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December 1, 2008

Law Requires Kentucky's Homeland Security to Credit God

A Kentucky lawmaker is frustrated that the state's Homeland Security office doesn't currently mention God in its mission statement or on its website.

John Cheves of the Lexington Herald-Leader writes:

Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God's benevolent protection in its reports, and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, "The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God."

State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister, tucked the God provision into Homeland Security legislation as a floor amendment that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved two years ago.

As amended, Homeland Security's religious duties now come before all else, including its distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and its analysis of possible threats.

Comments

After all that is what Jesus meant when he said "give unto Ceasar". What he really meant was, "infiltrate government and slip in provisions in law requiring people to acknowledge the church even when the church doesn't do anything worth acknowledging." No wonder people get frustrated with too much Christian involvement in the state.

There is no way that this will stand up in court, so what is the point?

Whatever happened to "A deal's a deal"?

NOTHING can "slip" into any law without getting noticed now-a-days. Can you say, "Additional $150 billion in Wall Street bailout money"?

If the phrase was agreed to then the approving body should abide by it. Period.

As the government is responsible for promoting religious freedom, the church is responsible for promoting safety for all by relying on God. This is a wonderful, hard-to-argue-with statement, by anyone who believes in religious freedom. If we are not permitted to express our reliance on God to protect our country, we do not have religious freedom. "In God We Trust" is the foundation of our nation.

I wonder if we would do better if we focused our influence and energy on those issues which have a much greater impact for good in our society (and thereby honor Christ as much as we can.) These "symbolic" gestures seem hardly worth the effort. And has already been mentioned, a court will probably strike it down soon and a lot of money will be wasted on attorney hours, all for no real tangible benefit.

Th4e point is this man is right and his declaration of Yaweh as our protector and covering is right and it is heard by God himself.It does make a difference!!!! It makes a difference to God. He is listening to us and watching us.....hello!

This Kentucky State Rep knows US history, and that's more than I can say for some of the ignorant people posting here. America has always acknowledged a fundamental reliance on God: Benjamin Franklin called for prayer at the Constitutional Convention, our coins read "In God We Trust," the Pledge of Allegiance calls us "one nation under God," President Lincoln called for a day of prayer and fasting during the Civil War, President Bush called for a day of prayer after Sept 11, and the list goes on. What is strange to me are the Christians who are so eager to concede defeat and passively allow our government and culture to be systematically stripped of any mention of God without even considering US history and law. There are libraries full of legal precedent for acknowledging our nation's dependence on God. The courts will uphold the phrasing of this Kentucky law, even if some Christians are too scared or ignorant to defend it.

Where was god on 9/11? Did this happen because there was no law that stated that he was in charge of homeland security? Why not state that allah or the flying spaghetti monster will protect us?

You can believe what you want, but when the government specifically states that they have to acknowledge one religion over another to keep us safe, this is crazy. I would be worried at the intelligence level of the folks in charge in KY.

what's the big deal? that KY law sounds like the same thing as what the founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence..."

The big deal isn't that a government official has a personal opinion about God preserving the state or country or that many people agree with the statement. The big deal is that this law would require those people that don't agree with the statement to abide by it. Yes, many of our founding documents reference God, but many of them are vague in who God was. This one is referencing "Almighty God" a clearly Judeo/Christian version of God.

There is always a slippery slope argument here, but it is still the argument. Would it be appropriate for the state to thank Allah, the universe, Satan, or any other higher power for their protection of Kentucky? If not then it should not be appropriate to require state employees to thank the Christian God either.

Don't get it wrong. This isn't just a plaque, this is a change in the mission statement of an state agency.

There is no legal precedence for invoking God in a state statute.

Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence before the Constitution was even drafted. In addition, the D of I is not a document of law, and cannot be compared with a state statute, which must abide by the US Constitution.

The Constitution does not mention God or the Divine in it anywhere. Despite that omission, it seems to have served us well for more than 200 years.

The motto on our currency, the "under God" in the Pledge, and the calls by presidents for prayer are also not documents of law. While some may disagree whether they infringe on the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, they do not require the non-believing population to acknowledge the existence of God. There are no legal penalties for not praying.

On the other hand, the Kentucky statutes in question make it legal requirement that the executive director and the staff of the state DHS to acknowledge the role of the Almighty God in their reports and operations. Therefore, an atheist (for example) would be unconstitionally required to acknowledge the existence of God in order to perform his public duties. That is clearly unconstitutional.

There is an overwhelming legal precedence for invoking God in state statues, and, most importantly for this case, in the Kentucky Constitution.

"We, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy, and invoking the continuance of these blessings, do ordain and establish this Constitution."

Just because someone lives in KY doesn't mean they have to be in theological agreement with the above statement; there are plenty of atheist in KY and trust me, they aren't being fined or taken to court. It merely means that the state has recognized one of the foundations of Western civilization and the American form of government: God. The same applies to KY DHS -- the organization is required to acknowledge God. No individuals, including the DHS director, are required to change their religious beliefs.

Modern secular people are uncomfortable with any public mention of God, but they would do well to recognize that our American ideas and freedoms are rooted in a Judeo-Christian worldview. The freedom to believe a religion or not to believe at all is a fruit of our heritage and history, imperfect as it may be. To divorce the mention of God from public is to divorce the fruit from it's roots, ensuring the rot and disintegration of the fruit.

By the way, the US Constitution does mention God. Look on the last page to see "In the year of our Lord." This is significant because it demonstrates that, unlike the poster "wheatdogg," the Founders were not committed to expunging references to God from public life.