Sunday, April 13, 2014

RIP Edwin Kagin: We Are A Less Free Place Without You

To the extent that the United States still falls somewhat short of being the Talibangelical hellhole freakazoids want it to be, we have Kentuckian Edwin Kagin to thank for it.

Kagin, who was in court suing the fuck out of the freakazoids and Dominionists while the ACLU was standing around holding its dick, died March 28.

Edwin F. Kagin, the son of one minister and father of another, who saw religiosity creeping into the public domain and fought against it in a dual role as head lawyer and jester-provocateur for one of the country’s most militant atheist organizations, died on March 28 at his home in Union, Ky. He was 73.
The cause was undetermined, but he had a history of heart ailments, his sister Mary Kagin Kramer said.

Mr. Kagin was the national legal director of American Atheists, an organization founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who was instrumental in the Supreme Court decision that year banning school prayer. He was associated with the group for 40 years.

His lawsuits challenged references to “almighty God” in Kentucky state legislation, the placement of 12-foot-high crosses on highways in Utah, and plans to include a 17-foot-tall steel-beam remnant of the World Trade Center, in the shape of a cross, in the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum, which is scheduled to formally open in New York next month.

In 1995, Mr. Kagin and his wife, Helen, founded a summer camp, Camp Quest, in Ohio, that has since become the model for a dozen others operating in the United States, Britain and Norway for the children of atheists, agnostics and others opposed to the religious overtones of many camp programs.
Mr. Kagin’s carefully chosen legal battles were almost always decided in the highest state and federal courts, several times landing at the doorstep of the United States Supreme Court. And win or lose, he was often praised by opposing lawyers for the precision and constitutional insight manifest in his briefs.
Outside the courtroom, his approach was less measured.
Find out more about the amazing Camp Quest and how to donate to it here.

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