Thursday, December 4, 2008

What is God's Role in Our Security?

A group of atheists filed a lawsuit this past Tuesday seeking to remove part of a state anti-terrorism law that requires Kentucky’s Office of Homeland Security to acknowledge it can’t keep the state safe without God’s help. American Atheists Inc. sued in state court over a 2002 law that stresses God’s role in Kentucky’s homeland security alongside the military, police agencies, and health departments.

Of particular concern is a 2006 clause requiring the Office of Homeland Security to post a plaque that says the safety and security of the state “cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon almighty God” and to stress that fact through training and educational materials. The plaque, posted at the Kentucky Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort, includes the Bible verse: “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

“It is one of the most egregiously and breathtakingly unconstitutional actions by a state legislature that I’ve ever seen,” said Edwin F. Kagin, national legal director of Parsippany, N.J.-based American Atheists Inc. The group claims the law violates both the state and U.S. constitutions.

But Democratic State Representative Tom Riner, a Baptist minister from Louisville, said he considers it vitally important to acknowledge God’s role in protecting Kentucky and the nation.

“No government by itself can guarantee perfect security,” Riner said. “There will always be this opposition to the acknowledgment of divine providence, but this is a foundational understanding of what America is.”

What do you think?

My thoughts may well run in direct opposition to yours. If that’s the case, that’s okay. You are free (ain’t America great) to disagree with me and my opinion. I don’t moderate your comments—but I am always free to comment about your comment. After all, this is MY blog. And, if you don’t like my blog direction, I know what you’ll do—you’ll stop reading it. That’s just reality.

My wife is a native of Kentucky. I know a little of how the state operates and what their motivations are in laws like this.

While I know and acknowledge God’s ability to provide security, whether at home, school, work, in our nation, or around the world, I don’t think it is necessary to have this plastered on the walls of a governmental office or becoming a law of the state. I don’t have to see it engraved in stone to know the value of God’s provision. I know it from the Bible and from my walk with Him. I don’t need the government telling me what God says.

We are free, as Christ followers, to pray for God’s protection. We are free to seek, as a body of believers—His church, His protection, guidance, strength, etc. That is our right as believers, and fortunately, in America, we have that freedom as well.

However, does that mean that we should mandate our values or views or beliefs upon others? Do we have the right to impose our faith on them? Mandating our faith? Our Scriptures? Our views? I don’t think so.

Here’s a second thought. Did you notice that the representative who sponsored the bill was a “Baptist minister?” [Disclaimer: I’m Baptist. And, in a former life, was a Baptist minister.] Some readers will say, “Well, the representative meant well. He was simply living out his faith. He’s brought his faith into his job serving the public.”

Now, what if the representative had been a Muslim cleric? Would you feel any different? What if he had been a Hindu priest? Buddhist Monk?

In a land of freedom, a Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist would have the right—as they should—to recommend that a plaque be hung, including their sacred Scripture. Does that bother you? Should it only be “Christians” that have a right to have their Scriptures on display?

I personally don’t want laws mandating faith to be the laws of the land. I really don’t.

Okay. There you have it. You’ve got the facts of the story. You’ve now heard my thoughts. All that remains is what you think. I can’t wait to read your comments.


  1. I agree with you. While *I* acknowledge that it is all ultimately God, many others do not. AND, I don't think it is necessary for the government to do the reminding.

    And, as you pointed out, if Islam was the majority, how would we feel if they had a law that stated there had to be a plaque on the wall that said had a similar attribute to Allah.

    Like you, I look forward to the comments on this -- I'm truly interested in what others think.

  2. I agree with you Steve. And this is the sticky widget, as they say. We gripe about nativity displays but if that is the case then we must allow Muslim, Hindu, wiccan, etc alongside "ours". Like Karma, I don't need to see a statement (in King James english no less) to know what "I" believe: that God is in ultimate control. I am glad that they want to admit God is in control but this may have gone too far. On another subject: a Baptist Democrat? Interesting pairing. But as I say that is another subject. :)

  3. Karma and Bill...thanks for jumping into the conversation...what in the world are you two doing up at this time of the night!

    As Karma said, I know what I believe and what I confess. My problem with what Kentucky is doing is simple: I don't want nor need my government mandating what I believe. There is an important truth here about the separation of church and state. Now, read that carefully...separation of church and state, not separation from church or state. We need both, but we don't need both mandated.

  4. Steve, I agree with you but I'll go one step further. If I was a citizen of KY, I would be furious. My tax dollars would now be going to defend the lawsuit that is going to be filed. The representative had to have known this would eventually happen. If he didn't, there's a whole 'nother problem. :-) Maybe the citizens can stand up and demand the money for the defense come out of his pockets not theirs.

  5. Angie...thanks for stopping by and are always welcomed here!

    You made some great additional observations...I had not thought about the tax dollars part...

  6. Well, I see where your coming from Steve. For a moment, let's try to see where the Baptist Minister Legislator might have been coming from.

    If he is like me, he's sick of seeing ANYTHING that is remotely related to God or Christianity banished from public places. There is a "religious cleansing" of America going and no one seems to care, mostly because everyone wants to be politically correct and not offend anyone.

    Well, baloney.

    Perhaps one of the reasons our country is in the shape it is in is because we have already removed God from every venue possible. Not literally, of course, but figuratively.

    What will happen when we give our country away to the liberals? They will give it away to anyone else who desires to take it. When the terrorists are then our leaders, we will yearn for the day that we can have ANY freedom at all. We will rue the day that, in political correctness, we kicked God right out of our country.

    I say, "Let the plaque stay."

    That's my 2 cents for the morning.

  7. Wow... I think I need to be more with it to answer. Be back later!

  8. Rick, you asked "What will happen when we give our country away to the liberals"

    My question to you is this -- Why is the country "ours" to begin with?

    Because it was founded by people who wanted to be able to worship freely?

    Hmmmmmm. Why do I have a RIGHT to worship as I please, but I need to "stand up" for my right to do and squash others right to do that?

    We can't kick God our of our country. As believers, He is in our hearts. Therefore, wherever we are, His Spirit is.

    We want our lifestyles that let us do what we want, when we want, how we want to. If someone else wants to do something contrary to us, we label it as evil, and discriminatory, and we are determine to stop them. In effect, we do to "them" what we get mad at "them" for doing to "us." So much for the golden rule.

    It is ILLEGAL to even be a Christian in Indonesia, much less to claim rights as one. Yet, the church is growing, and the saints there are willing to die for their faith.

    Here in America, we get all frustrated when someone says Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.

    Are we on the path to having Christianity illegal in America? Frankly, I hope so. That way maybe ALL the Christians will realize what they have and start living it instead of just enjoying the benefits and ease of it.

    We, as Christians, make such a big deal out of making sure that people know we are "right," and by default, you are "wrong" that we have completely alienated the very ones we are claiming to try to reach. To me, it is sad.

  9. Karma,

    You make some excellent points and ask a very good question!

    When I say "our country", I mean "our country". Yours and mine. My grandmother's and your grandmother's. My kids' and your kids'. "This land is your land; this land is my land." I mean, specifically, the culture of our country since I've been around. My country; my culture.

    After having lived overseas for 10 years, I've seen first hand what godless corrupt governments are capable of. I've lived in two overtly Muslim countries. While it wasn't illegal to be a Christian in those countries, as it isn't with a vast majority of the countries in the world, it wasn't a party. In one country, evangelicals (all denoms) were estimated to be 0.03% of the country. The rest Muslim or Animist. New believers there lost their homes, jobs, families and occasionally, their lives. They quietly endure the persecution.

    Here, however, it is completely different. We have an incredibly small minority squeaking and they are getting the grease.

    We've got "In God We Trust" on our money; why can't we have it on a plaque on the wall? We've got "In God We Trust" on our money; why can't we have it in the town square?

    I don't want to purposefully offend; the Gospel does a good enough job of that on its own. However, I don't want to "politically correct" someone all the way to Hell by not standing up and speaking up. You are right; we aren't do a good job of speaking about our rights. But we aren't doing a good job at all about sharing the Good News.

    Perhaps it's the very small element of people who are willing to stand up and say "Enough is enough; turn back to God/acknowledge God!" that will keep our nation from being flushed down the toilet.

    Perhaps "my" America has already been flushed.

  10. That next to last paragraph doesn't make good sense; I meant to say we are doing a great job of declaring our rights, but are lousy at sharing the Gospel. Sorry about that....

  11. I'm answering now since Steve told me to.. (see above post!)

    I think it is a sad day when we care more about plagues being hung on a wall than His word being hidden in our hearts and lived out in our lives.

    I, personally, do not believe it is necessary to have "In God we trust" on any thing.. for unless it is true of the person who holds the coin or whatever in their hand to give - it it nothing more than words on a penny or etc.

    Our DFW, BIG "Christian" radio station has a "Keep In Christ in Christmas" type thing going again this year. No one can take Christ out of Christmas no matter what they do or say. We should stop acting like they can.

    The same sort of thing applies here too. Real Security is only found in a personal relationship with Him. Hence why it called personal. Just because a government official believes that way doesn't mean that every one does too. Kind of like no such thing as "I'm a Christian because my Granny was one." or "Our family has always gone to church, therefore, of course, I'm a Christian and we're a Christian family."

    Okay.. perhaps I'm rambling now or on a soap box.. I'll stop there.

  12. While I don't need government to legislate my beliefs, I also recognize that the government is made of the people (at least that's optimistic view that I would like to adhere to).

    As such, I don't think it is possible to have a government that is directed by people to be absent of faith. That faith may come in many different forms - christianity, atheism, hinduism, islamic - whatever it may be. How do you separate a person's faith from how they make decisions? You can't.

    Whether the scripture should be in or out of the Homeland Security statement of Kentucky is academic to the basic problem.

    We are a government of the people. How the majority of Americans believes will be the direction of the country. Statistics will say that the majority of Americans profess Christianity as their faith. The state of American politics is an indicator that stats aren't always correct or that what people claim and what they practice are two different things.

  13. Camey, first, Howdy, neighbor (from Plano)! We as a country tend to be short sighted, and without reminders everywhere, we tend to forget. Look at the number of speed limit signs - we have to contantly be told how fast to go. If "we" aren't reminded, the alternative will creep in and replace the "Meaning of" the season with a neutral, meaningless, slogan to make us feel "good for goodness sake."

    Our founding fathers believed passionately in the divine guidance from God to lead our new country. I wrote about it a few weeks ago, and when you read just the initial prayer given to the First Continental Congress, well, I wish I could pray like that. Consider that the very first session of Congress started with 3 hours of prayer. Just prayer. For 3 hours. When they said In God We Trust, they lived it. But do we really live it today? Do we live it with our votes? With our finances? With our actions towards the person that steals our parking spot in the mall? In Iran, it's not illegal to be a Christian, but it is illegal for a man to leave the muslim faith (not much of a difference). That counrty was founded on muslim principles, thus the majority are of muslim faith. But to say that majority opinion should change the very foundation of government, well that's revolution, isn't it? It's like saying if the majority of people believe in socialistic principles and vote that way, the core foundation of our country will change, and it will no longer be the same America. If we keep our beliefs hidden in our heart, then it's like Rick said - we're doing a lousy job of sharing the Gospel.

    As far as headed toward Christianity being illegal here, I don't share Karma's enthusiasm, although the end times prophesy tends to point that it will be, and it will be miserable for those who are believers (not getting into the pre- and post-rapture debate). Christianity differs from the other religions in that there is only One Way to heaven, but our country was founded on Christian religious freedom, not "just" religious freedom.

    One parting thought. Keep in mind, it's not muslims, hindu's or any other religious group protesting, it's the anti-God group protesting the plaque.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I can't wait to read what you have written.