Rob Sherman Tries to Put a Stop to Local Ten Commandments Monument

Give credit to Rob Sherman, the atheist activist from Illinois, when he thinks there’s been a church/state separation violation, he does everything he can to put it to a stop.

He just filed a lawsuit last week over the Bald Knob Cross.

The reason for the lawsuit is…

… to force Friends of the Cross to disgorge a $20,000 State grant that it received from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to reconstruct a giant, 11-story-high Christian cross, known as Bald Knob Cross, located on private land in the Shawnee National Forest, near Alto Pass and Carbondale, in southwestern Illinois.

Now, his sights are set on the town of Marion, where they want to build a Ten Commandments monument on the town square:

While no action was taken at Monday night’s meeting it’s obvious which side the council is on.

Council member Jay Rix told the atheist “You make me sick to my stomach.”

Mayor Bob Butler said, “In God’s will this will be done.”

He says if city leaders try to sell a portion of Tower Square to technically make it private property, he could try to out bid Kessler.

“You might end up with me purchasing that segment. Then I could put up a monument that says God is make believe or there is no God,” says Sherman.

Sherman suggests the monument be placed on church or private property.

Anything else, he considers atheist bigotry and discrimination that will have consequences.

“Facing the potential of a long expensive, losing legal battle,” says Sherman.

Sherman is a Chicago resident, so he doesn’t have standing, which means he can’t sue. However, he says if one person from Marion contacts him he will make sure the case goes to court.

I didn’t realize you needed standing to sue over a blatant government endorsement of Christianity… but I hope someone from Marion will contact Rob.

  • http://everydayatheist.wordpress.com Everyday Atheist

    Mmmm…can’t you just feel the xian love? Love the random quote from the rabbi, too. In what way, exactly, is telling a government entity that it can’t endorse religion asking anyone to “forsake their religion”?

    Kudos for Sherman. We should be causing trouble for these guys wherever they rear their ugly dominionist heads.

  • ryan

    My parents live in Marion, and I’d love to help, but I’m in Portland, where most of us are down with the absence of a supreme being.

  • JT

    Words do not express how much I would enjoy a city government trying to circumvent the law by selling part of the square to a private bidder and they end up with a “There is no god” monument.

    I might actually consider a pilgrimage to visit such a sacred site of “lols”.

  • Roxane

    $20,000 in taxpayer money. We should get matching funds for buss signs.

  • Jonas

    Why shouldn’t he have standing? It is a State Grant, not a City Grant. — Therefor his State taxes are part of this $20,000.

    I can see that it’s not my taxes, but it is his.

  • Demonhype

    @Everyday Atheist

    You see, part of their Deeply Held Religious Beliefs is the idea that they should receive special endorsement from government entities, as well as being able to utilize any power, including government/legislative power to enforce their faith uber alles.

    So forcing them to play fair with all the other kids in the sandbox is tantamount to PERSECUTION, doncha’ know? Because it’s against their religion to play fair, and if you make them play fair and prevent them from controlling the lives of others (for Jesus, of course), then you are depriving them of the free exercise of their Deeply Held Religious Beliefs.

    So the only way for things to be fair to a True Christian is for everything else to be unfair for everyone else, and don’t you know the time of the Inquisition and the Dark Ages were just a misunderstood time that was really a Golden Age, where everything was Truly Fair. When will we learn to accept their magnanimous heel in our faces and stop PERSECUTING THEM by asking that they remove it?

    At least, that’s how it was explained to me in Catholic school.

  • http://moregloriousdawn.wordpress.com/ Sivi

    Standing is actually used pretty strictly by courts these days – it’s been a big obstacle with national security nonsense, because to have standing you have to show that you’ve been spied on, which you can’t get because the gov’t claims it’s a matter of national security, so you sue to see the documents, except you can’t because you don’t have standing… and so on.

    This Prop 8 stuff is the first time I’ve seen the doctrine of standing come down on the side of civil rights.

  • ckitching

    I guess my only question is, “Who do they think they’re fooling?” The idea that they’ll sell off a tiny parcel of land to a preselected party to avoid having to abide by the first amendment is absurd. What court wouldn’t see through such a painfully transparent ploy?

  • Dan W

    Wow, the supporters of that Ten Commandments monument (in the article), such as the rabbi, clearly don’t get it. Sherman’s not trying to get them to “forsake their religion”, he’s just trying to stop them from pushing their religion into the government where it doesn’t belong. It’d be nice if atheists didn’t have to sue just to keep these morons from doing unconstitutional things like this, but it seems some of them haven’t bothered to read the Constitution.

  • http://deviatehulk.blogspot.com Keith

    No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.”

    That’s from Everson v. Board of Education from 1947, which, you know, says what the Constitution has said all along. In that case, New Jersey was reimbursing parents’ transportation costs in getting their kids to and from school. All well and good, but they also applied it to privately funded religious schools, so…yeah.

    If I want to build a monument to Joe Pesci with my money in my back yard, I have every right to. But I can’t put it in front of the courthouse, as it’s public land paid for with public money. No one’s stopping me from building it or praying to it every night at dusk or whatever. “Go nuts, man. Goodfellas was a great movie.”

    No one is asking anyone to forsake their religion at all. Just don’t forsake the law or the Constitution; that’s a dick move. Joe Bless You.

  • CBC

    @Jonas –

    He has to have standing because in order to sue, you must be directly injured. So to claim in a lawsuit that the city discriminates against its non-Christian residents by promoting Christianity, he must first be injured by it, hence he must be a resident. (Yeah, they tried to break me of run-on sentences in law school, but it didn’t take.)

  • http://olfroth.blogspot.com Ol’Froth

    Seems to me that if a city sets a precedent by selling off a portion of public land for the express building of a religous monument, then a person could sue to force a city to sell any portion of public land, in order to build other monuments, religious or secular.

  • http://everydayatheist.wordpress.com Everyday Atheist

    @ Dan W said:

    It’d be nice if atheists didn’t have to sue just to keep these morons from doing unconstitutional things like this, but it seems some of them haven’t bothered to read the Constitution.

    This is a good point we should be making more clearly and frequently when challenging illegal actions: “We don’t take up litigation for fun. We take it up because public officials are either ignorant of or intentionally violating the law for their own personal reasons. We’d love never to file another lawsuit because the government is obeying the law.”

  • http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/babinski-bio.html Edward T. Babinski

    WHY DON’T THEY EVER WANT TO PUT UP A MONUMENT WITH “THE BEATITUDES” WRITTEN ON IT?

  • muggle

    Mayor Bob Butler said, “In God’s will this will be done.”

    Talk about blasphemy! He speaks for God now?

    Ah, Rabbi, Rabbi, would you be such a supporter if this quoted John 3:16 instead? Is there anything dumber than a Jew that doesn’t realize the importance of church-state separation. Please study the history of your people.

    These Jews who jump on the Judeo-Christian bandwagon are utter freaking fools.

    JT, that would be sweet. Go, Sherman!

    Good question, Edward. Or the quote about not praying in public like hypocrites.


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