Quantcast

«

»

Jun 05 2013

The Atheist Monument in Florida

On June 29, they’ll be unveiling and dedicating an atheist monument on the grounds of the courthouse in Bradford County, Florida — right by the Ten Commandments monument, not coincidentally. This was a negotiated settlement to a lawsuit filed by American Atheists. This is what the monument looks like:

atheist monument

As always happens when the placement of religious displays on public property are challenged in court, the county claimed that it was not government speech at all and thus not a government endorsement of the content of the display. They claimed to have a limited public forum and that others could also place displays there. So American Atheists decided to do exactly that. The Stiefel Freethought Foundation paid for the creation of the monument (about $6000).

I’ve been saying for a couple years now that we need to do this all over the place. There are dozens of Ten Commandments monuments all over the country. I’d like to see a simple design for a monument that can be easily and relatively cheaply copied and local atheist groups around the country should submit applications to place them on every piece of public property that has a Ten Commandments monument. The display could be a list of humanist principles or quotes from the founding fathers supporting skepticism and humanism.

Doing this will force local governments to make a decision. If they deny the request, they are showing that the Christian display is government endorsement and there’s an Establishment Clause case there. If they approve it, the message of endorsement is diluted and public property is no longer the exclusive domain of Christian privilege. Win, win.

65 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    eamick

    I’m not sure quoting Madalyn Murray O’Hair is such a great idea; she doesn’t have a good reputation with the general public.

  2. 2
    ph041985

    Maybe American Atheists or a similar group could allow people to submit applications for a similar monument within their community. They could spearhead fundraising efforts within the community and within the Secular community, and allow for modifications to reflect the local atheist/humanist/secular groups’ values.

  3. 3
    Raging Bee

    Nice sentiment, but ugly as shit. It looks like a competent (but not very inspired) sculptor carved the bench, whis his ten-year-old kid carved the other bit. It also looks like the quote isn’t really on the stone, but was photoshopped onto the image. Why not depict a soldier in a foxhole instead? And like eamick said, MMO’Hair is just about the WORST name you can put on an atheist monument — although her crude disgraceful conduct kinda matches the crudeness of the monument.

  4. 4
    Raging Bee

    Sorry, that’s “…WHILE his ten-year-old kid carved the other bit.”

  5. 5
    Joshua

    They better put a camera on that monument. I’ll bet someone vandalizes it within a week.

  6. 6
    Cuttlefish

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2013/06/05/predictable-reaction-to-atheist-monument/

    Really, an atheist counter-monument isn’t quite enough. I’d love to see the Bradford County free-speech forum simply strewn with monuments, like glacial erratics that happen to have writing (at least some of them). Hell, if we can find a willing Hindu in Bradford County, I’d contribute to a six-foot lingam, to be placed as close to the decalogue as possible.

  7. 7
    Draken

    Why not take it further? Encourage other denominations to put their crescent moon, Buddha, satanic pentagram, native tribal totem there; swarm the places with religious symbols!

    See how quick the remaining mosaical monuments disappear.

  8. 8
    jamessweet

    It kinda looks like a big hammer, heh…

  9. 9
    TGAP Dad

    @1 eamick:

    I think that is why it’s a GREAT idea. The fact that she is “the most hated woman in America” makes her the perfect person to quote. This illustrates, by confronting the reader with that harsh reality, that free speech is for everyone regardless of how reprehensible you find their words, and that public property is no place for a religious monument arms race.

    Personally, I would have chosen something more inflammatory, which explicitly denies the existence of any gods rather than simply extolling nonbelief. Here are a few I’ve collected over the years:

    All thinking men are atheists (Earnest Hemmingway)

    The most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion. (Mohandas K. Gandhi)

    Theism tells men that they are the slaves of a god. Atheism assures men that they are the investigators and users of nature. (Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, American publisher)

    The inspiration of the bible depends on the ignorance of the gentleman who reads it (Robert Ingersoll)

    God is only a great imaginative experience (D H Lawrence)

    Praying is like a rocking chair – it will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere. (Gypsy Rose Lee)

    Religion does three things quite effectively: divides people, deludes people, and controls people. (Carlespie McKinney)

    A man full of faith is simply one who has lost the capacity for clear and rational thought. (H L Mencken)

    Faith means not wanting to know what is true. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

    Religion is not merely the opium of the masses, it’s the cyanide. (Tom Robbins, American author)

    I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one less god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. (Stephen F. Roberts)

    Atheism is the voice of a few intelligent people. (Voltaire)

  10. 10
    beergoggles

    To echo #5′s sentiment, I hope the area in under surveillance. Also curious who’s on the hook for repairs were it to be vandalized? Is it AAs or since it’s a state provided public forum, is it the state’s responsibility to provide security?

  11. 11
    TCC

    All thinking men are atheists (Earnest Hemmingway)

    And as I’ve told you for a few years now, you need to drop this one. Besides your complete butchering of his name, Hemingway did not say this – it was uttered by a character in his novel A Farewell to Arms. You can’t necessarily ascribe quotations in a novel to its author(s); if so, you could argue that F. Scott Fitzgerald or Harper Lee were racists because of racist characters in their books (The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird, respectively). Please, have some intellectual honesty and stop saying that Hemingway said this quote. If you want to use it, cite the character in the novel (it’s an unnamed major in the Italian army, I believe).

  12. 12
    raven

    As has already been pointed out, That monument will have a short lifespan.

    They better have a lot of spares to replace it when it is vandalized. It will be for sure.

    I’d like to see one with Christopher Hitchens’ quote.

    Religion poisons everything. Including courthouse esthetics and landscaping.

  13. 13
    Raging Bee

    The fact that she is “the most hated woman in America” makes her the perfect person to quote.

    So if we managed to find a more hated women, you’d be all in favor of quoting her instead, because free speech? That’s got to be the dumbest reasoning I’ve ever heard since Dick Cheney’s justifications for the Iraq war.

    Hey, as long as we’re quoting hated assholes just because they’re hated, why not quote Karl Rove? He’s an atheist too, isn’t he?

  14. 14
    Raging Bee

    I’m with raven: I’m not familiar with Hitchens, but from what I’ve heard of him, there has to be a quote of his that would fit on a monument and be a clear statement of something atheists want to tell the public. If we can’t find an appropriate quote by Hitchens, we should probably go with the Emanuel Haldeman-Julius quote cited by TGAP Dad above.

    Religion poisons everything. Including courthouse esthetics and landscaping.

    Um…we might want to hold off on saying that until we see a less crude and ridiculous atheist monument.

  15. 15
    dingojack

    How about:
    “A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side” – Aristotle
    Dingo

  16. 16
    abb3w

    I can’t find it at the moment, but the head of he group that did the Christian monument came out in favor of the atheists also being allowed.

  17. 17
    Raging Bee

    …Hemingway did not say this – it was uttered by a character in his novel A Farewell to Arms.

    And it’s not even true — there are plenty of thinking men and women who are not atheists. That doesn’t make their gods more real, of course, but we really shouldn’t plaster our monuments with statements that are obviously false — especially when such obvious falsehoods reinforce widely-held negative stereotypes about atheists.

  18. 18
    Abdul Alhazred

    It looks creepy.

    Atheism as such is not a religion, but “American Athiests” might just be one.

    American Athiests has a logo that looks like something from a bad 1950s movie about after the nuclear war.

  19. 19
    YOB - Ye Olde Blacksmith

    I will be working on a sculpture later this year that will have a quote on it, but haven’t decided what exactly. This convo has brought up some points for me to consider when I do choose. Thanks for that. Also, I’d be really interested in ya’lls ideas for good, punchy and short quotes.

  20. 20
    Sastra

    I think a positive statement with a humanist, skeptic, and/or scientific slant would be much more effective than one which only insults religion: get into why it is wrong by appealing to common values.

    So the O’Hair quote is okay. The problem with O’Hair is not that she was hated by the public; it’s that she was hated by a lot of atheists — and NOT for being ‘outspoken’ or ‘militant.’ Let’s just say she apparently had some glaring personal character flaws which make the strategy of using her as a representative of atheism … problematic.

    I love the idea of turning the monument into a bench. People will use it. It’s practical. And it’s considerate.

  21. 21
    Raging Bee

    Atheism as such is not a religion, but “American Athiests” might just be one.

    They might. Or they might not. Your point…?

  22. 22
    Raging Bee

    I think a positive statement with a humanist, skeptic, and/or scientific slant would be much more effective than one which only insults religion: get into why it is wrong by appealing to common values.

    I agree. This is a monument on public property — not exactly the best place to indiscriminately insult people.

    I love the idea of turning the monument into a bench. People will use it. It’s practical. And it’s considerate.

    It would be more practical if the armrest on one side was better designed, and less of a totally awkward waste of space.

  23. 23
    Sastra

    Abdul Alhazred #18 wrote:

    American Athiests has a logo that looks like something from a bad 1950s movie about after the nuclear war.

    I agree — though since it was created in ’63 there’s some excuse. But it bothers me that the U. S. military uses this symbol for atheists in general. It’s a logo for a specific group.

    I prefer the new universal atheist symbol (which I picked for my avatar.) It’s popular with a lot of atheists, apparently — if you do a search on ‘atheist symbol images’ it comes up frequently. It’s public domain. I predict that in 5-10 years the general public will recognize this one.

    Though of course the AA organization is quite justified in using their own logo in this case.

  24. 24
    dingojack

    Sastra – I thought your avatar was a slightly more stylish version of this well known symbol.
    Dingo

  25. 25
    scienceavenger

    Didn’t O’Hare found American Atheists? If so, you can hardly blame them for wanting to quote her.

    I agree with most of the previous posters…make it prettier, and have more universal positive quotes. As for Hitchens, his best quote is probably “If you gave Jerry Falwell an enima, you could bury him in a matchbook”. Not monument worthy perhaps, but hilarious noetheless.

  26. 26
    Abdul Alhazred

    @21

    Pretending not to get the point is a rhetorical trick that never works in writing.

    It’s the cutting tone of voice that makes it effective. :)

  27. 27
    lldayo

    I think the monument should have been a spoof of Buddy Christ from Dogma with a Carlin quote attached to it: Religion is sort of like a lift in your shoes. If it makes you feel better, fine. Just don’t ask me to wear your shoes. George Carlin

  28. 28
    Raging Bee

    But it bothers me that the U. S. military uses this symbol for atheists in general. It’s a logo for a specific group.

    They have a database of symbols and other information about various religions, and they had to have something for atheists — at least so they’d know what symbol to put on their grave-markers. If atheists can reach broad agreement on an alternative symbol, I’m sure the military would at least consider it. And (IIRC) I think individuals can specify which symbol they want on their grave-markers, though they may only be able to choose from a pre-existing set, since it may be too much to expect the cemetary folks to go with just any symbol on the fly.

  29. 29
    abb3w

    Ah, were we go; from the Christian Post:

    Ken Weaver, member of the Starke, Fla.-based group Community Men’s Fellowship, told The Christian Post [...] “Simply put, while we do not agree with the ‘faith’ of the American Atheists that disregards the existence of God, we do believe in their right to freely express their beliefs”

  30. 30
    Abby Normal

    I agree a positive statement is best, rather than that peevish snipe. It’s as if she’s saying theist don’t want those same good things. I read that quote and feel that it doesn’t represent me any better than the Ten Commandments. Hospitals instead of churches, there’s plenty of room for both. One can pray and perform good deeds. Generally speaking theists want disease conquered, poverty banished, and war eliminated every bit as much as atheists. And as someone who has struggled with depression all my life, I have often longed to escape into death. I just don’t think anything comes afterward. I’m an atheist and that monument doesn’t represent me at all.

    The problem is there’s nothing inherently positive about atheism. It’s the absence of a belief, not a set of competing beliefs. I’d like it much better if it was just the bench.

    Though, if there really is a need to comment on religion, “Put down your baggage and relax,” is a decent compromise I think. It more universally represents what it means to be an atheist.

  31. 31
    dingojack

    How ’bout;
    “Good news Mommy. They tell me I got my credulity badge today, and they said if I stop reading books, other than the bible, I’ll get my ignorance badge soon too!”

    ;) Dingo

  32. 32
    Michael Heath

    Re quoting Ms. O’Hair: Snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

    This group shouldn’t have quoted anyone, but instead created their own cogent argument that promotes secularism. That’s not hard to do. It also keeps their approach distinctly different than the approach used by religionists, who tend to point to authority figures, including imagined ones, as if that buttresses their argument.

    And I’m not claiming one should never use quotes, just that in this context, it would have been far wiser to focus on a positive message rather than create a target-rich atmosphere for this group’s opponents and enemies of secularism in general.

  33. 33
    Ed Brayton

    I have a pretty strong dislike of O’Hair, but that particular quote is a very good one and I have no problem with it being there. I’d be strongly opposed to some of the quotes offered above. A monument full of quotes that say “Na na, we’re so smarter than you” is not just a bad idea, it’s a terrible one. I’m with Sastra, as usual, in saying that any quotations on such a monument should be positive statements of principle.

  34. 34
    markr1957

    I like the Benjamin Franklin quote – “The Way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason”.

    - although you can’t go too far wrong if you have something along the lines of “We don’t believe in any of the gods you don’t believe in either – we simply believe in one less god than you”

  35. 35
    TGAP Dad

    @11 TCC:

    Thanks for the correction, I’ll update my quotation database accordingly.

  36. 36
    TGAP Dad

    @33 Ed:

    You have a point. But the christians’ purpose of having a Decalogue in a public space is twofold: to promote their particular belief, and to imply official recognition of that particular faith, and confer privilege. As an homage to the idea of a public forum, and a ploy to keep the commandments in place, the state agreed to a public forum. So in the context of a monument that says “we’re christian, and we’re special,” an atheist monument that says “but that’s not who some people are” seems to miss the mark a little. Whereas a monument that says “[your] religion and [your] gods are laughably silly fairy tales” serves as a more equal counterpoint. It would also get way Nader the skin of the believers and stoke their outrage more than one that meekly declares that a few people aren’t christian. It’s this outrage that would then lead to the more appropriate outcome – removal of ALL professions of belief into private speech venues.

  37. 37
    Raging Bee

    The problem is there’s nothing inherently positive about atheism.

    I dunno, when I was a kid it felt pretty positive to realize that all those ghosts, nightmares, demons, fairies, monsters under the bed, and other scary-sounding supernatural beings weren’t real. Maybe you could have a quote about that?

    Also, I’m with Heath on this: an atheist monument doesn’t really need to have quotes from a “founding figure” or other “authority” — and certainly not from someone like O’Hair, whose name would be nothing but an embarrassment. Although, if I had to pick a quote, I’d go with that billboard line, “There probably is no god, so relax and enjoy life.” Or, as Abby suggested, “Put down your baggage and relax.”

  38. 38
    Raging Bee

    It’s this outrage that would then lead to the more appropriate outcome – removal of ALL professions of belief into private speech venues.

    You actually think a monument covered with stupid insulting rhetoric would accomplish that? And you actually think polluting a public place with stupid insulting rhetoric is a good idea? That’s two levels of stupid right there.

    Here’s an outcome I think is more likely: the Christian bigots would say “Hey, if the atheists get to insult us, we have an equal right to insult them.” And then you’d have Christians posting as much threatening, intimidating, and insulting crap in public places as they could afford, with the intended effect of making religious minorities feel unwelcome in public places. Even an ugly caveman-bench with a quote from O’Hair would be better for the public than that.

  39. 39
    Raging Bee

    It’s as if [O'Hair]’s saying theist don’t want those same good things.

    That, too, I agree with. Lots of theists are just as committed to action as atheists (more so, in some cases, as the mindless attacks on “A+” remind us); and O’Hair’s over-generalization about how believers deal with reality is really no better than a Christian saying “A Christian trusts a perfect God, a non-Christian trusts Satan.”

    Atheists should be smart enough to come up with a monument inscription that doesn’t contain the same sort of self-serving false dichotomies we learned from religion.

  40. 40
    Sastra

    dingojack #24 wrote:

    Sastra – I thought your avatar was a slightly more stylish version of this well known symbol.(anarchy symbol)

    Naw. As Hemant Mehta remarked, “I’m shocked that two versions of the letter A look kind of similar. SHOCKED, I TELL YOU!”

    This was in response to Glen Beck ranting about the resemblance between the anarchy A and the atheist A. Put them side by side and they’re not similar at all — if you get over the fact that they’re both stylized A’s. (Beck’s version of the Anarchy symbol is different than the standard one, you’ll note. It’s as if he tweaked it to help his labored comparison. Still doesn’t work.)

    I’ve been told the atheist symbol looks a little like this — but it’s still a stretch.

  41. 41
    Raging Bee

    Sastra: stick a plus sign in that insignia and let’s see whose heads explode first. I guess it’ll mean either “Atheism+” or “Starfleet Accounting.”

  42. 42
    evodevo

    When all this started a few years ago (there have been numerous FFRF and Americans for Separation actions filed against various county commissions here in Ky for 10 Commandment displays), I said to myself that I would keep an eye on our local courthouse for signs of over-the-top religiosity, and in the event I would ask to put up my own display. (Haven’t had to yet) I favor sayings like that of Ole’ Ben, cited above, along with quotes from other founding fathers.
    Hard for the Xtians to object to, and gets the constitutional message across.

  43. 43
    kermit.

    How about a quote from a good ‘ole country song?
    .
    Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on
    Could it be a faded rose from days gone by
    And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
    To take you to his mansion in the sky

    .
    Even has a gospel tune. Here’s the rest of it, for folks who aren’t familiar with the genre:


    She’s forty-one and her daddy still calls her “baby”
    All the folks around Brownsville say she’s crazy
    ‘Cause she walks around town with a suitcase in her hand
    Looking for a mysterious dark-haired man
    .
    In her younger days they called her Delta Dawn
    Prettiest woman you ever laid eyes on
    Then a man of low degree stood by her side
    And promised her he’d take her for his bride
    .
    Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on
    Could it be a faded rose from days gone by
    And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
    To take you to his mansion in the sky

    I don’t know if the singer, Tanya Tucker, realized that it was a perfect metaphor for all those believers who bought her records.

  44. 44
    Sastra

    Raging Bee #41 wrote:

    Sastra: stick a plus sign in that insignia and let’s see whose heads explode first. I guess it’ll mean either “Atheism+” or “Starfleet Accounting.”

    Heh. The AtheismPlus website uses the generic symbol with a plus sign in their forum page. Some of them probably objected to co-opting the Richard Dawkins red “A,” which is pretty closely associated with Richard Dawkins.

    If you look at the images which come up in a search you see people have messed around with the universal symbol, adding to it artistically or putting it into the logo for a particular site, group, or podcast. Which is I think as it should be, if it’s to be a proper universal symbol.

  45. 45
    eric

    I disagree with those who go for inflammatory value and agree with those who thine we should use the space for some more positive messaging. I think I’d go with the classic:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

  46. 46
    Raging Bee

    Sastra: there’s also the Vulcan IDIC symbol to play with. (I used to have that pendant, gotta see if it’s still around…)

  47. 47
    Cuttlefish

    Atheism in its negation of gods is at the same time the strongest affirmation of man, and through man, the eternal yea to life, purpose, and beauty.
    –Emma Goldman, 1916

  48. 48
    loren

    It’ll be amusing if that’s the final text they go with. It’s apparently an accurate quote of what O’Hair wrote in her 1959 petition, but she rephrased it in her memoir, replacing “believes” with “knows,” and prefacing it with this explanation:

    “In the original petition, the word ‘believe’ was used throughout. In this edition, that word is replaced with ‘think’ or ‘accept’. I propose that use of the word ‘believe’ be eschewed for general use since its dictionary definition is (a) to have a firm religious faith, (b) to accept on faith. Faith, of course, is a belief or trust in, or loyalty to, god.”

    I’m not sure I agree with her narrow definitions, but for the first atheist monument to use language that she came to regret and actively encouraged *against* atheists using? That’s funny.

  49. 49
    TGAP Dad

    @38 Raging Bee

    Just because you disagree with me doesn’t mean I’m stupid. I don’t understand why you’d do something (insulting) to me that you’d find unacceptable to do to religious people.

    I would prefer an engraving that actively denies the existence of any gods as a counterpoint to the christian monument that positively affirms that there is a god, and it’s a specific one as described in the christian bible. Not to be condescending or insulting, but not shying away from our core (non)beliefs either.

    Insult is not the goal, but history has shown that the christians will be offended by ANY atheist icon. So why bend over backward to show respect for beliefs we all find silly?

    The fact is that the battle of monuments is a likely outcome. This battle would certainly spiral, and would probably, eventually lead to some sort of government intervention. The people themselves, given the choice between keeping the inflammatory monuments with the religious, or getting rid of them all, would most likely come to their senses and purge religious speech from. By making our message more palatable TO THE RELIGIOUS we hamper that long-term goal.

  50. 50
    Pierce R. Butler

    Huffpo writeup, w/ pix
    Meetup page

    Note that this makes the __th item for the case that American Atheists just has no eye or sense whatsoever for visual design. The billboards tend to go away on their own; this will require considerable vandalism to achieve that, and in a place the local cops can’t claim not to watch..

    Furthermore, the tone reaches a level of confrontationalism that even our pugnacious host may question. From that Huffpo piece:

    The display will also feature Biblical quotes that supporters say correspond to the Ten Commandments, such as Deuteronomy 13:10, which says to “stone him with stones” so “that he die” in reference to people who worship other gods. (The first commandment reads, “You shall have no other gods before me.”)

    The dedication begins at noon; from 2 pm on, American Atheists hosts a pool party (yes, kids invited) & meetup at the Days Inn two blocks away until 6 pm. Attendees will include AA brass, local plaintiff Daniel Cooney & sons, Teresa MacBain, walking controversy EllenBeth Wachs, and various other Fla infidel leaders. Also, probably, me.

  51. 51
    dingojack

    Or what about:
    “Lord Bacon* says that atheism leaves to man reason, philosophy, natural piety, laws, reputation, and everything that can serve to conduct him to virtue; but superstition destroys all these, and erects itself into a tyranny over the understandings of men: hence atheism never disturbs the government, but renders man more clear- sighted, since he sees nothing beyond the boundaries of the present life. — Bacon’s Moral Essays”.
    On the Necessity of Atheism. (1811) – Percy Bysshe Shelley.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St. Alban (1561-1626). An English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator and author. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England.

  52. 52
    Raging Bee

    Insult is not the goal, but history has shown that the christians will be offended by ANY atheist icon.

    That does not absolve you, me, or anyone else of the responsibility to behave like adults in adult company, and to avoid being needlessly offensive. Also, it’s pretty damn dishonest of you to advocate an insulting message, then say “Insult is not the goal.” Doubletalk much?

    The people themselves, given the choice between keeping the inflammatory monuments with the religious, or getting rid of them all, would most likely come to their senses and purge religious speech from.

    That’s the most ridiculous wishful thinking I’ve heard in a long time. If you want us to turn useful public spaces into dumping-grounds for insulting monuments, you’ll need more than wishful thinking to justify it.

    By making our message more palatable TO THE RELIGIOUS we hamper that long-term goal.

    It’s not about making anything “palatable” to religious people; it’s about recognizing the proper use of monuments, and recognizing the rights of ALL people to enjoy public spaces and not have them cluttered up with ugly “monuments” with ignorant insulting inscriptions. The fact that you confuse those two goals strongly implies that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  53. 53
    lofgren

    this monument is stupid, and the entire war of the monuments that we are escalating is also stupid.

    I’m envisioning a future where every courthouse lawn is littered with hideous, poorly conceived monuments to shallow philosophies. I suppose that’s what victory looks like.

  54. 54
    slc1

    Re Dingojack @ #51

    In addition to which, Bacon wrote the plays and sonnets erroneously attributed to one William Shakespeare. End snark.

  55. 55
    dingojack

    SLC – I think you’re thinking of Edward de Vere. :)
    Dingo

  56. 56
    eric

    Pierce Butler:

    Furthermore, the tone reaches a level of confrontationalism that even our pugnacious host may question. From that Huffpo piece:

    The display will also feature Biblical quotes that supporters say correspond to the Ten Commandments, such as Deuteronomy 13:10, which says to “stone him with stones” so “that he die” in reference to people who worship other gods. (The first commandment reads, “You shall have no other gods before me.”)

    That’s obnoxious. If you’re going to play point-counterpoint with the 10 commandments, you can still be smart and positive about it. Put “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain” on the left and “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech” on the right. And so on.

    Lofgren:

    I’m envisioning a future where every courthouse lawn is littered with hideous, poorly conceived monuments to shallow philosophies. I suppose that’s what victory looks like.

    That’s a possible outcome, but not very likely. Historically the government officials in question usualy decide to stop claiming the space is a limited public forum rather than let nonchristians use the forum. The exception seems to be holiday displays, but I think that’s because they are temporary. I do not envision it coming to a monument park.

  57. 57
    Pierce R. Butler

    This has already made Baby Jesus very upset: he’s sending Tropical Storm Andrea directly over Bradford County tonight!

  58. 58
    Raging Bee

    this monument is stupid, and the entire war of the monuments that we are escalating is also stupid.

    It certainly won’t serve the purpose of giving the general public a good first impression of atheism or atheists. (And no, a good many of the ordinary people who see the monument will not have much prior knowledge of atheists, so we have to understand that an atheist monumet will indeed be a first impressin for those people.) That’s something an atheist monument of any sort has to do: remind people that atheists exist, they’re not afraid to show themselves, and they’re not as wierd or evil as those who’ve never met one might think they are.

  59. 59
    lofgren

    Instead of building atheist monuments, AA should have divided the money equally amongst the largest fan clubs of the four most prominent Starfleet captains, with the stipulation that each one erect a monument to their preferred officer on the courthouse lawn.

  60. 60
    Eoin

    I have always been fond of the statement attributed to Diderot that;

    “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”

  61. 61
    jmax

    Maybe atheists should put the number 100,000,000 on it somewhere to represent the number of people deliberately murdered by communist atheist states in the 20th century. The biggest difference between the left and right is the view of human nature. Secular progressives say man is basically good, while Christian conservatives say man is inherently flawed. This goes all the way back to the Enlightenment, which resulted in two revolutions, the American and French that were based on these different views. The American was based on the Christian concept that all men are born into sin, no matter how intelligent or accomplished, hence the checks and balances in our Constitution. The French was based on Rousseau’s trust in the noble savage which led to the guillotines of Robespierre’s Committee of Public Safety and eventually an atheist general who declared himself emperor. So to carnage by the atheists who led the Mexican and Bolshevik revolutions. The 10 Commandments go against human nature. What king in his right mind would come up with prohibiting murder, theft and acting on envy, when doing those things is how he got to be king in the first place. The 10 Commandments is God’s attempt to protect us from ourselves and give us at chance at salvation. By the way, wasn’t Madeline Murray O’Hare tortured before she was murdered by a fellow atheist, who cut off her fingers one by one to find out where she had hid her gold coins?

  62. 62
    Michael Heath

    jmax writes:

    Maybe atheists should put the number 100,000,000 on it somewhere to represent the number of people deliberately murdered by communist atheist states in the 20th century.

    Compared to how many hundreds of millions, if not billions, killed by those claiming to be on the side of God? But you’re not after an accurate assessment are you? The Rick Warren quality of argumentation will not fare well here since this is a non-deluded zone.

    It’s also not atheism that explains the atrocities committed by the USSR, Red China et al. since atheism wasn’t used as a predominant premise or motivation to justify their atrocities. Ironic to your feeble attempt to smear another group, we do continually observe theists overtly justifying their genocides and other evil acts in the name of God. So go ahead, punch yourself in the face with your own argument; it provides much amusement.

    The common thread we do observe amongst all these evil governments is authoritarianism. And that’s an attribute which is a feature of today’s U.S. conservative Christians, and not atheists.

  63. 63
    slc1

    Re jmax @ #61

    The fact is that the percentage of the population of Central Europe that was killed in the 30 Years War, which was a religious war between Catholics and Protestants, was greater then the percentage of the population of the same region killed in WW 1 and WW 2 combined. It is fortunate that Wallenstein, Tilly, and Gustavus didn’t have 20 century weaponry or the region might have been depopulated.

  64. 64
    Chiroptera

    max, #61: Maybe atheists should put the number 100,000,000 on it somewhere to represent the number of people deliberately murdered by communist atheist states in the 20th century.

    I’ve always said, if your claim to greater morals is based on your mountain of corpses being smaller than the other guy’s mountain of corpses, then you probably don’t understand morality.

  65. 65
    Michael Heath

    Chiroptera writes:

    I’ve always said, if your claim to greater morals is based on your mountain of corpses being smaller than the other guy’s mountain of corpses, then you probably don’t understand morality.

    A good point, but let’s not forget whose pile of corpses is the biggest of them all.

    Doubly ironic is that the Christian god as understood by those who make such absurd arguments promises an infinite pile of humans suffering unimaginable torture for all of eternity; where these Christians celebrate the existence of such a god and celebrate his nature.

Leave a Reply

Switch to our mobile site