The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it has declined to hear American Atheists’ case against the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the state’s Office of Homeland Security.
American Atheists originally filed a lawsuit in 2008 seeking to remove part of a 2006 Kentucky anti-terrorism law. The law as currently written requires the Office to affirm in training materials that it cannot keep the state safe without reliance on “Almight God,” and to place a plaque with similar wording. Refusal carries a criminal penalty, including up to 12 months in prison. American Atheists takes the position that this is a violation of separation of religion and government.
“We disagree with the court’s decision,” said President Dave Silverman. “Kentucky is putting a criminal penalty on a refusal to affirm to a god, and we maintain our stance that this law is unconstitutional. We are proud that we were able to raise awareness about this and we’re sorry the Supreme Court has decided to sidestep the issue. The people of Kentucky deserve better.”
The Supreme Court agrees to hear only a small fraction of the cases presented to it each year.