even mention the insomnia.

I'm feeling mental anguish too. Can I get a cut?
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 12:42 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
I'm feeling mental anguish too. Can I get a cut?


We're all in this together, ros. Let's start that class action suit right now. (Where's Debra Law now that we need her?)
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 12:47 pm
@Merry Andrew,
How much money does Kentucky have? We'll suck it dry. Mega-Churches cause me mental anguish too, and they're rich.
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 12:48 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Shhhh! We don't want to water down the award by having too many sign on.

I'm seriously thinking the mental anguish came from twisting all of this around to something that could be a law followed by twisting it into something that could be a lawsuit.

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