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 t old 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.
Link to original article from AlterNet
Page 7 of 15
When we look at states where the Affordable Care Act is working best, it’s tempting to first turn attention to traditionally “blue” states like California,Washington, and Connecticut.
But let’s not overlook Kentucky, where Gov. Steve Beshear (D) has committed himself to implementing the law – and “Obamacare” is being implemented so effectively, it’s starting to make an enormous difference in the lives of families that need the help. Stephanie McCrummen published a terrific piece over the weekend on developments in Breathitt County.
On the campaign trail, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was...
Steve Benen | MSNBC.com 25 Nov 2013 Hits:502 Kentucky
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul told a largely black audience Monday in Louisville that he will push to restore the voting and gun-ownership rights of felons who have completed their sentences — and he will urge state Senate Republicans to follow his lead.
Currently in Kentucky, felons must petition the governor to get their voting rights restored.
“I am in favor of letting people get their rights back, the right to vote ... Second Amendment rights, all your rights to come back,” he said. “I know of one man who 30-some-odd years ago...
Joseph Gerth | The Courier-Journal 23 Sep 2013 Hits:860 Kentucky
Are new signs emerging that Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader and Kentucky Republican, is staring at the beginning of the end of his political life?
McConnell faces re-election in November 2014. That’s a lifetime in politics, but a mid-July poll by a nationally known and reputable firm, Public Policy Polling, has found the Democrat challenger, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, led McConnell by one point—45 percent to 44 percent—in his sixth U.S. Senate race.
The poll found that a slim majority (51 percent) of Kentucky voters disapproved of his...
Steven Rosenfeld | AlterNet 02 Aug 2013 Hits:710 Kentucky
Members of the Democratic group Progress Kentucky were behind a leaked recording of a private conversation among Sen. Mitch McConnell and his campaign staff about potential rivals, a local Democrat alleges.
The tape was not made by bugging the Republican senator’s office but by standing in the hallway while the conversation occurred, Jacob Conway, a member of the executive committee of the Louisville/Jefferson County Democratic Party, told news organizations.
told Louisville NPR affiliate WFPL that Shawn Reilly, Progress Kentucky’s executive director, and Curtis Morrison, a former spokesman for the group, had boasted to him about making...
Rachel Weiner | The Washington Post 12 Apr 2013 Hits:468 Kentucky
Judd adviser Jonathan Miller on the small coterie of state Democrats who duped the national press and helped nudge her out of the Senate race.
“We’d like to have you join us this afternoon for a discussion on the Ashley Judd campaign,” the young national talk show producer chirped into my phone. ”We understand that she will be announcing her candidacy within the next 24 hours.”
“I’d love to join you,” I responded. A recovering politician never turns down 15 minutes.) “But, uh, I’m pretty sure, uh, she’s not announcing.”
I looked over to the left...
Jonathan Miller | Daily Beast 01 Apr 2013 Hits:585 Kentucky
Actress Ashley Judd is seriously looking at trying to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2014, according to a new report from Politico’s Manu Raju.
But for Judd, the odds against her are massive. Indeed, if she ran and won, it would likely register as the biggest upset ever for a celebrity politician.
A cursory look at the history of celebrities and athletes who run for political office reveals that most of them either (1) lose or (2) win lower-profile races like mayor or House...
Aaron Blake | The Washington Post 04 Dec 2012 Hits:1080 Kentucky
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...
Laura Gottesdiener | AlterNet 27 Nov 2012 Hits:1216 Kentucky
I'm a veteran of nine years in the U.S. Army infantry. My dad was in the military and I grew up on army bases. Both my grandfathers served in the military, too.
But despite my service and more, I do not have the right to vote here in Kentucky, one of just four states that take away voting rights from all former felons even after they've served their debt to society.
I pay taxes, but I'm not represented. Effectively, I'm not a citizen because citizenship ...
James Snyder, Jr. | Lexington Herald Leader 17 Mar 2012 Hits:1078 Kentucky
Berea, KY--A new study estimates that in 10 years Kentucky could create over 28,000 jobs while lessening the growth of electricity bills by passing clean energy legislation currently in front of the General Assembly. Synapse Energy Economics produced the study, which is an analysis of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act (HB 167) introduced by Representative Mary Lou Marzian.
“This study confirms that legislation to diversify our electricity portfolio would be economically beneficial to Kentucky,” said Justin Maxson, President of the Mountain...
Kristin Tracz | Mountain Association for Community Economic Development 12 Jan 2012 Hits:663 Kentucky
Wall Street and Big Coal corporations have no better friend than Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), the "prince of pork" and powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Hailed as the most "corrupt member of Congress" by the non-profit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Rogers' 5th District in eastern and south-central Kentucky also ranks at the bottom of the nation in virtually every quality of life indicator.
After thirty years of his abysmal record, Rogers' constituents have had enough. This Friday, at 3pm, Oct. 14, Kentuckians...
Jff Biggers | CommonDreams 13 Oct 2011 Hits:428 Kentucky
They're a long way from Wall Street, but some people in Lexington are continuing to show their solidarity with protesters in New York who have been demonstrating in the Financial District for more than two weeks.
The Occupy Lexington Kentucky movement, modeled after Occupy Wall Street, started on Thursday, and Monday night saw a group still occupying the area outside Chase Tower on Main Street.
"We're here 'til the grievances are addressed," said Mike Davis, who was among about 30 people gathered in downtown Monday...
Karla Ward | Lexington Herald Leader 07 Oct 2011 Hits:619 Kentucky
Day 4 of the historic sit-in: Valentine's Day in the Kentucky governor's office.
As thousands of protesters descend on the Kentucky capitol in Frankfort today for the "I Love Mountains" march today to end mountaintop removal mining, the 14 sit-in Kentucky Rising protesters inside the governor's office have electrified the clean energy movement across the nation with an unflinching and inspiring valentine for the country:
This is the year to end mountaintop removal mining.
Talk about "one love." Across the 48 states that rely on coal-fired electricity, we are all...
Jeff Biggers | Common Dreams 17 Mar 2011 Hits:513 Kentucky
The protesters joined several hundred people on the Capitol steps for the “I Love Mountains” rally, an annual event held to promote “stream saver” legislation that effectively would end mountaintop removal coal mining in Eastern Kentucky. Previous bills died for lack of action; similarly, this year’s bills are languishing in committee.
“We came because the land, its forests and its streams are being destroyed by the surface mining of coal; because the people are suffering intolerable harm to their homes, their health and...
Ken Ward 09 Mar 2011 Hits:435 Kentucky
For Live Updates Visit | Alternet
Over six years after Kentucky became the first state in the nation to introduce a bill that would halt the dumping of toxic coal mining wastes into headwater streams and effectively rein in the devastating fall-out of mountaintop removal operations, a group of affected coalfield residents, retired coal miners and bestselling authors have launched a sit-in in the office of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear this morning.
UPDATE: 8am EST: The Tempest in the Capitol: “Misery acquaints a man...
Chad Berry 12 Feb 2011 Hits:455 Kentucky
Kay Tillow, a veteran union activist from Louisville, can inspire us all as we start the New Year. “Set a stout heart to a steep hillside” is an old Scottish proverb that reminds me of Tillow, who’s executive director of the Nurses Professional Organization. She and the NPO have spent 21 years battling to organize nurses who work for Louisville-based Norton Healthcare, Kentucky’s largest health care system. Says Tillow:
“The [National Labor Relations Board] has ruled in our favor time and again. But management has...
Berry Craig | AFL-CIO Blog News 01 Jan 2011 Hits:564 Kentucky
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Legislators Who Have Cut Ties With ALEC