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A Kentucky Hat Trick of Stupid

9 September, 2009

I guess I am just not jaded enough.  I can still be surprised.  Case in point?  The state of Kentucky.  I really am beginning to wonder about Kentucky.  There seems to be a veritable plethora of stupid seeping out of the state.

I, like every other civil servant, make a sacrifice.  Any time that I am in uniform, or on duty, my freedom of speech and of action is limited.  I must, while in contact with the public, avoid certain topics and actions.  If I were to  make public statements about politics or religion, while in either work status or in my government uniform, it would be very easy for a member of the public to interpret my personal views as an official stance of the government of the United States of America.  It really does not matter if a person is an employee of a state, federal, county, local or city government, their freedom of speech is similarly constrained while on duty. 

The state of Kentucky was recently told, by a judge, to remove from the state’s homeland security law references to a specific god (from About.com:  Atheism/Agnosticism)

Here is what Kentucky law (KRS 39A.285(3)) states:

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, including Abraham Lincoln’s historic March 30, 1863, Presidential Proclamation urging Americans to pray and fast during one of the most dangerous hours in American history, and the text of President John F. Kennedy’s November 22, 1963, national security speech which concluded: “For as was written long ago: ‘Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’ “

This is what the law requires the Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security to do:

Publicize the findings of the General Assembly stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth by including the provisions of KRS 39A.285(3) in its agency training and educational materials. The executive director shall also be responsible for prominently displaying a permanent plaque at the entrance to the state’s Emergency Operations Center stating the text of KRS 39A.285(3)

These religious duties of a civil servant actually come first among all the duties of this office — before distributing funds, before implementing security directives, and before assessing the state’s security preparedness. Doesn’t that make you feel safer already?

The state of Kentucky is, of course, appealing the ruling (and wasting taxpayer’s money).

Also down in Kentucky, a church has decided to ordain a minister who is a registered sex-offender (from CNN):

A Louisville, Kentucky church is planning to ordain a registered sex offender as a minister. Mark Hourigan was charged back in 1998 with sodomizing, sexually abusing and intimidating an 11-year-old boy. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, served time in prison and agreed not to serve as a leader in any church where he would have contact with children. The head pastor of City of Refuge Worship Center admits it’s the first time he’s heard of a church in the United States ordaining someone who is registered for life as a sex offender, but he says the man in question has changed and deserves forgiveness. Some worry Hourigan could be a threat to the children who gather at the church for weekly Sunday school. But the church says Hourigan will not have any contact with children.

Considering that MoJoeyhas a blog in which more than half the posts are church leaders tupping the sheeple, this strikes me as a bad idea.  The only good news about that story is that there is no church and state issue.  But it does make me wonder about Kentucky.

Now, Kentucky needs to toss some hats out on the ice (for those who do not follow hockey (why the hell not?!?!), getting three goals in a game is called a hat trick).  The have a hat trick in stupid.

The head coach of the Breckinridge High School football team decided to take some of his kids on a field trip.  No permission slips went home to the parents.  They used a school bus.  The trip was after football ‘practice’, but the coach was still ‘coach.’  Now, the coach did pay for the gas, which I suppose is worth one or two points on the non-stupid side of the ledger.  But the trip was toa revival at coach Scott Mooney’s Baptist church (from NPR (I have selected certain paragraphs, click to read the whole article)):

The parents of a 16-year-old Kentucky football player who was baptized along with some teammates during a trip organized by their coach said Tuesday they believe their son may have felt some pressure to go through with the ceremony.

Gee, the head coach says ‘go’ and the kid ‘may have felt some pressure’?  No, really?

Dannie Ammons told The Associated Press he had no idea his son was being taken to a church in another county on a school bus. His son, Robert Coffey, told them he was going to see a motivational speaker.

Parents, listen up:  any time a Christian uses the term ‘motivational speaker,’ always, alwaysassume that a minister, preacher, priest, godbot, etc. is involved.

Michelle Ammons said she has heard from other parents who were upset that they didn’t get to attend the baptisms.

There is a point here, and apparently some of the parents missed it.

The church’s pastor, Ron Davis, said Mooney had asked him if he could bring his players. Davis said the baptisms were “spontaneous” and had not been planned by a guest speaker giving a sermon that night.

“There was nobody telling them they had to be baptized that night,” said Davis, whose rural church in Hardin County has about 1,000 members.

He said the church typically gets parental consent before baptisms, but “I was sure that they were cognizant enough to make that decision,” Davis said. He said he wasn’t sure if the boys were “16 or 20.”

They are high school students.  They are not adults.  Parents must be involved in decisions such as this.  The influence peer pressure, especially within a football team and on immature minds, is difficult to resist.  And the pastor thinks the kids were ’16 or 20′?  How many 20 year olds are still in high school?

A constitutional attorney in Kentucky said the coach and the school system broke the law.

“A school cannot promote an endorsed religion,” said Edwin Kagin, a constitutional lawyer in Kentucky who focuses on religion cases with atheists. “Doesn’t matter if it’s poor judgment, it’s a crime.”

And there is the point.  If a public employee, acting in an official capacity (even if not in pay status), endorses religion, that is telling the public that the state (or county, city, etc.) similarly endorses religion.  Even though this was after practice, he was still ‘coach.’  And, as coach, he represents a government entity. 

Football coaches have rather impressive powers.  They determine whether a boy plays or sits on the bench.  High school players will kiss ass to get playing time.  For a coach to use his public job to pressure kids to go to a revival is an egregious trampling of a students freedom of religion.  He used his authority as a head coach to recruit for his church.  Nail him!

Lisa Gross, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, said most school districts in Kentucky have a policy that allows the use of school buses for extracurricular activities.

“There’s nothing inherent in state law that would prohibit” a trip like the one the team members took aboard a school bus.

Gross said the department is aware of the incident but does not plan to investigate the trip.

Now for some quick questions:  would Lisa Gross still think this was okey-dokey if the kids had been taken to a mosque?  Or taken to a house of ill-repute?  Or taken to hear a talk by Richard Dawkins?  Or taken the boys to visit a mohal?cs_sabrett_kosher_pct_1

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10 comments

  1. How many 20 year olds are still in high school?

    In Kentucky – it may be a higher number than you would think.;)


  2. Kentucky, I don’t know what to say. *face palm*


  3. Chappie: Now, now, I didn’t go there. ‘Tweren’t easy, but I didn’t. Hard to resist.

    Oz: And notice that all three mega-stupids were wrapped in religion. Go figure.


  4. (((Billy))):
    I lived in Kentucky for six years and some family members still live there. I actually like the place, which is why I felt comfortable taking a jab at it. You set it up, I followed through. It was irresistible.


  5. Maybe it’s the Creation Museum in Petersburg… it’s emanating its “woo waves” and having an effect on residents. 😉


  6. Sadly ignorance is rampant here is KY.


  7. Chappie: I’ve known a couple of folks from Kentucky. All NPSers. Good people. They escaped.

    Dan: I think the Creation Museum is a whole ‘nother level of stupid. Expensive stupid, at that.

    Will: Thanks for stopping by. And they seem to revel in it.


  8. (((Billy))):
    My family members that live there are all Dems. A couple of them were very active in Obama’s campaign. My mother, a lifelong Republican, thinks they’re demon-possessed (I exaggerate, but she wonders about them).


  9. Chappie: Good to know that there are Dems in KY. Other than Al Gore, of course. They must feel outnemberd.


  10. I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. What a great resource!



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