6/29/13

First Public Monument to Atheism Unveiled Today

This map shows the incorporated and unincorpor...
This map shows the incorporated and unincorporated areas in Bradford County, Florida, highlighting Starke in red. It was created with a custom script with US Census Bureau data and modified with Inkscape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
American Atheists is unveiling the first public monument to atheism in Northern Florida today. It is described in their press release as "a 1,500-pound granite bench engraved with quotations from Thomas Jefferson, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, Benjamin Franklin, and others." It looks like there will be quite a few atheists on hand at the dedication today.

The rationale for the monument is simple. American Atheists and a plaintiff from Starke sued for removal of a Ten Commandments monument. Through mediation, Bradford County asked the group behind the monument to remove it. When they refused, the county was faced with two choices: pay to have the monument removed or allow other monuments to be added. They opted for the second and less optimal of the two. We now have a "free speech forum" outside the Bradford County courthouse, and it contains both the Ten Commandments monument and the new atheist monument.

This is how the separation of church and state is supposed to work. We either have no religion in public places or we allow as many options as want to be represented to be represented. When the county decided not to remove the Christian monument, this opened the door for the atheist monument to be added.

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