First Public Atheist Monument To Go Up In Florida


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In a move that will generate absolutely no comments on the Internet whatsoever, a county in North Florida is going to allow the installation of a monument dedicated to atheism in front of the Bradford County Courthouse. Perhaps the juiciest detail about the upcoming monument that celebrates the rejection of deities and god-like figures is that it will be displayed next a monument for the Ten Commandments. Apparently, the committee involved in such decisions are eager to attract hordes of Internet commenters who, instead of sharing their thoughts in the following manner, normally follow the flowchart created by The System.

According to reports from The Gainesville Sun, the monument--a 1500-pound granite bench--will be installed by the members of the American Atheists organization and will feature quotes from Thomas Jefferson, among others, while drawing attention various passages, and the punishments involved, from the Bible:

The 1,500-pound granite bench will include a panel inscribed with quotes from American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Thomas Jefferson and others, as well as Bible excerpts listing the punishments — often execution — for breaking each commandment. It will also quote the Treaty of Tripoli, a peace agreement from the late 18th century that states the U.S. government is not founded on Christianity.

Further details reveal the project--which appears to be a cry for equal time, considering the Ten Commandments monument--was funded by Todd Stiefel's foundation. Stiefel is a millionaire who is also an atheist. As you might imagine, the decision to include the additional monument has sparked some conversation in both the community, and, of course, from online reaction.

An example from the Gainesville article, first from the text:

Geraldo Ortiz, a 29-year-old Gainesville resident, didn't think the atheist group should erect its own monument. He said it feels like "a slap in the face" because this country was founded on Christianity... "It's like, what is atheism doing?" he asked. "Nothing."

And because equal time is the message of the day, here's an example of how some readers feel:

To the close-minded Christians (vocal minority) out there, your days of bullying and bigotry are numbered. Gay marriage and atheist monuments are just the tip of the iceberg. Your numbers are dwindling around the world as those of non-theists are steadily rising...

Which is pretty much what you can expect anytime you introduce two delicate subjects into an open forum where you can still (somewhat) hide behind a keyboard and a monitor. For those concerned, the actual monument is scheduled to be introduced later this month (June 2013).