Friday, November 28, 2008

You wouldn't think this would be constitutional

Oh, Kentucky. What are we to do with you?
Under state law, God is Kentucky's first line of defense against terrorism.

The 2006 law organizing the state Office of Homeland Security lists its initial duty as "stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth."

Specifically, Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God's benevolent protection in its reports, and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, "The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God."

State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister, tucked the God provision into Homeland Security legislation as a floor amendment that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved two years ago.

As amended, Homeland Security's religious duties now come before all else, including its distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and its analysis of possible threats.

The time and energy spent crediting God are appropriate, said Riner, D-Louisville, in an interview this week.

"This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky," Riner said. "Government itself, apart from God, cannot close the security gap. The job is too big for government."

So we should hope that God will do it for us? If he wanted to, wouldn't he do it whether or not we passed a law saying he would?

And really, why is protecting our state too big a job for the government? What is included in that duty that is beyond them? Just because you're too incompetent to do your job, and therefore have to leave it to your fairy god father, that doesn't mean that nobody is capable of doing it.

Anywho, I went on to Kentucky's website and did a search for "Almighty God" in the revised statutes, and got these two hits (warning--both PDFs): this appears to be the legislation referred to in the article. Entitled "Kentucky Office of Homeland Security executive director -- Duties -- Delegation of duties -- Notification of disaster or emergency", it states in part that
The executive director shall:

(a) Publicize the findings of the General Assembly stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth by including the provisions of KRS 39A.285(3) in its agency training and educational materials. The executive director shall also be responsible for prominently displaying a permanent plaque at the entrance to the state's Emergency Operations Center stating the text of KRS 39A.285(3)

This is the first duty listed.

The other hit I got was from 2002, and reads in part:
The General Assembly hereby finds that:


(3) 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.' "

I think this is just a feel-good declaration rather than a law, but still--why are Kentucky's legislators so incompetent that they can't even protect their state by themselves?

Maybe because you can't take office in Kentucky if you've fought a duel? They don't have any experience in killing people / defending themselves! Quick, get these legislators a gun! We can let Kathy Stein and Tom Riner duke it out.

Via Pharyngula.

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