Remember when Community Men’s Fellowship (a Christian group) gave the city of Bradford County, Florida the gift of a Ten Commandments monument to put outside the county courthouse?
American Atheists filed a lawsuit (PDF) against the county when that happened. They asked nicely first, but the county didn’t comply, so now they have 60 days to respond or else.
But there’s a little more to the story than that.
County officials actually want the Monument removed. They know they’re on the losing end of this lawsuit and they don’t want to pay the court costs associated with that. But the Monument’s big and heavy and they can’t do remove it themselves, so they asked the Community Men’s Fellowship group to do it:
In a letter to the Community Men’s Fellowship written June 11, county manager Harry Hatcher wrote: “Please accept this letter as Bradford County’s formal notice that the Community Men’s Fellowship must remove it’s Ten Commandments monument from the Bradford County Courthouse property immediately.”
Terry Brown, the attorney representing Bradford County, said the county wants to avoid spending tax dollars to fight over a religious marker.
“The county doesn’t have the ability to move it without accruing a very substantial cost in doing that,” Brown said. “So somebody needs to pay for it, and it doesn’t need to be the taxpayer.”
Makes sense. So did the Christians do the right thing?
Of course not.
Upon receiving the letter, the Christians asked God what to do. Apparently, God said, “Screw the taxpayers.”
Two weeks later, Community Men’s Fellowship wrote back: “We have prayerfully considered your request and have determined that we will not comply with the County’s order.”
What the hell sort of response is that?!
I can see into their mindset now…: “We don’t want to remove the Monument, but we don’t want to be the only bad guys here… So let’s bring God into the picture! If county officials want to criticize us now, they’ll be criticizing our religion, too! WHY DO YOU HATE OUR RELIGION, BRADFORD COUNTY?!”
If the Christian group keeps refusing to move the piece of rock they installed, they could be included in the lawsuit, too. Bring it on. They obviously have too much money on their hands. They won’t mind losing a chunk of it.
By the way, this is a side note to the case but it’s important: The only reason American Atheists was able to file this lawsuit was because Daniel Cooney, a local resident and AA member, agreed to sign on as the plaintiff. Without him, AA wouldn’t be able to fight this battle. So, thanks for your courage, Daniel!
(Thanks to Brian for the link!)