Government in America must be neutral among religions and neutral between religion and non-religion – at least that’s how the U.S. Supreme Court interprets the Establishment clause of the First Amendment.
But escalating conflicts involving government treatment of the nonreligious – atheists and humanists – reveal that far too many government officials are confused and conflicted about the meaning of “neutrality.”
In this month alone, an atheist monument stirred controversy in Florida, an atheist applicant for citizenship was instructed to join a church, and a congressional committee nixed atheist chaplains.
Let’s start with the first-ever atheist monument, a 1,500-pound bench erected alongside a Ten Commandments monument in front of the Bradford County Courthouse in Starke, Fla.
After a local Christian group installed the Ten Commandments monument last year, American Atheists sued to have it removed.
When county officials refused, the atheist group decided to put up a counter-monument featuring quotations from various American founders about church-state separation and passages from the Bible describing punishments for violating the Ten Commandments.
Written By: Charles C. Haynescontinue to source article at columbiadailyherald.com