The American Atheists monument in Bradford County, Florida will be unveiled on June 29 and the wingnuts are up in arms about it. The terminally smarmy Tucker Carlson, guest hosting on Fox News, brought Catholic priest Jonathan Morris on the show so they could be outraged about it together.
Carlson starts out by saying, “Sure it’s legal, the question is, is it necessary?” But why is that a relevant question at all? He doesn’t ask if the Ten Commandments monument at the same courthouse is necessary. The answer, of course, is that it isn’t. But that only seems to matter for the atheist monument. He then says:
“I thought atheists — and atheism, of course, is a species of religion — were against religious monuments on public property, and here they are putting a religious monument on public property.”
First of all, atheism is not a species of religion. There are no beliefs, no creeds, no doctrines, no priests or ministers. It’s not a religion. Secondly, American Atheists have made clear that they would rather there be no monuments there at all. But if only the Christian monument is allowed, that sends a clear message of government endorsement. If it’s going to be there, it at least needs to be an open forum.
Father Morris then said:
“You’re right, I believe, Tucker, that it’s silly. Why do we have a Ten Commandments there at a federal courthouse? Because of the tradition of law and justice and truth being based also on religious revelation, revelation of what God’s will is for us and how we should behave.”
All nonsense, of course. 7.5 of the 10 commandments would be unconstitutional if made into law in this country (7.5 because the prohibition on lying is allowed in some cases but not in most). The idea that it is the basis for our laws is absurd. Every single society, Christian or otherwise, forbids stealing and murdering. No society could exist without those rules. And that would be true if the Ten Commandments, or religion as a whole, had never existed. Morris continued:
So the sad thing, in my opinion, is rather than just respecting different people’s opinions, this is not what we can call an atheist monument, but rather a Christian protest monument, They are protesting the fact that the Ten Commandments are there. I don’t find it respectful, I think it’s disrespectful.”
Funny how that “respect other people’s opinions” thing only ever seems to apply to Christian opinions. Christian privilege for the win.