An atheist monument was unveiled at a Florida courthouse today. The monument is now in front of the Bradford County courthouse, right next to the Ten Commandments.
Last year, The Community Men’s Fellowship donated a granite Ten Commandments monument to Bradford County. The $22,000 monument was placed on the courthouse lawn, which has been referred to as a “free speech zone.”
Following the unveiling, the American Atheists filed a lawsuit, asking that the monument be removed from the lawn. As reported by ABC News, the American Atheists argued that the monument’s placement, on the lawn of a government building, is unconstitutional.
During court ordered mediation, a compromise was reached. Rather than taking down the Ten Commandments monument, an atheist monument would be added to the lawn.
Nearly 200 people showed up today for the unveiling. While there were some protesters, they did not deter the celebration.
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, explains that the monument is not meant to offend:
“Some people think it’s an attack simply by us exerting our existence … It is an attack, but it’s an attack on Christian privilege, not an attack on Christians themselves, and not so much an attack on Christianity.”
As reported by Time.com, The atheist monument is a granite bench with an inscribed pillar at one end. The pillar contains quotes from several notable historical figures including Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
Additionally, the monument is inscribed with a quote by Madalyn Murray O’Hair, founder of the American Atheists:
” … An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of prayer. An atheist strives for involvement in life … He wants disease conquered, poverty banished, war eliminated.”
The atheist monument will certainly draw criticism, especially with its placement next to the Ten Commandments. However, the court’s decision to include both monuments honors the designation of the “free speech zone.”
[Image via Wikimedia]