Kentucky, don’t believe in God, get a year in jail.

A bill passed in Kentucky, you know the home of the creation museum, that could potentially land atheists in jail for up to twelve months.  The bill requires people living in the state to acknowledge God’s protection in regards to homeland security.  Punishment for failing to acknowledge God’s protection carries with a punishment of up to one year in prison.

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.

I was too nice to draw devil horns on him.

When I first heard about this a few days ago my first reaction was to be incredulous.  Surely no one could pass such a bill here in the United States, not even in a state like Kentucky.  Someone had to be exaggerating the claims here. However, it seems this is really law.  Here was what I was able to learn about the bill.

Tom Riner (D)(even the Democrats have their share of religious nuts), a state representative and Baptist minister inserted this into a homeland security bill back in 2006.  In 2009 it was struck down by a Kentucky circuit judge as unconstitutional thanks to a lawsuit filed by American Atheists.  Since then it was appealed, the appellate court in Kentucky overturned the original ruling.  The Kentucky Supreme court then refused to hear the case, thus allowing the ruling of the appellate court to stand.

American Atheists is not taking this lying down though.  They have submitted a petition to the U.S. supreme court to here the case.  I managed to find a copy of the petition if you want to read it..

This is the most egregious violation of constitutional rights I have come across in a while.  I can’t believe it has managed to stand as long as it has.  This law reminds me a bit of the Red Scare.  Then people were afraid of communists, some of those fears were founded and some were not but proper religious beliefs were often used as a litmus test to prove you were not a “godless communist.”  The modern specter is terrorists, but the M.O. hasn’t changed.

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