American Atheists

Kentucky Atheists Risk A Year In Jail For Not Believing In God

Kentucky residents who refuse to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God could face up to a year in prison, according to a law passed in 2006. An advocacy group is now asking the US Supreme Court to challenge the law.

According to Alternet, state representative Tom Riner was one of the law’s biggest supporters. Although many feel that the law violates the separation of church and state, the Kentucky state Supreme Court has refused to review it.

Advocacy group American Atheists filed a lawsuit against the law in 2008. Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate upheld the challenge, stating that Kentucky had effectively “created an official government position on God.”

However, the Court of Appeals ultimately reversed the decision in 2011.

UPI reports that American Atheists is now taking its case to the US Supreme Court. Since the group feels the Kentucky law excludes those who don’t believe in God from politics, they feel the law is unconstitutional.

“This is one of the most egregiously and breathtakingly unconstitutional actions by a state legislature that I’ve ever seen,” explained Edwin Kagin, legal director for American Atheists. “This new legislation should not be swept under the ceremonial deism rug, especially as it ostracizes atheists from politics.”

The controversial law reads as follows:

“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.’ “

What do you think about the Kentucky law? Do you think atheists should go to jail for not believing in the security of God?

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