Fifty more secular monuments coming from American Atheists.

Today American Atheists will reveal their secular monument outside the Bradford County Courthouse.  Here it is wearing a burka to protect the on-lookers from its sexiness:

If I can’t control myself, it’s the bench’s fault.

The monument will be placed as the result of a settled lawsuit that challenged the existence of the ten commandments monument on the courthouse lawn.  The secular monument, a stone bench, will contain a quote from the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by President John Adams (and ratified unanimously by Congress), 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.  For most of them, let’s just say the punishment is not a hug (and for all of them except the two that are just plane common sense about not killing or stealing, the rest are not even enshrined in our laws – indeed, it would actually be illegal to do so).

I’ve written before why I’m happy about this monument going up:

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.

However, believe it or not, without the slab of ten commandments there I wouldn’t want the secular monument.  It’s a courthouse, a symbol that is supposed to represent all Americans.  There are two ways to accomplish that: to let every faith put up monuments or allow nobody to do so.  And frankly, I don’t consider the lawns of government buildings to be the place to advertise our respective positions on religion.

But since Christians insist on doing so, then I must support the inclusion of the secular monument.  I must also be happy when a press release from American Atheists plopped into my inbox yesterday which said:

American Atheists President David Silverman will announce on Saturday 6-29 at noon during his monument unveiling speech that the Bradford County Courthouse atheist monument in Starke, Florida is only the first of many. We plan to work with local groups to install a total of FIFTY monuments on government properties nationwide in places where religious monuments currently stand. An anonymous donor is making this possible.

I support this, as they will be going up only where ten commandments monuments exist.  Of course, Christians who were just baffled how anybody could possibly be upset about a monument to their beliefs about god being placed prominently on government property will be positively livid when another group does the same thing.  They will, as they have in the past, remain completely oblivious to the irony.

But honestly, even though I support the secular monuments going up, I really hope they don’t last.  Here’s what I suspect will happen…

Within a few days (if not a few hours), some believers will think to themselves “What’s this?  Words approved unanimously by all the founding fathers I claim to think so highly of?” before taking a stand for their morally empowering savior by vandalizing the secular bench (Tucker Carlson has alluded to the same).  This will immediately transform the neighboring ten commandments monument into a monument to how atheists don’t generally assume its ok to destroy other people’s property when presented with ideas they dislike (after all, the Christian monument hasn’t been touched), and to how Christianity doesn’t keep people from being assholes.  This will provide American Atheists with millions of dollars in free advertising through news stories to talk about how Christianity appears to empower immoral behavior in ways that atheism does not (as if the repeated vandalism of atheist billboards hadn’t already established that).  I suspect this will happen repeatedly around the country.

And then my hope is that every religion decides they want a monument on government property.  I hope the Jews, Muslims, Pastafarians, Hindus, Jedis, and freaking everybody with a belief about how a wizard or a sentient animal shit the universe into existence with magic uses this precedent (which was set by Christians the moment they put up the ten commandments, not by atheists) to turn government buildings which represent the nobility of law into their own personal, rent-free billboard.  I hope this happens enough that our government finally gets sick of trying to maintain religious equality by letting everybody in and decides to establish equality by letting none of them in.

Which is exactly what they should’ve done in the first place.

This is why the founding fathers put the Establishment Clause in there.  If you let all faiths in, they’ll always be vying for control.  With so many faiths being mutually exclusive, this can only result in religious inequality of some sort (indeed, it already has).  If you want true freedom for all religions, the only realistic way to achieve it is to keep them all out of the government (and keep the government out of them).  Christians would realize this if only being in the majority hadn’t robbed so many of them of the empathy required to put themselves in other people’s shoes.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • vulpix

    We definitely need more Jedi monuments out there.

  • Nathan Kirch

    Spot on.

  • Richard

    For the record, there were two treaties of Tripoli. The first one mentioned that the United States is not a Christian nation in Article 11, but the second one, which superseded the first one, left the clause out.

    Not to lend support for the other side, but it’s a fact that I feel is likely to be shat out by the religious right in the weeks following the release of this bench.

    Also prepare for quote-mining. Everyone will be quote-mined. Everyone.

    • Bruce Martin

      Are you referring to two different translations of the original treaty? Or to a second treaty several years later? Both are true, and neither are relevant. The key point is that the English-language document presented to the U.S. Senate for ratification by President Adams did indeed contain this language, and it was the language that the Senate (containing many founding fathers) did approve unanimously. The fact that other versions or other documents didn’t raise the issue is irrelevant to the point.

  • Bruce Martin

    American Atheists’ next press release (after any vandalism of this bench monument) should be this:

    “Christians have now tried and FAILED at being as moral as atheists.”

    Anticipating this, the local inter-faith people there should be acting preemptively to organize civilian patrols of city hall by teams of Christians, to prevent any vandalism by their fellow Christians, which would humiliate them totally. So let’s see if the moderate Christians want to get organized to defend the reputation of Christianity from being harmed from possible criminal acts by other Christians.

    The ball’s in their court.

  • ispeakout

    People want to rewrite the history of this nation and leave out that many of the founding fathers did use the Bible and some believed it. There are no true atheists, but why is it that it is Christianity that people fight against the most? My friend has a website , and he rightly points out that people have to borrow from the Christian worldview to argue against God. Why is it that people want to fight so hard against something they claim not to believe?

    • enuma

      “Why is it that people want to fight so hard against something they claim not to believe?”

      You honestly don’t know the answer to that question? It only takes two seconds to figure it out. People who believe in God, and the actions they take because of those beliefs, are very real.

      • Jasper

        This shouldn’t be rocket surgery

        • amycas

          I want rocket surgery now!!

      • banger377

        “People who believe in God, and the actions they take because of those beliefs, are very real.” People who reject the truth have to believe a lie. because that is all that’s left. Your statement is incredible. Haven’t you ever read a history book on the 20th century? It was all about atheists acting on their beliefs that caused all the death and destruction (270 million). The only other belief system that even approaches that number is the muslims acting on their belief, counting kidnapping, enslavement, murder is upwards of that similar number, 260 million. In all history, the safest place to be is a “Christian” country. Even in the holy roman empire it wasn’t as bad for life. Rejection of God is most always because someone is doing something that they don’t want to stop doing, so what is your poison? Lesbian?, gay?, prostitute?, feminist?, narcissist? I’m smart enough to know that I may as well be talking to a rock, but please consider that the world does not orbit around you. Focus on the God of the Bible, and learn to live like a rational person.

        • enuma

          Stalin and Mao didn’t kill in the name of atheism. They killed in the name of their particular brand of communism. Nice try, but no kewpie doll for you.

          • banger377

            Atheism is the religion of statist’s.

          • Zinc Avenger

            And hairdryers are the minefields of neutrinos.

          • banger377

            You’re speaking gibberish. Several posts ago I gave you some choices of things in the Bible that you don’t believe. All you had to do is pick one. You couldn’t even do that. I knew I was wasting my effort.

          • enuma

            Silliness. Totalitarian statism is the religion of statists. Atheism is the rejection of the claim that god(s) exist(s).

          • Jasper


            The fact Stalin was an atheist was no more to the point than the fact he was male. This is a basic Association Fallacy.

            The problem with Stalin was that he was a totalitarian dictator.

            If we categorized good/bad regimes based into atheism/theism, it’s a mixed bag. If, instead, we categorize them into “totalitarian/authoritarian” and non-”totalitarian/authoritarian”, it becomes much more one-sided.

            “I don’t believe your unsupported claims about an invisible sky wizard” is not a basis for totalitarianism. This does not provoke, suggest, command, order, influence anyone to do anything. There’s just not logical connection there.

            Having a dogmatic book, that sets down a list of commands and orders from an all-powerful ruler as to what one can or cannot do, very much can be… for instance, Christianity.

            [Edit: forgot to make a point]

            Stalin’s atheism was incidental, in that his opposition to religion was because religion was a competing power, and as a dictator, that couldn’t stand. Some dictators take over the dominant religions.. some squash them. But it’s ultimately more about power struggles than belief/non belief regarding a sky daddy.

        • Zinc Avenger

          People only believe in God to use Him as an excuse to be bigoted. They can say “GOD SAYS SO!” and nobody can tell them they’re wrong because there’s no God to contradict them. When a little girl says Invisble Mr. Binbags said to put the shoes in the microwave and zap them until they catch fire, I don’t immediately convert to Invisible Mr. Binbagsism. I don’t even give it an instant of the benefit of the doubt that it might be true. You just act like an asshole and wonder why some people don’t accept it when you say your imaginary friend tells you what to do.

          Whee! Telling people what they believe and why they believe it is fun!


          Yes, you’re clearly the rational one.

          At least Greek mythology was fun. Yours is merely incoherent.

          Also, your list of things which are “poison” says a lot about you. I’m so glad you’re on the side I oppose, because I’d sure hate to be on the same side as your bigotry.

          • banger377

            OK, I know better than to argue with irrational people, but I will this time. Give me something basic to answer. I suspect you’re gay, so want to ask about stoning? How about when the star stopped over Bethlehem? Nothing about evolution, because I always start at the first second of the first life on earth, it’s to long and argument and it always end in a huff on the liberal side. Heading for work so you will have to wait for a response.

          • Zinc Avenger

            Sure. As soon as you explain the miracles in the Koran.

            What’s that? The miracles in the Koran are lies made up to prop up a manipulative fairy tale so you don’t have to explain them away?

            It’s your mythology, not mine. I’m going to need more than ZOMG IT HAPPND IT SEZ SO IN A BOOK AND THERE IS NO OTHER PROOF ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD to even entertain it long enough to argue over.

            I suspect you’re gay

            I suspect you are bald.

          • banger377

            The only miracle in the koran is that anyone believes it. The few moral things in it were borrowed by mohamad from the Christian pilgrims he used to listen to.

          • Zinc Avenger

            So as I said, the miracles in the Koran are lies made up to prop up a manipulative fairy tale. But your book is totes different, cupcake.

          • banger377

            Still waiting for something concrete. Gotta go now.

          • Zinc Avenger

            You want a concrete refutation? Of what? You haven’t given me anything to refute. I attempted to make the point to you that since you don’t feel it necessary to refute every single miracle (or any single miracle) in the Koran, I have no obligation to refute every single miracle in the Bible, and for exactly the same reason. Because it is a transparent pack of lies if you don’t buy into the mythology.

            The only miracle in the Koran Bible is that anyone believes it.

          • Jasper

            I think by “concrete refutation” this person is looking for “an ancient book says a sky wizard says so”.

          • Jasper

            They argue the Koran itself is a miracle… handed to Muhammad by the Archangle Gabriel as a perfect book, whose words were written that way for eternity in heaven.

          • banger377

            That “perfect book” is still being revised. New revelation supersedes old revelation.

          • Kodie


          • islandbrewer

            Citation, please.

            And you know my favorite part of the bible is where the illiterate Jesus dictated the entire New Testament, and then ascended into heaven on a winged white horse. Now, THAT’S a miracle!

          • banger377

            You’ve never read the Bible.

          • islandbrewer

            I have read your book of bronze age nomad folklore, dingus. I was intentionally talking about the miracles in the Koran that happened to Mohammed and attributed them to Jesus, as that was the subject. Anyone with at least a couple synapses firing would have figured that out, dimwit.

            And while I’d like, much as you did, say “You know what the miracle is?” in pointing out just how fucking obtuse you’d have to be to not see how ridiculous both books are, and think that one is “truer” than the other.

            In all the world, the safest places to be are secular countries, which, while they may have large christian or shinto or whatever populations, base their ethics and laws on secular principles.

            Thank you for trolling.

            (For once I’d like to see just one of these types respond to … well … any question put to them. *sigh* Very good thing their ideology is dying out.)

          • banger377

            Surah 2:106: There is your citation, stupid. mohamad couldn’t even retell a story correctly. Sort of like you. Read the Bible, if you want the truth.

          • islandbrewer

            What, the talking snake in Genesis 3? I dare you to tell me that’s the truth. The earth was magicked into existence in Genesis 1, a man was made out of dust, and a woman out of a rib, and a fucking snake talked?

            Please, just tell us you actually believe that.

            And if you’re courageous enough, what makes you think that I or any of the atheists here never read that piece of crappy bronze age folklore? Do you know how many of the people here used to devote their lives “to the Lord” before figuring out that they were devoted to piece of fiction?

            I have read the bible. It’s pretty blatantly a fabrication of a little tribe of middle eastern nomads. Get over yourself.

          • banger377

            Let’s assume there IS God. How would you expect Him to communicate the same message to all generations of seekers? You could try to explain the “Big Bang” to everyone in history, up to the 20th century, and they wouldn’t have the faintest idea what you were talking about. You could explain it metaphorically, and many would get the gist. Genisis1:3; “Let there be light”, sums it up nicely. We don’t know how he did it. We can see the results and work it back to a point, but then it becomes unexplainable. Pop a hand grenade off in a large room. Retrieve the fragments. Stick dowels in all the holes. The dowels will point to where it came from. The fragments will tell you what made the holes. If your a chemist, you will be able to tell what the residue is and determine that it is an explosive. If a disintegrating detonator was used, you will never know the “how” of the explosion. And in this case you are never going to find out the “why” without external information. Gen 1; “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” is the most important line in the Bible. God put it there for a reason. That one line was enough for hundreds of generations of people to order their lives around. There is truth in nature. The fact that many have corrupted the concept of god with their own conjectures, does not in the least, take away from the truth and order found in the Bible.

            Burn up or decompose a body, what do you get? You get the dust of the earth. That’s what bodies are made of (just add water). How He put them together is still a mystery. Rib marrow is used in all kinds of biological manipulations now. Again, we don’t know how he did it, maybe that is a literally true action. That doesn’t make a difference to me.

            OK. I answered all the questions posed in the first paragraph. The second question I think I answered, but plainly stated; I do believe it the way I just explained it. The snake is obviously a metaphor.

          • Kodie

            It’s a metaphor. Nobody knew how we got here, so that is sort of like, “Once upon a time,” we weren’t here and then we were. “Yadda yadda yadda,” I’m writing this bullshit down in a book. Assuming there is a god and making that the answer to the question “why” is not satisfactory, because that answers who, but not why. The answer would still be “because he felt like it,” which is not a real answer, and you still don’t know who because you haven’t proven that he exists.

          • banger377

            Writing a book? Is that your high school project? I knew I was wasting my time. I won’t cast pearls before swine any more.

          • Kodie

            Yay? You overestimate what you’re offering us.

          • islandbrewer

            Holy fucking crap.

            So when you say, “The bible is true,” what you really mean is that “it’s a big fuzzy metaphor for otherwise naturalistic processes that can be interpreted any way I want, and I really don’t care.” (That last part I get from “That doesn’t make a difference to me.”)

            So, just so you know, that’s what we typically refer to as “not actually true.”

          • banger377

            You’re hopeless. And I’m done with this nonsense.

          • islandbrewer

            If you’re still walking around saying “the bible is true,” then I’d say you’re actually neck-deep in nonsense.

    • Susana Paço

      Why is your deity so unable to prove himself that he relies on a book full of errors to “reveal himself”? and even if your deity existed, humanity would be better trying to eliminate the biggest serial killer of all times, according to your holy book, your deity.

    • enuma

      And your friend apparently can’t tell the difference between proof and baseless assertion. At no point in its rambling, incoherent series of meaningless questions was it even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who visited the site is now dumber for having looked at it. I award it no points, and may FSM put manicotti in your bowl.

      • ispeakout

        The point is that everyone knows that God exists. If someone came to you arguing verbally that words do not exist, what would you think? The thing is that in the same way people try to argue against God using what He made. How do you know what you say means the same thing 2 minutes later that it did before? You can only say you believe A because of B and B because of C, etc. Only someone who knows everything then could know something for certain…or have revelation from Someone who does.

        • Jasper

          “The point is that everyone knows that God exists. ”

          No, they don’t. If it can’t be demonstrated, it’s not knowledge. That’s definitional. At best, they believe it.

          “If someone came to you arguing verbally that words do not exist, what would you think? The thing is that in the same way people try to argue against God using what He made.”

          The assertion that we must borrow from the Christian world view to argue against God is incoherent gibberish. Any claim about God being “the one who made the words” in your analogy actually has to be demonstrated to be true. It’s not true merely because people say so.

          “How do you know what you say means the same thing 2 minutes later that it did before? You can only say you believe A because of B and B because of C, etc. Only someone who knows everything then could know something for certain…or have revelation from Someone who does.”

          Presuppositional BS.

          If we live in a naturalistic world with biological computer brains, and our sensory input works reasonably well, we can figure out how to know things to a high degree of certainty. We do it all the time, and it’s resulted in the computer you’re now using to chat with us.

          How do you propose to demonstrate that we gain knowledge through an invisible sky wizard, instead of living in a universe where brains and senses actually work?

          Here’s a hint – the latter requires fewer magical/absurd assumptions.

          I, on the other hand, am find saying that I don’t know why logic or the laws of physics works… but any assertion as to their origins must actually be demonstrated.

        • Kodie

          What the fuck are you talking about? There is no proof of god, and fuck you very much, I do not know god to exist, not in any way, shape or form can you demonstrate whatever the fuck you are saying is “obvious” presence or whatever.

        • Zinc Avenger

          The point is I don’t know how anyone who calls him- or herself a Christian can eat tacos.

          Wait, we are playing the “nonsense statements” game, aren’t we?

          You miss the point so hard you’re like someone demanding to know who is the Queen of the United States of America and not accepting “nobody” as an answer.

          • Feminerd

            Ru Paul is the Queen of the United States. How could you miss that one? Sheesh …

        • Baby_Raptor

          Is your false insistence that everyone knows god exists how you justify your god sending people who don’t believe in him to everlasting torture? You know full well that such an action is immoral, sadistic and just flat psychotic, so you create stories of people “deserving” it?

          You can stubbornly insist that your fantasy is true, but it isn’t. Some people *believe* that god exists, but there is no absolute proof for it. And lots of people don’t believe he exists.

          And claiming to speak for everyone everywhere just shows your massive ego, and how little respect you have for anyone but yourself. Don’t do it. It’s wrong. And so is your claim (just incase you hadn’t gotten that yet.)

        • Bear Millotts

          The point is that everyone knows that Odin exists. If someone came to you arguing that days of the week do not exist, what would you think? After all, Wednesday came from Wotansday, or Odinsday. Thursday came from Thorsday, Tuesday from Tyrsday, Friday from Freyasday. The thing is that in the same way people try to argue against Odin on a Wednesday, a day dedicated to Odin. How do you know what you say means the same thing on Tyrsday or Thorsday or Freyasday? You can only say you believe Freyasday comes after Thorsday, Thorsday comes after Odinsday, etc. Only someone who knows the days of the week could know them for certain…or have revelation from Odin who does.

        • Lurker111

          This is one of the better parodies that I’ve read.

        • Michael W Busch

          The point is that everyone knows that God exists.

          No, they don’t.

          Stop it with the presuppositionalist nonsense. Here’s an explanation of why it is nonsense:

    • Jasper

      The Bible does not promote democracy, federalism, freedom of speech, freedom of conscious, freedom of religion, due process, multiculturalism, etc…. actually, it’s actively opposed to much of this – these aspects that are at the core of U.S. law.

      To say we’re based on the Bible is nothing short of insanity.

      • otrame

        It’s people using the word “Constituional” to mean whatever will support their ideas. They use the word “biblical” the same way. Most of those who do this either have never actually read the documents in question or hope that their listeners haven’t.

    • Kodie

      It’s the people. There is no god to have any problems with. It’s the people who claim they know what he wants and how they go about restricting people to their unfounded claims.

      I could put it the opposite way: you’re not god, so why should you put so much effort into fighting for things you think he wants, or fighting against things you think he doesn’t want? If he’s really there, and he’s got a real problem with it, he can make an appointment with my secretary. Omnipotent sky dude don’t need yo’ help!

    • amycas

      Hello Sye Tenbrutenkate! Haven’t seen you in a while.

    • Rob

      “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”

      Passed by Congress with no dissent.

  • OnyxOny

    ” This will immediately transform the neighboring ten commandments
    monument into a monument to how atheists don’t generally assume its ok
    to destroy other people’s property”

    Spot on JT, but my thoughts were from the opposite perspective. I thought of the bench neatly broken down the middle, becoming a much larger symbol for the atheist movement. I wouldnt want it fixed. Let it speak more and more as a monument and point of pride with every scratch and layer of graffiti, while the commandments go untouched.

    • DavidMHart

      A bench broken down the middle is likely to look a lot like Aslan’s stone table. I’m not sure we want another Christian symbol on public ground :-)

  • MsFreeThinker

    I disagree with this wholeheartedly! We should not stoop to their level, we should continue to work to removed the unconstitutional crap from our government sites NOT add to them.

    It’s wrong and unconstitutional. I don’t go around stealing because someone else does and gets away with it. There is no justification for breaking the constitution, not for them and not for we atheists!

    • OnyxOny

      Thats a complete false equivocation. This is a protest, and the attention it gets is exactly what this movement wants.

      • MsFreeThinker

        Wrong! It is what it is, it’s stooping to their level. This atheist says no thanks! I will not be like them just to get attention. Attention whoring is not the intelligent way, it’s the “I’m too fucking lazy to do it right way” way.

        • Kodie

          Getting attention is the right way to do things sometimes.

          • MsFreeThinker

            I don’t disagree with that but there is a good way and a not so good way. I for one, think doing as they do is not the best way.

          • Kodie

            What are you suggestions?

          • MsFreeThinker

            Continue to take it to a higher court. SCOTUS has continually supported to remove such things and if they have to be brought down one by one so be it. In the beginning when schools fought for the right to have prayer or have religious postings they went time and time again to court and secular won.
            Now when someone complains (and there’s the point because not everyone does and so many things that shouldn’t be in schools still are) and the ACLU or some secular group threatens a law suit the schools fold because they know they can no longer win and can’t afford to waste money on the fight. But it took years to get there. One by one we proved it wouldn’t be tolerated and we didn’t put up one unconstitutional atheist flyer, placard or banner in a school to do it. Perseverance is hard but in the end it’s more lasting.

          • Jasper

            “Now when someone complains (and there’s the point because not everyone does and so many things that shouldn’t be in schools still are) and the ACLU or some secular group threatens a law suit the schools fold because they know they can no longer win and can’t afford to waste money on the fight.”

            Actually, that doesn’t always happen.

            It’s fairly commonplace for Christians to adopt a “matyr complex”. The town of Cranston, NJ, was only a hair away from wasting more money because God was on their side. There’s many towns that’ll go on a crusade for this stuff, even if the law is clearly not on their side.

            Plus, it’s treating a symptom, not addressing the root problem. Placing the monuments has the potential to raise consciousness so they actually GET what the problem is, which can be a far more long lasting solution.

            Plus, there’s already precedent with these people just shutting down their infractions once atheists/others start trying to get in on it too – which is much cheaper to the taxpayers.

            The key you’re not getting here is that the lawsuit solution is not perfect, and there are other approaches, and that our best strategy is a combination of approaches… not single-mindedly picking one approach merely because you think it’s “sinking to their level”.. and that’s about it.

          • Kodie

            I think there are many paths to get there. I like the quicker way. I don’t think our monument is unconstitutional since the courthouse resolved the other statue by allowing all comers. So why not? Christians just don’t get it. They think they have freedom to have their monuments everywhere and do not seem to understand they don’t, and when we take them down, they still don’t. I would not ONLY like to see no Christian effects on public property, but for a dawn of understanding to occur why it’s wrong and oppressive to the freedom of others. By accepting the 10 commandments in the meantime or continuing to legally oppose it for a long, long haul while it remains in place – if the donors refuse! to remove it, and the courthouse doesn’t want to pay to remove it, it’s just going to stand there with no remark, so that people think it’s perfectly fine and when it’s finally removed years from now, they are all, like, it never bothered anyone before! and those intolerant atheists taking our freedoms. Shit, man.

            Even if SCOTUS agrees a long time from now, which is not guaranteed, it establishes a pattern of defying the law until it takes a long time to oppose. It was always illegal to be there. It would be so nice if a government body would just refuse gifts like this instead of playing ignorant, causing atheists this long hard-bearing struggle against infraction after infraction. If their solution is to allow equal representation, then I don’t think it’s unconstitutional to test that. It’s certainly a civil protest that may actually have results.

            I heavily suspect your motives for posting here aren’t pure and that you actually would rather atheists just shut the hell up and do everything the hard way because that makes us easier to ignore. You made a new account just for this thread and you aren’t supporting your arguments and you think this is your thread to control what people say to you, so that’s really weird; it tells me something, but I’m not sure what.

          • MsFreeThinker

            “I don’t think our monument is unconstitutional since the courthouse resolved the other statue by allowing all comers. So why not?”
            If the court was wrong in allowing the religious monument to stay (and they were) then they are still wrong in allow “all”. “None” is what’s right. This is the point I’m making and I stand by it. I do not demand anyone else agree but I still have the right to my opinion. If it’s wrong for them it’s wrong for us and it is wrong for them because the constitution says so.

            We disagree and I’m okay with that.

          • Jasper

            “If the court was wrong in allowing the religious monument to stay (and they were) then they are still wrong in allow “all”. ”

            Incorrect. The courts have consistently ruled that, basically, it’s an “all-or-nothing” proposition. They can’t show preference or endorsement.

            That’s what these atheist monuments are attempting to accomplish, even if it’s taking the scenic route.

            * If they refuse the atheist monument – lawsuit, problem corrected.

            * If they accept it, but decide they don’t like it, and decide to shut down the whole operation, and not allow any religious representation – goal achieved.

            * If they accept it, and it’s later vandalized/destroyed, that is a hot item for press, and consciousness-raising is achieved – which helps progress the goal of not having any representation at all, because now people are more aware of the problem.

            * If they accept it, and the Christians, for instance, are uncomfortable with it, that’s an educational experience that may lead them to stop breaking the law less in the future, that may work on those people who simply don’t respond to lawsuit threats because of their martyr complexes, and could otherwise dismiss the courts ordering the monuments taken down as “Activist judges”, and thereby resolving their cognitive dissonance between U.S. law and their Christian privilege.

            * If they accept it, and there’s no problem, and anyone else can add their stuff too – then there’s no problem.

            Any of the above possibilities, the American people win… but if we cut off certain possibilities because of your narrow mindedness, some instances of problems would never be resolved, in cases of the courts ruling that they’re fine… because not enough pressure was placed on it.

            Sure, go ahead and stand by your wrong position.

    • amycas

      lol, MsFreeThinker takes time to tell us all that we’re doing it wrong and dictate what she thinks is and isn’t the “right” way to protest.

      • MsFreeThinker

        You should educate yourself on the purpose of a forum or comment thread. They are for voicing your opinions. All opinions, not just the sheep ones, but the dissenting ones as well. If you don’t know how to use this forum then I suggest you watch until you get the hang of it.

        • Jasper

          Every forum has its own different rules, implicitly or not. This particular forum, as it turns out, tends to want people to elaborate and support their claims.

        • Kodie

          I think you are lost.

        • islandbrewer

          Yeah, the “unsupported assertions without argument” forum is probably somewhere in the Catholic channel.

    • Bear Millotts

      Equal protection under the law means that if Xians can put up a monument, then so can we. That’s what this is all about: we are not left out of rights granted to an “approved” group. If the local gov’mt allows one monument, it either has to take it down or let every other group put up their own monument.

      Equal protection under the law. Simply that.

      • Jasper

        Not to mention, this may actually have a longer-term effect of educating people on what the problem is.

        I find many theists have a lot of difficulty getting concepts from anyone else’s perspective… so we frequently have to PUT them into those other perspectives.

        There’s more than one way to deal with a bully. This time, we’re taking a swing at them, instead of just habitually going to tattle tale to the teacher on them.

      • MsFreeThinker

        Except the approval is not acceptable. It should be challenged and dealt with for what it is, unconstitutional. I know this seems the quick and easy to “get back at them” but I still feel this is not the way to go. Sometimes getting things done means being prepared to go for the long haul and wipe it all out, not just a quick bit of satisfaction. IMO of course.

        • Kodie

          There was nowhere else to go. I don’t think this is unconstitutional, but if you want to challenge it for being so, go ahead and try. If they made excuses and accommodations to keep the 10 commandments and opened up the garden for every group, then that’s our cue to challenge them, and see if they put their money where their mouth is. You don’t like it, too much heat for you, or whatever. You want to be inefficient and polite. Well in the real world, that doesn’t actually work if you want to get anywhere. Did black people just get on the bus and sit anywhere they want? Or did they keep waiting for the Negro bus and write their congressmen and wait forever for anything to happen?

        • Jasper

          How much do you actually know about these cases?

          Some 10 commandments monuments have been “Grandfathered” in. Some have been merely ruled as “secular in nature”.

          This tactic isn’t about “getting back at them”. It’s about establishing a contrast. It’s about consciousness-raising.

          They might have been detecting that many of these cases were going to be thwarted because of idiot judges, and this is a way of ACTUALLY establishing that they’re unconstitutional.

          Your characterization of this situation is childish and uninformed.

          • MsFreeThinker

            Your ad hominem is unwarranted. If you cannot make your points respectfully don’t post in my thread.

          • Kodie


          • Jasper

            You have no idea what an ad hominem is, do you?

            Hint: it’s not an insult.

            It’s when I dismiss something you’ve said based on an irrelevant point. My pointing out your non-comprehension of the topic, and explain the actual context of the problem, is very much relevant – thus, not an ad hominem.

          • MsFreeThinker

            Calling me childish is a ad hominem. Here, you don’t need o look it up I offer it.

            Definition of AD HOMINEM
            : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
            : marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made
            The next one will get you deleted.

          • Jasper

            “appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect ”

            My calling you childish was not a premise. It was a conclusion based on reasoned argument. Not an ad hominem.

            “marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made”

            Again, same issue. Your contentions were answered, if your reading comprehension was up to par.

            You read the definitions, however, you did not grasp them.

          • Jasper

            Try to grasp this:

            Saying “You’re a racist sexist pig, therefore your assertions about evolution are false” is an ad hominem.

            Saying “Here are the reasons why your assertions about evolution are wrong in a way that indicates you are racist and sexist” is not.

          • Kodie

            Why do you think this is your blog? What does “the next one will get you deleted” mean? And yes now you are being childish, mostly because you don’t actually know what ad hominem is and you are flipping it around because someone called you something you are because that’s what you were being, and you threatened him?

          • islandbrewer

            Why don’t you just ban him from your thread?

      • Morvis

        ‘we’… Exactly how much did did you put in the pot for this to happen?

        I’m Christian and personally, I don’t really care for anything of the sort being on government properties. Be it the Ten Commandments or anything else. The Ten Commandments were not paraded around back in the days of David and Solomon, they were hidden from sight, COVERED by the ark of the covenant. Now, they will have to let any silly o’l religion that can come up with a fancy looking monument to put it there right next to the Christians and atheist’s religion (yes, atheism IS a religion per dictionary definition of religion), else it would just either be another HYPOCRISY that the government has their hand in, by not letting, say, the church of the flying spaghetti monster put their monument in, or the government lawns would look rather cluttered and silly with all of those. This is not an exercise of freedom of speech or freedom of religion, this is an exercise in some pouty ‘New Atheists’ (a true atheist would just shrug it off and go on with their life) with more money than sense to be worried about doing something meaningful with it and more interested in making a spectacle and proving a point, whatever point they may find in it.

        • MsFreeThinker

          I would consider your information but I can’t as we obviously do not speak the same language. I don’t know what your native language is but atheism is not a religion by any language. It is the complete opposite of religion. No gods, no dogma, no religion. Simply put, it is the nil position.

          • Morvis

            So, you are going to dismiss an entire point over one thing you disagree with? Let’s check a few definition sources here….

            From Google: re·li·gion

            2 -Details of belief as taught or discussed.

            re·li·gion (r-ljn)

            4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

            I will agree to a point. Atheism ‘shouldn’t be’. But in this case, it is. The recently emergent movement of what I call ‘New Atheism’ is. They spend way too much time, energy, and money campaigning against something they don’t believe (in).

          • Jasper

            “2 -Details of belief as taught or discussed.”

            Politics is now a religion.

            “4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.”

            Freedom is now a religion.

            Your pick of definitions are stupid.

          • MsFreeThinker

            Then you misunderstand the movement. It is not about campaigning against god. It’s about campaigning against religious intrusion in to public and private lives. Have all the religion you want just don’t force it into my government, my public schools and my life. That is forcing your religion on me and that IS unacceptable.

          • Kodie

            Atheism is not a religion, but I would not disagree it fits in the religion category in that it references religion. It opposes or confronts religiosity, and it’s a standpoint with regard to whether there is a god.

            And while it may look like to you that we spend too much time, energy and money campaigning against “god”, we’re actually campaigning against ideas that people have. Believers are real people who cause damage to other real people including their own children, and cause damage to our democracy by assuming priority with our government, in the name of something that doesn’t exist, for superstitious reasons. Reality-deniers have a vision for humanity based on fairy tales and this has the dangerous potential to take all the rest of us down the path of ignorance to a catastrophic outcome. They are not just keeping to themselves, believing for their own entertainment or comfort of satisfying answers to questions they wonder – they are panicked that we’re all displeasing god, and they are idolaters who need to see crosses everywhere to know everything is ok, and monuments to their religion on government property to promote the false idea that this is a Christian nation. It’s a secular nation with a lot of Christians in it, there’s a difference.

            Stories like this where the protesters come and claim this is a Christian nation are the same ones who use this leverage of government representation to hate, ignore, or disregard other groups of people. They don’t understand this is not a theocracy, and a majority of theocrats does not negate the 1st amendment. I don’t expect you to comprehend any of this because few Christians seem to. But you’re wrong in your assessment, and you’re completely misled about what atheism is.

          • Zinc Avenger

            A definition of “religion” that applies equally well to dental hygiene is functionally useless.

            The amount of energy put into campaigning against religion is a direct reaction to the amount of energy religionists put into making us live according to their rules.

          • Jasper

            This type of “dictionary argument” is basically an False Equivalency fallacy.

            If society starts using the word “apple” for those people who don’t believe in a god, sure, that definition will eventually appear in the dictionary as an alternative definition, right beside “1. A type of fruit that grows on trees”.

            That doesn’t mean, however, that atheists are a type of fruit. You’ve taken two disparate definitions for one sequence of letters, and said they’re the same thing… using the word as a equivocation point.

            Likewise, the fact people have come up with alternative and often satirical uses of the word “religion”/”religious”, does not allow a person to equate atheists (falling under definition #4) to definition #1.

            If your only argument is that, if you stretch the point enough, something we do seems to qualify under one definition, under a sequence of letters that also has a definition for a complete other set of people that we happen to disagree with… you’ve already lost. That’s just idiotic.

          • Jasper

            I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but this argument drives me nuts.

            Let’s say that the dictionary defines a word, “Blorber”:
            1) One who opposes Slavery and Dogma

            2) One who is a proponent of Slavery and Dogma

            People from group #1 criticize people from group #2 fro supporting slavery and dogma.

            … then, one of the people from group #2 says, “Yeah, but i looked it up in the dictionary, and it says you’re a Blorber too, so you’re criticizing a position you yourself hold. Hypocrite!”

            In reality, as an atheist, what I’m criticizing the religious for is superstition, dogma, being factually wrong, doing bad things.

            What I’m NOT criticizing them for is community, having common philosophies, caring deeply about a topic, or even trying to persuade other people to their point of view.

            To try to paint atheists as religious by using a dictionary is the last bastion of desperation.

        • Bear Millotts

          You’ve got so much wrong in so few words.

          First, your mythology means nothing to me. Stop acting like it does.

          Second, atheism may be categorized as a religion under the law for expediency, that doesn’t mean it is. In fact, since you are going by definition, why not actually use the definition of atheism: the lack of belief in god(s). Anywhere in that definition that says atheism is a religion?

          Third, all religions are silly yet folk like you cling to them and want everyone else to revere them. Not going to happen. The fact that you fail to see that your own religion is ludicrous just like the FSM is sad.

          Fouth, nice use of the No True Scotsman falacy “a true atheist would ….” What the hell do you know about being an atheist? I was a Xian, so at least I have a proper context. I came to my atheism honestly, by questioning religous dogma. Have you ever questioned Xianity?

          Finally, can you imagine living somewhere where 3/4 of the people around you believe that X is god and take every opportunity to have X put on government property, X’s name printed on money, politicians and pundits proclaim X out loud at every utterance, that 3/4 of the population smugly keep their X belief privelage in your face? Can you imagine that even a little bit? Because that’s where “we” live all the time.

          It’s nice that you found a way to feel all superior to all us “obnoxious” atheists but really, why don’t you just keep your glaring privelage to yourself?

    • harryunderwood

      Christians who defend these monuments don’t care a wit about anything that limits them from living out the worst aspects of their religion. Especially not from the government for which, admittedly, they vote, do defense and pay various degrees of taxes (among the rest of us in this country).

      I want to encourage their petulance just to let it eat them up to the point of inefficiency. This compromise allows the best and worst of worlds of “religious freedom” to happen to them (a hypothetical Satanist monument, for example, as well as way too many monuments in one space), and may be a teaching moment to their enlightenment.

      Or so I hope.

  • Kodie

    I have a question: is it right to call this a secular monument? I thought secular and atheist were two different things. A secular nation would carry on with the laws and stuff without mentioning religion, while an atheist one would impose upon or prefer citizens who do not believe in god. I’m an atheist in favor of secular government, but maybe I have my terms messed up. To me, a secular monument would be dedicated to veterans, nurses, confederate officer Captain Bradford, etc. This bench makes a few stated quotes in the establishment of the US as secular, going so far as to speculate what type of god there may be, but it also makes a point to say “ATHEIST” on it a bunch of times, in other quotes and the sponsor’s name, in addition to quotes out of the bible, even if for effect. While it is secular in the sense that it is not regarding the spiritual, it is regarding religion, pointedly, not subtly, taking it into non-secular territory.

    Secularism is the goal, but to do that, in this case, I’d call that an atheist monument. When we get to the Xmas stuff later this year, again, to compare, a secular display would say “axial tilt is the reason for the season,” because it’s true apart from any reference to religion at all (unless you think copying the popular rhyme about Jesus is a serious reference). I would not call this a secular display or ornament or monument in the same category. I also would not want poor theists to become so confused and panic about the terminology used. An atheist government would be a bad thing for them and for all of us, while a secular one would be, should be, a positive. Nobody with a religious belief they hold dear should be in favor of a government showing preference. I know they still are, as long as it favors them, but it’s two different things. The only secular thing about this monument is that it’s there as a protest to the other statue, opening up a free-for-all in the garden, canceling each other out. When they are all gone, it will be secular. A secular monument might be one that is sponsored by the American Atheists but which has nothing written on it, or dedicated to some science thing like space exploration, or something like that.

    • harryunderwood

      Here’s what I see an atheist monument, on or off government property, as: a permanent marker attesting to our existence, an encouragement to nontheists to formulate their moral and ethical lives in absence of any supernatural existence, a contribution to the common language, a tool of ideological (re)formation.

      An atheist monument helps make life safer and easier to live without god(s) and the supernatural. It creates “facts on the ground” attesting against theistically-biased works of expression. It doesn’t “win souls”, but fights theistic bias in the hearts of the people.

      Every little bit counts, and atheist monuments, as well as secularity monuments, would help along the way.

  • harryunderwood

    It’s not only the number of existing faiths that can be crowded onto public space. It’s the infinite number of religions that can be created/claimed, with their own specific symbol, by freaking *anybody* out of thin air (like the Shinshukyo of post-WWII Japan).

    It’s worse than ethnic nationalist (or micronationalist) movements demanding independence and partition for their own section of land on which to build an entire state or substate.