God can continue to receive official credit for Kentucky's homeland security, according to the Bluegrass State's highest court.
Last week, the Kentucky Supreme Court declined to hear a case that would review a post-9/11 state law "mandating that the commonwealth give credit to Almighty God for its homeland security," notes Peter Smith of The Courier-Journal. Of the seven justices, only one favored a review of the law that requires the following statement (seen here) to be publicly posted:
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, 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 Nov. 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.'"
When the case came before Kentucky's Court of Appeals last year, a 2-1 decision held that "the state law is constitutionally harmless." The majority opinion at that time compared Kentucky's policy to the Ohio state motto, "With God, All Things Are Possible," stating that "the Kentucky legislature has not attempted to compel belief or participation in any form of religious exercise, nor does it seek to prefer one belief over another. A simple reference to a generic 'God' acknowledges religion in a general way."
In her dissenting opinion to the Supreme Court's recent decision, however, senior judge Ann O'Malley Shake of Louisville said the law is different from the Ohio motto, in part because it carries criminal penalties for non-compliance, including up to one year in jail. Moreover, she said the law "is a legislative finding, avowed as factual, that the commonwealth is not safe absent reliance on Almighty God."