I’m nominating myself the Worry Wart of the Week Award. I am invariably an inveterate optimist but I’ve just had a glimpse of the evangelical right in the United States. I’m working hard to find an upside to the story. Because the future of America doesn’t just matter to me as an American. America is too big, and has held up ideals of democracy and freedom and the rule of law that are banners for people all over the world. We aren’t the only ones who matter, of course. But what happens in America has global import, and these ideals have taken a serious battering in this new millennium.
I am still sitting here at my computer stunned by the discovery that in 2008 the state of Kentucky passed a law requiring all officers working for the state’s Homeland Security to acknowledge the “security provided by the Almighty God.” And just to make sure that this law is not misunderstood as mere hope, the law states that anyone refusing to acknowledge this divine security is subject to serving 12 months in prison.
It gets worse.
An organization defending the civil rights of atheists brought a lawsuit against the law, which it won at the Circuit Court, but which was then overturned by the state Court of Appeals. The state Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, which leaves the Appeals Court ruling the final one as of now.
Whether you believe in God or not, I cannot see how this is not a blatant violation of the separation of church and state, and a complete disregard for the freedom of religion guaranteed by the US Constitution.
If you want to read more – and can bear it – see Jail for Not Believing in God.
Personally, I’m trying to cheer myself up by bolstering my faith in human ingenuity. A U.S. start-up company (the article doesn’t say, but it’s probably run by a couple of whiz kids who are considering dropping out of college) may have identified a revolutionary way of filling up bottles of water for the billion of people who do not have access to safe drinking water.
Actually, it probably shouldn’t be called revolutionary. It’s really evolutionary. A beetle survives in the African Namib desert that gets an average annual rainfall of half an inch. The beetle harvests moisture from the air by first getting it to condense on its back and then storing the water. The evolutionary inventors think they can develop bottles using the same process that could store up to three litres (about 3 quarts) an hour.
That much water would be almost tantamount to a flood for the three billion people who live in water-scarce areas in the world today.
If it weren’t for Kentucky, one might almost be tempted to call it a God-send.