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Secular group faces push-back from Kentucky’s unofficial state pastor

A secular organization that plans to open a chapter in Kentucky has received opposition from a pastor who holds prayer meetings at with state lawmakers.

The Secular Coalition for America is opening chapters nationwide to promote the separation of religion and government at the state level. The group has already established two chapters in Alabama and Arizona, and plans to establish another eight in the following days.

But in one of those states, Kentucky, the SCA has already received push-back from Brother Lee Watts of God & Country Ministry. Watts, the self-proclaimed “chaplain to the Kentucky state government,” has encouraged Christians to lobby against the group and participate in their conference call on Wednesday.

The SCA told Raw Story on Tuesday that they are not particularly concerned with anyone who tries to disrupt the organizing call, because they have the ability to maintain control. But they don’t view the Kentucky pastor as merely an annoyance, either.

“Watts spends a great deal of time at the state Capitol meeting with politicians and attempting to insert his particular brand of religion into the state’s secular government,” Lauren Anderson Youngblood, Communications Manager for the SCA, told Raw Story. “And Kentucky does not have a good record when it comes to proposing this type of legislation.”

The group noted that Watts spends five days a week at the Kentucky Capitol, giving Bible lessons and hosting bi-weekly prayer breakfasts.

The SCA called the Kentucky legislature one of the “worst offenders” when it came to breaking down the separation of church and state. Lawmakers in the state have proposed Bible literacy courses for public schools, inserting religious refusal laws into the state Constitution and allowing the recitation of the Lord’s prayer in public schools, among other religiously-inspired bills.

“We have not received a great deal of push back from the other states announced in Phase 1 of our roll out,” Youngblood said. “Our Virginia chapter did cause one state delegate to make an offensive comment about ‘bringing us to our knees in prayer,’ but that only served to mobilize the people within the state, who are tired of seeing politicians pushing religion on them, and inserting it into secular laws.”

[Intersection of church and state via Shutterstock]

Written by | Eric W. Dolan

Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.

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