Back in February, I posted about how the Williston Atheists (in Florida) wanted to erect a pro-atheist monument outside the Levy County Courthouse where a Ten Commandments monument currently resides (see image below):
The group was modeling its efforts after what American Atheists did outside the Bradford County Courthouse in northern Florida last summer:
A couple of months ago, the Levy County Commissioners voted unanimously to reject the atheists’ proposal, saying the application wasn’t complete.
The atheists responded by saying this was a foregone conclusion before the meeting even started:
Reasons for denial were idiotic and the staff outline of those was NOT given to us in a timely manner in order to allow us to address them properly. When we arrived at the hearing, Ray was called up front by the Clerk who THEN gave him a copy of their reasons. Too little too late, ya think?
Now, at the end of April, they’ve tried once again to get their bench approved… and, once again, they’ve been denied. What’s the reason this time?
The (completely) arbitrary guidelines say that all monuments must have a complete text on them. So no quotations allowed. And wouldn’t you know it? The proposed atheist bench was full of quotations…
But wait a minute. The Ten Commandments is far from a “complete text,” right? It’s just a small, carefully-edited excerpt from a much larger and darker book.
… the county attorney says that the ten commandments don’t have to have the whole bible printed… because the supreme court has recognized the commandments as a secular document used on its own.
The actual guidelines are very vague about this:
A monument or display shall include the reproduction of the entire text or image of any document or person(s), or entirety of any item that played a significant role in the development, origins or foundations of American or Florida law, or Levy County…
The Ten Commandments are already violating that guideline! There’s no way you can argue that not worshipping false idols, and not working on the Sabbath, and not taking God’s name in vain, and not having other Gods before God have anything to do with our legal system. While we’re at it, honoring your parents, committing adultery, lying to your neighbor, and coveting anything aren’t illegal either.
But I’m trying to be logical and that’s silly.
We know why the Ten Commandments monument gets to be up there. It’s a Christian monument, and in Levy County, Christians get to bend the rules however they’d like.
Atheists don’t get that privilege. What the commissioners are asking for is unreasonable and very possibly illegal. I hope the Williston atheist group doesn’t back down. If you have ideas for “complete” secular texts they could display, leave them in the comments below!
(Thanks to Brian for the link. Portions of this article have been posted before.)