KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: January 12, 2008
Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 48, Union, KY 41091; Email: [email protected]
Phone: (859) 384-7000; Fax: (859) 384-7324; Web: http://www.atheists.org/ky/
Editor’s personal web site: www.edwinkagin.com
Editor’s personal blog: http://edwinkagin.blogspot.com
Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.
I WAS BORN AN ATHEIST JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE
To Unidentified Recipients:
Just couldn’t believe it, so I wrote to the reporter at the Lexington Herald-Leader thus:
Could you please verify?
First line of today’s story about the start of the 2008 Senate < http://www.kentucky.com/454/story/280739.html > :
“The political squabbles started less than an hour after the state Senate kicked off its work year listening to a rendition of ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.’”
Naturally, they will say that this, if true, is not an attempt to unconstitutionally “establish a religion.”
Are these the words?
”O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Saviour,
And life more abundant and free:
Turn you eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conqu’rors we are!
His word shall not fail you He promised;
Believe Him and all will be well.
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
If that is not religious, one wonders just how it might look if they were religious.
We are a nation of laws, not a nation of sins.
National Legal Director
American Atheists, Inc.
Toll Free: 877-814-9287
(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)
Well, it was true.
And if that is not enough of a dose of constitutional awareness for Kentucky, consider this:
Bill in the works for public school prayer
BY PATRICK CROWLEY
FRANKFORT — A Northern Kentucky lawmaker is working on legislation designed to allow public school students to openly pray in school.
Rep. Royce Adams, D-Dry Ridge, said he is working on the bill at the request of a Grant County church that claims to have collected more than 25,000 signatures on petitions supporting the effort.
Adams said the bill is not yet drafted and he would not divulge further details.
“It’s a work in progress as we speak,” Adams said Tuesday morning about an hour before the Kentucky General Assembly opened its 2008 legislative session.
Adams acknowledged the bill is apt to raise constitutional concerns.
“That’s what we’re looking into,” he said while walking through the tunnel that connects the Capitol Parking Garage with the Capitol Annex. “Hopefully we’ll have something that will meet the needs (of the supporters.) I really believe that part of the problem is we’ve already got some things on the books that most people don’t realize are there. So we are trying to take all that into consideration before we draft a bill.”
Adams would not expound on his comment that there may be an existing law or provision in a state statute that would allow open prayer in school.
“I’m not ready to give a lot of information, because like I said, it’s a work in progress.”
“But I think I have to come up with some type of legislation because I’ve got quite a few (people) in my district that are interested in this,” Adams said.
He said the Lawrenceville Baptist Church in Corinth in southern Grant County initiated the petition drive. In a statement issued by the Rev. Jay Holt, pastor, the church said it had “collected more than 25,000 signatures … to put prayer back in Kentucky schools.”
“Through door-to-door signature drives, booths at local events and letters to hundreds of churches all over the state, the congregation of Lawrenceville has caught the attention of legislators in Frankfort,” according to the statement.
“People want this,” Adams said. “I’ve been working on this for a couple of months. We’ll have something on this down the road.”
Rep. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, who often clashes with conservative lawmakers over religious-oriented legislation, said Adams is “pandering” with the bill and said the General Assembly should be focused on other issues.
“We’re facing a $400 million hole in the budget,” Stein said in an interview.
“We have more than likely cuts in (public education) we are going to have to make.
“We are not properly funding our universities, yet (Adams) wants to get us all in a tizzy about prayer in school.
“Children can pray in school right now so long as they aren’t disruptive to the class,” said Stein, a lawyer.
“This is just – the word pandering comes to mind.”
And while that scoff law behavior is going on:
Kentucky makes the New York Times, with “In Kentucky’s Teeth, Toll of Poverty and Neglect”:
But fear not, for in Kentucky:
From reader Jan:
Subject: 10 C’s back in Garrard County Courthouse
Here we go again.
This display features ONLY stuff on the 10 C’s – and they evidently think that makes it more
kosher? Oh, yeah, it is the business of the Garrard County Court to educate citizens on the 10
C’s. Guess Garrard County doesn’t have churches to do this and they need to rely on tax payer
funded entities to do the church’s job.
According to Garrard County Judge Executive, John Wilson, this display is supposed to “educate the
public on the history of the 10 commandments.” That publicized statement alone just lost them
Wilson must have gotten his law degree in aisle 6 at KMart during a blue light special.
10 Commandments Hung Monday In KY Courthouse
The halls of the Garrard County courthouse now look a little different than before.
A new ten commandments display was unveiled Monday morning, after the fiscal court voted
unanimously to place it in the courthouse.
Garrard County Judge Executive John Wilson says this one is much different from a display that had
to be removed last year, after it landed the county in court.
“The other display hung by previous administration and was a collection of historical documents,
one of which was the 10 commandments,” he said. “This is a different one; it is educational. It’s
to educate the public on the history of the 10 commandments.”
Wilson says the new display chronicles the commandments from the beginning to the current day
court battles. He says it shows both sides of the controversy.
Note: all of this can be easily avoided, and persons desiring the Ten Commandments are invited to go to www.edwinkagin.com , where it is written,
“…Those who feel they cannot refrain from robbing, murdering, raping, stealing, etc. without this Bronze Age code to guide them can now have their very own copy by printing out this thoughtfully offered document in ready- to-print-and-frame form, which can be easily enlarged or reduced as desired.
Readers can now “Hang Ten” everywhere they can find wall space to do so.
If everyone has their own copy to read or worship, and every child has one to put on the front of their school binder, we should not need to have further fuss over such debated issues as unlawful postings in schools, court houses, and other public places. Some may want to paper their homes with them.
And, if the theory of those who want them displayed everywhere is correct, then crime, immorality, and all nature of bad things should soon disappear….” Edwin.
Also from reader Jan:
Some other Kentucky background that might be helpful:
In 2000, The Association of Religion Data Archives reported that of Kentucky’s 4,041,769
33.68% were members of evangelical Protestant churches Southern Baptist Convention (979,994 members, 24.25%) Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ (106,638 members, 2.64%) Church of Christ (58,602 members, 1.45%) 10.05% were Roman Catholics 8.77% belonged to mainline Protestant churches United Methodist Church (208,720 members, 5.16%) Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (67,611 members, 1.67%) 0.05% were members of orthodox churches 0.88% were affiliated with other theologies 46.57% were not affiliated with any church.
Today Kentucky is home to several seminaries. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville is the principal seminary for the Southern Baptist Convent
ion. Louisville is also the home of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Lexington also has a seminary, Lexington Theological Seminary, and Asbury Theological Seminary is located in nearby Wilmore. In addition to seminaries, there are several colleges affiliated with denominations. Transylvania in Lexington is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ. In Louisville, Bellarmine and Spalding are affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Louisville is also home to the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and their printing press. >>> Louisville is also home to a sizable Jewish population. <<<
(46.57% UNchurched! Woo Hoo!!!)
Also, Kentucky is the home of Charles C. Moore – one of the last people in America to be jailed for blasphemy < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Chilton_Moore >:
Charles Chilton Moore (1837 – February 7, 1906) was an American atheist, and the editor of Blue Grass Blade, one of the United States’ first journals promoting atheism.
C. C. Moore’s grandfather was the 19th century religious reformer Barton W. Stone. Moore became a preacher, in his grandfather’s tradition, but came to doubt the Bible and its teachings. He left the church, passing through deism and agnosticism before becoming an atheist. He founded the Blue Grass Blade in 1884 in Lexington, Kentucky. Due to financial and legal problems, he was only able to publish it sporadically. The journal contained articles advocating such positions as agnosticism, women’s suffrage, and prohibition.
Moore spent time in prison for his outspoken opposition to religion and The Bible. He was even jailed for blasphemy, but was * pardoned by president William McKinley. His autobiography, written in prison, is called Behind the Bars.
Moore’s legacy is that of a father of American atheism. His Blue Grass Blade was widely circulated, gaining him notoriety among the religious and non-religious alike. He helped to promote arguments against much that is contained in the Bible, for example, geological evidence that Earth existed far before the date of October 23, 4004 BC, calculated by James Ussher from the Old Testament. His legal trials helped establish precedents in free speech law, as it relates to religious dissent. The Blue Grass Blade continued to be published after his death by James Edward Hughes until 1910.
Charles Chilton Moore is buried in Lexington, Kentucky.
[*Jailed in Lexington for blasphemy...in prison in Ohio later for charges of publishing "free love" statements in the Blade - with the Ohio sentence being the one pardoned by McKinley.]
Also, AA held their 1984 convention in Lexington, with Moore’s 3 books being republished by AA – Madelyn Murray O’Hair writing the forward to each. Madelyn’s son, Bill, picketed outside the hotel where the convention was held. AA members went to Moore’s grave in the Lexington Cemetery to plant a “Devil’s Hosta” in front of the gravestone < http://www.therestorationmovement.com/cc_moore.htm >.
Addendum from reader Jan:
Might note that those stats are from 2000. I’m sure the religion demographics have become even more varied since then.
We have a fairly good sized Muslim population in Kentucky < http://www.kentucky.com/158/story/164921.html > with 22 mosques in the state and between 5,000 and 6,000 Muslims in Lexington alone, according to the September 2007 article.
Lexington has the “Bharatiya Temple and Cultural Cente” < http://www.btccky.org > and Louisville has the “Hindu Temple of Kentucky”.
There are numerous Pagan/Wicca groups all over Kentucky too < http://www.witchvox.com/vn/gr/usky_gra.html >.
The Baha’i have churches in Lexington, Frankfort, Louisville, Richmond and Bowling Green.
HELL (pun intended) even the Kentucky Satanists are trying to organize MeetUps < http://satanism.meetup.com/cities/us/ky/louisville > and < http://satanism.meetup.com/cities/us/ky/louisville >.
So, there are a lot of “others” out there besides the Gawdless Infidels. And those good legislators are supposed to be representing ALL of us.
From Samantha of England (a country about the size of Kentucky—for details, ask someone who went to school when geography was still taught):
Subject: Blasphemy law ‘may be abolished’
“The government has signalled that it will bring
forward plans to repeal the law of blasphemy, in an
effort to head off a rebellion by Labour MPs.
Ministers are hoping to persuade backbenchers against
backing a motion calling for the immediate abolition
of the ancient legislation.
They say they want to talk to the Church of England
before scrapping the offence of blasphemous libel.
But Labour MPs have been told the government is
sympathetic in principle.”
Perhaps there is hope yet for us…
It is suggested that copies of “Baubles of Blasphemy,” by Edwin Kagin, be sent to this poor county in missionary boxes to aid in the emerging enlightenment. Edwin.