updated 8:30 a.m. PT, Wed., Dec. 3, 2008
FRANKFORT, Kentucky - A group of atheists filed a lawsuit 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.
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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, New Jersey-based American Atheists Inc. The group claims the law violates both the state and U.S. constitutions.
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