Official Response by the National Atheist Party denouncing Kentucky anti-terrorism law.
A Kentucky anti-terrorism law is the subject of a lawsuit headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The law states that Kentucky's security "cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon almighty God." It goes on to decree that a plaque which contains the Bible verse: "Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain" be posted at the Office of Homeland Security and that failure to do so can result in up to a year in prison.
The original law, KRS 39G.010 et al, was introduced and passed in 2002. State representative Tom Riner - a Baptist minister - sponsored the addition of the plaque and its penal consequences in 2006. Since then, the law has been challenged as unconstitutional in Kentucky courts. The law was ruled such in the Circuit Court, but this decision was reversed by the Kentucky Court Of Appeals. The next step was the Kentucky Supreme Court, but they have refused to hear the case. American Atheists have now petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review the original lawsuit.
Rep. Riner has made headlines and headaches over the past few years, most notably for sponsored legislation concerning support for displaying the Ten Commandments in public buildings. When The New York Times asked him about the original court challenge, Riner said, "The church-state line is not a line I see..." "What I do see is an attempt to separate America from its history of perceiving itself as a nation under God."
He has been accused of using the state representative's office into a Christian proselytizing tool, while working to marry the his religion with the state government of Kentucky. Riner told Fox News, "The safety and security of the state cannot be achieved apart from recognizing our dependence upon God."
"Rep. Riner should be impeached immediately," declared Troy Boyle, President of The National Atheist Party (NAP). He further said that "Rep. Riner, in common with other evangelists, suffers from an inaccurate delusion that the Founding Fathers intended this country to be a Christian nation. What is unsettling about that belief is that a cursory glance at historical texts from the period reveals that the Founding Fathers wanted the exact opposite; a secular nation of plurality and tolerance for all faiths - including none at all."
This sentiment was echoed by Judge Ann O'Malley in her dissenting opinion concerning the Kentucky Court of Appeals reversal. Judge O'Malley wrote,
"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." The court found that the law was in violation of Kentucky's constitution.
The National Atheist Party, American Atheists, atheists in general, and all US citizens who understand the safeguards of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause await the US Supreme Court's declaration will attest that this law is blatantly unconstitutional and must be immediately struck down.
The National Atheist Party is a non-profit, 527 political organization devoted to issue advocacy and guided by the values of secular humanism and evidenced-based reasoning. The party seeks to politically represent U.S. atheists and all who share the goal of a secular government by gathering the political strength of secularists nationwide. To learn more about the party, visit www.usanap.org.
National Atheist Party
Public Relations and Marketing
Jason Dixon, Public Relations
P.O. Box 371
Florence, KY 41022