"We're ready to take this to the Supreme Court" says attorney Edwin Kagin
An Atheist civil rights group today criticized the Kentucky Attorney General's office for appealing a case challenging laws that it says allowed the Commonwealth to establish religion.
Statutes passed after the September 11, 2001 faith-based attacks ordered the state Office of Homeland Security office to display a plaque citing dependence on God as an essential tool in fighting terrorism, and to incorporate that theme in its training materials. American Atheists and 10 other plaintiffs filed suit; two weeks ago, a Circuit Court Judge
rejected a state request to dismiss the case, and ruled in favor of the Atheists.
On Friday, the Kentucky Attorney General's Office announced that it would appeal.
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Edwin Kagin, National Legal Director for American Atheists, accused state officials of wasting money. "We're in an economic crisis, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky continues to squander taxpayer revenue to defend a bad and unconstitutional practice."
Mr. Kagin challenged a claim by one state attorney that the plaque was "about God, not religion."
"If this isn't a violation of state-church separation, what is?"
Kagin added, "This case is all about whether the state has the right and duty to promote religion. I look forward to fighting this case all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States if necessary."
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Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists, said that the suit is being watched closely across the country.
"The outcome could determine if, and how far, states can go in promoting
belief in a deity and sectarian religion," said Buckner. "Saying that
'God is on our side' in the war on terror sends the message that
millions of non-religious people -- Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists
and anyone else who does not believe in a god or attend church (roughly
half of all Americans) -- is a slacker when it comes to being patriotic."
"As a military veteran, I resent that, and so do other non-believers who
have worn the uniform and fought for this country."