These People Wrongly Believe Atheists Will Be Angry About the Ten Commandments Monument on Their Church’s Property

Over the weekend, a Ten Commandments monument was unveiled in front of St. Paul’s AME Church in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, courtesy of the group Thou Shall Not Move.

You’re probably thinking: Who cares? That’s not a story.

You’d be right.

But the church members — for reasons that have everything to do with a complete lack of understanding about how the law works — thought they were hoisting up a giant middle finger to atheists:

“Freedom from religion offends Christians,” Colatch said. “Christians don’t believe that atheists should tell us what we can and cannot do. This monument is the free speech zone.

“They have wakened up people of this area,” Colatch said. “We decided to stand up for Freedom of religion — not from religion. No one is going to move this stone. We will not allow it. We’ve decided to stand up for this monument and to stand up for Jesus Christ.”

And the atheist response has been a collective:

Seriously, it’s fine. No atheist group has any plans to take down this monument.

So what’s this all about?

Here’s the backstory:

(Evan R. Sanders – Daily Courier)

In 1957, the Fraternal Order of Eagles put up a Ten Commandments monument in front Connellsville Junior High East in Pennsylvania. It’s boarded up in the picture above because, last year, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent letters to the school district telling them it had to be taken down; public schools should not be promoting one particular faith, after all.

District officials knew they had been caught:

The district plans to comply — a move that is unpopular but necessary to avoid a costly lawsuit…

“It’s been here since 1957, and now we have to remove it,” [Superintendent Dan] Lujetic said. “If we wanted to fight this, there’s no way we would win.”

The monument is now gone from school grounds and that’s that. The monument is still boarded up on school grounds (pending ongoing litigation). Hopefully, it’ll be removed soon and give us a happy ending to the story.

… unless you’re ignorant of the law and religious, in which case you think the school district is endorsing atheism (by covering or removing the monument) and that putting up Ten Commandments monuments on private (church) property is something that would piss off atheists.

Well, it doesn’t. Have at it. No one cares what you do on your personal land. All we care about is that there’s no entanglement between church and state.

In fact, I wish churches everywhere would take this approach: Stop wasting time and money trying to get these monuments up in front of courthouses, city halls, and public schools when there’s perfectly good space on your church’s front lawn.

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.

  • martinrc

    Don’t ignore the real story. This is a huge victory for this group. They finally figured out how to erect a monument while obeying the law. Good for them.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      It’s amazing that in putting up the monument, they also figured out how to comply with the law of gravity without killing themselves.

      • islandbrewer

        The “theory” of gravity is still only a theory, you know.

        • Reverend Jeremiah

          We must teach the controversy of Intelligent Falling. Clearly there was no intelligence around that monument.

          • Paul D.

            Whenever something falls, it implies there must be a Dropper! And I’m not saying it’s God, but… it’s probably God.

            • sane37

              Is it a Dropper or a Sucker?
              I contend that this planet sucks.

    • Tom

      The evidence seems to suggest that they actually haven’t figured out squat, and just got it right by accident this time.

      • Warren Senders

        Tom – most of us learn from our accidents. Perhaps they’ll figure it out, too. Maybe there should be a group of atheists marching in the neighborhood — with congratulatory signs and slogans supporting the monument.

        • Randay

          They say, “This monument is a free speech zone.” How a monument is a zone isn’t clear. If it includes the surrounding area, atheists could ask the church to be included in the “free speech” zone and put up a monument of their own.

      • flakingnapstich

        Are we sure this wasn’t sourced from a satire site like “The Onion”?

        I have a suspicion that there are a few deep cover atheists in the church who nudged them towards this move and stoked them with the moronic belief that an atheist would care about a ten commandments status on church property.

        Think about it. You’d be hard pressed to think of a more effective way to make the church members look like ignorant morons with no grasp of the legal issues involved. Anyone with even a remedial understanding of the Separation of Church and State will look at this and wonder how many members of the church leadership suffered traumatic brain injuries in childhood.

        • infidel1000

          You said:
          Think about it. You’d be hard pressed to think of a more effective way to make the church members look like ignorant morons with no grasp of the legal issues involved.

          Or, we could just leave them to their own devices. They need no urging from rational people.

  • C Peterson

    Uh… if I were of a mind to be offended by the private expression of religion, their little monument would sort of pale in the light of the whole bloody church it’s planted in front of! Not only do these people not understand the law and how state/church separation works, but apparently they don’t even think about what they’re doing.

    • observer

      I was gonna say.
      Do these people think their churches aren’t religious? It would explain quite a bit if they do think that.

    • SeekerLancer

      Hopefully at least one person involved will realize this and feel very, very dumb.

    • Tom

      To quote the great Lenny Henry, “It’s like sticking a spear on the end of a cruise missile.”

    • sane37

      Thinking is not allowed in the Church.

    • Harleymomma

      They’re always looking for the persecution angle. If they’re required to behave the same as everyone else and lose their privilaged position, they’re being persecuted, for example, no more prayers before football games at public schools or graduations. Can you imagine if prior to the football game or graduation each religion represented in the audience said a public “prayer?” Muslim prayers, Buddhist meditation session, Hindu chanting, Christian prayer, minute of silence for the non-religious, etc.? The Christians in the community would be having a fit about all those other religious expressions happening at a public event. But they think they’re the ones being discriminated against when no more Christian prayer is allowed, so of course they expect to be persecuted even for a religious symbol on their own religious private property. Ridiculous!

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    As a hipster biblical literalist, I might have to ironically stone them for making a graven image of the law against graven imagines.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Does that apply to Christians? I mean, given all the imagery adorning Catholic churches, as one example, not to mention the statuary, every RC church is bound to burn in hell sooner or later.

      • LesterBallard

        Catholics aren’t true Christians anyway.

        • Artor

          Really? How can you tell them apart? Aside from asking a Real True Xian™ if you can find one.

          • LesterBallard

            Just ask a fundy Protestant.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        It does. It’s meant to keep people from worshipping objects rather than God. The RCC pays it no mind because its very foundations are 90%+ pagan custom and ritual.

      • Xuuths

        catholics have their own version of the 10 commandments, which conveniently does not include anything against graven images.

      • MarkTemporis

        What? With the child molesting, opulent extravagant waste of money, kidnappings and sterilization of women, and middle ages era torture it’s a few icons that damn them all?

        • The Other Weirdo

          Well, the icons are an actual commandment. What about those other things? Merely suggestions, if that.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    According to the linked story, they seem confused about a number of things.

    The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution assures us freedom of religion — not from religion.”

    .
    … what the Ten Commandments mean to the United States, which was founded on Christian principles.

    • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

      They’re not confused. They are simply wrong.

    • Baby_Raptor

      They aren’t confused.

      They’re willfully engaging in believing lies.

      It’s next to impossible to *honestly* believe that a country whose founding documents mention a religion exactly once, saying that the country is NOT based on that religion, could really actually be based on said religion.

      America being a Christian nation is a “fact” they need to continue their persecution complexes and drives to force their religion on everyone. So if reality doesn’t match? Well, reality has a liberal bias anyway…

  • Mario Strada

    I think we should, individually and collectively, send them a letter of congratulations. stressing that we are very happy of their decision, explaining that all we are against is the same monument on public land and wishing them many happy years of being reminded of their sins.

    I think if they started to receive a great number of emails essentially praising them for their choice it would be a way to remind them that while they made a good move placing the monument where they did, their fantasies of revenge are very much wrong.

    • mobathome

      Mario Strada I’ve an alteration to your words. I hope that’s OK :) .

      I think we should, individually and collectively, send them a letter of congratulations. stressing that we are very happy of their decision, explaining that we are all against the same monument on public land.

  • Dale Snyder

    LOL Hemant – the .gif!

  • Art_Vandelay

    That whole article reads like an Onion story. Seriously…this is comedy gold.

    Marietta urged the crowd “not to be afraid because the Lord, your God, is with you.” “We must be strong and show courage,” Marietta said. “I’m not backing down. You’re getting a call from God. Pick up God’s call and answer it. The time is now to defend your faith.”

    • GubbaBumpkin

      I got sick of God calling all the time, so I blocked his number.

      • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

        Not only that, he always calls collect. The guy is a total cheapskate and has no money sense. Hence why people need to pay more money to him all the time.

        • PoodleSheep

          Usually drunk too, begging me to take him back. Goes from crying to cursing. I should block his number too.

          • curtcameron

            He must have fallen off the wagon. Based on reading the Bible, it’s apparent that somewhere between the Old Testament and the New, he stopped drinking.

            • sane37

              and just before Revelations, he started with the Meth.

    • Bdole

      When no one comes to tear down their monument, they’ll declare it a miracle.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        Maybe someone will spit tobacco juice on it, and it will make a stain in the image of the Virgin Mary.

  • Mitch

    Keep an eye on that group. The article mentions Thou Shall Not Move plans to place more monuments throughout Fayette County.

    • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

      I’m sure there are plenty of churches left. They should stand strong and not be afraid and put monuments in all the churchyards!

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    Maybe we should pretend to be upset, thereby tricking them into putting more and more of their holy erections on their own property.

    • Artor

      Maybe we can get them to wall off their churches with a solid barrier of Decalogue slabs. Then they’ll stop stealing all the street parking every Sunday morning. Keep the pressure on them!

  • Octoberfurst

    I found this story really amusing. I visualized this group of dullards forming a circle around their monument with fists raised saying, “C’mon atheists, just TRY and take down this religious monument that is on church grounds! We dare ya! We double dare ya! And don’t even THINK about taking down the cross in our sanctuary!” And then a local atheist walks by and calmly says, “Seriously gang we don’t give a f*ck.” and walks on leaving them all looking befuddled. It would be priceless.

    • Matt

      Atheist walks by

      “Hey, nice monument. Is that marble?”

      Continues to walk by, whistling.

    • Democratic_Thinker

      How about saying : Nice graven image!

  • SeekerLancer

    Maybe they’ll finally figure out the difference between public and private now?

    No, my hopes aren’t too high either.

    We should send them a big thank you for keeping church and state separate and watch their brains explode.

    • DavidMHart

      That’s actually not such a bad idea. I guess just a letter to the local paper from a local atheist organisation pointing out how much they don’t have a problem with this, if any such persons are reading this?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I suggest that both Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Freedom from Religion Foundation should take this opportunity to treat the attempted middle finger gesture of contempt as if it’s a friendly wave of neighborliness.

    Publish and send the church and the sponsoring organization a brief, positive, non-ironic letter congratulating them on the completion of their project, and the appropriateness of it being on private land, paid with private funds. Thank them for respecting both the law and the sensitivities of all the citizens in the community, and for helping to protect everyone’s freedom to think and believe as they see fit. Clarify that the only objections AUSCS and FFRF have is when such religious things are erected on public land and or/with public funds, both implying that government endorses one religion over others, or religion over non-religion, and forcing taxpayers to pay for promoting a religion that they do not necessarily support.

    When a dog runs at you, whistle for him. When somebody does the right thing for perhaps the wrong reasons, convince him that the right reasons were his idea too.

    • MelanieDawn

      I think this is an excellent idea.

    • Artor

      This would be an excellent idea if there was much of a chance of it being understood or welcomed. Clearly these guys never understood the issues in the first place, even after sitting through court sessions explaining in painstaking detail why they couldn’t have their religious monuments on public land. I don’t think another explanation is going to penetrate their skulls if they haven’t gotten the point yet. And their likely reaction is that FFRF is a tool of Satan, and any sweet words from them are only to lull Good Xians™ into dropping their guard so they can be dragged off to hell.

  • xen13

    LOL, well they did declare it a “free speech zone”. If that’s the case, I guess we can put our own monument up next to it then.

    • Whirlwitch

      Actually, they declared the MONUMENT itself a free speech zone. I don’t think they thought that through. I have this can of Krylon, y’see, and I like free speech…

  • Art_Vandelay

    This reminds me of something similar. I’m from RI so after the Ahlquist thing, they were selling replica prayer banners, and some kid put one on his front lawn and someone posted it on Facebook. I’m not sure if you can read the comments but everyone is treating him like some sort of gangster/rebel sticking it to the ACLU. It’s hilarious…

    • Tom

      “Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose….”

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Funny how you never see Joe Klein helping Christians with their private erections.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Literally LOLing Richard!

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      In a way, I’m glad. Not sure I’d want to see Klein assisting with any sort of erection.

    • Tainda

      Best. One. Yet.

    • Ted Thompson

      Just because you never see him helping with their erections, doesn’t mean he’s not running around with a bottle of Jergens as we speak.

    • Artor

      A friend of mine used to do that for a living. He worked for a steel construction company; Northwest Erections. Their motto was, “When we get it up, it stays up!” No, he never saw Joke Line helping either.

    • allein

      lol…And here I thought I was getting tired of this. Glad I wasn’t reading at work… :-D

    • sane37

      Brilliant!

  • Tobias2772

    I think we should all contact them at their website’s e-mail address and thank them for obeying the separation of church and state and wiish them well. No snark or sarcasm please.
    st.paulsame@verizon.net

    • phantomreader42

      I’d be tempted to very snarkily congratulate them for figuring out the difference between private and public property, and between church and government, concepts christians have been miserably failing to comprehend for centuries, despite having it repeatedly explained to them using very small words. :P

      • Tobias2772

        You can catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar. Sometimes you gotta kill ‘em with kindness.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    It’s on church property, no big deal.

  • Tainda

    Wow, they REALLY are clueless aren’t they?

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

    And in their next daring display of defiance toward the evil of secular humanism, churches will begin boldly erecting crosses on their property. No, wait…

  • Atheist Loki

    It’s almost like they are learning…..

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Which sadly isn’t saying much. If you smack a fly out of the air while it’s buzzing you, it is smart enough to not come back for a while.

    • Artor

      Almost, but then they blathered out their reasoning, and it’s clear that they have not only learned jack shit, they haven’t even understood the problem in the first place. There are not enough faces or palms in the world to show the appropriate reaction to this news.

  • Democratic_Thinker

    Yes…just as we do not believe that we are standing in the doorway and blocking God from entering any public school or anywhere else just because we believe in separation of church and state. If you believe that we even COULD, then maybe you are really not a “true believer” in an omnipotent, omnicient and omnipresent God.

    • http://superstitionfree.blogspot.com/ Robert Madewell

      When they complain that God is not allowed in the schools, I point out to them that it’s not the school systems or the governments responsibility to teach their children to pray, It is the parents and the church’s responsibility. The students are allowed to pray during meal times and any time that they are not causing a disturbance or distracting from study. So, if God is not in the Schools, maybe it’s because their children are not taking him there.

      • Matt D

        Excellent observation!

  • Cpt_Justice

    Well, they were stupid enough to think that their religious beliefs belong on *public* property, so it’s not shocking, or even surprising, that they think anyone would get ticked off at what they do on *their* property.

  • Gregory Peterson

    Considering that the 4th and 10th Commandments were used by proslavery apologists as proof texts to show that God, at a minimum, condoned slavery and therefore, so should everyone, why would a school have a monument to justify slavery (and treating women like property) anyway? At least in Peterson generations, it wasn’t that long ago. My great grandfather was a Civil War Union Veteran.

  • http://fractalheretic.blogspot.com/ Fractal Heretic

    “Freedom of religion — not from religion”

    Same thing. In order to have the freedom to be a Christian, you must have freedom from all the other religions. Not only does freedom of religion imply freedom from religion, you can’t logistically have one without the other. What they’re asking for is not religious freedom, but religious oppression. And if they ever got what they wished for, chances are, the dominant religion wouldn’t be their particular denomination of Christianity.

    • mobathome

      That’s not quite a two way street. If the government was constitutionally mandated to give all of us only “freedom from religion”, the writers of the constitution would have been very different people, and the U.S.A. would be a very different country.

      • Gus Snarp

        Well, that’s a very vague and unsubstantiated assertion.

  • Warren Senders

    I sent them an (extremely carefully worded) email:

    “Dear Friends,

    “It is wonderful news that you have installed a monument of the Ten Commandments on your church’s property. Since your religion’s morality is based on these injunctions, your church’s front lawn makes perfect sense as a location for a monument honoring them.

    “To preserve your vital religious freedom it is essential that the government not be able to dictate what you can and cannot put up on your own land (subject to normal constraints of libel or obscenity, which would of course not apply to virtuous folks such as yourselves).

    “Chalk this one up as another victory for freedom of speech — and a correct interpretation of the First Amendment of our great Nation’s Constitution!

    “Again, hearty congratulations!

    “Yours Sincerely,

    (signed)”

    I wonder if they’ll figure out I’m an atheist.

  • http://superstitionfree.blogspot.com/ Robert Madewell

    That’s where it belongs. They consistently miss the point.

  • Thomas Evans

    I wonder how many poor people could have been helped with the
    $$ they used for their new monument.

    • Paul D.

      The poor have been enriched now that they know they’re not supposed to covet.

  • DougI

    Hold on, this is news!!! Christians are able to put the 10 commandments on their own property and not public property? Who was the genius who finally figured this out?

  • # zbowman

    ” “Freedom from religion offends Christians,” Colatch said.”

    This one’s a real piece of work.

  • duke_of_omnium

    Those bastards! How dare they place a monument about something important to them, on their own property, in a way that infringes nobody’s rights? I say we vandalize it, kick their cats, key their cars, and sign them all up for the Spiegel mailing list. We’ll teach them not to affect us!

  • Baby_Raptor

    “Freedom from religion offends Christians.”

    Yup, that about summarizes these idiots.

    Either way, the world as a whole will ignore their lying and martyrbating, and they’ll get to feel persecuted in their stupidity. So, they win.

  • rupi capra

    Is the FFRF suing the Church? This article http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/rallies-will-support-ten-commandments-monument-con/nSNMr/ makes it sound like they are. The group [ffrf}, through Pittsburgh attorney Marcus B. Schneider of Steele
    Schneider, contends the monument should not be moved to the
    Connellsville Church of God’s property because it would still be in view
    of students “who cannot avoid it when playing on athletic fields.”

    • Gus Snarp

      I certainly hope that’s not an accurate extraction of the quote and that there’s more to it. The church, even next door, should not be in any way prohibited from putting up the monument. Maybe the plan is to put it just barely on church grounds, directly facing the school, and that’s the concern? I still think that while that would be obnoxious, it’s perfectly legal. But maybe there’s some good reason why moving this particular monument to that particular location is a problem. I just don’t see it.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        It’s kind of a moot point now since the monument hasn’t moved, but “Maybe the plan is to put it just barely on church grounds, directly facing the school” that’s kind of it. FFRF doesn’t have any objection to 10 Commandment monuments on church property in general. It’s the way this one was proposed.

        I think it’s one of those cases where one party is waiving their hands in the other party’s face “Not touching! Not touching!” and it’s up to mom/dad (the courts) to decide if waiving your hands in someone’s face and yelling “Not touching” is keeping your hands to yourself. And then how far away your hands really have to be. I’d tend to agree that church property is church property, but if it was placed in such a way that it wasn’t directed at parishioners, but rather at students on the fields, that’s a pretty blatant “in your face”.

        But as I said, since the monument hasn’t actually moved, at this point it’s a minor side issue in an ongoing case.

    • axelbeingcivil

      Good grief, really? That’s rather disappointing of him.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      The group, through Pittsburgh attorney Marcus B. Schneider of Steele Schneider, contends the monument should not be moved to the Connellsville Church of God’s property because it would still be in view of students “who cannot avoid it when playing on athletic fields.”

      That sounds like a direct contradiction of everything I’ve ever heard Dan Barker say. I’ve been searching FFRF for this and I can’t find any objection to the monument moving there. I’ve just sent FFRF a note asking for clarification.

      Edit: I also wrote to Marcus Schneider.

  • Matt D

    “Freedom from religion offends Christians,” Colatch said.
    .
    Hm….could we get them to say this more often, and as much as possible?

  • Stealth Avenue

    “In fact, I wish churches everywhere would take this approach: Stop wasting time and money trying to get these monuments up in front of courthouses, city halls, and public schools when there’s perfectly good space on your church’s front lawn.”

    EXACTLY!!!

    Also, does anyone else find this line to be particularly hypocritical? “Christians don’t believe that atheists should tell us what we can and cannot do.”

  • tresameht

    I wrote a letter to the church congratulating them on placing the monument on their property and asking them if they really thought that anyone would object to doing so. I also ask if they believed there would be objections why they believed so. I have not gotten an answer yet.

  • http://www.kidswithoutreligion.wordpress.com/ D Mitchell

    Amen! Now they’re starting to understand…(I hope.) There’s no issue with putting up religious symbols/monuments on church property.

  • UWIR

    It reminds of the crew that managed to find a loophole that enables them to get away scot-free with a jewelry heist:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7fsxnzZF9w

  • Vin Rohm

    They obviously believe –wrongly– that we are somehow offended by their commandments. I’m not, if fact. I wish they would follow them to the letter, but they don’t –OFTEN– and need to have them posted on every blank space of wall in their church. They do not understand that we respect their right to believe in their particular God and to practice their faith as they see fit. It’s when they try to make us believe in their God and practice their faith that sticks in our crawl and gets us angry.

  • StevesWeb

    Please, don’t ask where I’m from.

  • bickle2

    I’m mad their church still stands in general as a tax-free haven of fraud and abuse, does that count?

  • Aaron

    No laws are being broken by putting a monument on school property. Read the Constitution and get a clue and deal with it. The only “establishment” that can occur is if there is a state sponsored religion voted on by Congress (again read the Constitution). Also, do some research, because separation of church and state doesn’t exist (biggest myth in history).

    • Beutelratti

      *grabs popcorn*

      This is going to be fun.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Wrong. The school is a government agency, and as such, cannot promote, or be perceived as promoting, one religion over another.

      Read the Constitution and the relevant case law, grow a clue, and get over it.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Great, then you won’t mind schools in Dearborn MI putting up monuments to the Five Pillars of Islam. And the minority Christian students can ‘deal with it’.

      I tire of people on both sides of this argument assuming that the other side hasn’t read the Constitution. And reams of relevant court cases and history and arguments on both sides. Or David Barton’s claim that Congress printed Bibles, or Chris Rodda’s explanation of what really happened. Or Jefferson’s letter. Or the original he was replying to.

      And I tire of people who are happy with having church in their state, while never considering what it would be like to have someone else’s church in their state.

      Let’s discuss why any government entity should be telling my child how to pray, when to pray, to pray, or not to pray. Tell him not to lie or kill? Sure. Tell him to bow to your god? I. don’t. think. so. And in return, I will fight against any government entity presuming to tell your child that god is a myth designed to scare people into not eating bad shrimp.

    • thfc1987

      You’re not too bright, are you? Separation of church and state most certainly exists. Take it up with the Supreme Court and their interpretation of the law if you disagree.

    • phantomreader42

      I can explain where the separation of church and state can be found in the Constitution. But in order for you to understand it, you’ll have to do something difficult, something no theocrat has ever been able to pull off. Could you be the first?
      What you have to do is something that has been forbidden by your cult for centuries. You have to READ FOR COMPREHENSION! I know you’ve been told you’ll be tortured forever in fire if you dare even think of doing that, but that’s just a lie to keep you gullbile and easy to manipulate so the crooks running the cult can exploit you and steal your money.
      You have to look at the words that explicitly forbid any religious test for an office or public trust (article 6), and realize that this isn’t just talking about forcing candidates to fill out a multiple-choice test about their beliefs, it means you can’t limit government positions or accommodations to only members of your faith.
      You have to look at the words that forbid the government from respecting an establishment of religion (first clause of the First Amendment), and realize that this isn’t just saying they’re not allowed to explicitly say that one religion is established as the official one, it means that the government can’t favor one religion over others, or favor religion over nonreligion.
      You have to look at the words that guarantee the free exercise of religion (second clause of the First Amendment), and realize that this doesn’t mean that anyone can do anything they want and ignore any law they find inconvenient if they claim their religon commands it, and it doesn’t mean that the government is required to use public property to promote any religion that wants it, it means that the government can’t forbid a religious practice because it’s religious, and the government can’t restrict how people practice their religion on their own time in their own space using their own resources unless it’s being done in a religiously-neutral way (like how outlawing murder also outlaws human sacrifice, or prohibiting all alcohol also prohibited alcohol for religious rituals).
      You have to look at the words that say all citizens must be given equal protection of the laws (Amendment Fourteen), and realize that this means that the law has to apply to everyone equally, or it is illegitimate and applies to no one. If one group can use public property to advertise, then ANY group has to have the same access. If vandalism of one group’s property is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, then EVERY group deserves the same protection. You can’t just decide that christians get to put their idols on public property and have the police protect them from vandals, but jews, muslims, buddhists, hindus, rastafarians, pastafarians, satanists, wiccans, jedi, atheists, The Rotary Club, The Society for Creative Anachronism, or the local hippie commune aren’t allowed the same consideration.
      I know this is hard for you. I know even reading this post goes against decades of brainwashing. But if you want to understand, there’s no other way than to do what religion has spent your entire life training you not to do. If you want to understand, you have to THINK!

  • stardreamer42

    Perhaps, when filing these lawsuits in the future, we should start submitting a list of potential places for the monument to be moved to that wouldn’t be problematic. “We don’t want it in the yard of the public school, but if any of these churches were willing to take it, that would be fine.” This would make it a lot harder for them to claim that we’re trying to remove all traces of religion from everyday life.