Bradford County, Florida Is About to Get Hit with a Lawsuit

Bradford County, Florida just got a present, courtesy of the group Men’s Fellowship.

It’s a Ten Commandments monument to put outside the county courthouse!

“It’s not only important for this community,” [leader of the group Harry] Hatcher said of the Ten Commandments. “It’s important for any community. It’s important for individuals.”

The Decalogue enshrined in a monument on display in the community “is very symbolic of God’s love for mankind,” he said.

God “knew what was best by giving us these commandments. And then when man couldn’t keep these commandments, Jesus shed His blood at Calvary’s cross” for humanity’s sins, he said.

“That’s what I hope people see from this Ten Commandments monument,” Hatcher said, adding that the monument is a reminder “we’re totally dependent upon Him and I hope that will remind us day-by-day about that.”

But it’s totally not Christian, you guys. It’s for everybody.

It went up on the National Day of Prayer on May 3rd, “led by Bradford County coordinator Laura Finley, a member of Northside Baptist Church in Starke, where her husband is pastor.”

But it’s totally not Christian. Nope. Not at all.

Not that this has any relevance to the legal standing of the monument, but the story in the Florida Baptist Witness says that the Christian group has “raised $18,000 towards the total cost of $22,000 for the monument.” I’m wondering where the rest of the money is supposed to come from. Taxpayers?

Either way, it looks like the Men’s Fellowship gave a gift to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, too, because there’s no way this is going to stand without a fight.

(Thanks to Annie for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Nick

    The Decalogue enshrined in a monument on display in the community “is very symbolic of God’s love for mankind,” he said.
    First Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

    Oh man, I’m feeling the love already.

  • newavocation

    I don’t know maybe it’s time for punitive damages when government officials knowingly violate the law.

    • kenneth

      It’s time for impeachment and forfeiture of salary and pensions. There’s no disincentive at at all to fight these personal religious battles using one’s office because these idiots are immune from any personal consequences to what is obvious malfeasance and waste of taxpayer money. 

      • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

        I was going to say that although it’s not ideal, at least the FFRF may find a good use for the cash but after they gave that dude $1000 for dressing up as Jesus, i’m not so sure. I know the arguments that he took a chance with all the bigots in the South but let’s not forget he went looking for that fight & it was a pointless one, in my opinion!

  • Rover Serton

    Sue em Dano!

  • Joe Mc Faul

    Not event the “Cristian” version–it’s the “protestant” version.  You may even get soem Catholci food fight participants.

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    I just sent this story to a friend of mine. Her reply: “I’m a Buddhist. This totally fucking means nothing of any value to me. Fuck off, arrogant Christians.”

    She wrote more, but it could be easily summed up as “Fuck. Fucking fuck.”

    • Darkaudisho

       The American Atheists Group is protesting the monument on May 19th there, but I’m curious will there be any religious people of different faiths like your friend be there as well to protest? I certainly hope so!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Leithiser/593361421 Chris Leithiser

    I imagine Obama will be forced to equivocate–or worse–on this issue or risk “upsetting Florida voters.”

    • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

      I don’t think it’s Obama that gets to decide

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=750428174 Paddy Reddin

     And then when man couldn’t keep these commandments, Jesus shed His blood at Calvary’s cross” for humanity’s sins, he said.

    Classic example of Christians not knowing what they are supposed to believe. How many times must this happen.  They break the law, get called out on it, claim victimisation, spout some revisionist history and then get indignant when they loose.  The merry dance goes on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tiffany-Harding/1322662990 Tiffany Harding

    Hatcher said, adding that the monument is a reminder “we’re totally
    dependent upon Him and I hope that will remind us day-by-day about
    that.”

    It always rubs me the wrong way when people act PROUD of their dependance.  Dependance isn’t a trait I want in officials. 

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Who says Santa isn’t real?

    • Ndonnan

      Ha,he was Rich,remember saintNick

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        I was going to give you a touche, but “is” doesn’t equal “was” :-)  How about 1/2 a point?

        • Ndonnan

          Ha,ill take anything i can get from round here

  • Annie

    Something I didn’t realize until now:  Joe Anderson, the man who donated the monument, also donated the 10 commandments monument that went up in neighboring Dixie County a few years ago.  The ACLU won that case last July, but Dixie County is appealing (and the monument still stands).  When there were heated debates about the Dixie County monument last year, the residents’ big argument was that ‘outsiders’ were coming in and telling them what to do in their county.  I assumed Joe Anderson lived in Dixie County, but I had to check, as he can’t live in Dixie and Bradford.  Turns out, he lives in neither, but rather Columbia County to the north.  So basically, it is OK for an outsider to come in and pay for these illegal monuments, but it is not OK for outsiders to complain about it?  (I think it goes without saying, but I knew their argument was bogus to begin with, but now it will be interesting to see what they come up with this time.)

  • pagansister

    Yet another community who thinks everyone should have the 10 Suggestions posted on public property!  Don’t they ever get tired of being sued (and in may cases-losing!) 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Margaret-Whitestone/100001682409207 Margaret Whitestone

    It’s sad Christians need so much unconstitutional validation for their beliefs. 

  • Keulan

    Why can’t they just put their stupid Ten Commandments monuments on their own private land? Are their beliefs so weak that they need the government to (unconstitutionally, of course) support them? Will they never learn?

    The Ten Commandments aren’t even that great anyway. George Carlin on the Ten Commandments.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Their beliefs have no foundation, so of course they seek some sort of “official” support to bolster them.

  • Aaron Scoggin

     “we’re totally dependent upon Him and I hope that will remind us day-by-day about that.” 

    We the hell is “we”? The people who paid for it? Because I’m sure that there are quite a few people living there who don’t like being misrepresented like that.

  • keddaw

    There are only two that are against the law so why is this outside a courthouse?

    Let’s just hope court is never in session on the Sabbath.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I’ve always thought that coveting was a necessary ingredient to Capitalism.

  • http://profiles.google.com/gig.searle Gig Searle

    Only 4 of the commandments are even ethical (6 – 9) and they are covered secularly.

    Apart from the obvious fact that every crucifix (not cross) displayed by a christian contravenes the 2nd. commandment; what about the ‘honour your parents’, regardless of what they do (5)?
    How many children are regularly tortured, raped or deprived of medicine by christian parents, who  get away with it because the the children have been taught to believe such stuff, and the children obey Yahweh/Moses?

    Imagine a doctor obeying No.4 (no work on the sabbath) when a child is dying!
    As for coveting: Covet away, it is good for the economy … look but don’t touch.
     

     

    • Stev84

      Of course Christians don’t take the Sabbath law seriously, no matter on which day it falls. Jews do, but even according to Jewish law, work is explicitly allowed when it saves a life

  • Lauren

      I let the FFRF know about this last week, their staff attorney replied that they were looking into it.  He also noted that “It is interesting that government officials in the area have not learned their lesson. The City of Starke lost a lawsuit over a cross on their water tower in 2007. “

    • Annie

      I remember that lawsuit.  They even used to light it up at night.  The county commission clearly knows that a lawsuit will soon follow.  Perhaps they welcome the publicity?

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Oh good point.  I wonder who’s up for re-election?

        • Annie

          I just looked… three of the five commissioners are up for re-election in November.  The county website is awful, and didn’t give me any information other than a photo of each commissioner.  I also just went back in the meeting minutes several months to look for who voted on the monument.  I couldn’t find it.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Aaaand the site fails ADA compliance.  It’s not the worst I’ve seen since you can eventually get everywhere, that whole top menu of Flash isn’t reproduced anywhere else on that page.  Not having anything in ‘Contact Us’ is pretty bad.  They should have both voice and TTY ph#s.

            • Christopher

              Hi….This thread was forwarded to me. I am the IT Director at Bradford County. When we changed web templates the items you mentioned were overlooked. We are fixing this now, including the TTY’s. Thanks for the heads up and we apologize for any inconvenience. Also you may request unapproved meeting minutes by calling the county clerks office. They are not posted until they are approved by the board. Hope this helps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1610947543 David Bentley

     And once again, these aren’t even the REAL Ten Commandments.  Christians don’t even read their own bible.

    http://youtu.be/pkCJ8rb8Grw

    • Annie

      That was awesome.  I followed along with my King James version. ;-)

  • T-Rex

    As a south Floridian that lives along the Atlantic coast, I wish we could just secede the interior and northern counties to Georgia. It’s like going back in time the further inland and north you go. Living in Bradford county is the equivelant of living in the mid 1800′s except they have tractors and combines now instead of slaves. Sue away FFRF.

  • edwin

    hit them hard FFRF sooner or later they will get the message.

  • http://www.abercrombieandfitchonsale.co.uk/ Abercrombie and Fitch

    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.


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