American Atheists are putting a 1,500 pound granite bench dedicated to secularist values at the Bradford County Courthouse in Florida, after losing a case to have a 10 Commandments monument removed:
The monument features an excerpt from the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by President John Adams, which declares “The United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion”; and excerpts from the Bible, quoting the biblical punishments for breaking each of the Ten Commandments–many command death.
American Atheists, along with plaintiff Daniel Cooney of Starke, filed suit in May 2012 for the removal of the Ten Commandments monument, citing separation of religion and government because the monument is on government land.
“We have maintained from the beginning that the Ten Commandments doesn’t belong on government property,” said Silverman. “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.”
“The monument emphasizes the role secularism has played in American history,” said Public Relations Director Dave Muscato. “And the Bible quotes make it clear that the Ten Commandments are not the ‘great moral code’ they’re often portrayed to be. Don’t kill, don’t steal? Of course. But worship only the Judeo-Christian god? That conflicts overtly with the very first right in the Bill of Rights, freedom of religion.”
Good on them. If the government keeps refusing to separate itself from religion, we need to show up every time to demand its displays of religious views be pluralistic and include atheistic representatives. At least that way the message sent is that we are a nation that is home to people with many viewpoints. That’s not a bad message to send.