July/August 2016 Church & State | AU Bulletin

A Kentucky legislator who has continually sought to undermine the separation of church and state lost his primary in May.

State Rep. Tom Riner (D-Jefferson County) was defeated by political newcomer Attica Scott, who faces no Republican opponent in November.

Riner, a Baptist pastor, frequently mingled religion and politics during his 34 years in the state legislature. In 2006, he added language to a state security bill that read, “The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”

He also consistently promoted creationism in public schools and pushed for Ten Commandments displays on government property. Riner arranged for Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to be represented by Liberty Counsel after she refused to follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling last year.

Riner told Baptist Press he has no regrets about how he spent his time in office.

“I understood all the possible consequences, but I just felt like that the Lord had put me there for a purpose,” he said. “That was one of the reasons I was there, to do things that others wouldn’t do, to take risks that others wouldn’t take.