American Atheists have submitted a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court in a bid to overturn a Kentucky homeland security law which can send atheists to jail for up to 12 months for refusing to acknowledge "Almighty God."
Kentucky 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" Alter Net reported.
The law was sponsored by Tom Riner, a Baptist minister and Democratic representative. The New York Times reported Riner said: The church-state divide is not a line I see. What I do see is an attempt to separate America from its history of perceiving itself as a nation under God.”
Since the law first came onto the Kentucky statute in 2006 it has been challenged by American Atheists, overturned, and then reinstalled upon appeal. Now the American Atheists are once again hoping to overturn the law.
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They have issued a press release that reads: "Acknowledge Almighty God’ or Go Directly to Jail. Everyday in Kentucky, due to a 2008 homeland security law, atheists and agnostics are potentially forced to assert that the public safety of their state is dependent on 'Almighty God' or face criminal charges, including up to 12 months in jail."
Speaking of Riner, State Senator Kathy W. Stein said “Tom is as pious as he is persistent. He’s also prone to legislative stunts that are embarrassing and expensive for this state.” The state has ran up huge amounts in legal fees after losing several cases to the American Civil Liberties Union.