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Jun 04 2013

This should be fun

American Atheists are putting up the country’s first atheist monument on the grounds of a Florida Courthouse where the Ten Commandments on June 29th. It will consist of a 1,500 lbs granite bench with atheist quotations. They have invited anyone who can to attend the dedication ceremony that AA president David Silverman will conduct.

Apparently AA sued a group that had put up the 6 ton commandments monument and the suit was settled with the atheists being given the right to put up their own as part of a free speech agreement.

Brace yourself for the aftermath as some religious groups attempt to deface or remove it. The people over at Fox News are understandably upset and predicting graffiti and their pet Catholic priest Jonathan Morris is sad at what he terms the disrespect being shown to the commandments. I don’t know what will happen if other groups also want to put up their own monuments. The courthouse grounds may become some sort of monument park.

The funny thing about the ten commandments is how silly they are. As guidelines for living, they are completely undeserving of their iconic status. There are many other passage in the Bible that make a lot more sense and are even worthy of following.

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  1. 1
    trucreep

    I’ve always found the Golden Rule to be some of the best advice to come out of the Bible. It’s brilliant in it’s simplicity and succinctness

  2. 2
    CGM3

    Here in Georgia, we’re having our own “atheist-theist” showdown that started wth the Bibles placed in state park cabins which were removed, then returned after the Governor declared them as NOT in violation of the Establishment Clause because 1) they were donated rather than purchased with state funds and 2) the cabins were “open” to anybody’s literature. The local American Atheists are working to acquire enough atheist-oriented books to put one in every state park cabin as well, and the Guv has (purportedly) agreed to accept them… but pointed out that he cannot guarantee their “safety”.

    Curious how it’s the Christians who are expected to be more prone to vandalism and disrepecting other peoples’ property…

  3. 3
    Corvus illustris

    It will consist of a 1,500 lb granite bench with atheist quotations.

    Interpreting “bench” as meaning “something that will be sat upon,” I hope that AA has had the foresight to put the quotations on the backrest. A green cemetery near here–one in which there are no headstones, but there is a bench incised with the interreds’ names–had to change the bench design to put the names on the backrest. The symbolic value of sitting on an inscription (my a** to N.N.) had passed the designers by. We wouldn’t want that to happen to the authors represented in Florida.

  4. 4
    mnb0

    Heartwarming. This is the way to get believers used to the idea that they are not the only humans on this planet.

  5. 5
    Pierce R. Butler

    Corvus illustris @ # 3: I hope that AA has had the foresight to put the quotations on the backrest.

    Damn thing doesn’t have a backrest.

    Those citizens of Starke who dare to sit upon it will thereby diss “American [logo] Atheists” (but they will get up with butt-cooties!).

  6. 6
    richardelguru

    Maybe, if the Sun is out and their shorts are thin, they’ll get “American [logo] Atheists” branded on the bum.

  7. 7
    jamessweet

    @trucreep: Agreed, although there is some variation of it in virtually every culture — so nothing unique to the Bible.

    “The parts that are original are not good, and the parts that are good are not original.” That accurately describes the Ten Commandments, as well as 99.9% of the “morality” in the Bible.

  8. 8
    Corvus illustris

    Thanks for the link. The fact that the first citation is Mrs O’Hair’s will particularly warm the hearts of some of us olds (and explode the heads of some others).

  9. 9
    jimf

    Whenever someone tells me how great the ten commandments are, I ask “Really? Where’s the condemnation of rape and genocide?”

  10. 10
    Jim H.

    As an atheist, I find this silly, and basically no different than having a 10 commandments monument, or a Quran monument, or a Douglas DC-10 flying over a volcano monument. In my opinion, the best way to live an atheist life is simply to shut the hell up about it. As soon as you start building statues and holding events, doesn’t it become a bona fide religion of its own?

  11. 11
    Mano Singham

    I think the point here is not the monument itself but to make the point that Christianity should not have exclusive access to the public square to spread its message.

  12. 12
    Jim H.

    Okay, I understand. I’d just prefer that neither had any access to the square with regards to spreading a message.

  13. 13
    trucreep

    @7 jamessweet;

    That’s definitely true – seems like you can trace a lot of stories from any religion back to a single source, I think of the great flood and Gilgamesh.

    But yeah, more accurate to say that’s where I first heard of it B]

  14. 14
    Robert B.

    I believe that’s AA’s position as well, actually. Silverman et. al. would prefer ideological messages to be kept off public property, but Christians tend to put forward this hypocritical idea of an open forum. (Hypocritical because they don’t actually want to be open to, say, atheist monuments, but the claim of an open forum provides a Constitutional fig leaf for Christian displays.) I believe the idea is that if every time the Christians claim that one of their Special Privilege Zones is an open forum they get a big ol’ atheist display in it, they will eventually give up and put their monuments on church and/or private property where they belong.

  15. 15
    sijd

    What if they don’t mind and instead embrace the idea that all religions should be equal and that everybody should have a right to put up their monuments ? Seen from their side its not such a bad bargain: you have to stomach the occasional atheist (or hindu/muslim/..) monument, but since the vast majority of the population is christian this will always remain the exception. At the same time their practice of putting up monuments has been legitimized, and we’ve lost all right to complain about it as we’ve been given the same rights that they claim for themselves (that this right is quite useless for us isn’t their fault..)

  16. 16
    Ian Arens

    Certainly! Except the Golden Rule is not unique to the bible and is found in cultures worldwide. Confucius, writing 500 years before Christ for one.

  17. 17
    Mano Singham

    The issue is a constitutional one based on interpretations of the First Amendment. It requires the government to be neutral between religions and between religion and non-religion. The neutrality can be obtained in two ways: by not having any such displays at all on government property or by giving equal access to all. While many (including the AA and me) would prefer the first option, if the courts rule in favor of the second, we have no choice but to take advantage of it the best way we can.

  18. 18
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    “Thou shalt not kill” and “thou shalt not covert” could be considered as possibly covering those at a stretch. Given the attitudes of the time – not excusing them but merely acknowledging their existence – Thou shalt not steal” perhaps bars “rape’ also.

  19. 19
    Pierce R. Butler

    Please cite, by chapter & verse, that 0.1% of babblical morality which is both original and good.

  20. 20
    Carol Lynn

    Some Hindu group NEEDS to put up a yoni and lingam. Oh, please! Please?

  21. 21
    Mano Singham

    Yes, that would really stir things up!

  22. 22
    Corvus illustris

    To me this somehow looks like a reductio ad absurdum–what if everybody put up a monument?–that got out of hand because the religious people were so used to absurdity that they didn’t notice.

  1. 23
    Atheist “Monument” - The Chop Shop

    [...] This should be fun » Mano Singham [...]

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