Wow! Is today ever a red letter day! I woke up to the story that Michelle Bachmann is history (or would be if ethically dubious people confined to obscurity were “history”). And then I found a press release from American Atheists in my inbox that just made my day.
The Bradford County Courthouse in Florida has a stone monument to the ten commandments. This didn’t sit well with American Atheists who helped Daniel Cooney file a suit against them in May of 1012 (I guess we should be glad it wasn’t tried in the Bradford Count Courthouse). The case was settled with the courthouse agreeing that, between the choices of excluding all beliefs or welcoming all beliefs, to be inclusive.
You know how they say “be careful what you wish for”? American Atheists is planting a fucking victory garden down in Florida. Here’s what they will unveil on June 29:
The monument features an excerpt from the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by President John Adams, which declares “The United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion”; and excerpts from the Bible, quoting the biblical punishments for breaking each of the Ten Commandments–many command death.
That’s just plain lovely.
“We have maintained from the beginning that the Ten Commandments doesn’t belong on government property,” said Silverman. “There is no secular purpose for the monument whatsoever and it makes atheists feel like second-class citizens. But if keeping it there means we have the right to install our own monument, then installing our own is exactly what we’ll do.”
“The monument emphasizes the role secularism has played in American history,” said Public Relations Director Dave Muscato. “And the Bibles quotes make it clear that the Ten Commandments are not the ‘great moral code’ they’re often portrayed to be. Don’t kill, don’t steal? Of course. But worship only the Judeo-Christian god? That conflicts overtly with the very first right in the Bill of Rights, freedom of religion.”
The point of having the ten commandments on government property isn’t because they are representative of a great moral framework. “No graven images”…oh no! How will society ever get by without that commandment? The godly want the commandments there to imply that to be American means to be Christian, and to suggest that Christianity is, in fact, endorsed by the government. This monument will be a fantastic counterpoint. The ten commandments come only from the bible, but the secular monument will have a direct quote from a document approved unanimously by the earliest of congresses. One speaks far more for what this country is about.
I can’t wait for the first believer who thinks to themselves “What’s this? Words approved unanimously by all the founding fathers I claim to think so highly of?” before vandalizing the monument for Jesus, thereby transforming the neighboring ten commandments monument into a monument to how atheists don’t generally become vandals when presented with ideas they dislike, and how Christianity doesn’t keep people from being assholes.
Great job American Atheists!