A group of atheists unveiled a monument to their nonbelief in God on Saturday to sit alongside a granite slab that lists the Ten Commandments in front of the Bradford County courthouse.
As a small group of protesters blasted Christian country music and waved "Honk for Jesus" signs, the atheists celebrated what they believe is the first atheist monument allowed on government property in the United States.
"When you look at this monument, the first thing you will notice is that it has a function. Atheists are about the real and the physical, so we selected to place this monument in the form of a bench," said David Silverman, president of American Atheists.
It also serves another function — a counter to the religious monument that the New Jersey-based group wanted removed. It's a case of if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
American Atheists sued to try to have the stone slab with the Ten Commandments taken away from the courthouse lawn in this rural, conservative north Florida town best known for the prison that confines death row inmates. The Community Men's Fellowship erected the monument in what's described as a free speech zone. During mediation on the case, the atheist group was told it could have its own monument, too.
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, stands on a Ten Commandments and says why he thinks …
"We're not going to let them do it without a counterpoint," Silverman said. "If we do it without a counterpoint, it's going to appear very strongly that the government actually endorses one religion over another, or — I should say — religion in general over non-religion."
Let me just go on record as saying that the idea of Atheists putting up a monument to rational thought seems a little ridiculous to me. It is kind of like putting up a statue commemorating breathing.
Shouldn't be necessary.
However I do understand the desire to have a counterpoint to this.
Besides there is not ONE Christian living today who follows those ten commandments. Not one.
Oh well at lest the Atheists made their point which I ma sure was welcomed by the goodhearted. loving Christians in the area. Right?
About 200 people attended the unveiling. Most were supportive, though there were protesters, including a group from Florida League of the South that had signs that said "Yankees Go Home."
At one point someone in a car driving by tossed a toilet seat and a roll of toilet paper at the crowd. Neither struck anyone. At another point, Eric Hovind, 35, of Pensacola jumped atop the peak of the monument and shouted his thanks to the atheists for giving him a platform to declare Jesus is real.
Oh yeah, what was I thinking?
You know every time I see another monument to the Ten Commandments or a saint go up, or see another church or temple being built, I just remember this.
I have little doubt that someday our children's children will study about Jesus Christ in Edith Hamilton's new and revised book on Mythology, right along with other great religious icons such as Ra, Zeus, and Thor.