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Jun 07 2013

More on atheist monument

There is more information on the atheist monument to be placed in the courthouse grounds in Bradford County in Florida that I wrote about earlier.

The atheist monument – which looks like a backwards, lower-case letter "h" – is engraved with the words of several Founding Fathers, as well as a quotation from the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by President John Adams in 1797. It reads, "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."

Here are the quotes:

“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

“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 person employed in that service [writing the Constitution], had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of Heaven.” – John Adams

Where a 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

David Silverman, current president of American Atheists that is putting it up says:

“This is not an attack on religion, but rather religion’s monopoly. The words on our monument do not deride or mock, but rather they clarify and correct assertions that Christianity has some kind of special place in America over other religious positions. It does not.”

“Everywhere a religious monument is displayed, we will attempt to place an equalizer. And I would like to encourage all religious groups, sects or cults to follow suit. Everyone has the same rights in America, and those rights are lost if not defended.”

It is better if there are no monuments at all but multiple ones are better than those of exclusively one religion. As I said before, this should be fun.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    MNb

    Excellent strategy.

    “I would like to encourage all ….a”
    Take that, religious exclusivists all over the world.

  2. 2
    Pierce R. Butler

    Also, according to Huffpo -

    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.

    That goes beyond the statements quoted above, and (imho) directly contradicts Silverman’s disclaimers. In the frankly redneck context of Starke, FL (main industry: a state prison), it waves a red cape at thousands of local christian bulls.

  3. 3
    lorn

    I got stoned in Starke once. Everyone in the house got stoned.

    But not with stones. Does ‘stoned with stones’ imply that the Bible condones crack use?

    While stoned it dawned on us that Starke was a funny name for a town.

    Do the common references to ‘stark raving mad’ and ‘stark naked’ imply that the citizens of Starke are more prone to madness and/or nudity? What can I say? It was good shit. Had a good time. Bummer about locking people up being their main industry. Quiet little town with a whole lot of nothing going on. Which, in its own way, can be nice.

  4. 4
    Corvus illustris

    “Everywhere a religious monument is displayed, we will attempt to place an equalizer. And I would like to encourage all religious groups, sects or cults to follow suit. Everyone has the same rights in America, and those rights are lost if not defended.”

    Getting the point across in bleakest FL may have been a good idea, but should we really want to clutter up the courthouse lawns of the USA with competing monuments? These used to be little local parks.

    Ogden Nash: “Indeed, unless the billboards fall/I’ll never see a tree at all.”

  5. 5
    Corvus illustris

    Can situations similar to the FL one arise in NL? and what would happen there?

  6. 6
    Mano Singham

    Yes, it would be a mess. But if everyone begins to notice that it is a mess, then there may be moves to clear all the monuments out of those places, like how some areas do not have billboards at all.

    In the case of the monuments, we could have the equivalent of the START treaties, an agreement to steadily remove all of them.

  7. 7
    Corvus illustris

    What I see in these monuments is a permanent seizure of the commons for a private purpose, so I’m not enthusiastic about AA’s compromise in FL. From (at least as far back as) the Bonus Army to the Occupy movement, taking over common space for free speech or petition-of-grievance purposes has been essentially self-limiting in duration, even without police action of questionable constitutionality. These carved-granite things aren’t leaving in a hurry–there are almost two tons of rock involved in FL alone–and the notion of encouraging the placement of even more of them troubles me.

  8. 8
    MNb

    Sorry for responding this late. It’s quite simple. Public space is scarce in The Netherlands, so nobody is permitted to raise monuments at will. The only equivalent I can think of is an atheist billboard along a highway a few years ago. Search Floris van den Berg on YouTube and you’ll find it. It made the headlines; christians complained (their full right) that they didn’t like it (still their full right) but didn’t demand it to be removed, as they knew they wouldn’t stand a chance. As a result the fuzz fizzled away within a few days.
    That’s the most important goal of the American campaign I think. Believers have to get used that they don’t have any monopoly. It will make many things a lot easier.

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