Last week, two church & state cases from Kentucky were resolved. One concerning a state law that said “security was unattainable without reliance on ‘Almighty God’” lost in the US Supreme Court. Another case involving religious coercion at state-funded baptist children’s home was settled out of court as a victory for support of separation of church and state. We can’t always win these court cases but we need to fight as much as possible to protect the wall between church & state.
In 2006, politicians in Kentucky passed a law requiring the state’s Department of Homeland Security to declare in its training materials that security was unattainable without reliance on “Almighty God.” It also required a plaque to be installed at the Department’s entrance saying as much. AA’s attorney Edwin Kagin called the law “one of the most egregiously and breathtakingly unconstitutional actions by a state legislature that I’ve ever seen.”
Yesterday, unfortunately (albeit expectedly), the Supreme Court rejected the request. They won’t hear the case.
Since the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case the appeals court loss remains. The state of Kentucky can continue to foolishly depend on a god to protect them from terrorists.
In the other case, involving religious coercion at state-funded baptist children’s home:
Kentucky state government has agreed to make broad changes in its child-care system to protect children against religious coercion, indoctrination and discrimination in order to settle a bitterly fought, decade-long federal lawsuit filed by state taxpayers.
In the lawsuit, taxpayers represented by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Washington, DC-based international law firm Arnold & Porter LLP charged that state funds were being used to proselytize children and advance religion. The advocacy groups presented extensive evidence that Sunrise Children’s Services, a state contractor affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, coercively imposed Christianity upon children in its care in many ways.
Under the settlement, child-care agencies that contract with the state will be forbidden to discriminate in any manner against any child based on the child’s views about religion or to pressure children to participate in religious worship or instruction. Publicly funded child-care agencies and foster homes across the state also will be barred from placing religious items in children’s rooms without their consent, and religious materials will be given only to children who request such materials.
This is good news for impressionable children forced into state supported child-care. Now they shouldn’t have religion forced on them.
Even though these Kentucky cases were split, we should still raise objections to protect the separation of church and state.