The Corner

Thanks Be to. . . ? Nation’s First ‘Monument to Atheism’ in Florida

After failing in its suit to remove the Ten Commandments from Florida’s Bradford County Courthouse, the American Atheists, a nonprofit group “fighting for the civil liberties of atheists and the total, absolute separation of government and religion,” is set to erect the nation’s first “monument to atheism” in the courthouse square:

The decision to place the symbol on government land comes after a court battle over the presence of the Ten Commandments at the Bradford County Courthouse. American Atheists sued last year after a Christian group paid to have the faith-based symbol displayed; now, non-believers, following a settlement with the county, will have a monument of their own . . .

“We have maintained from the beginning that the Ten Commandments doesn’t belong on government property,” American Atheists president David Silverman said in a press release. “There is no secular purpose for the monument whatsoever and it makes atheists feel like second-class citizens. But if keeping it there means we have the right to install our own monument, then installing our own is exactly what we’ll do.”

In place of the directives handed down to Moses, the 1,500-pound granite bench will feature quotes from atheists and various American Founding Fathers. The American Atheists’ Facebook invitation to next month’s unveiling ceremony says, “This monument is being place[d] to compliment the ten commandments monument [that] is already there.”

While traditional believing types might appreciate the “compliment,” American Atheists’ tired, finger-in-your-eye gesture hardly “complements” the tablets. As I recall, someone took care of that about 2,000 years ago.

Ian Tuttle — Ian Tuttle is the former Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the National Review Institute.

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