FL County Again Denies Atheist Monument

For the second time, the Levy County, Florida county commission has denied a request to place an atheist monument next to the Ten Commandments monument they already have. The proposed monument is the same one American Atheists put up in another Florida county last year. And their excuse for rejecting the monument is transparently ridiculous:

A Ten Commandments monument is already in place, erected by a local group with county approval. The proposed atheist monument is identical to one placed last year at another courthouse in Starke, Fla., after it, too, was initially rejected.

In this case, county commissioners rejected the monument because its engraved quotes — from Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair, were “incomplete,” according to the commission’s report.

“None of the texts on the proposed monument appear to be a reproduction of the entire text of any document or person, as required in the (county) guidelines,” the report states.

I hope the Williston Atheists and American Atheists file a lawsuit over this, which they will likely win. And then I hope the county commission has to pay their legal fees, as allowed under federal law. Giving approval only to a Christian monument and refusing all others is quite obviously a violation of the Establishment Clause.

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  • Crimson Clupeidae

    If the SCOTUS ruling from today is any indication, can’t we just call it ‘ceremonial atheism’??

    Man, I’d love to see a lower court judge actually use that in a ruling.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    “None of the texts on the proposed monument appear to be a reproduction of the entire text of any document or person, as required in the (county) guidelines,” the report states.

    So I assume they’ll be removing the Ten Commandments monument and replacing it with one that contains the entire book of Exodus?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    “None of the texts on the proposed monument appear to be a reproduction of the entire text of any document or person, as required in the (county) guidelines,” the report states.

    Who wants to point out to them that any 10 commandments monument is incomplete if it does not include all three versions; Exodus 20, Exodus 34 and the one in Leviticus?

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    @ 2 and 3:

    That does not go far enough! The 10 Commandments monument needs to have the entire script (at least the dialogue portions) of the entire Ten Commandments movie engraved upon it.

  • Jared Ragland

    Any Ten Commandments monument is incomplete with the complete text…of the Bible. Yes, including the Song of Solomon and the Gnostic Gospels, obviously.

  • Johnny Vector
    “None of the texts on the proposed monument appear to be a reproduction of the entire text of any document or person, as required in the (county) guidelines,” the report states.

    Who wants to point out to them that any 10 commandments monument is incomplete if it does not include all three versions; Exodus 20, Exodus 34 and the one in Leviticus?

    No no, it says “any document or person” The Ten Commandments is actually, um, a complete person. In text form. It’s not religious at all. Yes, yes, that’s it. “Ten Commandments” is a bastardization and reversal of “Commander Thenardiér”, a pretend general from France. He is little remembered now, but back during various French Revolutions he was the life of the party (although the good silver tended to vanish mysteriously when he showed up). Eventually he tangled with a wizard who, being surprisingly quick to anger, turned him into a short piece of text. He now makes his living fleecing the religiously gullible in various public venues.

    What? It’s a more believable story than what the county commissioners came up with.

  • matty1

    They’re going to engrave the whole text the ten commandments come from? That will be impressive just in terms of the size of monument needed. The longest version of the Bible is the broader Tewahedo canon used by the the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which has 80 books by my count (internet based so could be very wrong).

    Then again it could be argued that the Quran and the Mormon holy books (Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price) are meant to be continuations of the same divine message so better add them in as well, and what about other Abrahamic offshoot? I’m sure with a little thought we could demonstrate that the guideline require monuments to reproduce the whole of world literature.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    The version of the 10 C’s used on just about all such monuments has an abridged for-dummies text of less than 70 words, while the same passages in the KJV bible add up to something like 300 words.

    AA will probably need to find an out-of-county lawyer to bring such things up in a local courtroom.

  • steve78b

    They should not be making a “graven image” of the 10 commandments because they are breaking one of the commandments.

    Why do the religiots do this? Don’t they know what a graven image is?

  • http://rationalrant.blogspot.com/ sbh

    In point of fact, their ten commandments monument (judging from the picture anyway) doesn’t contain the complete text of any of the versions, let alone all of them. or Exodus or the Torah or the Bible or whatever. (I don’t know how the Gnostic gospels get into this, honestly, what with their low opinion of the OT god and all…)

  • matty1

    @5 Yes of course add the Gnostic gospels as well and anything else from now extinct branches of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. I’m trying to think how we can get this blog declared part of the Complete Text, including our comments.

    And of course they’ll have to keep this monument up to date so they need a team of people reading everything as it is written and standing by to carve it into convenient rock.

    I’m not sure Florida is going to be big enough for this monument.

  • llewelly

    Furthermore, atheists should support the addition of as many minority religious monuments as possible.

    (In a like vein, atheists should support as many minority religious invocations as possible under Town of Greece vs. Galloway. )

  • comfychair

    Nice try, Florida, but your neighbor to the north still beats you by a few light years:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/05/02/alabamas-chief-justice-buddha-didnt-create-us-so-first-amendment-only-protects-christians/

  • eric

    @2 and @3 (and others) – the county argues that the ten commandments are regularly used, cited, referenced, etc. without the whole bible, so they are their own document. A document within a document, so to speak. I’m not defending this notion, just letting you know their reasoning.

    I hope the Williston Atheists and American Atheists file a lawsuit over this

    I think a much faster and simpler response is to encode all the source documents on a chip, glue it to the proposed monument, and resubmit the application. The local law they’re citing says the full document must be included, but it doesn’t say it has to be human-readable.

  • Kevin Kehres

    Well, doesn’t LaVey’s Satanic Bible have something usable? … google-fu says!

    Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence!

    Satan represents vital existence, instead of spiritual pipe dreams!

    Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit!

    Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates!

    Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek!

    Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires!

    Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all!

    Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification!

    Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years!

    Source: Wikipedia.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Giving approval only to a Christian monument and refusing all others is quite obviously a violation of the Establishment Clause.

    Now you’re just being ridiculous. It’s not “a Christian monument”. It’s a Judeo-Christian monument. In any event, it’s fine since it doesn’t run afoul of your Liberal interpretation of the Establishment Clause, as it doesn’t establish anything, instead protecting the Free Exercise right of all Americans, religious or not, to follow the KJV version of the Bible.

  • Abby Normal

    @Eric 14

    I figured they’d go with something like: The document in question consisted of two stone tablets. That the Bible also has stories about those tablets is incidental and irrelevant.

  • jamesramsey

    I managed to find a link to a picture of the Levy county 10 commandments monument.

    That can’t be right. It’s in English!

    Why isn’t it in ancient Hebrew?

  • loren

    The Georgia legislature passed a bill in March allowing for a Ten Commandments monument at the State Capitol. The governor signed it last week. This was *after* the Office of Legislative Counsel wrote up a brief saying, basically, “There’s a good chance this won’t survive Constitutional scrutiny.”

    In an (unsuccessful) effort to further discourage the governor from signing it, I drafted and sent a letter documenting the legislative history and commentary that the counsel’s memo didn’t cover. So if anyone’s interested in reading the sorts of things that the Georgia sponsors of this Ten Commandments bill had to say about it, and what was said on the floor of the legislature when it was voted on, here’s the letter:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/221280802/Letter-to-Georgia-Governor-Nathan-Deal-on-HB702

    A short excerpt, with some of the best quotes:

    …Sen. John Albers, the bill’s Senate sponsor. Among Sen. Albers’ comments in defense of HB 702 on the Senate floor were that “We are a Judeo-Christian nation” and, in a question directed at Sen. Henson, “Didn’t God create ALL the laws, Senator?” But perhaps most importantly, Sen. Albers flatly declared that the point of the monument was “to honor God and those Ten Commandments.”

    (And in case anyone wonders why the letter says “Wolfram & Hart” at the top, that’s because I registered Wolfram & Hart as a Georgia LLC. Of which I’m the CEO. :)