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Gottesdiener writes: "In Kentucky, a homeland security law requires the state's Homeland Security Officers to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God - or risk 12 months in prison."

Kentucky State Rep. Tom Riner authored legislation inserting god into the homeland security department. (photo: Fox News)
Kentucky State Rep. Tom Riner authored legislation inserting god into the homeland security department. (photo: Fox News)


A Year in Jail for Not Believing in God?

By Laura Gottesdiener, Alternet

24 November 12

 

In Kentucky, a homeland security law requires the state's Homeland Security Officers to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God-or risk 12 months in prison.

n 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 seen," said Edwin Kagin, the legal director of American Atheists', a national organization focused defending the civil rights of atheists. American Atheists' launched a lawsuit against the law in 2008, which won at the Circuit Court level, but was then overturned by the state Court of Appeals.

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 told 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.

 

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+255 # LeeBlack 2012-11-24 09:37
Well, it's one State I won't be visiting.
 
 
+153 # jack406 2012-11-24 11:06
You wouldn't want to go there anyway. It is covered with coal ash, and the air is dirty. And the people are mostly uneducated because they spend so little on their schools.
 
 
+83 # kalpal 2012-11-24 15:22
About 20 years ago or so the state's supreme court determined that its shool system was unconstitutiona l since it failed to educate its citizens.

Educated people leave the state and get jobs. The illiterate ones come back because its embarrassing to admit you can't read and write when you are an adult. Hard to get good job also.
 
 
+86 # Pancho 2012-11-24 13:00
You're missing a real treat.

The "Creation" museum in Petersburg, in NW KY, features animatronic dinosaurs, all saddled and ready for riding by the mannikin (a.k.a. "graven image") dwellers of the garden of Eden.

They're actually building a "replica" of "Noah's Ark."

The bookstore features hundreds of DVDs and children's books with hilarious arguments that evolution is a satanic plot.

Best for my visit, on a Sunday, (a.k.a., the "Lord's Day") was the cafeteria, which featured such Biblically (Leviticus) banned foods as shrimp cocktail and pork chops.
 
 
+45 # Regina 2012-11-24 13:43
If they're gonna observe kosher rules, they had better celebrate the sabbath on Saturdays. Of course, that ilk is usually anti-Semitic, so they can designate themselves Seventh Day Adventists.
 
 
+21 # kalpal 2012-11-24 15:24
Xtians determined long ago that pagans made the best converts and they would not convert if they were not permitted graven images and pork.
 
 
+29 # David Starr 2012-11-25 13:47
@Pancho: The "Creation" Museum was shown on Maher's documentary "Religulous." Your descritption jives. The is an exhibit where a young boy is laying on his stomach next to a "lake" and happily playing with the water. Behind him are two adolescent Tyrannosaurus Rex, oblivious to the boy. Creationists try, unsuccessfully, to jam the period of the dinosaurs into a 6,000 thousand year framework, and living alongside humans. The ignorance is shocking. Obviously, those two Trannosaurus Rex are not going overlook the boy; not when there's a chance to make him their next meal.
 
 
+13 # in deo veritas 2012-11-26 13:02
These damned fools have been reading Alley Oop for too many years. Thank God there's a river between Kentucky and WV. Look at their elected officials and you can see how hopeless they are.
 
 
+129 # ER444 2012-11-24 13:53
Let's hear it for Sharia Law with Baptist seasonings. Fundamental religions of all types are "fundamentally" dangerous and AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION.
 
 
+65 # jsheats 2012-11-24 15:30
Amen (ahem). Seriously, this is a fine (if unnerving due to the complicity of the appeals court) example of how religious orthodoxy, be it Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Catholic, Buddhist, etc. etc., is a grave danger to the human spirit, and is a terrible thing for those people who find real spiritual practice and shared beliefs to be valuable in their personal life quests.
 
 
+47 # Doubter 2012-11-24 18:58
I think most Buddhists don't merit being tarred with the same feathers.
 
 
-13 # indian weaver 2012-11-26 09:02
You clearly know nothing about Buddhism.
 
 
+24 # Doubter 2012-11-24 18:56
How about an affront to common sense?
And that is either a well chosen photograph or the guy is an unabashed weirdo! (or both)
 
 
+2 # robniel 2012-11-27 00:33
Remember the best bumper sticker of all time: "Blasphemy is a victimless crime".
 
 
+10 # wwway 2012-11-25 07:44
Yea, if they will do that to their own citizens what will they do to visitors who find themselves in need of assistance or in troble? I have a friend who is a lawyer and according to them, the South doesn't recognize hadius corpus. Several scenes in the movie Easy Rider, expecially the last scene turned me off rregarding the south. Only visited there several times in my life but it's not a place I choose to visit, that's for sure.
 
 
+9 # fishmother 2012-11-26 10:51
I assume you mean Habeas corpus.
 
 
+49 # Michael Lee Bugg 2012-11-25 21:08
LeeBlack: I live in Kentucky and we are not all mouth breathing, knuckle dragging, God fearing people, and I have been around this country enough to know that most states have their share of Bible believers and truth avoiders! Heck, if it means anything, Obama got over 40% of the vote here without setting foot in this state since early 2011 when he came and pointed out to Bitch McConnell that he needed a new bridge between us and Ohio. I never heard of this clown and his law until this article. Never been to the Bible theme park either. When anyone asks me if I am a Christian I say, "No, because I am a follower of Jesus. Whenever anyone says, after the death of a friend or a relative, "I'm still here and that is better than the alternative!" I say, "So you don't BELIEVE you are going to Heaven either"? If they ask if I believe in God I ask, "Do you mean as an existential being, or an anthropomorphic Deity"? Whenever someone gets on a rant about public prayer I point out what Jesus said in Matthew, Chapter 6, verses 5 through 8 where he said to not stand on the street corners or in the synagogues where you may be seen of men, but to pray in secret and "your Father shall reward thee openly"! When they say something about gays or blacks or the unemployed I say, judge not, lest you be as judged! My favorite verse is when Jesus said, "Sell all that you have, divide it equally and follow me"! Don't make blanket assumptions about anyone, anywhere, follow the Golden Rule!
 
 
+8 # Ray Kondrasuk 2012-11-27 06:57
Whenever the itinerant door-knockers come with their own version of The Book tucked under their arms, I always invite them in for a respite from the weather and listen to their Spiel.

When they finish, I say " I have two questions for you. The first: what is it about your religion that makes it different from and better than his (tilting my head toward an imaginary neighbor) religion?"

They invariably acknowledge that other religions have merit, but lengthily argue that theirs is the one true path to salvation.

I patiently wait, then as they finish their discourse, I solemnly acknowledge their presentation, then say "This brings me to my second question: what is it about your religion that makes it different from and better than his religion?"

Mute departure...
 
 
+7 # tombscott3 2012-11-27 09:52
You're so much nicer than I am... when they come to *my* door, I say: "Hi! I was just about to take a bath, but why don't you come on in and have a bath with me and tell me all about it?"

I get a mute departure, too. ;)
 
 
+2 # Ray Kondrasuk 2012-11-27 17:34
Au contraire... I like your reaction.

Hmmm... what if , instead of The Book under their arms, they show up with a Yellow Rubber Duckie?
 
 
+265 # LeeBlack 2012-11-24 09:44
The Taliban requires people to believe in their God - although the punishment in Kentucky isn't quiet as severe, it is still in the same vein.
 
 
+43 # Glen 2012-11-24 15:01
If this continues, it won't be just Kentucky that posts this requirement. Once the ole ball gets rolling, the results are the other "pins" falling. There are powerful people who revel in this sort of domination to create a bit of chaos and further resentment.

It is the reverse persecution that folks I know always whine about relative to christians being persecuted.
 
 
+9 # readerz 2012-11-25 21:05
Non-thinking people aren't in the more liberal Christian churches, which do not agree with a law that would punish people for non-belief. This is almost designed for the backlash, either to produce martyrs, or to turn people off to Christianity, so I would expect that Mr. Riner is probably an atheist in reality.
 
 
+228 # Barbara K 2012-11-24 09:51
The Tbaggers are turning this country into a Taliban country. Get rid of them. This law is ludicrous for a nation that is supposed to be free. Let's get free of the Tbaggers so we can get back our freedoms and prosper again.
 
 
+159 # Ray Kondrasuk 2012-11-24 10:32
Barbara, how about a new name...

Talibaggers!
 
 
+69 # Barbara K 2012-11-24 12:30
RK: Sounds good to me. Talibaggers, just so everyone knows who they are connected to, the Republicons.
 
 
+16 # wwway 2012-11-25 11:13
Unfortunately these ideals for citizenship have been around far longer than the Tbaggers. Civil service workers (teachers included) still have to sign loyalty oaths. This practice began with the Red scare and was pushed and used by McCarthy and continues to this day. It's easy for a lawmaker to propose and promote an additional provision to that employment requirement. I fully expect we'll see more and more of this in Republican state legislatures.
 
 
+12 # readerz 2012-11-25 21:09
All those Repukelican legislatures that were gerrymandered; they do not hold a majority of votes, but they are a solid majority in many statehouses.

This is because when Democrats raise funds, they can't nearly match the billionaires that contribute to the Republicans, and local and state elections have money poured into them from out of state; then these same Republicthugs get to gerrymander.
 
 
+207 # CAMUS1111 2012-11-24 09:51
I heard that god doesn't believe in Kentucky (although (s)he likes its bourbon...
 
 
+109 # Skeeziks 2012-11-24 09:52
What can I say?

Well for one thing: My goodness! I guess some people's kids just do not understand the word "SEPARATION".
 
 
+56 # ericlipps 2012-11-24 12:11
Quoting Skeeziks:
What can I say?

Well for one thing: My goodness! I guess some people's kids just do not understand the word "SEPARATION".

Actually, they understand it quite well. They just refuse to believe it applies to government and religion, since after all God personally dictated the Constitution to establish America as a Christian nation.
 
 
+52 # Ray Kondrasuk 2012-11-24 14:42
I think this is a Greg Palast wordplay...

Riner doesn't believe in the separation of church and hate.
 
 
+51 # womyn 2012-11-24 14:57
This is a joke, right? How funny can one be? And brainwashed with religious dogma, not so funny. Pathetic actually.

Nowhere in the US Constitution is the word God, Lord, or Almighty mentioned. Also, many of the signatories were
atheist.

Each day, I thank my lucky stars that I left the US.
I much prefer living in a more progressive liberal
and compassionate non-waring country!
 
 
+12 # readerz 2012-11-25 21:11
Most people can't afford to move, and it isn't easy finding work anywhere. Other countries are also clamping down on work visas too; you can't just move to Canada so easily anymore.
 
 
+9 # Michael Lee Bugg 2012-11-26 11:04
Womyn, good points that they ignore as well. The problem is the poorly worded First Amendment, thank you Ben Franklin and friends. However, in Article Six of the original body of the Constitution, which the Talibaggers claim to revere as if it were dictated by God, by god, in the last paragraph of Article Six it says, "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."!!! That is a direct quote, all capitals included, and it does not get any plainer than that! As with the Bible, the Tallibaggers pick and choose which parts they pay attention to as need arises!
 
 
+10 # kalpal 2012-11-24 15:27
LAST I SPOKE WITH GOD IT WAS IN HEBREW AND WHEN I USED AN ENGLISH WORD I WAS ASKED TO TRANSLATE. HEBREW OR ARAMAIC AND SOME YIDDISH WORK WELL WITH GOD BUT NONE OF THE LANGUAGES USED BY GOYIM.
 
 
+11 # tomtom 2012-11-24 22:06
Hmm, Sounds like a one sided conversation. Perhaps You Were Speaking with Charlie Mac Carthy.
 
 
+7 # readerz 2012-11-25 21:13
Last I heard, God spoke a lot of languages. However, that also means that God hears many people, not just those who pretend to own God.
 
 
+60 # kbarrand 2012-11-24 09:59
Incredible.
 
 
+32 # Regina 2012-11-24 13:44
Intolerable.
 
 
+24 # kelly 2012-11-24 14:19
Intolerant.
 
 
+149 # Yakpsyche 2012-11-24 10:06
Well, of course, the security of everything depends on God, but so does the insecurity. God is, after all, everything, good and bad, right and wrong, high and low, etc. The real issue is emotional insecurity. If Representative Riner feels the need to post this statement it means that he is anxious and afraid at a deeper level that people will not recognize matters as he sees them. Thus, as with most bullies, he forces his positon on others to soothe his own insecurity. God is everything. There is no epistomological need to assert that, just as there is no need to assert that things are made of atoms and molecules. The driving force is simply his emotions: Insecurity first, need to dominate second. Too bad for the bully's victims- the rest of us.
 
 
+68 # Lulie 2012-11-24 11:54
Well, of course, god is NOT everything. Your believing it doesn't make it so. That's the whole point. You have no right to foist your mythology on others.
 
 
+12 # Doubter 2012-11-24 19:05
Let's just say that the (true or false) DEFINITION of the WORD "god" is that it is everything and let it go at that. I have no quarrel with mythology.
 
 
+7 # NanFan 2012-11-25 12:26
Quoting Lulie:
Well, of course, god is NOT everything. Your believing it doesn't make it so. That's the whole point. You have no right to foist your mythology on others.


Well, Yakpsyche does have a "right" to "voice" his opinion in this venue: Reader Supported News commentary. BUT you are correct. Lulie, he, nor anyone, has the right to "foist" a "mythology" on ANYONE else.

No legal construct can be made in this regard because the U.S. Constitution calls for the freedom of religion, which presupposes the freedom to NOT believe in a religion, and thus, to not believe in a "god" that is founded in any particular religion. So NO law, technically, can be made based on religion that invokes a "god" as the "almighty authority," particularly simply because past presidents or other governmental officials have asked for this "god's" blessing.

To do so in this context, as Kentucky and Riner are, and consistently have been doing, continues to negate the rights of people who choose to NOT believe in a "god" and that is out-and-out unconstitutional!

To call for the jailing of people who do NOT believe in the "almighty authority" of any "god," however defined, robs a person of her/his freedom under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

This is a no brainer...ahem. ..pun intended, as the seemingly brain-dead Kentucky and Riner STILL continue misusing their powers to define people's right to choose.

N.
 
 
+5 # NanFan 2012-11-25 13:00
Quoting Lulie:
You have no right to foist your mythology on others.


Well, Yakpsyche does have a "right" to "voice" his opinion in this venue: Reader Supported News commentary. BUT you are correct. Lulie, he, nor anyone, has the right to "foist" a "mythology" on ANYONE else.

No legal construct in this regard can be made in the U.S. democracy because the U.S. Constitution calls for the freedom of religion, which presupposes the freedom to NOT believe in a religion, and thus, to not believe in a "god" that is founded in any particular religion. So NO law, technically, can be made based on religion that invokes a "god" as the "almighty authority," particularly simply because past presidents or other governmental officials have asked for this "god's" blessing.

To do so in this context, as Kentucky and Riner are, and consistently have been doing, continues to negate the rights of people who choose to NOT believe in a "god" and that is out-and-out unconstitutional!

To call for the jailing of people who do NOT believe in the "almighty authority" of any "god," however defined, robs a person of her/his freedom under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

This is a no brainer...ahem. ..pun intended, as the seemingly brain-dead Kentucky and Riner STILL continue misusing their powers to define people's right to choose.

N.
 
 
+62 # Pickwicky 2012-11-24 12:38
Ah, Yakpsyche, to which god do you refer? The same one as Rep. Riner? Don't count on Riner accepting that god you describe that's "good and bad, right and wrong." Riner might gleefully escort you to prison for your beliefs. That's the trouble with beliefs: they're not only capable of being true or false, they're variable and changeable even within a single individual--and within the individual is precisely where beliefs should stay.
 
 
+11 # Doubter 2012-11-24 19:06
FIFTY PLUSES!
 
 
+37 # LizR 2012-11-24 14:03
Well observed. I have long said that the problem with the human race is we put bullies in charge - which is to say, inadequate people who can only "get it up" if they are putting someone else down. Then need help, not being pandered to.
 
 
+187 # DurangoKid 2012-11-24 10:22
Article VI paragraph 3 of the US Constitution:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

And, the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Could it be any more clear? Religion is the bludgeon of oligarchs and tyrants.
 
 
+14 # abaconw48026 2012-11-24 12:45
Quoting DurangoKid:
Article VI paragraph 3 of the US Constitution:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

And, the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Could it be any more clear? Religion is the bludgeon of oligarchs and tyrants.

The supreme court has taken upon itself the powers of congress rather then law. If a majority want to exercise their right to have any religions symbol of any kind anywhere in their community, prohibiting that is a violation of their rights under the first amendment since no law was passed by congress to prohibit that. We need tolerance for the beliefs of others rather than rules which give minorities a weapon against majorities who they do not agree with and a supreme court which decides the one case in front of it without making that into a law for everyone else.
 
 
+22 # Fight Back 2012-11-24 15:27
If I can find the addresses, I plan to send a copy of these 2 Constitutional citations to the Kentucky Supreme Court and Riner.

Article VI, not an amendment but part of the original Constitution, is one of my favorites.
 
 
+15 # kalpal 2012-11-24 15:31
The use of public property and public finds is what is prohibited. If you moved in Jewish town and they wanted to hang any christian who came in would you argue that it is their right to do so? What about a Muslim community?

What sort of ignorance are you pushing?
 
 
+11 # readerz 2012-11-25 21:27
The money is one issue, but really what is involved here is that people could go to jail for a year. If a group of citizens makes a religious decoration (such as Christmas tree or Menorah) and put it up in a public park during a season, I don't find that a problem, but if they make everybody bow as they pass and put people in jail if they don't bow, that is straight out of the Book of Daniel, chapter 3, the statue of the king that the three youths would not bow before. It amounts to idolatry, because people are not bowing to their religion, but bowing to the state requirement, i.e., bowing to the state. In high school many many years ago I refused to pledge allegiance to the flag because I said it was idol worship (which is what all nationalism is). Wow, did that get under the skin of the right-wingnut teachers.
 
 
+13 # Fight Back 2012-11-24 15:36
"a supreme court which decides the one case in front of it without making that into a law for everyone else."

So saeth #abaconw48026. But one of the major jobs of the Supreme Court of the U.S, (SCOTUS) is to do exactly what he(?) says it should not do.

Once in a while, SCOTUS violates this principle, as in Bush v. Gore, when it explicitly said the decision does not apply to any other case!!! NOTE: why was this statement needed if all decisions were to apply only to the precise case under review?
 
 
+18 # tomtom 2012-11-24 22:22
]

Not to strike fear in your hearts, but, if some state, I'm driving through, determines amphibians are Our dieties, I may be forced to kiss a frog's ass and pay a tadpole tax just to get out of town.
 
 
+34 # womyn 2012-11-24 15:02
RE: Religion is the bludgeon of oligarchs and tyrants.

Well stated!
Religion is used to manipulate and control the masses.
Critical thinking people do not require patriarchal dogma
to follow.

Governments use religion to control the masses! The US is only one example!
 
 
+9 # kalpal 2012-11-24 15:28
Since do they not get to pick and choose which parts they wish to follow and which to ignore?
 
 
+100 # vilstef 2012-11-24 10:32
This is a secular nation for all the cries of protest from the bible thumpers. They are so adept at burning the Constitution and wrapping themselves in the flag.
 
 
+13 # kalpal 2012-11-24 15:31
GW Bush explained that the constitution is after all just a piece of paper.
 
 
+8 # tomtom 2012-11-24 22:37
Quoting kalpal:
GW Bush explained that the constitution is after all just a piece of paper.

It's disturbing for me to hear Presidents end speeches with "God Bless América"', what, is Charles Darwin chopped Liver? And, who are we to tell God which Countries to bless? Can You imagine aliens explaining in simple terms that their is no God. Many people Will need therapy and hugs.
 
 
+5 # sameasiteverwas 2012-11-26 20:29
I see no real contradiction between Darwin and God, and I don't mind anytime anyone offers a blessing, whether it be from Gaia or the guy in the white beard -- what bugs me is the hatred endemic in so many "Christian" sects. But the good thing about America is they can say what they want. Gotta take the good with the bad in a democracy -- but passing laws like this one just makes everyone else laugh at the lawmakers who promote such drivel, and feel sorry for their sane constituents who just can't get it together to vote them out.
 
 
+2 # DurangoKid 2012-11-26 22:54
Every institution has the same dilemma: who's in and who's out. It's the same question posed to wolf packs, bodies, cells, etc. To preserve the integrity of the entity all of its elements must be in harmony and all disruptive elements must be excluded and if possible vanquished. Without the unsaved other, Christianity is not complete. Cults based on revealed truth are in a constant battle with the unbelieving outside. Any writing or utterance that contradicts the received wisdom is a threat. This animosity can become virulent to the extent adherents are required to commit unspeakable cruelty in service to the integrity of the cult. Cults are inherently totalitarian. Christianity is now a vestige of the medieval system of theocratic authority. It may not have the power to burn witches, but that impulse against heresy still exists to a greater or lesser extent. Some sects make an honest effort to accommodate modernity, some are repelled by it. It's important to keep psychopaths away from weapons and the general populace. It's equally important to keep religious zealots away from positions of authority.
 
 
+5 # readerz 2012-11-25 21:31
After all, the flag is idol worship and the Constitution is a covenant that we have with each other to make a nation that might work. Sure the Constitution needs some tweaking (such as no gerrymandering, one person one vote, etc.), but please... it can be tweaked, The flag might be fixed only if stars were on it that really understood democracy.
 
 
+81 # fishmother 2012-11-24 10:37
Representative Riner is definately encouraging a huge resistance to any re-election he may seek. I can imagine that money will pour in to any opponent who can prove basic sanity. But what is there to say about the Kentucky Court of Appeals? Do they need a course in Constitutional law? I've never been more grateful to live in New York where I am free to love God, but also to be smart enough to know an imposition of religion in the State when I see it. I will join LeeBlack in not going to Kentucky, a state where my ancesters lived six generations ago. I am sure they are spinning in their graves.
 
 
+64 # kyzipster 2012-11-24 11:00
Strangely enough, Riner is a Democrat representing a mostly liberal, urban district in Louisville, Kentucky's largest city.

He is a nobody who makes national news with this agenda. The NYT reported that he has cost the state $500k by wasting the government's time defending similar legislation.

I first noticed him when I opened an anti-gay survey that came from his office, prior to that, I didn't even know he represented me in the state legislature. He runs unopposed in most elections.

It's very confusing, I think he remains in office because the local media ignores him and most voters don't care, they just vote 'Democrat' at election time. Had I not received that flier and then noticed this issue that gets national coverage, I might do the same.
 
 
+7 # readerz 2012-11-25 21:35
Do a search for a better candidate!!! Voters do notice and care that their representative wastes so much money, no matter what state they come from. The trouble is, the Democratic National Committee ignores state elections, even though it is the gerrymandering of state legislatures that keeps a majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives .
 
 
+4 # kyzipster 2012-11-25 22:44
I blame the local media. One year a very progressive weekly endorsed this guy! It was obvious they knew nothing about him. The media has gone to hell all over the country.
 
 
+16 # kalpal 2012-11-24 15:32
Sanity? In Kentucky? Not tolerated and heavily discouraged.
 
 
+57 # Gnome de Pluehm 2012-11-24 10:37
Setting aside the constitutionali ty of this edict. It's statement as described here is completely foolish. How, when, where can one be found guilty? How would such a law be broken? Can a person be guilty of not making a particular utterance?
 
 
+49 # 666 2012-11-24 10:57
and that's probably why it hasn't been overturned, no one has been arrested and charged under it. it's one of those stealth laws or interpretations that sits on the books (like corporate personhood)- but under which no one is prosecuted - until it's there long enough to be cited as a "precedent" in some relatedly stupid decision by another court.

on the other hand, there is a "silver lining": if protection of the realm comes from god, then events like 9-11 and hurricane sandy must also be god's punishment on us (like god helping nebuchadnezzer punish the jews). if it's god's punishment, there's no reason to hunt down al-qaeda or worry about global warming. When things go wrong, we just have to follow a few simple rules that have been used for millennia:
1) pray, & sacrifice a few animals & dissidents,
2) if everything still isn't hunky dory, repeat step 1 until it is, using force if necessary.
 
 
+14 # kalpal 2012-11-24 15:35
Too young to remember loyalty oaths required by the gobernment during the anti-communist craze when it better dead than red. Now all the ight wingers want to be red or dead.
 
 
+77 # df312 2012-11-24 10:37
Unbelievable. And I'll bet these are the very same people who cry that our "freedoms" are being taken away. Glad I live a long ways away from there.
 
 
+19 # Syringa 2012-11-24 13:36
Quoting df312:
...Glad I live a long ways away from there.


Of course, in these times, you don't!
 
 
+132 # tombscott3 2012-11-24 10:40
Of all the states, you'd think Kentuckians would know horseshit when they see it...
 
 
+27 # Regina 2012-11-24 13:48
They're too busy generating it.
 
 
+13 # kalpal 2012-11-24 15:36
too acustomed to it to notice it like a bad smell you don't notice after a few hours
 
 
+45 # Adoregon 2012-11-24 10:44
Please define god.

Whatever god may be,it certainly doesn't play favorites.
 
 
+44 # DurangoKid 2012-11-24 11:40
Defining "god" doesn't change its properties. There is no experiment that demonstrates that gods have any properties. So, no one can say if a god is on your side or not or if it switches sides willy-nilly or what the effect might be. And your belief certainly has no effect on your adversaries.

Gods are important in systems of power and class domination. If one class can convince another that their subservience is ordained by some all powerful deity, it makes their oppression that much easier. Notice that many of these Christian wing-nuts are also strong believers in corporate control of the economy and state intervention to run interference for the corporations. They love militarism especially if it can be framed in the context of defending US interests from attack. And since a god is on "our" side, the people in the way of "our" imperial prerogatives must be against "our" god, too. It should be obvious to all that "our god" intended for "us" to have access to any and all resources, labor, markets, land, etc., that suits "us". And also notice that the "our" and "us" refers only to the elite 1% with which purveyors of gods like to align themselves.

It's not possible to know what a god is, but it's abundantly apparent how gods are used. Gods serve power.
 
 
+10 # kelly 2012-11-24 13:03
You can't until you answer the question:
did god create man or did nab create god?
That's the main problem.
 
 
+9 # Doubter 2012-11-24 19:17
Institutionaliz ed AUTHORITARIANISM!
My favorite bugaboo.
 
 
+58 # Robert B 2012-11-24 10:46
I can't imagine that even Scalia would rule in favor of this nonsense. I think you'd get 8-1 at the Supreme Court, with the one being Clarence Thomas, the dumbest and least principled member of the Court.
 
 
+18 # geronimo 2012-11-24 12:11
Thomas always votes with Scalia, more evidence for your thesis.
 
 
+64 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2012-11-24 10:46
Why doesn't Kentucky quote the Treaty of Tripoli?

The Treaty of Tripoli, ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1797. Article 11 states: “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion...”
 
 
+27 # geronimo 2012-11-24 12:12
This document deserves more attention.
 
 
+37 # margiafelipe 2012-11-24 11:01
This American Mullah shouldn't be allowed to belong to the Democratic Party. He's not just a blue dog dem, he's a purple one.
 
 
+29 # cordleycoit 2012-11-24 11:03
I guess that proves that the crypto fascist state is only 3% of the electorate away from reality. Now I see a positive light around our newly reelected prez.
 
 
+54 # Old Uncle Dave 2012-11-24 11:15
I wonder how many bible-thumping Kentuckians realize the entity they call "God" is the same entity the Muslims call Allah - the god of Abraham, the Jewish warrior-god Yahweh.
 
 
+14 # Texas Aggie 2012-11-24 13:21
I've always seen that they deny what the Bible so plainly states, and if you ever even suggest that Ishmael, Abraham's first born, is the father of the Arabs and has supremacy over other Abrahamic religions, and by the way, the part of the Middle East now known as Israel, duck quickly before their little heads explode.
 
 
+35 # MainStreetMentor 2012-11-24 11:17
Evidence that religious fanaticism, (as defined by many in the USA), is NOT exclusive to non-Christian faiths. Representative Tom Riner, by the way, is a preacher/minist er.
 
 
+26 # guyachs 2012-11-24 11:20
Let's hope they secede with Texas. I have other candidates: Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Kansas, Georgia.
 
 
+46 # KarenQJ 2012-11-24 11:20
He demonstrates a lack of faith in God. To try to legislate a belief into existence is to say God is impotent to work on men's hearts, that he needs the good Senator to stand in His place.

Even our founding fathers recognized the injustice of this. In James Madison Remonstrance of 1785, he stated ""that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence."

Even people of faith recognize God permits people to believe, or not believe. "Belief" cannot be coerced....only conformity can, and then only through severe intimidation. Is that a Godly act?
 
 
+29 # Erdajean 2012-11-24 11:57
Precisely, Karen. Like a legion of others of his ilk, The Rev. Mr. Riner is working hard for brownie points from God. Where do these poor little piss-ants get off in thinking that only THEIR devotion -- and THEIR "protection" of God from the rest of us -- keeps God in his heaven?

In all their efforts they completely lose sight of the magnitude of who and what they are "protecting" -- and how free he (she?) made us all, asking only that we respect and love and care for one another -- which they are determined NOT to do.
 
 
+62 # Todd Williams 2012-11-24 11:23
"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.

Well, maybe this asshole doesn't see the frigging line, but our Constitution sees it. But folks, this is what we get when we elect fools, no matter which party.
 
 
+58 # Maxwell 2012-11-24 11:25
"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 (Riner) said."

I am Christian. Any of the following quotations may or may not reflect my personal beliefs. I present them here as a refutation of Riner's claim.

JAMES MADISON:

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." -1803 letter objecting to use of government land for churches

"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not." - "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785

(to be continued)
 
 
+59 # Maxwell 2012-11-24 11:27
JOHN ADAMS:

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity."

"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved-- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!" -letter to Thomas Jefferson

". . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."

(to be continued)
 
 
+62 # Maxwell 2012-11-24 11:27
THOMAS JEFFERSON:

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the Common Law." -letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, 1814

"I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology."

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear. - letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 10, 1787

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN:

"When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."

"I wish it (Christianity) were more productive of good works ... I mean real good works ... not holy-day keeping, sermon-hearing ... or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments despised by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity." - Works, Vol. VII, p. 75

(to be continued)
 
 
+56 # Maxwell 2012-11-24 11:30
THOMAS PAINE:

"Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst."

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all."

"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."

This is just a small sample. If you're curious about more of The Founding Fathers' views of religion, here's a good place to start: http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html
 
 
+21 # robniel 2012-11-24 13:00
Quoting Maxwell:
THOMAS PAINE:

"Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst."


A similar quote seems appropriate: "Of all the mind viruses religion is the worst."
 
 
+26 # hbheinze 2012-11-24 13:27
Maxwell, many many thanks for taking the time to post these quotations! The Founding Fathers' views have been covered over, buried, misquoted, obfuscated, etc. to try to convince us that they were all Bible-thumping evangelicals!
 
 
+19 # Maxwell 2012-11-24 14:23
Quoting hbheinze:
Maxwell, many many thanks for taking the time to post these quotations! The Founding Fathers' views have been covered over, buried, misquoted, obfuscated, etc. to try to convince us that they were all Bible-thumping evangelicals!

Many learned people of the day (the 18th Century) regularly referred to God, but often in a generic, general sense, almost as one would use the term "nature". Some of The Founders may well have been Christian or maybe were religious in some other way. Many were Deists. Some were agnostic or simply atheists.

A Google search will turn up many results of presidents and others extolling the virtues of their faiths in God, especially if that's what one wants to find, but a more diligent search reveals a more nuanced picture of The Founders' various views on religion.

I emphasize that as a Christian, I have no problem with any of this. No true Christian has anything to fear from the truth.
 
 
+6 # Robert B 2012-11-24 14:07
"Religion is the first enemy of the ability to think.... Faith is the worst curse of mankind, as the exact antithesis and enemy of thought." – Ayn Rand, 1934.
 
 
+20 # VMWH 2012-11-24 11:31
Well, I believe in God, but I wonder whether God believes in Kentucky under the circumstances.
 
 
+36 # cafetomo 2012-11-24 11:33
Kentucky is a warning to the rest of us. You can't fool all of the people all of the time, but when the electoral college lets gerrymandering pay off, corporate backing drowns any opposition at birth, and patriotic fear-mongering offers up the American flag to focus fanaticism, there will always be at least one sociopathic opportunist pointing out their rationale to righteousness.
 
 
+13 # commissar 2012-11-24 11:36
A little irony: the author's name means "God's servant" in German.
 
 
+35 # NAVYVET 2012-11-24 11:42
Unconstitutiona l--therefore completely illegal.
 
 
+16 # drshafer 2012-11-24 11:55
Is Laura Gottesdiener (servant of God) a pseudonym? Any true servant of a God worth believing in would be equally appalled at this ridiculous law.
 
 
+5 # drshafer 2012-11-25 13:47
Quoting drshafer:
Is Laura Gottesdiener (servant of God) a pseudonym? Any true servant of a God worth believing in would be equally appalled at this ridiculous law.


This article inspired me to do some further research, and I was disappointed (but not surprised) to discover that in several U.S. states atheists are banned from holding public office according to their state's (unconstitution al!) constitution. Parenthetically , not to affirm the existence of a personal deity, which cannot be proven (despite Thomas Aquinas & Co.) does not equal denying the existence of a personal deity--which cannot be proven either.
 
 
+26 # DaveM 2012-11-24 11:55
I wonder what happens to Jewish or Muslim applicants who declare their belief in "Almighty God"?

Somewhere in the distance, but approaching.... I hear a banjo. And it's not playing church music.
 
 
+27 # jackson47 2012-11-24 11:56
On the other hand if something bad happens in Kentuckystan, then it's God's fault.
 
 
+17 # Pickwicky 2012-11-24 12:52
An aside: Jackson47--your post reminded of Hurricane Sandy and the claim by some Republicans that Obama won the election because of Sandy. I noticed that claim faded fast, and I wondered at the time if it had occurred to the religious right that Sandy was an Act of God?
 
 
+26 # Gnome de Pluehm 2012-11-24 11:57
Christianity is no longer a religion; it has become a political party -- or rather two such parties. One is conservative and the other is liberal. There are no Christians who are Christ-like.
 
 
+37 # reiverpacific 2012-11-24 11:59
Don't forget that this is the state that bears the distinction of giving you the "Creationist Museum" (and "Bitch" McConnel).
 
 
+28 # tadn54 2012-11-24 12:05
"I am convinced that religion is as dangerous as it is untrue".......B ertrand Russell.
 
 
+19 # margiafelipe 2012-11-24 12:19
According to I. F. Stone (The Trial of Socrates) when the ancient Greeks became curious about monotheism, abandoning their politheistic practices in the process, they also lost tolerance which is the basis of a democratic society. More than a democracy, what we seem to have here is a Babel Tower.
 
 
+19 # mike/ 2012-11-24 12:22
“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” ― George Washington

oh, and it is also found in the Treaty of Tripoli signed in 1897 by President Adams & ratified by the Senate.

after full equal rights for all, this is the next battle to be fought; these people are just now using skirmishes; they will turn to crusades in every true sense of the word; they will be the ones to destroy this country!
 
 
+5 # Shipton 2012-11-24 13:49
Your date is wrong, the Treaty of Tripoli was signed and ratified abt 100 yrs earlier.
 
 
+24 # Shipton 2012-11-24 13:51
This has been been oft attributed to Sinclair Lewis but when I first saw it it was attributed to Edward Abbey.

"When Fascism comes to American it will carrying a Cross wrapped in the flag."
 
 
-33 # Bildo 2012-11-24 12:28
Look at the Preambles for all the states constitutions. I'm pretty sure they mention God. Plus, way back, the Supreme Court said they recognized the Bible as "The word of God". This is before everything was changed from Public Law(actual law) to Public Policy(statutes )
 
 
+27 # kelly 2012-11-24 13:19
Hawaii uses "divine guidance". And that was after the people decided to use "public policy to add the words "under god" to the pldge of allegiance.
People like this guy are bible nazis.
They try to use their holy book to beat religion into your head.
 
 
+7 # Pickwicky 2012-11-24 15:17
Ever read the Bible? All of the Bible? The god of the Old Testament is a mighty peculiar entity--that god doesn't like
poor hosts, but it accepts Lot's sexual rental of and his incest with his daughters. That god also demands that one tribe cozies up to another tribe and fools them into having their warriors circumcised to be pleasing in the sight of God--then, tra la, on the third day after the surgery when all the guys are too sore to move, god's tribe kills them all. How's that for a bedside manner?

As for the New Testament, read Russell's WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN. The younger god of the New Testament has some serious problems, too.
 
 
+7 # rockieball 2012-11-24 23:10
Today's religion, tomorrows mythology. The belief in Zeus, Hera, Hercules, Mercury, Pluto and others last longer than what Christianity, Islam or Hebrew has lasted today. Who is to say that all they did was change the names. God/Zeus Virgin Mary/Hera who became a virgin after every time she had sex. Hercules/Jesus both did tasks or miracles to save mankind and both died for it. The messenger Mercury/Gabriel . the ruler of the underworld Pluto/Satin. The only thing that has changes thru time are the names.
 
 
+4 # reiverpacific 2012-11-25 13:54
Quoting Bildo:
Look at the Preambles for all the states constitutions. I'm pretty sure they mention God. Plus, way back, the Supreme Court said they recognized the Bible as "The word of God". This is before everything was changed from Public Law(actual law) to Public Policy(statutes)

Well, one hopes that we have moved on a bit since then.
But not all states seemingly.
 
 
+1 # Ray Kondrasuk 2012-11-27 07:03
Bildo,

Perhaps not so many " thumbs down " to your comment if you'd but cited an example or two. Dates, quotes, sources...

People here acknowledge a reasoned argument... please try again.
 
 
+29 # Smokey 2012-11-24 12:34
Amazing! Does anybody read the Constitution of the United States?Article Six of the Constitution makes it very clear that no religious oath or test will be required in order to hold public office.

This is the only reference to religion in the body of the Constitution and it's a clear statement of what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they established the national government. (Personal opinions about religion, expressed in letters and journals, etc., were just personal opinions. Pay attention to what's in the Constitution.)

I assume that Kentucky is using Federal money for its Homeland Security programs. Go into the Federal courts
to discuss the matter.
 
 
+23 # Jaysson Brae 2012-11-24 12:57
The 9/11 attacks, allegedly by Muslim religious fanatics, gave rise to the USA's so-called Dept. of Homeland Security.

But does the DHS protect us from Christian religious fanatics..?
Apparently Not.
 
 
+21 # elmont 2012-11-24 13:08
I find this whole business fascinating. I had no idea Kentucky or any other state had a law so incredibly stupid, to say nothing of very obviously unconstitutiona l.

I haven't read every post in detail, so if someone else mentioned this, I apologize. Otherwise, am I alone in noticing the irony of the statute's explicit reference to the text of JFK's planned speech of November 22, 1963, the day he was murdered? Don't you think maybe a benificent god would have spared him another day or two, if for no other reason than to spread the message?
 
 
+19 # Texas Aggie 2012-11-24 13:12
This has nothing to do with separation of religion and state. It is a blatant attempt to exonerate their Homeland Security people from any responsibility in case of a terrorist attack. It puts the blame for anything that goes wrong on Dog, and like so many other right wingers (I know he claims to be a Democrat, but he's still a right wing christianist), the buck stops elsewhere. The next time one of them accepts personal responsibility for their actions will be the first time.

Blaming Dog is standard procedure for those people. See Robertson's recent explanation for why he got Her prediction so wrong.
 
 
+15 # roger paul 2012-11-24 13:26
Right on Smokey....Appar ently State Rep Riner can't read, or more likely his low IQ won't allow him to understand the concept as put forward in the US Constitution. Question to Riner which god? According to some calculations there are or have been 28 thousand gods created throughout human history.
 
 
+17 # David Starr 2012-11-24 14:02
Tom Riner is yet another reason why those with a Medieval mentality in the 21st century should be sent back to the 12th century. These fanatics still don't get that separation of chuch and state is clearly defined while Christianity is not even mentioned. As a couple of posts above show, U.S. founders like John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin understood the dangers of monotheism. They did found a republic, not a theocracy. They probably learned from European history of the consequences of church-state power.

In the 21st century, we still have a Medeivel relic like Tom Riner. Do I sense the slow, slippery, slide of regression into an "American" theocracy?" In due time are we going to see words like heretic and inquisition used routinely/insti tutionally in U.S. society (sarcasim)?
 
 
+8 # WallStWallFlowerGirl 2012-11-24 14:13
Drop Kentucky from the Union, give it to secessionists & board it up. Then they can build a big, 'ole arc & throw tea bags out of it, & the rest of us won't have to look at them.
 
 
+11 # Syringa 2012-11-24 14:21
"Religion"--the Constitution uses the word once, in this context "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." but it is not defined--kinda like "god," which is never mentioned.
 
 
+12 # kalpal 2012-11-24 15:19
As the supreme court justice said about pornography, "I can't define it but I know it when I see it."

Religion is mechanism for and means of controlling and fleecing a population. I think that is about as good a definition as I can come up with.

I will accept a different one as soon as I am shown a credible image of god's parents and the school god attended to learn how to create a universe.
 
 
+14 # kalpal 2012-11-24 15:15
"We believe dependence on God is essential."

Who is this WE? Does their cumulative IQ add up to 100?
 
 
+15 # Sweet Pea 2012-11-24 16:26
My grandmother always said, "Religion is the life you lead - not the creed you profess - nor the church you attend."
Most of us like our religion or lack of it to be private.
 
 
+13 # Beenie 2012-11-24 16:58
Women, make sure you get out and vote in 2014. When women vote, Democrats win and it's time WE took control, told these tea party bozos what we think and get them all the hell out of office!!!
 
 
+6 # Cassandra2012 2012-11-25 15:43
Yes, God IS coming, and is SHE pissed!
 
 
+15 # Eliz77 2012-11-24 17:31
Just a note, KY is a beautiful state with good and educated folks. There are poets, musicians, scientists, and hard working people. And of course, some really crazy politicians and many sweet people who are duped into voting for them.

Doesn't that sound like some other places we know? Let's work on the problem and not dis the people and places. I know, some of it is funny, maybe the only way to face such dire circumstances is with humor. But, enough with the pettiness.
 
 
+2 # PhilipFinn 2012-11-25 05:10
So, what is the problem "we" have to work on, and what to you think should be the solution?
And if the issue here isn't an example of pettiness by an elected official...?
 
 
+5 # PhilipFinn 2012-11-25 05:15
And why do we have an obligation to work on the problem when clearly the "good and educated folks...poets, musicians, scientists,and hard working people...many sweet people" are failing to keep their criminally insane on a short leash and in institutions rather than elected offices. I think the ridicule is long in coming, well deserved, and may help motivate them to "work on the problem" whatever you imagine that to be...
 
 
+16 # Yaice 2012-11-24 18:34
Ok. . . I am a Christian and this offends me. You cannot legislate someone into believing.
 
 
+4 # Texgotham 2012-11-24 19:49
Does believing in Santa Claus and/or the Tooth Fairy count?
 
 
+11 # Trueblue Democrat 2012-11-24 20:09
What a weak reed is fundamentalist Christianity.

It has to be propped up by the majesty of the State.
 
 
-2 # robcarter.vn 2012-11-25 00:04
I really didn't think Americans could get more stupid, jail for not accepting God what next. They legalise drugs and homosexuality will that become compulsory next law change. Do Ask do Tell and give us a blo Joe, send Broadwell to entertain the Generals at the front, or rear as the preference goes? What's next pray tell?
 
 
+8 # michelle 2012-11-25 00:52
You can send a letter to the representative and a copy of the Constitution,hi ghlighted with a bright yellow marker at the following:

Mailing Address
1143 E Broadway
Louisville KY 40204

Frankfort Address(es)
702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 457C
Frankfort KY 40601

Phone Number(s)
Home: (502) 584-3639
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 606

Email Address(es)
Annex: Tom.Riner@lrc.ky.gov
 
 
0 # robcarter.vn 2012-11-28 18:34
Better still why pay Committees if you don't use them?

Mail to USCIRF Dr Lantos a woman who is moving faster having replaced the fool Lenard Leo recently.

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
732 N. Capitol Street, N.W., Suite A714
Washington, D.C. 20401
Phone: (202) 523-3240
Fax: (202) 523-5020
Email: communications@uscirf.gov
 
 
+4 # Wordslinger 2012-11-25 04:41
Screw Mr. Riner .. and his god.
 
 
+2 # PhilipFinn 2012-11-25 05:07
Kentucky:
Come for the Tea Party.
Stay for the bourbon...
 
 
+1 # columbialion 2012-11-25 05:19
Its quite understandable really...when you visit the frontier you have to expect wilderness.
 
 
+5 # Rascalndear 2012-11-25 05:52
Anybody who wants to know where this kind of think could take America should read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.
 
 
+2 # natalierosen 2012-11-25 08:20
ODIOUS and not to be believed. It shows one how states can subvert a prime ingredient of the Constitution they say they love running rough shod over those whose right it is not to believe in a sky god. Edwin Kagin is 100% right this is Medieval. Then again when I saw it was in Kentucky I thought -- NO SURPRISE. Ignorance in some states is always bliss!
 
 
+2 # dovelane1 2012-11-27 03:59
The real quote is:
"If ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."

Apparently, many, if not most people in Kentucky have learned to NOT rock the boat. Don't make waves. Don't draw attention to oneself, as one might then be criticized, shunned, or ostracized. Perhaps it's never occurred to these people that going along with the crowd, in this case, is not be a good thing.

Of course, Riner is both a minister, and a state official. To some, I suppose that gives the man some authority, and these people may have learned to accept his "natural" white supremacy.

I don't know what these people are paying attention to, but it is NOT rational thinking. It may not be thinking at all, but just mindless, socialized responding.

As Theodore White put it, "To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform."

To allow this to continue to happen, Kentucky does not appear to supporting the existence and acts of everyday heroes; it's more like everyday chumps.

Riner is both the symptom of a problem, and a consequence of the same problem, the problem being the irrational fear of standing up to irrational authority.
 
 
+1 # Sweet Pea 2012-11-25 08:44
Maybe we should just accept the fact that some people are just not educated enough to explore the idea that there are scientific explanations for creation of our universe. It is much more "comfortable to think that there is a god that is waiting for us in Heaven to give people eternal happiness. Some people just can't buy into what sounds like fairy tales.
 
 
+10 # katherinedaniels 2012-11-25 09:13
Not all Kentuckians support the actions of ignorant people like Tom Riner. I, like most of my friends, am a Christian who believes in God, the Democratic party and the separation of church and state, I believe the nation needs moderates from both parties (and maybe more) to maintain balance. Kentucky is a beautiful state, and everyone should come here and spread their friendly, but progressive, ideas. You might be surprised to find people who agree with you.
 
 
+4 # cdav43 2012-11-25 09:28
Yes, the Kentucky law is deplorable as is Rev. Riner. The same is true of the repressive, anti-civil libertarian legislation passed by other states in the wake of 9-11. Unfortunately, that has too often happened in the wake of threats to national security. However, that in no way justifies the specious claim that people in Kentucky are prosecuted for their religious beliefs or that the law provides such. This type of gutter journalism only breeds the type of ignorant stereotypes that have been expressed in so many of the comments thus far received.
 
 
0 # kelly 2012-11-27 09:18
As a Libertarian, I am only assuming that you are one by what you wrote, then you should be one of the first to realize that laws like this are the first step that are taken when trying to curtail freedoms. Look at the first amendment if you want some proof. "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercising thereof...". This article is all about that. If this man's law passes, then the recognition of beliefs other than his goes right out the window.
 
 
+7 # sophiacat1 2012-11-25 09:49
Well, it must be true, since all the Christian countries of Europe were never invaded and had to fight wars--- WAIT-- Oh yeah, they WERE invaded and had to fight wars. A lot of wars, lots of times. Didn't God notice they were all Christian and everything? What happened?
 
 
+3 # ptalady 2012-11-25 11:57
Quoting abaconw48026:
[quote name="DurangoKid"]If a majority want to exercise their right to have any religions symbol of any kind anywhere in their community, prohibiting that is a violation of their rights under the first amendment since no law was passed by congress to prohibit that. We need tolerance for the beliefs of others rather than rules which give minorities a weapon against majorities who they do not agree with and a supreme court which decides the one case in front of it without making that into a law for everyone else.


HELLOOOO... the whole idea of our constitution is majority rule with respect for minority rights. The whole idea is to NOT have simple majority rule. Yes, in this sense, it IS about rule by the minority. This was a lesson our "brainiac" former California governator had to learn by publicly humiliating himself shortly after his election. What minority rights? Well, for starts, the right not to be required to take a religious test or oath. Just like it says right there in the constitution.
 
 
+9 # Kootenay Coyote 2012-11-25 13:59
As a priest myself, I’m amazed by those reputed Christians who have such feeble confidence in their tiny God that they feel compelled to armour him about with punitive laws.
 
 
+3 # RODNOX 2012-11-25 14:54
AS GEORGE CARLIN SAID---KEEP YOUR RELIGION TO YOURSELF !
 
 
-4 # aitengri 2012-11-25 16:01
What a torrent of babble this poor mind starved nincompoop has generated here! But for the admission by some passive Kentucky inhabiting soul that he/she voted "DEM" automatically without even realizing what he/she was supporting, I would be recommending ejection of that state from the union (apartheid, ghetto for the ignorant, whichever label might suit the new political entity thus created in the place where "Kentucky" currently lives). Kindness and charity and compassion NOT for this benighted whatever we're talking about.
 
 
+5 # kelly 2012-11-25 17:25
Speaking of babble...
 
 
+3 # Gnome de Pluehm 2012-11-25 16:10
Quoting Bildo:

....way back, the Supreme Court said they recognized the Bible as "The word of God".

Translate the word "of." Does this mean the Word "By" God, or does it mean the Word "About" God?" I'll accept the latter, but not the former.
 
 
+6 # Old Uncle Dave 2012-11-25 16:18
If something really exists, belief is not required.
 
 
+2 # kelly 2012-11-26 10:31
Well, I'd say the proof is before your eyes...rather like proof in the pudding, but too often with these people just because it's there don't make it so.
I always felt the better way to say it was if something really exists,
Faith is not required.
 
 
0 # Pickwicky 2012-11-28 16:56
Wish I knew what 'proof' you're talking about.
 
 
+1 # ekogaia 2012-11-26 12:52
Boy, am I glad I live in a free and sane country.
God bless South Africa :-)
 
 
+4 # bmiluski 2012-11-26 15:12
Spirituality = The search for enlightenment/knowledge.

Religion = The search for reward.
 
 
0 # Pickwicky 2012-11-28 16:58
It never occurred to me that studying my Dick and Jane primer was a spiritual activity.
 
 
+6 # Big Jake 2012-11-26 16:10
My daughter who is a middle school history teacher was working on her masters degree. In class they were confronted by alleged student who objected to teaching about dinosaurs and even that the oldest rock was only 6500 years old and the bible made no reference to dinasaurs therefore no dinosaurs ever existed. After a couple weeks of this nonsense or insanity, my daughter confronted this woman in the classroom, pulled her in and then asked how she could explain the existence of raccons since they were no not mentioned in the bible. The girl left the class.
Confronting this luncacy need not be with rancor but merely intelligence but it is our duty as citizens and even more true for those of faith to expose the inherent evil in holding these ridiculous beliefs.
 
 
+5 # DurangoKid 2012-11-26 20:09
Raccoons? That's priceless. While we're on the topic, let's discuss kangaroos, kiwis, thylacines, cockatoos, kakapos, wombats, koalas, pandas, Komodo dragons, lemurs, bacteria, viruses, nuclear decay, interferometry, and the Pythagorean theorem.
 
 
+2 # dovelane1 2012-11-27 04:14
Couple dozen thumbs up for Big Jake and the Durango Kid. It is really sad the girl your daughter spoke to was so deep in her denial of reality, she had no other option but to leave.

I've heard it said that nothing is ever lost. Perhaps somewhere down the road, the conflict your daughter's words created will, at some point, resolve itself by allowing this child to make up her own mind, instead of having it made up for her by (more than likely) her parents or relatives.

The bottom line for adults is that we must support the idea of kids eventually learning to think for themselves, rather than supporting kids thinking for the adults.

As has been mentioned, it is a very small person on the inside who has to force or coerce other people to believe as he or she does, just so he or she can feel better about themself.
 
 
+2 # JayMagoo 2012-11-26 17:49
One of the most intelligent and open-minded atheists I know is from Kentucky. He's a real gentleman and a pleasure to talk to.
Of course he doesn't live in Kentucky any more. He's been in South Florida for 35 years and loves it here.
 
 
+4 # rhgreen 2012-11-26 22:15
Well, for one, the guy doesn't know American history. "What the founding fathers stated and what every president has stated"? Really? Thomas Jefferson? Benjamin Franklin? Tom Paine? George Washington, who said it was good for society if citizens were churched - but his own beliefs were less strict. And "every president"? I don't think so. Anyway, whatever happened to "freedom of religion" which has always included the freedom to not have any?
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2012-11-27 16:00
// In Kentucky, a homeland security law requires the state's Homeland Security Officers to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God-or risk 12 months in prison. //


Sounds like too much government to me.
For the atheist who get distracted that loyalty is to be pledged to a mythical God -- is it any better that blind loyalty is pledged to the state and the dictator in control of it?
 
 
+2 # Linda 2012-11-28 15:51
This might be laughable if it weren't so dangerous !
If they are allowed to do this in one state then other states will follow . This has to be unconstitutiona l sense this jerk by making this law is mixing church and state matters which is most certainly unconstitutiona l.
Obama needs to step up to the plate with these jerks and set them straight on Constitutional Law .
If they want to be part of the Union they must abide by our laws set down in Our Constitution ,not the one they made up in their foolish heads !

How can they be so ignorant as to raise children lying to them about evolution ?
Sadly this group of right wing christian's are a disgrace to the human race in so many ways !
 
 
-1 # Pancho 2012-11-30 00:00
You're being harsh, I think.

In order to lie, one has to know what the truth is.

These benighted souls don't have a clue what the truth is.

Ergo, when they tell their kids that they'll go to heaven if they pray or accept Jesus as their personal savior, or whatever unprovable rubbish they chose to pass on to their progeny, they'd not lying. They probably even mean well.
 
 
+1 # DurangoKid 2012-11-30 10:32
Quoting Pancho:
You're being harsh, I think.

In order to lie, one has to know what the truth is.


This statement is patently false. Creationists who don't understand evolution tell lies about it all the time. Republicans in Congress who don't understand economics tell lies about Social Security and Medicaid. Where there's a political or religious agenda, the truth seems to lose its importance if it stands in the way of a grab for power. Willfully ignoring the truth does not excuse lying.
 
 
0 # wrodwell 2012-11-30 10:06
If God is so essential to the protection of America, where was this all-powerful deity when Pearl Harbor was attacked or when the 3-pronged attack on 9/11 happened? If it was God's job to protect America, he didn't do a very good job of it and should be fired. The United States was conceived as a secular democracy and should remain so.
 
 
0 # Skeeziks 2012-11-30 12:19
Amen Brother
 

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