From the Herald Leader:
“Republican David Williams, who is challenging Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear in the Nov. 8 election, urged Beshear in a news release Friday "to denounce this attack on prayer at public functions and lead the efforts of state government to defend our citizens' right to voluntarily pray anywhere they choose."”
A few points here:
First, this was an advisory opinion from the Amy Peabody, assistant general counsel of the Department of Education, not from the Attorney General. The opinion said the Bell County “should” discontinue prayer at football games. The opinion did not say must discontinue prayer. There is a world of difference between should and must.
Second, Peabody is right “the effort and expenditure of funds required to defend this practice in litigation will greatly outweigh, and not serve the students of the school district…” Bottom line here is real simple; do not pick a fight you can’t win, especially when it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg to pay for it.
Third, Williams suggests, "There were two ways to handle this. One was to run up the white flag and surrender to the out-of-state group trying to shut down prayer in Kentucky. (The sensible, cost effective response) The other was for the Beshear administration to step in and offer advice on how the school district could comply with the law without gleefully delivering a stop-order to the good people of Bell County, who are simply trying to exercise their constitutional right to freedom of religion and speech,"
If it’s just a question of how to side step the law, then I would think that David Williams, lawyer and President of the State Senate, could offer that advice all on his own.
Of course there is a third option, Attorney David Williams could offer to represent Bell County, pro bono, in the matter. But I really don’t see that happening.
Fourth, what kind of idiots does Steve Beshear have working for him? “Beshear's director of communications, Kerri Richardson, said Williams "should know that the Department of Education is an independent department that does not answer to the governor."”
Independent department my Aunt Fannie, the only quasi-independent departments in the executive branch of state government are the Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Agriculture Commissioner. Here is the truth; the governor controls the budget for this department and all the others. If you control the money you control the department and if you don’t understand this you should be playing with the big boys in Frankfort.Finally, this is a desperate attempt by Williams to find an issue and get some free media in a losing campaign. The next thing he will do, to pander to his base, is find a reason to support guns, bash gays, and come out against abortion.