Tag Archives: Separation of Church and State

At the end of 2014, signs declaring "In God We Trust" were added to the legislative committee rooms in Frankfort.  Why?

State Sen. Albert Robinson, R-London, said he wants to start a project to put the signs in Kentucky courthouses and city halls on a voluntary basis.

“This is our national motto. We should remind people of our God-given rights,” said Robinson before reimbursing the state $2,811.10, including 8 percent interest, for the 13 signs that adorn various legislative committee rooms.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article86866207.html#storylink=cpy
Actually no, Senator Robinson. Our rights do not come from your god. The highest authority in the United States is "we the people," not any supernatural power. These signs only divide up the American citizenry into Christians (as this motto always seems to refer to the Christian God) and everyone else. But we are all citizens and we are equal under the law.

Robinson's amendment said the motto would be displayed "behind each chairman or chairwoman in each committee room used by members of the General Assembly in the Capitol and Capitol Annex."

Asked Monday why the signs are needed, Robinson said, "This is America. I feel like this nation was and is established by God.

"We need to show the same respect in the committee rooms that we show in the Senate and House chambers."

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article44542419.html#storylink=cpy
We agree with the ACLU and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State that these signs indicate a bias in government towards religious citizens and against the non-religious, and this is not appropriate. We are all equal under the secular law of our nation, and the signs and decorations of our government buildings should reflect that.
Here are some of the things LAF members had to say about the IGWT signs in the Kentucky state capital.
  • The word " we" implies that this speaks for all of us which it does not.
  • I feel my government excludes me and others like me as it ignores the intent of the separation of church and state.
  • #InGodWeTrust is demonstrably false. #InGodSomeOfUsTrust is more accurate, but equally irrelevant.
  • Can't trust something that doesn't exist
  • InOneOfCountlessStillActiveGodsThatManHasCreatedThroughoutTheCenturiesSomeOfUsStillPlaceFalseHope. It's a bit of a mouthful.
  • 'In Xenu You Believe' gives me the same feeling. ...
  • Which God do we trust?
  • Because we should focus on uniting over common goals (helping the homeless, bettering education, etc) instead of having Christians throwing up IGWT signs anywhere they can out of spite as they simply come across as children saying "my dad can beat up your dad"
  • I'm more offended by the late addition of under God in the pledge of allegiance, because it is more of an attempt at indoctrination. Both are in place to help normalize religious inclinations.
  • Putting their religion in the pledge is just like what they're doing with throwing up IGWT signs everywhere--they're trying to saturate our culture with their religion in hopes of making it look like it's been a crucial part of our society. It's the sign of a dying religion desperately trying to survive.
  • Because E Pluribus Unum was a much more optimistic, promising, and noble ethos as a national motto.
  • It excludes more than half of the country, persecutes nonbelievers, and prevents religious freedom and true separation of church and state.
  • Because it's not true. In doctors we trust, in friends and family we trust, in blood pressure meds we trust, in SIG Sauers we trust, in seat belts we trust...in neither of the posited gods (the Christian one in this case), does anyone trust. That's why we do all that other shit.
  • Abdicates individual and social responsibility.
  • It implies we can't think/do for ourselves. We trust a being made by man to single us out and favor us over others.

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The Greatest Story Every Sold: America's Judeo-Christian Heritage from Mikel on Vimeo.

DSC_0055In the January 2013 meetup of Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers, Suzanne Lamb spoke to the group about a situation in a Muhlenberg county high school. When challenged about letting the Gideons distribute bibles in the school during class time, the school board decided to implement an "open forum" policy to allow any group to distribute literature, but did not originally put the policy in writing nor publicize it. Suzanne Lamb discovered that the school board was using the policy to allow special access to the the Gideons (but not necessarily any other group) by examining the school board minutes, and decided to do something about it. With the help of the Secular Student Alliance and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, she put pressure on the school board to honor the "open forum" policy by allowing her to distribute FFRF materials on the school grounds.

Here are a few important points from the presentation:

  • Open Forum policies regarding access to public schools by outside organizations can be used as loophole strategies to give religious groups privileged access. It is important to know of these policies and be sure they are being implemented appropriately.
  • If you become aware of potential Church/State violations in your district, you can contact groups such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Secular Student Alliance for legal advice. Oftentimes, it only takes a letter from a national organization to solve the issue. These situations do not always have to lead to a lawsuit.
  • If children are raised from K-12 with consistant endorsement of religion in the schools, they come to see such Church/State violations as normal and to be expected.
  • We need to remember that this is not an issue for atheists only. We have religious allies in Church/State Separation issues. In her presentation Suzanne speaks of a Baptist minister who spoke out strongly in favor of her case.

You can read more about the case at Suzanne's blog, What to Tell the Neighbors. Posts specific to the Muhlenberg County case may be found under the label "Gideons" in the right sidebar.