Lexington Herald-Leader Criticises Conway’s Appeal

It is obvious to many that candidate Conway's appeal was a political decision instead.

It is obvious to many that candidate Conway's appeal was a political decision and not an act of leadership and courage.

I will quote the text of an editorial from the Lexington Herald-Leader that you may also read at this webiste: http://www.kentucky.com/591/story/935968.html.

Public Policy or Plain Politics

As a sitting attorney general who is also a candidate for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning’s retirement, it is imperative that Jack Conway keep the latter role from affecting his performance in the former.

Throughout the ongoing campaign, every action Conway takes in his official capacity, every opinion his office issues and every case it decides to pursue will be analyzed for potential political impact.

That is the reality he created for himself when he entered the Senate race.

And it is within the framework of that reality that his office’s questionable decision to file an appeal in a religious freedom case must be judged.

At issue is a 2006 statute that required the state Department of Homeland Security to stress in its official reports “dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the commonwealth.”

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate recently ruled that the statute violates the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty.

“This is the very reason the Establishment Clause was created: to protect the minority from the oppression of the majority,” Wingate wrote. “The commonwealth’s history does not exclude God from the statutes, but it had never permitted the General Assembly to demand that its citizens depend on Almighty God.”

It was a reasoned, logical decision that seems likely to be upheld on appeal.

Conway’s office, which defended the statute at the trial level, should have recognized it as such. Instead, it chose to appeal.

At any other time, such a course of action might be criticized as no more than an unwise waste of time and resources.

But now, in the midst of a senatorial campaign, it also raises another question.

How much did Bible Belt politics factor into the decision to take this crusade for the “Almighty God” statute to Kentucky’s higher courts?


Interview With Freethought Radio

This "plaque" is a threat to religious freedom!

This "plaque" is a threat to religious freedom!

My interview with Freethought Radio was broadcast today. You can hear the interview at http://airamerica.com/node/111658.  On my laptop, the radio would play until the first commercial break at 6:30 and then it would go back to the beginning. If this happens to you, move the progress bar until it is after 6:30 and press play. I am interviewed at that time.

You will be able to download the podcast from http://ffrf.org/radio/podcast/ soon, but it is not there as of today, September 12.

Interview with Freethought Radio

Attorney Edwin Kagin and Plaintiff Helen Kagin

Attorney Edwin Kagin and Plaintiff Helen Kagin

Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor of Freethought Radio interviewed me today, September 9, for a radio program that will air September 12. During this interview, Dan Barker credits Edwin Kagin and American Atheists.

The schedule for the broadcast of this interview may be found at http://ffrf.org/radio/.

Since the broadcast is not available in many cities, you may wish to subscribe to the podcast. The podcast becomes available a few days  after the broadcast. You may subscribe to the podcast at http://ffrf.org/radio/podcast/archives/2009.php.

A January 2009 interview with Freethought Radio may be found at http://media.libsyn.com/media/ffrf/FTradio_143_011709.mp3.  While that interview was satisfying, I believe that today’s interview was much better.

Attorney General Conway to Appeal KY Homeland Security Decision

Attorney General Jack Conway has decided to appeal the decision of Franklin County Judge Thomas Wingate that the Kentucky Homeland Security law is unconstitutional.

Is this "plaque" worth hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars?

Is this "plaque" worth hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars?

Conway is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Jim Bunning. Many political analysts have voiced the opinion that Conway is defending this law as a means of attracting conservative voters.  As Scott Lasley noted in the Louisville Courier-Journal:

“The reality of the situation is that for most attorneys general that would be the end of their political careers. It’s just the reality of the situation, given the political environment you’re operating in.”

Conway’s opponent in the Democratic primary is Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo.  I will request his position on this issue.

Conway claims that the law is simply an “acknowledgement of religion.” But American Atheists legal director Edwin Kagin said the appeal is a waste of taxpayers’ money:

“It’s disappointing the attorney general would want to protect a clearly unconstitutional law that attempts to establish a religion in Kentucky.”

Conway announced the decision to appeal on the Friday before Labor Day. Fridays are known to be the slowest news days, especially Fridays before a holiday. This is probably another politically calculated move by Conway.


Kagin Describes What References to God Will Be Challenged

Edwin Kagin recently described what references to god in state and federal law would be challenged.  I was alerted to this AP article in the Kentucky Enquirer newspaper in the first link below, but I also found it in other websites.

Many of the headlines are misleading, such as “Atheists: References to God OK in some cases”.  They interpret this headline from the decision of Kagin and the American Atheists to only file lawsuits they know they can win. Kagin is not saying some references to god in our laws are OK, but rather, some lawsuits are not worth filing.

One interesting place I found it was celebrefi.com, a website dedicated to celebrities. Does this make Edwin Kagin an official celebrity?