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Tag Archive | "Kentucky"

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Kentucky: A Year in Jail for Not Believing in God?

Posted on 27 November 2012 by Emperor

Democratic state Rep. Tom Riner sponsors law that the Kentucky state Supreme Court has refused to review.

More evidence of creeping Christian Law? I’m sure Robert Spencer and company will be all over covering this encroachment on the separation of religion and state.

What if they were Muslim?

A Year in Jail for Not Believing in God? How Kentucky Is Persecuting Atheists

AlterNet / By Laura Gottesdiener

In Kentucky, a homeland security law requires the state’s citizens to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God–or risk 12 months in prison.

November 21, 2012  |   In Kentucky, a homeland security law requires the state’s citizens to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God–or risk 12 months in prison.

The law and its sponsor, state representative Tom Riner, have been the subject of controversy since the law first surfaced in 2006, yet the Kentucky state Supreme Court has refused to review its constitutionality, despite clearly violating the First Amendment’s separation of church and state.

“This is one of the most egregiously and breathtakingly unconstitutional actions by a state legislature that I’ve ever seen,” said Edwin Kagin, the legal director of American Atheists’, a national organization focused defending the civil rights of atheists. American Atheists’ launched a lawsuit against the law in 2008, which won at the Circuit Court level, but was then overturned by the state Court of Appeals.

The law states, “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 that plaques celebrating the power of the Almighty God be installed outside the state Homeland Security building–and carries a criminal penalty of up to 12 months in jail if one fails to comply. The plaque’s inscription begins with the assertion, “The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”

Tom Riner, a Baptist minister and the long-time Democratic state representative, sponsored the law.

“The church-state divide is not a line I see,” Riner told The New York Times shortly after the law was first challenged in court. “What I do see is an attempt to separate America from its history of perceiving itself as a nation under God.”

A practicing Baptist minister, Riner is solely devoted to his faith–even when that directly conflicts with his job as state representative. He has often been at the center of unconstitutional and expensive controversies throughout his 26 years in office. In the last ten years, for example, the state has spent more than $160,000 in string of losing court cases against the American Civil Liberties Union over the state’s decision to display the Ten Commandments in public buildings, legislation that Riner sponsored.

Although the Kentucky courts have yet to strike down the law, some judges have been explicit about its unconstitutionality.

“Kentucky’s law is a legislative finding, avowed as factual, that the Commonwealth is not safe absent reliance on Almighty God. Further, (the law) places a duty upon the executive director to publicize the assertion while stressing to the public that dependence upon Almighty God is vital, or necessary, in assuring the safety of the commonwealth,” wrote Judge Ann O’Malley Shake in Court of Appeals’ dissenting opinion.

This rational was in the minority, however, as the Court of Appeals reversed the lower courts’ decision that the law was unconstitutional.

Last week, American Atheists submitted a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the law.

Riner, meanwhile, continues to abuse the state representative’s office, turning it into a pulpit for his God-fearing message.

“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 said.

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Mayfield mosque plan OK’d months after rejection

Posted on 11 November 2010 by Emperor

Mayfield mosque plan OK’d months after rejection

MAYFIELD, Ky. — City officials in Mayfield have unanimously approved a request to use a building as a mosque.

The Mayfield Board of Zoning Adjustment approved the petition Tuesday from Khadar Ahmed after rejecting the same request over the summer. Board members said they turned down the August request over concerns about limited parking around the small commercial building near the city’s downtown.

Hundreds showed up for that meeting, but The Paducah Sun reported that no one spoke against the petition Tuesday.

“I think some reason and common sense had settled in on the minds of the community. And I think the community as a whole wanted to do the right thing,” said Bill Deatherage, a Hopkinsville attorney who represented Ahmed at the meeting.

The board rejected the first zoning request when opposition to a planned Islamic Center in lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center site was in the news.

Many of the 250 people at the August meeting cheered when the proposal was rejected, the newspaper reported.

Ahmed made the request on behalf of a group of Somalis who moved to Graves County to work in a chicken-processing plant. The American Civil Liberties Union got involved after the petition was initially rejected, Deatherage said.

Deatherage said he was asked by the ACLU to represent Ahmed due to concerns of religious discrimination.

Deatherage said Tuesday that most of the comments at the meeting were positive about the mosque. He said one speaker read a statement that said the “eyes of the nation” were on Mayfield.

Information from: The Paducah Sun,

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