Ky. Judge Rules Against ‘Almighty’ Security Policy

A state law requiring the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security to depend on God for the state’s safety is unconstitutional, a state court has ruled.


Franklin Circuit Court struck down legislation mandating that the office add references to the state’s relationship to God in its training and educational materials and display a plaque that reads in part, “The safety of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”


State Rep. Tom Riner (D-Louisville) slipped this language into a larger Homeland Security bill. In the fall of 2008, Riner told the LouisvilleCourier-Journal, “This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky. Government itself apart from God cannot close the security gap. The job is too big for government.”


American Atheists and 10 Kentuckians then challenged the statute on its face, and Judge Thomas Wingate ruled in their favor.


“Even assuming that most of the nation’s citizens have historically depended upon God by choice for their protection, this does not give the General Assembly the right to force citizens to do so now,” Wingate wrote in American Atheists, Inc. v. Commonwealth of Kentucky.


“This is the very reason the Establishment Clause was created: to protect the minority from the oppression of the majority,” he continued. “The commonwealth’s history does not exclude God from the statutes, but it has never permitted the General Assembly to demand that its citizens depend on Almighty God.”