Kentucky state government is permitted to give official credit for its homeland security to Almighty God, thanks to a split decision by a three-judge appeals panel.
In 2009, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate held that legislation giving credit to God for the state’s security was a case of the government taking an official position on God.
The majority of the Kentucky Court of Appeals didn’t agree, however.
On Oct. 28, Judge Laurance B. VanMeter wrote in the majority opinion, “The legislation merely pays lip service to a commonly held belief in the puissance of God. The legislation complained of here does not seek to advance religion, nor does it have the effect of advancing religion, but instead seeks to recognize the historical reliance on God for protection.”
Dissenting Judge Ann O’Malley Shake wrote that the lower court’s ruling was correct and that this legislation requires the Homeland Security director to stress “to the public that dependence upon God is vital.”
Edwin Kagin, the attorney who represented the plaintiffs in this case, said he was “a little stunned” by the decision, according to an Oct. 29 article in the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Kagin, national legal director of American Atheists, called this decision a “move toward theocracy.” He surmised that friend-of-the-court briefs filed by almost all of Kentucky’s legislators played a role in the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security v. Christerson decision.