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.