Confused Christian Group Keeps Spending Money On Ten Commandments Monuments To Stick It To Atheists. Atheists Shrug.

The group Thou Shall Not Move, which we last covered on this blog back in July, is at it again.

Quick refresher: Indignant Christians formed TSNM after the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued a McConnellsville, Pennsylvania public school for unconstitutionally displaying a Ten Commandments monument. The monument is now covered up until the case is resolved in court.

Meanwhile, TSNM is taking a stand against the mean old atheists by commissioning new monuments, one after the other, and triumphantly shipping them to towns across Pennsylvania.

Hence, breaking news:

The North Ten Mile Baptist Church in Amity will be the newest recipient of a 6-foot-by-3-foot, 1,600-pound granite monument engraved with the Old Testament’s Ten Commandments.

Did you spot the mistake in “thinking” here?

Thou Shall Not Move is erecting the monument on church property. No atheist I know has a problem with that. We only object to endorsements of religion in public schools, public squares, courthouses, and the like. Want to put a massive monument in your church yard? No problem. Please enjoy.

TSNM’s activism is so wide of the mark, it’s hilarious — not just because its activities are based on a misunderstanding of something that really isn’t hard to grasp, but also due to the all-for-nought volunteerism of Pastor Ewing Marietta, who keeps spending Christian donors’ money in ways that are designed to irk non-believers, but don’t. Consider: since TSNM’s inception,

the group has purchased 14 “Rock of Liberty” monuments from Davis Monuments Inc. in Scottdale,

… and sent them to churches.

That’s a lot of granite…and a lot of misdirected spite!

(image via Shutterstock)

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Cake

    I wonder who Davis Monuments is owned by and if there’s a close connection to the organization who’s buying these. It could just be a sad attempt to fleece some sheep.

    • Lagerbaer

      Your last sentence? Yeah, that’s already implicit in any religious endeavour.

    • Crystal Bandy Thomas

      I was thinking that same thing!

  • DougI

    I will vow to be indifferent until 100 monuments are put on church property. And then, and only then will I be really indifferent.

    • BradGunnerSGT

      Nice. If I wasn’t so indifferent I would award you 100 Internets.

    • The Other Weirdo

      You’re already so indifferent it actually hurts.

    • islandbrewer

      Meh, whatever.

  • Ders

    Anyone want to help me start You Shall Not Pass? Our mission is to put up Gandalf statues around the country.

    • Mark W.

      As a member of the Aragorn for King Campaign Committee I would like to issue a cease and desist order on all Gandalf monument that are not accompanied by a monument to the true king.

      • icecreamassassin

        I’m going to Force Lightning all of these heretical monuments.

        • Feral Dog

          Pfft, Statue of Ganesh will have infinite compassion for the fools here. Then She-is-Fiercer will eat them.

      • JasmynMoon

        Stannis is the true king!

        • busterggi

          No, Cartman is!

          • Raising_Rlyeh

            I demand monuments built to the one true savior of humanity. That’s right, blue police phone boxes in front of every government building in America.

            • busterggi

              Only the 4th!

              • David Croteau

                3rd was better.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          No, it’s Lan Mandragoran!

          …I feel a little dirty now.

          • abb3w

            And well you should. I’m finally working my way back through all 14 books, and Jordan’s work doesn’t hold up nearly as well as GRRM.

            Plus, if you’re referring to him as the (uncrowned) King of the Malkieri, it should be al’Lan Mandragoran.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              I mostly refer to him as “Aragorn, oops, I mean that OTHER uncrowned ranger, you know, from the book that’s just a rewritten LotR.” :P

              Jordan could write some beautiful imagery. He made walking from nowhere to nowhere seem interesting. But his plot in the first book was ripped almost perfectly from Tolkien. I never picked up another one.

        • mom

          There is no Dana. Only Zuul.

        • Deus Otiosus

          Kneel before ZOD!

    • EdmondWherever

      Heresy. There’s only one “Return”, and it ain’t of the king.

      • Artor

        Didn’t you hear? Gandalf said he would return from Valinor any day now…

    • Holytape

      As a member of the Balrog community, I find it extremely upsetting that you would choice to immortalize this blatant killer of my people in stone. My community has to deal with its constant negative portrayal in the anti-blarogist media. Sure we look scary with our leathery wings and our flame whips. But once you get to know us, we are just normal fire-daemons trying to make a living.

      • Ders

        That’s persecution! I’m sick of this “War on Wizards”.

        • Brian Westley

          Look, you’re both Maiar!

      • katiehippie

        You have no power here……

      • The Other Weirdo


        Wait. You’re a detached automated execution monitor?

        • Holytape

          yes. I am.

          • JohnnieCanuck

            Then by the power of Dennis Ritchie, I command:

            $ mv Holytape Holytaped

      • Raising_Rlyeh

        I call BS as everyone knows that only true balrogs have no wings or at most wings made of shadow.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Personally, I’d like for every person that actually thinks that the 10 Commandments are the greatest moral guide we have to flaunt it as much as possible. It’s like publicly warning me to stay away from you. You guys can wallow in your stone-age, draconian principles. The rest of use are moving on.

    • Holfax

      You sound like someone who would boil a young goat in its mother’s milk!

      • Jeff

        That is an absolutely delicious dish, cabrito in goat milk. Common dish in Mexico.

  • Rationalist1

    Why do they never put up the Old Testament punishments for breaking the commandments?

    • Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Because the OT rules applied to the Jews, not them, so they don’t count.

      • WallofSleep

        Unless they’re talkin’ about gays, women’s rights, reproductive rights…

        • Kevin_Of_Bangor

          Every time I point that out to them they never respond.

          • SeekerLancer

            I sometimes get them caught in a circular loop where Jesus either abolished or affirmed the old laws depending on whether or not I’m arguing why they are or aren’t following one of the laws.

      • Rationalist1

        Then why put up the commandments in the first place. It’s bizarre.

        • Kevin_Of_Bangor

          Because they will tell you that the NT includes them so therefore they are valid.

          Caution: Your head may explode.

          • toth

            Rock me, Godmadeus!

          • Castilliano

            1. First I thought it was a spin on “Asmodeus”. Oops.
            2. Went there, and it’s awesome!
            When actually read, with punishments noted, I’ve had many Christians balk at the implications in a pluralistic, humane society. The Ten Commandments are so anti-American and inhumane, that being able to point to NT references to it hurts their own cause. Can’t use the old “but that’s OT” argument.
            Ends up they drop the subject to do more research.

            One more case of the Bible helping us make atheists.
            Thanks, Bible!

      • Drummindan

        They just THINK the OT laws don’t apply to them, yet their Jebus never refuted the OT law and told them they still had to abide by it. So that just makes them hypocrites. Its cherry picking at its best!

  • WallofSleep

    “Thou Shall Not Move”

    That’s the Commandment forbidding laxatives, correct?

    • koseighty

      The Old Testament god was very anti-fiber. Perhaps that’s why he was so grumpy all the time.

      • koseighty

        Always with the “More barbeques! More meat offerings! More livestock sacrifices!” Maybe dude should have made a trip through the salad bar once in a while.

        • WallofSleep

          Abel might yet be alive if only god ate a fucking vegetable once in a while.

          EDIT: Though I do like the WoD take on the story, with Cain murdering Abel on the altar, satisfying God’s demand for a blood sacrifice, and thereby being blessed by God with vampirism, making Cain the world’s first vampire. Damn, I’m a geek.

          • The Other Weirdo

            Wait! I thought the world’s first vampire was Judas Iscariot.

            • Bob Trieger

              Dracula 2000 sucked!

              • The Other Weirdo

                That’s as may be, but not the point at all. Besides, no movie with Seven of Nine or Stacey Paterno in it can truly suck.

                • 3lemenope

                  That movie was so campy it couldn’t not be fun.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              White Wolf created or compiled a surprisingly big list of possible origins and takes on vampirism in their game setting. For example, the one that WallofSleepcites isn’t the original, in which Cain was cursed rather than blessed, but it’s a nice one. Longinus is another first-rate suspect.

              I especially like that Charon exists in their Wraith RPG, and is described as the first person to have ever died… which means that he might be Abel.

          • 3lemenope

            Cainite heretic!

          • Andy Anderson

            Clearly vegetarianism is the Original Sin.

          • David Croteau

            White Wolf, Book of Nod: Cain was Cursed by God/Adam, Blessed By Lilith.

        • The Other Weirdo

          Salad bar isn’t food. Salad bar is what food eats.

        • Drummindan

          Nothing worse than a constipated supreme being to just ruin your day huh? LOL

      • GubbaBumpkin

        “Fibre content of manna: a treatise”

    • Holytape

      Jesus did kill the date tree because it was a source high in fiber.

      • baal

        I thought god hated fig trees?

        • Holytape

          Love the tree, hate the fruit.

          • Bill

            God hates fruits.

            • The Other Weirdo

              Judge the man by the fruits of his loins, not the fruits reaching toward the grass.

  • Holytape

    If any of these monuments make it to public property, I suggests we make them into Mel Brooks monuments. Just make a pile of broken granite next to the monument, and a sign in front that says “The Fifteen Ten Commandments.”

    It would be interesting to hear their arguments and complaints because their monument would be physically unchanged.

  • martinrc

    As I have said before, they are just celebrating the atheist win, and continuing to make atheists win every time they spend their money to erect these on CHURCH properties. They are doing us a huge favor by sticking to the first amendment, the very thing our atheist groups fought them for!!! :D

  • Jasper

    So they’re bleeding their own beast?

    • flyb

      Bleating. Just bleating.

      • randomfactor

        Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not keep thy sheep unshorn.

        • baal

          Is that one of the ones to take literally or figuratively? If the later, there are a ton of christians out there who need Brazilians.

          • tubi11

            Meh, personally, I favor an unshorn sheep. Otherwise, it just feels like I’m with a lamb.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              The horror takes a couple of seconds to sink in…

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    And while some question the legality of religious symbols being present in public schools, especially in light of the Connellsville court case, Marietta said he would be happy to see a Ten Commandments monument erected at a school.

    “Would we like to place one at a public school right now? Absolutely, we would do that for free,” Marietta said. “If there’s a school district out there that says, ‘We want one,’ then by golly we’ll bring it. I’ll even pay for the foundation. I’ll dig the hole myself.”

    I wonder if he is going to pay for the schools legal bills too?

    • TnkAgn

      “I’ll dig the hole myself.”
      The operative phrase, culturally and legally.

  • Mr. Two

    Any Christian who wants the 10 Commandments posted anywhere is already confused, since the 10 Commandments have nothing to do with Christianity. As far as I know, only 7th Day Adventists attempt to follow all 10.

    • randomfactor

      Which ten, though? There are hundreds…

  • randomfactor

    At least it’s money they’re not messing around in politics with.

  • baal

    At least they aren’t using that money to help the poor!… erm wait

  • Uhh . . .

    As I think I read here recently, why do they not realize these monuments violate one of the commandments they comprise?

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Did you spot the mistake in “thinking” here?

    Yes I did. They list the monument size in feet, rather than cubits.

    • Brian Westley

      “Riiiiiiight. What’s a cubit?”

      • TnkAgn

        Got it, Coz!

      • busterggi

        Hey, hey, hey!

      • David Bruce Powers

        Hint: How long can yu tread water?

    • Jeff

      Brilliant. I nearly choked to death from snorting, but that was brilliant.

  • Andrew Bowers

    Atheists: The Ten Commandments belong in churches, not in public schools!

    TSNM: Oh yeah? We’ll show you by putting the Ten Commandments in churches everywhere!

    Atheists: …

    • Crystal Bandy Thomas

      Hilarious! Crickets….!

    • Rain

      You gotta give them credit for being a real life Monty Python show. And for having a great “fundraising” gimmick.

    • sam

      If we tell theists not to place a granite monument of the commandments on their genitals, do you think they’ll similarly teach us a lesson?

  • Rich Wilson

    “Thou Shall Not Move is erecting the monument on church property. No atheist I know has a problem with that.”

    This group did plan one monument on church grounds that FFRF objected to. I’m not sure of the current state of things, but I talked to someone at FFRF to clarify because it sounded bizarre to me as reported, and figured it had to be a mistake. Turns out what they wanted to do was put it on church property right across the street from the school track, facing the track. The monument would not be situated to be seen by church members, but by school kids. It was kind of waiving a hand in front of a face and chanting “not touching!”

    Edit to add the thread on this from the previous article

    • tubi11

      That’s still OK, though, right. Dickish, but not illegal.

      • Rich Wilson

        AFAIK the monument wasn’t actually placed, so a court didn’t have a chance to decide if it’s legal or not. So, it depends on who you ask.

        Although I was initially bothered by the idea of the court telling a church what they could not do on their own property, I can also envision how far this could get pushed. At some point I think our figurative ‘reasonable person’ has to step in.

        I’d probably be more on the church’s side if paid some freakin’ property taxes.

        • Brian Westley

          What that particular situation is over is the original 10 C monument on school property.

          The local government was colluding with the nearby church to move the monument to the church’s property, right by the border to the school and facing the school.

          While the church could erect such a monument, the government still can’t conspire with the church to move the unlawful 10 C monument to church property, because of the governmental involvement in deciding where to move it to. The government’s only legit interest is removing the monument, not arranging to have it placed near the school.

  • Gus

    Hell, I’ll chip in on a Ten Commandments monument for a church if it comes with a promise not to put any on government property.

  • peggin

    If they’re trying to teach us a lesson, I guess they have, just not the lesson they were planning on. All they’re teaching us is that if we make enough noise, we’ll get exactly what we wanted. :D

  • Librepensadora

    You can almost hear “Rock of Ages, cleft for me” at the installation celebration.

  • baal

    Now if we could get them to really really teach us a lesson by praying at home and at church but not at city council meetings….

  • wesvvv

    He has to keep his donors happy so the money keeps rolling in. Hence the exaggeration. If god wanted the monuments they’d already be there.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Funny thing about gods, though. They always want their followers to do everything, and never do anything themselves. It’s almost as though they weren’t even there, but we know that can’t be right because billions of people believe in them.

  • busterggi

    Is it my imagination or does their 10 commandment memorial not actually have any commandments on it? I doubt that anyone would object to a government sponsored rock with just 1 through 10 chiseled on it.

  • Boarczar Zila

    What is it a case of “it was either THAT or we could use that money to help the poor like Jesus Commanded us to.”

  • Thin-ice

    Aargh! So many pop culture references in these comments … this old fart doesn’t know what they’re referring to … I’m sensing a little Tolkien and maybe others … can’t keep up … feeling dizzy … someone help me …

    • Fentwin

      “I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to me, and it’ll happen to you, too.”

      Abraham Simpson

  • Tao of Otter

    I love all of you. You have made my day.

  • TravellingBeard

    “Misdirected spite” is the only way they keep busy.

  • Dan Weeks

    Of course this is ridiculous, but I’ve watched a couple of “War on Christmas” themed movies, and the recurring theme regarding atheists, other than we are mean and oppressive, is that we seek to invade and impose secular rules into their private domains. Nevermind that we have no legal way, nor really any interest in, preventing their building of monuments and dioramas on church property, the fact is they seem very seriously scared of this.

    The only thing I’m in favor of is religion paying property, sales and income tax. That’s about as much incursion as I would vote for. Other than that, they need to grow a sack and stop acting like fucking victims.

  • Secular Antitheist Liberal

    Maybe we can get them to waste their money on other ridiculous projects.

  • BuckT

    Instead of spending the money on things that can actually help people they spend it on this. Sounds about right.

    • Gehennah

      My thoughts exactly. Then again I think the same thing when i see a church with 10 500 inch flat screen TVs and a 50 foot, 200,000 dollar statue outside of the church.

  • mfergusson

    OK – he’s gotta be getting kickbacks from the monument building company, right? Nobody can be that obtuse.

  • Yahweh’s servant

    So you “friendly” atheists don’t believe in God or the bible. Instead you read fictional spiritual books and spend your lives “pretending” and imagining a spiritual life. Wow.

    • Rich Wilson

      Yes on the first part, no on the 2nd part. But hey, you go ahead and do your servanting thing.

    • Cake

      Off topic much?

    • Feminerd

      Um, no atheists, friendly or otherwise, believe in your god or your bible.

      What did you think the word “atheist” means?

    • Emily Fleming

      I believe in bibles. I’ve seen lots of them.

    • eonL5

      Well, to be clear, we are of the opinion that you’re pretending and imagining, too, Mr Servant.

  • Corwin1681

    Oh, it irks the unbelievers, that money should be spent on charitable causes, not to be wasted. This should be irking everyone!

  • Dal Bryn

    I think we can all agree here that Davis Monuments are the real winners in this situation.

  • bickle2

    I suggest you know me then

    I have a problem with supernatural services in any form being allowed to continue operating. I have a problem with their infecting future genre rations with mental illness. I have a problem with the trillions of dollars they defraud from their victims

    If you believe in the ten commandment that strongly, then you should be arrested for what your god orders you to do. Its time to hold the religious legally responsible for their holy books. The full text, black and white.

    Theists are a danger to themselves and others,

  • Crash Override

    By Grebthar’s Hammer, by the Suns of Worvan, by the power of Greyskull!!!!