The American Atheists have sued the commonwealth of Kentucky after learning that a law requires the state’s Office of Homeland Security to declare its reliance on God for safety.
The New Jersey-based atheist group filed suit Dec. 2 in a Kentucky court seeking a ruling that a 2002 law stating that “the safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance on God” is unconstitutional.
The atheists are particularly concerned about a 2006 law that calls for the divine-reliance wording to be spelled out on a plaque at the entrance of the state’s Emergency Operations Center.
“It’s so offensive, not just from an atheistic point of view but from an American point of view because these people are trying to bring the religious debate into homeland security,” said David Silverman, spokesman for American Atheists, who also said “it’s patently unconstitutional.”
The laws were both sponsored by Democratic delegate Tom Riner of Louisville, Ky., who also is a Southern Baptist minister.
“It’s a frivolous lawsuit that American Atheists has launched to attempt to censor and suppress the publication of a key law that acknowledges divine providence,” said Riner, pastor of Christ is King Baptist Church.