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Old 24th January 2018, 04:54 PM   #1
Thor 2
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Illegal to be an Atheist in Kentucky

Just came across this.

https://www.inquisitr.com/408402/ken...ieving-in-god/

Quote:
Kentucky residents who refuse to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God could face up to a year in prison, according to a law passed in 2006. An advocacy group is now asking the US Supreme Court to challenge the law.
How is it that something as unconstitutional as this can be passed into law, and recently?
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Old 24th January 2018, 05:23 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Just came across this.

https://www.inquisitr.com/408402/ken...ieving-in-god/



How is it that something as unconstitutional as this can be passed into law, and recently?

Has it been used against anyone?

If it hasn't that can make challenging it more difficult.
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Old 24th January 2018, 05:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Has it been used against anyone?

If it hasn't that can make challenging it more difficult.
Someone will have to provoke a response to bring it into court.

What disturbs me most about these kinds of law is not only their obvious violations of the Constitution, but also the stupidity and waste of time involved by legislators spending so much of their effort on political theater instead of doing something useful for their salaries.
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Old 24th January 2018, 05:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Someone will have to provoke a response to bring it into court.

What disturbs me most about these kinds of law is not only their obvious violations of the Constitution, but also the stupidity and waste of time involved by legislators spending so much of their effort on political theater instead of doing something useful for their salaries.

Right on.

Have we got any volunteers from that part of the country who can publicly declare their atheism and provoke a response. I would of course if I were there but I live in OZ.
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Old 24th January 2018, 05:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Someone will have to provoke a response to bring it into court.

What disturbs me most about these kinds of law is not only their obvious violations of the Constitution, but also the stupidity and waste of time involved by legislators spending so much of their effort on political theater instead of doing something useful for their salaries.
And then it will be somehow and unjustly morphed into "Christian prosecution"

It is times like this I wish I had a few million burning a hole in my pocket so I could set up residence in Kentucky and then poke the bear.
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Old 24th January 2018, 05:46 PM   #6
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Enh. I'm not a big fan of manufacturing test cases.
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Old 24th January 2018, 05:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Enh. I'm not a big fan of manufacturing test cases.

How do you feel about right wing-nut legislatures manufacturing showboat laws that won't possibly pass muster when they are tested?

It seems like the cause should be more of a concern than the result.
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Old 24th January 2018, 06:23 PM   #8
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2012. All those atheists must be filling up the jails by now!

As a site for skeptics, I am sure that people recognize how *********** ridiculous this claim is
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Old 24th January 2018, 06:55 PM   #9
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Well, you know how atheists are.
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Old 24th January 2018, 06:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
2012. All those atheists must be filling up the jails by now!

As a site for skeptics, I am sure that people recognize how *********** ridiculous this claim is
Does the law exist or not? That is a disgraceful thing if it does.
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Old 24th January 2018, 07:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Does the law exist or not? That is a disgraceful thing if it does.
No, a law making it "illegal to be an Atheist is Kentucky" does not exist and asserting that people can go to prison for a year for being an atheist is a complete *********** joke.
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Old 24th January 2018, 07:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Does the law exist or not? That is a disgraceful thing if it does.

This article seems to make a bit more sense.

It begins with;
Quote:
In Kentucky, a law requires the state’s Office of Homeland Security to post a plaque recognizing the power of the Almighty God--and violating this law could result in 12 months in prison.
...and ends with:
Quote:
Appended Note: The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security disagreed with the article's implication that citizens of the state could be jailed for being atheists. The office wrote, "It is true that we do have a law in Kentucky that mandates that the executive director of the Office of Homeland Security publish a reference to 'Almighty God' in regards to the 'safety and security of the Commonwealth,'" which appears as a plaque at the entrance of the Emergency Operations Center. Violating this law, or any other statues required by the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, could result in being found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail. As a result, the headline and the first line of the article have been revised.
Still doesn't seem too compliant with the spirit of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment, but it might sneak by. I think the criminal penalty puts it a bit over the top, regardless.
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Old 24th January 2018, 07:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Well, you know how atheists are.
I'm sure it varies, but I for one would not be in favor of a law so stupid, nor would I be so quick to presume that because the law is not invoked now, nor perhaps enforceable in the end, that it could not be used when a stupid and malevolent person decides to invoke it. It should not exist but it does, and a nuisance prosecution is expensive, malicious and damaging even if it is ultimately lost. You can hope all you want, but quite apart from the fact that the law is pretty obviously stupid and wildly unamerican, a law that can be randomly and maliciously used at the discretion of a few ought, I think, to be an abomination to anyone who actually values the idea of lawful government.

I think anyone who thinks a law like this even remotely resembles thoughtful or responsible government should hang his head in shame.
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Old 24th January 2018, 08:14 PM   #14
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Nobody is going to jail. This is basically fake news.

In 2002, Kentucky established the law KRS 39A.285, which says that the General Assembly hereby finds that the “safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God as set forth in the public speeches and proclamations of American Presidents…”

In 2006, Kentucky passed KRS 39G.010(2)(a), which says that the executive director of the Office of Homeland Security shall include the text of the above law in training and educational materials and on a plaque at the entrance to the state's Emergency Operations Center.

On November 21, 2012, AlterNet published an article about these laws with the headline “A Year in Jail for Not Believing in God? How Kentucky Is Persecuting Atheists” which said that the “law requires the state’s citizens to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God--or risk 12 months in prison.” Many other news agencies and websites picked up on this misleading article.

An appended note to the article says that the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security disagreed with the article's implication that citizens of the state could be jailed for being atheists. AlterNet updated the headline to “A Year in Jail for Not Stating the Power of God? How Kentucky Office of Homeland Security May Be Violating the Separation of Church and State” which is still highly misleading.

AlterNet says of the law requiring the plaque that “violating this law, or any other statues required by the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, could result in being found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail.” The law does not specify any punishment for violation of putting up the plaque. Also, the law is not under the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, which is a division of the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs and its role and function are governed by legislative action as dictated in Chapter KRS 39A-F of the Kentucky Revised Statutes (note that doesn’t include 39G). Even if the director refused to put up the plaque, criminal charges would be a very long stretch.

The actual effects of the law are very minimal. Even the homeland security website makes no mention of God. The only practical consequences are a small plaque and the text of KRS 39A.285 is printed on a page of homeland security reports.

Of course there is still a question of the constitutionality of the law. Challenging this law is rather difficult. As long as “In God We Trust” is allowed on U.S. currency, the plaque will similarly be allowed.

The law was shot down by a trial court, but then upheld by a Kentucky appeals court. Petitions by American Atheists with the Kentucky Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court were denied without comment. That is not surprising. It is probably too big of an issue with too small a consequence for SCOTUS to get involved.
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Old 25th January 2018, 12:12 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Well, you know how atheists are.
No. How are they?
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Old 25th January 2018, 12:23 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
No. How are they?
I'm fine, thanks.
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Old 25th January 2018, 12:26 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Someone will have to provoke a response to bring it into court.

What disturbs me most about these kinds of law is not only their obvious violations of the Constitution, but also the stupidity and waste of time involved by legislators spending so much of their effort on political theater instead of doing something useful for their salaries.

How much money would it cost to go through the process?

Who'd make profit?
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Old 25th January 2018, 01:22 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Someone will have to provoke a response to bring it into court.

What disturbs me most about these kinds of law is not only their obvious violations of the Constitution, but also the stupidity and waste of time involved by legislators spending so much of their effort on political theater instead of doing something useful for their salaries.
Well real issues tend to be complicated, time consuming and worst of all may actually require raising taxes. Far better to indulge in political theatre that will enthrall you base and distract them from the aforementioned real issues.
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Old 25th January 2018, 01:26 PM   #19
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Both the plaque and the printing on the document can be in 1-point typeface. Written in Arabic. There's no stipulation on how the wording must be presented.
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Old 25th January 2018, 01:43 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Someone will have to provoke a response to bring it into court.

That's not true. All that's necessary is that it have a chilling effect on the plaintiff. Just about anybody would meet that standard.


ETA: In general. This particular law doesn't appear to say what the article in the OP claims.
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Old 25th January 2018, 01:52 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Well, you know how atheists are.

Yes a mob of nit pickers the lot of us. Worrying about petty things like breaking the constitution indeed.

Being held up to ridicule, when bank notes are inscribed with silly stuff like "In God we trust" bothers us too.
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Old 26th January 2018, 01:03 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by eerok View Post
I'm fine, thanks.
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Old 26th January 2018, 01:34 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
How much money would it cost to go through the process?
A **** load.
Quote:
Who'd make profit?
Lawyers.

Last edited by CORed; 26th January 2018 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 26th January 2018, 01:37 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Yes a mob of nit pickers the lot of us. Worrying about petty things like breaking the constitution indeed.
Considering your OP gets the law in question entirely wrong, perhaps more nitpicking is something you need.
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Old 26th January 2018, 01:38 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
Lawyers.

Woohoo!

(Seriously, at least some of our most cherished Constitutional principles were argued by lawyers working pro bono.)
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Old 26th January 2018, 01:42 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate View Post
Nobody is going to jail. This is basically fake news.

In 2002, Kentucky established the law KRS 39A.285, which says that the General Assembly hereby finds that the “safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God as set forth in the public speeches and proclamations of American Presidents…”

In 2006, Kentucky passed KRS 39G.010(2)(a), which says that the executive director of the Office of Homeland Security shall include the text of the above law in training and educational materials and on a plaque at the entrance to the state's Emergency Operations Center.

On November 21, 2012, AlterNet published an article about these laws with the headline “A Year in Jail for Not Believing in God? How Kentucky Is Persecuting Atheists” which said that the “law requires the state’s citizens to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God--or risk 12 months in prison.” Many other news agencies and websites picked up on this misleading article.

An appended note to the article says that the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security disagreed with the article's implication that citizens of the state could be jailed for being atheists. AlterNet updated the headline to “A Year in Jail for Not Stating the Power of God? How Kentucky Office of Homeland Security May Be Violating the Separation of Church and State” which is still highly misleading.

AlterNet says of the law requiring the plaque that “violating this law, or any other statues required by the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, could result in being found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail.” The law does not specify any punishment for violation of putting up the plaque. Also, the law is not under the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, which is a division of the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs and its role and function are governed by legislative action as dictated in Chapter KRS 39A-F of the Kentucky Revised Statutes (note that doesn’t include 39G). Even if the director refused to put up the plaque, criminal charges would be a very long stretch.

The actual effects of the law are very minimal. Even the homeland security website makes no mention of God. The only practical consequences are a small plaque and the text of KRS 39A.285 is printed on a page of homeland security reports.

Of course there is still a question of the constitutionality of the law. Challenging this law is rather difficult. As long as “In God We Trust” is allowed on U.S. currency, the plaque will similarly be allowed.

The law was shot down by a trial court, but then upheld by a Kentucky appeals court. Petitions by American Atheists with the Kentucky Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court were denied without comment. That is not surprising. It is probably too big of an issue with too small a consequence for SCOTUS to get involved.
IMO, it is unconstitutional, (as is the use of "In god we trust" on currency), but the initial claim that it makes it illegal to be an atheist is clearly hogwash. All in all, probably not important enough to bother contesting it.
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Old 26th January 2018, 02:08 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Considering your OP gets the law in question entirely wrong, perhaps more nitpicking is something you need.
If you would read my OP again, (it's not very long), you will see that I just commented on the against the constitution angle. Many others here seem to share my opinion on this.
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Old 26th January 2018, 02:39 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
If you would read my OP again, (it's not very long), you will see that I just commented on the against the constitution angle. Many others here seem to share my opinion on this.
The constitutional question you raised did not relate to the actual law. The passage you quoted completely misrepresented the law. The title you composed for your thread was completely wrong.

People finding a constitutional question in the actual law doesn't rehabilitate your errors in the OP.
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Old 26th January 2018, 02:49 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The constitutional question you raised did not relate to the actual law. The passage you quoted completely misrepresented the law. The title you composed for your thread was completely wrong.

People finding a constitutional question in the actual law doesn't rehabilitate your errors in the OP.

OK, OK, I should have put a question mark at the end of the thread title.

Oh Lord save us from nit pickers.
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Old 26th January 2018, 03:23 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
OK, OK, I should have put a question mark at the end of the thread title.

Oh Lord save us from nit pickers.
It's not picking nits to point our that you got literally everything wrong.
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Old 26th January 2018, 04:29 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
IMO, it is unconstitutional, (as is the use of "In god we trust" on currency)


As nearly as I can tell, the settled legal principle appears to be that it's constitutional to acknowledge the existence of God, but not to favor one way of worship over another. I disagree with this interpretation, but it doesn't look like it's going anywhere.
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Old 27th January 2018, 06:52 AM   #32
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I don't think it is misleading. It is arrest for being an atheist. It is just a very roundabout way to get there. (You have to be the director, etc)
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Old 29th January 2018, 12:05 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
As nearly as I can tell, the settled legal principle appears to be that it's constitutional to acknowledge the existence of God, but not to favor one way of worship over another. I disagree with this interpretation, but it doesn't look like it's going anywhere.
That seems to be correct, given that "In God we trust" is on our money and "under God" is in the Pledge of Allegiance. I would prefer that both be gone, but it's not something I would be inclined to put any effort into changing, nor would a political candidate's support for keeping them around keep me from voting for them, if I liked them otherwise.
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Old 29th January 2018, 12:08 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
I don't think it is misleading. It is arrest for being an atheist. It is just a very roundabout way to get there. (You have to be the director, etc)
Of course it's misleading. The clear implication is that anybody could be arrested for being an atheist in Kentucky. This is clearly not the case. I think it's a bad law, but it's only a little bit bad, whereas the way it was misrepresented it was pure evil.
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Old 29th January 2018, 01:12 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
Of course it's misleading. The clear implication is that anybody could be arrested for being an atheist in Kentucky. This is clearly not the case. I think it's a bad law, but it's only a little bit bad, whereas the way it was misrepresented it was pure evil.
I think the problem with this sort of law (and why it is so pernicious) is that there may be a difference between who can be arrested and who can be convicted. It's more than a little bit bad if the prospect of its being used as a nuisance makes it effective.
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Old 29th January 2018, 01:58 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
That seems to be correct, given that "In God we trust" is on our money and "under God" is in the Pledge of Allegiance. I would prefer that both be gone, but it's not something I would be inclined to put any effort into changing, nor would a political candidate's support for keeping them around keep me from voting for them, if I liked them otherwise.

Politics is certainly why they are there in the first place. Both were inserted into their respective spots as a direct political act supporting the Red Scare polemics of the 1950's.
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Old 13th February 2018, 04:04 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
Both the plaque and the printing on the document can be in 1-point typeface. Written in Arabic. There's no stipulation on how the wording must be presented.
Wait! The citation for this statute uses... Arabic numbers! It’s a sneaky attempt to introduce Sharia law in Kentucky!
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Old 13th February 2018, 08:10 AM   #38
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I think "in Dog we trust" started during the Civil War. I can remember "under gog" being added during my primitive childhood.

Yes, a 7-year-old can cringe with embarassment.
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Old 13th February 2018, 10:01 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by sackett View Post
I think "in Dog we trust" started during the Civil War. I can remember "under gog" being added during my primitive childhood.

Yes, a 7-year-old can cringe with embarassment.
Golly, I'd be embarrassed if someone typed "in Dog we trust" or "under gog" too.
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Old 16th February 2018, 11:54 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Just came across this.

https://www.inquisitr.com/408402/ken...ieving-in-god/



How is it that something as unconstitutional as this can be passed into law, and recently?
Idiocy, incompetence, malfeasance, for starters.
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