American Atheists ask U.S. Supreme Court to Reverse Kentucky Law Requiring Belief in “Almighty God.”

American Atheists Press Release:

Acknowledge ‘Almighty God’ or Go Directly to Jail

Cranford, NJ—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.

On November 13, 2012, American Atheists’ National Legal Director Edwin Kagin submitted a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS). American Atheists is asking SCOTUS to review the Kentucky Homeland Security law. American Atheists won at the Circuit Court level a ruling that the law violated the First Amendment, but the decision was reversed by the Kentucky state Court of Appeals. The Kentucky state Supreme Court declined to review the Court of Appeals’ decision. Filing the petition does not guarantee SCOTUS will hear the case; only one in 1,000 cases are heard. Four of the nine justices must vote to hear the case.

On August 17, 2012, the Kentucky Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge, brought by American Atheists and local plaintiffs, to a state law that makes it mandatory that the Commonwealth and its citizens give credit to Almighty God for its safety and security. The 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, 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.’”

This case was first introduced December 2, 2008, when ten Kentucky residents joined with American Atheists to launch a lawsuit against the state. Mr. Kagin said, “This is one of the most egregiously and breathtakingly unconstitutional actions by a state legislature that I’ve ever seen.” The case went to trial in Franklin County, Kentucky, in August 2009. Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled that the law violated the First Amendment’s protection again the establishment of a state religion.

Judge Wingate’s ruling stated: “Even assuming that most of this nation’s citizens have historically depended upon God by choice for their protection, this does not give the General Assembly the right to force citizens to do so now. This is the very reason the Establishment Clause was created: to protect the minority from the oppression of the majority. The commonwealth’s history does not exclude God from the statutes, but it had never permitted the General Assembly to demand that its citizens depend on Almighty God.”

American Atheists and the local plaintiffs won the case in the Franklin County Circuit Court; however, the Kentucky Court of Appeals quickly reversed this ruling.

In a dissenting opinion supporting the lower court’s ruling, Special Judge Ann
O‘Malley Shake said Kentucky’s law crossed a constitutional line. Among other things, she said the law has criminal penalties, including up to 12 months in jail, for anyone who fails to comply.

“Unlike the Ohio state motto, which is passive,” Judge Shake wrote, “Kentucky’s law is a legislative finding, avowed as factual, that the Commonwealth is not safe absent reliance on Almighty God. Further, (the law) places a duty upon the executive director to publicize the assertion while stressing to the publicthat dependence upon Almighty God is vital, or necessary, in assuring the safety of the commonwealth.”


For additional information, including the Petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, see:



  1. PaceMaker of Peace says

    Atheism is a Joke
    In 1995 they made an illumanti card game that has illustrations of the twins towers being hit, an oil spill, and many other things,
    among them there is a card called
    ” Secular Humanist”
    Atheist are being played

    • barnumbailey says

      Wrong! The Trilateral Commission, Oliver North, the Illuminati, the Free Masons, Ted Turner and Cher met in an Atlantic City casino to play Go Fish. Cher won the game but had Jesus sodomized by John Travolta and Roger Clemens. However, Mitt Romney got angry and told Joseph Smith to go to Dave and Buster’s to play some video games. At that point, Betty White left with Pat Robertson to go get some cocaine for Elvis’ birthday party.

    • says

      I remember that game. It was fun. It also allowed you to put Conspiracy Theorists under the control of the Secular Humanists. Sadly, while the Conspiracy Theorists’ Resistance was high, its Power was zero, so it had only limited uses. Secular Humanists’ Power was 2 and its Resistance was 5, so it was a much more useful card in general.

      Sorry, did you actually have a point, or are you just saying “ATHEISTS ARE BAD BECASE ZOMG CARD GAME!”?

    • wilsim says

      Pacemaker of Peace is a Joke
      In 1995 they made an illumanti card game that has illustrations of the twins towers being hit, an oil spill, and many other things,
      among them there is a card called
      ”Interweb twitwit”
      Pacemaker of Peace is being played

  2. PaceMaker of Peace says

    In 1995 they made an illumanti card game that has illustrations of the twins towers being hit, an oil spill, and many other things,
    among them there is a card called
    ” Secular Humanist”

    Atheism is a JOKE

    • loreo says

      Oh, thanks for the clarification. At first, I had no idea what you were talking about or how it had any relevance at all to this blog post. It looked like you were blindly slinging insults you heard someone else make in a confused attempt to prove your own assumed intelligence, but now I see your true genius.

      Thank you for contributing.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Those who cannot properly spell “Illuminati” will soon find out what’s a joke, and what isn’t ….


    • PaceMaker of Peace says

      Forgive me Grammar Nazi,

      now PROVE TO ME how you and your little movement isn’t being manipulated?
      What does the shadow of the Atheist, in the illustration, look like?
      A) A Dog
      B) A Ballon
      C) A Clown

      So which one is it?

      • had3 says

        Oh, oh, I’ll play! What do you require as proof? You can understand that I might need that information before I can attempt to prove anything to you (e.g., I would accept proof that the supernatural exists if my dead mom walked in… I understand that’s not all that difficult for a supernatural entity to cause). So, what proof do you need? I may not be able to provide it, but why waste time trying if we can’t agree beforehand on what would be sufficient?

        • PaceMaker of Peace says

          How is it that you believe people who’ve died and seen Heaven were just experiencing a chemical phenomenon in the brain? Yet when someone dies they are able to recall they saw nothing?
          If they can remember, even if they were dead for more than,say 5 minutes, how can they remember if they’re dead? Gone?

          Unless, say a soul/spirit existed, than they would be able to remember,

      • rapiddominance says

        The shadow looks like some devil thing with its horns pointed down. In the picture there is an onlooker who appears afraid.

        The card game is a humorous depiction of conspiracy theory(ists). The “joke” is on the theist (the terrified onlooker) who sees atheists/secularists categorically as devils.

        Nobody running across that card haphazardly (without some prior suggestion) would have thought that was a clown. The pictural context simply doesn’t create that impression on the viewer.

        You didn’t think it was a clown, either.

      • baal says

        Thanks “PaceMaker of Peace”. I thoroughly enjoyed your burst of irrationality and the humorous takes on it that it provoked. You should probably be warned that these little outbursts full of bizarre assertions, excessive use of capital letters and use of “see I posed a question that totally destroys you bwaaahahahhaha!” is far from unknown to us.

        It’s so common that got tired of rolling our eyes at it years ago.

        My thanks is sincere, however. You’re particularly looney in a funny way.

  4. left0ver1under says

    Religion can never win by force of argument.

    Religion can only win by physical force – violence by the rabble or laws backed by the tyranny of the majority.

    • rapiddominance says

      Finally we come to someone who decided to make an article related comment regarding a blatantly manipulative and coercive legislative act!

  5. Gilgamesh says

    Hang on, I owned that game. It was a parody of conspiracy theories that also had groups like girl scouts, televagelists and TV Weather People.. Looking for philosophical truth there would be like looking for nutritional information in Candyland.

  6. PaceMaker of Peace says

    Also, if I really am religiously brainwashed by these so called “con men preachers”, and these con men “know their is no god” , therefore making them Atheist in disguise ( a la Jim Jones)
    and it’s the religious causing problems,
    shouldn’t the source of these problems be from your fellow Atheist?

    So it’s Atheist that are the source of problems for Atheist??

  7. rapiddominance says

    This legislation is an act of bullying.

    It serves to both intimidate Kentucky atheists into silence (or inaction) by threat of punishment AND it hangs an ethical dilemma over their heads for however long they choose to comply.

    If you’re an atheists and if your activism is centered around caring and helping others, then you’re in a position now where you’re being coerced into selling out both yourself and those you care about (if you’re in Kentucky, at least).

  8. Caru says

    Ok, I have read about 5 articles on this now and they are all phrased in the same vague way.
    Under what circumstances are you supposed to acknowledge almighty God? As in, what exactly do you have to do in order to get 12 months in jail? At the moment I’m thinking it’s about, like, not vandalizing the plaque or something.

  9. says

    I believe in G-d our creator and his laws have to be respected as well as the laws of the land…G-d does not forces you to believe in his laws …and he gives you the Choice to make …therefore, no government or religion should enforce anyone to believe in their religion…G-d is not religion…We need to educate ourselves in theology and ask the spirit of G-d to give you understanding…

    • Rich Woods says

      Thirty-five years ago I asked the spirit of God to give me understanding and I’m still waiting. It’s almost like he doesn’t exist.


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