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Atheist Monument Unveiled Next to Ten Commandments

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For years a battle has raged between people who maintain that the United States is a Christian nation, founded upon Biblical principles and specifically intended to be Christian, and those who say that the U.S. is and was always designed to be free from any religious sponsorship whatsoever. One of the key arguments that represent this debate is the posting of the Ten Commandments on public (government) property in the U.S., such as in courthouses or public school buildings. Some conservative Christian groups say that such postings, either as a simple framed poster or as a larger granite monument, is perfectly acceptable. Other people, whether atheists, people of other religions than Christian, or even Christians who oppose any blending of Church and State, say that such a posting is unconstitutional.

One memorable example of this argument involves Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama, who had a monument including the Ten Commandments installed in Alabama’s supreme court building rotunda in 2001. After years of legal battles, the monument was found to be unconstitutional, violating the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees that no U.S. Government will directly or indirectly endorse or promote one religion over another. A U.S. District Court judge ordered the monument removed. Moore refused. He himself was removed from office for ethics violations and the monument was taken away. Moore has since won election back to his seat as Chief Justice in Alabama again.

In other places, the fight against such monuments has not gone as well for their opponents. This was the case in Starke, Florida, at the Bradford County courthouse square. This Ten Commandments monument is outside. Since opponents have not been successful in having it removed, they decided to prove their points another way. They erected a monument of their own.

The 1,500-pound granite structure was put in place by the organization American Atheists. It is structured as a functional bench, with several messages engraved on it. These include a breakdown of the punishments that were enumerated for violations of each of the Ten Commandments – most were punishable by death – as well as other quotes, including these:

“‘… the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion …’ Article II, Treaty of Tripoli. The treaty as sent to the U.S. Senate, where it was read aloud in its entirety and approved unanimously. President John Adams signed it and proclaimed it to the nation on June 10, 1797.”

“When a religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself; and when it can not support itself and God does not take care to support, so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of it’s being a bad one.” – Benjamin Franklin, Letter to Richard Price, October 1780

At the unveiling ceremony for the monument, a Christian radio show host, Eric Hovind, jumped up on the monument to preach to the gathered crowd, mostly atheists. He was ignored and eventually left. David Silverman, president of American Atheists, officiated the dedication of the monument. He said, “[Hovind] tried to mute the success of the event, but succeeded only in reiterating the need to fight for equality and vapid opposition we receive when we assert our rightful place in society.”

American Atheists say this is the first atheist monument allowed on government property in the United States.

The group that put up the initial Ten Commandments monument just a few feet away put a statement on their own Facebook page about the atheist monument.

“We want you all to remember that this issue was won on the basis of this being a free speech issue, so don’t be alarmed when the American Atheists want to erect their own sign or monument. It’s their right. As for us, we will continue to honor the Lord and that’s what matters.”

Atheist Monument Unveiled Next to Ten Commandments
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  • Rich

    Congratulations! Atheists have officially become just as fundamentalist ridiculous as all the other religions that want to force their beliefs down someone’s throat! And they think they look different? Sad. They look exactly alike.

  • Ateist

    @Rich

    Atheism isn’t a religion and can’t be fundamentalist

  • http://GOOGLE SUZY

    ATHEISTS ARE SUCH UNTIL THEY REALLY HURT AND TURN TO THE UNIVERSE, A HIGHER SELF, GOD, FOR HELP. IT WILL HAPPEN BECAUSE OF THE VERY NATURE OF THE HUMAN BEING. WE HURT AND GET HURT. WHAT THEY ARE SHOWING AND PROVING IS THE FACT THAT THEY ARE IMMATURE REACTIONARIES – CHILDREN REBELLING AGAINST A HIGHER AUTHORITY.

    NEWS FLASH… YOU WILL NEVER MAKE IT! YOU ARE MERE FLESH COVERING A SPIRIT THAT THIRSTS FOR THE SUPREME BEING — OF WHICH YOU, YES YOU, ARE A PART OF.

  • freethought

    Until you know of the un-American and suspicious actions of the Christians in this matter, you should not say anything against the atheists. I guess obeying the law, or even a court decision based on the Constitution isn’t good enough for some people. The atheists wanted NO MONUMENTS there concerning religion OR the lack thereof. It was the inability of the officials to enact that lead to this feeble show of equality.

  • DKeane

    Excellent article. And Suzy – nice caps.

  • http://www.listof10commandments.com James

    In my opinion, this is what happens when the government controls the education of our children, and the story of our Christian history. This country was founded by Christians seeking freedom from religious persecution. For the first 150 years of the United States, you couldn’t graduate from middle school unless you could recite the 10 commandments. The separation of church and state clause was to insure that no 1 religion could be forced on the people as was done in England at the time.

    It was NOT intended to mean that GOD or the message of the Bible were not allowed to be referenced. Quite the opposite. God is mentioned in our Constitution and Bill of Rights by our founding fathers because although they had different religious beliefs, they shared a fundamental belief in God.

  • Kathy Kline

    The President of American Atheists says he would support icons on public property from pedophile prophets. Interview below:

    http://www.atheistrev.com/2013/07/should-atheists-ever-support-religious.html

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