American Atheists Unveil Monument In Front of Florida Courthouse

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An atheist group celebrated the unveiling of a stone bench on Saturday in front of the Bradford County courthouse in Florida amid supporters and protestors alike. The group, American Atheists, had the bench placed in a “free speech zone” right next to a granite slab etched with the Ten Commandments.


The stone bench is carved with quotes representative of atheist values and is believed to be the first atheist monument allowed on government property in the states.

"When you look at this monument, the first thing you will notice is that it has a function. Atheists are about the real and the physical, so we selected to place this monument in the form of a bench," said David Silverman, president of American Atheists.

The other intended purpose, however, was for the atheists to exercise their free speech rights — if Christians can have the Ten Commandments on government property, they could have a monument as well.

Written By: Heather Manes
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  1. “When you look at this monument, the first thing you will notice is that it has a function. Atheists are about the real and the physical, so we selected to place this monument in the form of a bench,” said David Silverman…”

    Art has a function, too, David. No need to be a dick about your atheism. A good piece of art has a more noble “function” than an uncomfortable stone bench, after all.

    • In reply to #1 by McCourt:

      “When you look at this monument, the first thing you will notice is that it has a function. Atheists are about the real and the physical, so we selected to place this monument in the form of a bench,” said David Silverman…”

      Art has a function, too, David. No need to be a dick about your atheism….
      I thought the same thing

    • In reply to #1 by McCourt:

      “When you look at this monument, the first thing you will notice is that it has a function. Atheists are about the real and the physical, so we selected to place this monument in the form of a bench,” said David Silverman…”

      Art has a function, too, David. No need to be a dick about your atheism….

      What are you talking about!? Do you even know what he is talking about? There is a slab with the Ten Commandments outside the courthouse, something that is unconstitutional. American Atheists asked for the removal of this slab in support of equality, choice and the constitution but of course they wouldn’t remove it so they decided to join them and they put their own atheism monument. This has nothing to do with art. I’m sure David Silverman enjoys art as much as anyone.

    • In reply to #1 by McCourt:

      “When you look at this monument, the first thing you will notice is that it has a function. Atheists are about the real and the physical, so we selected to place this monument in the form of a bench,” said David Silverman…”

      Art has a function, too, David. No need to be a dick about your atheism….

      A monument isn’t necessarily a work of art and I don’t think he claimed it was. I don’t think a lump of stone with the ten commandments could be classified a work of art either.

      So calm down! It is just a monument you can sit on, as opposed to a monument you just walk past.

    • In reply to #1 by McCourt:

      “When you look at this monument, the first thing you will notice is that it has a function. Atheists are about the real and the physical, so we selected to place this monument in the form of a bench,” said David Silverman…”

      Art has a function, too, David. No need to be a dick about your atheism….

      How is he being a dick?

  2. “We reject outsiders coming to Florida — especially from outside what we refer to as the Bible Belt — and trying to remake us in their own image,’’ said Michael Tubbs, state chairman of the Florida League of the South. ‘‘We do feel like it’s a stick in the eye to the Christian people of Florida to have these outsiders come down here with their money and their leadership and promote their outside values here.”

    This quote reveals a lot about what religion is really about.

    • In reply to #5 by zeerust2000:

      “We reject outsiders coming to Florida — especially from outside what we refer to as the Bible Belt — and trying to remake us in their own image,’’ said Michael Tubbs, state chairman of the Florida League of the South. ‘‘We do feel like it’s a stick in the eye to the Christian people of Florida to h…

      Yeah, tribalism at its most blatant.

    • In reply to #5 by zeerust2000:

      “We reject outsiders coming to Florida — especially from outside what we refer to as the Bible Belt — and trying to remake us in their own image,’’

      Did the red indians say the same thing?

      • In reply to #33 by old-toy-boy:

        In reply to #5 by zeerust2000:

        “We reject outsiders coming to Florida — especially from outside what we refer to as the Bible Belt — and trying to remake us in their own image,’’

        Did the red indians say the same thing?

        Too right! That echoes a comment from another article; Seminoles – I don’t know what other tribal nations lived in what is now called Florida.

    • In reply to #7 by Vorlund:

      Nice one! Just wondered how long it will be before some redneck jesus wallah vandalises it.

      We all know this will happen. All that religous passion has nowhere to go, with nothing but factless assersion and circular reasoning. Athiests have no impulse to do likewise. We merely reach into the gigantic warchest of facts and evidence.

  3. How silly! Atheists don;t have a need to be a part of the nonsense. “Monuments”, “relics”, “saints”. Only in America, I suggest, could this happen.

    As a lifelong atheist, I couldn’t give a monkey’s arse. Americans are in danger of making atheism into another religion/belief. Imagine a Benny Hinn atheist, making billions of dollars out of non-belief. How/why/when did Americans gain so much idiotic power?

    • In reply to #12 by ArloNo:

      How silly! Atheists don;t have a need to be a part of the nonsense. “Monuments”, “relics”, “saints”. Only in America, I suggest, could this happen.

      As a lifelong atheist, I couldn’t give a monkey’s arse. Americans are in danger of making atheism into another religion/belief. Imagine a Benny Hinn at…

      You’ve completely missed the point of erecting the atheist monument.

      The whole point is to get the people who argue for “religious freedom” to realise what that actually means. They make the assumption it means Christian privilege to the exclusion of other religions and the non-religious.

      By using the “can’t beat them, join them” strategy, it will hopefully force them understand what they’ve brought on themselves.

    • In reply to #12 by ArloNo:

      How silly! Atheists don;t have a need to be a part of the nonsense. “Monuments”, “relics”, “saints”. Only in America, I suggest, could this happen.

      As a lifelong atheist, I couldn’t give a monkey’s arse. Americans are in danger of making atheism into another religion/belief. Imagine a Benny Hinn at…

      That’s fear talkin’, buddy. Americans aren’t “in danger of making atheism into another religion/belief”. As you know, atheism is about a lack of belief. So tell me, how can a monument make a person who lacks a belief have belief? And if that person started to have a belief (of what!?), then he/she would probably stop being an atheist.

      • In reply to #21 by KRKBAB:

        In reply to #12 by ArloNo:

        How silly! Atheists don;t have a need to be a part of the nonsense. “Monuments”, “relics”, “saints”. Only in America, I suggest, could this happen.

        As a lifelong atheist, I couldn’t give a monkey’s arse. Americans are in danger of making atheism into another religion/belief…

        Atheism isn’t a lack of belief. It’s a lack of belief in gods. More often, it’s a lack of belief in the unsubstantiated. Strictly, that’s skepticism (or some similar term), but barring those who wilfully misunderstand and those who have been wilfully misinformed, most people get that.

        We do feel like it’s a stick in the eye to the Christian people of Florida

        Are you sure? Not a mote in the eye of the atheists?

  4. ‘‘We do feel like it’s a stick in the eye to the Christian people of Florida to have these outsiders come down here with their money and their leadership and promote their outside values here.”

    Yep, it must be a shock as Christians would never spread their dogma by proselytizing, and even if they did their churches and organisations are so underfunded…………

  5. ArloNo you are very wrong. The christians know that by saturating public spaces and discourse with their symbols and scriptures they are conveying a message that the country is a christian one and that people have no choice but to conform. By creating public counter messages amongst that rubbish atheists are saying “no, not everyone here is christian and this is not a christian country”. Politics and power plays are fought not just with reason, but also and often most strongly with emotion and psychology. I wish it were otherwise but wishing it don’t make it so.

  6. IMO the issue that that Christians and the religious like to use government property to show off their religion. It’s a way to MARK THEIR TERRITORY. Territorial pissings. Good job AA.

    • In reply to #18 by debaser71:

      IMO the issue that that Christians and the religious like to use government property to show off their religion. It’s a way to MARK THEIR TERRITORY. Territorial pissings. Good job AA.

      It’s SOME atheists way of living. Are YOU (yes, I’m yelling) in charge of defining how atheists should behave?
      Aren’t we atheists known for not trying to herd us into a common behavior?

      • In reply to #22 by KRKBAB:

        In reply to #18 by debaser71:

        IMO the issue that that Christians and the religious like to use government property to show off their religion. It’s a way to MARK THEIR TERRITORY. Territorial pissings. Good job AA.

        It’s SOME atheists way of living. Are YOU (yes, I’m yelling) in charge of defining h…

        IMO stands for “in my opinion”…go jump down someone else’s throat

    • In reply to #19 by Fouad Boussetta:

      Does anyone have a link to a list of the quotes on the monument? I’m curious.

      “An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty banished, war eliminated.”
      Madalyn Murray O’Hair, founder of American Atheists

      “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion”
      1796 Treaty of Tripoli

      “Question with boldness even the existence of a god, because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear” Thomas Jefferson

      “It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service (writing the Constitution) had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of Heaven.” John Adams

      “When religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, ’tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”
      Benjamin Franklin

      There are also punishments for breaking the Ten Commandments.

        • In reply to #25 by Agrajag:

          In reply to #23 by Nastika:

          There are also punishments for breaking the Ten Commandments.

          And what are these, pray tell? Especially the first three.

          ‘Tis a list of bible passages to put things in perspective -

          Because, that’s what they said – bunny bread!

          • In reply to #29 by bluebird:

            ‘Tis a list of bible passages to put things in perspective -

            Because, that’s what they said – bunny bread!

            Thanks! I really couldn’t believe you were serious… just had to have a little clarification.

            Now that I see it, that’s a statement!

            Steve

          • In reply to #29 by bluebird:

            There are also punishments for breaking the Ten Commandments.

            And what are these, pray tell? Especially the first three.

            ‘Tis a list of bible passages to put things in perspective -

            It should be good for atheists to pick out those Bible quotes the Xtians never bother to read, – and to put them in prominent public places. (“God is love”. – Pass the next stone! )

  7. Putting monuments and similar things makes atheism more like religion. We do not need to stoop to the level of religion and put monuments all over the place like we are insecure in our reason.

    • In reply to #24 by Jjcob82:

      Putting monuments and similar things makes atheism more like religion.

      No. it doesn’t. It is a statement. In the present circumstances, I’d say it’s “fair and balanced”.

      ;-)

      Steve

    • In reply to #24 by Jjcob82:

      Putting monuments and similar things makes atheism more like religion. We do not need to stoop to the level of religion and put monuments all over the place like we are insecure in our reason.

      Rubbish there are a zillion non-religious monuments. This monument is to counteract the one placed and to show other atheists they are not alone in the community.

  8. If I were to steal a few words from the opposition, “Teach the controversy ” well this is the controversy.

    My favourite bible quote is ” I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil” – Isaiah 45: 7, (favorite, from a vindictive point of view).

    • In reply to #40 by Alan4discussion:

      In reply to #36 by DanDare:

      Rubbish there are a zillion non-religious monuments.

      ..and unlike statues of “Jesus” or “the virigin Mary”, some of them actually resemble real people who did something for human-kind!

      statue jpg link

      Or these ones

      Why do Jesus and the Virgin Mary need monuments made by man? I thought they showed up in windows and on the side of buildings and on sandwiches which were grilled in the name of doG!

      • In reply to #41 by kathol: All sound like graven images to me, except the bench of course!

        In reply to #40 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #36 by DanDare:

        Rubbish there are a zillion non-religious monuments.

        ..and unlike statues of “Jesus” or “the virigin Mary”, some of them actually resemble real people who did something for human-kind!

        statue jpg link

        Or these ones

        Why do Jesus an…

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