WASHINGTON (JTA) — A law establishing Kentucky’s Office of Homeland Security violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a Reform Jewish leader charged.
Rabbi David Saperstein noted in a letter to Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear that the 2006 law establishing the office states that its executive director shall stress "the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth,” and that a plaque bearing that statement be publicly displayed. That violates both the state’s Constitution as well as the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, wrote Saperstein, the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
"By asserting ‘The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God,’ the statute distracts from real homeland security challenges by focusing instead on religious beliefs," Saperstein wrote. "Furthermore, by mandating a declaration of God’s power as protector of the state as a job requirement, these provisions amount to government-sponsored religious discrimination."