After Approving Religious Veterans’ Monument, Alabama Officials Reject One Honoring Atheists in Foxholes October 15, 2014

After Approving Religious Veterans’ Monument, Alabama Officials Reject One Honoring Atheists in Foxholes

Atheist Amanda Scott (below) recently fought a battle to get the Mobile County Commission (in Alabama) to put up displays reading things like “In Reason We Trust.” It was in response to a vote to put “In God We Trust” on a plaque in the city’s Administration Building. Despite her efforts, the Commission denied those requests, saying only the Christian phrase would go up.

Her willingness to speak up also made her the target of several online threats, including one from a correctional officer.

It didn’t stop her activism, though. She recently attempted to push back against a religious veterans’ memorial at the Baldwin County Courthouse:

On the memorial are the words “Dedicated to the glory of God and in honor of the veterans of all wars.”

The monument was sponsored by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans, and is located on county-owned property.

It was going to be an uphill battle to get the monument removed, so Amanda made a different request: If this religious monument was allowed on government property, then why not an atheist one, too? She would find all the funding necessary.

At the time, the Baldwin County Commission Chairman Charles “Skip” Gruber said he would be “more than glad” to hear what Amanda had to say.

Turns out that was all just lip service.

Amanda spoke to the Commission yesterday, but the members took no action at all on her request:

“At this time, we’re not erecting any other monuments,” Charles “Skip” Gruber, commission chairman, said after the meeting.

“The Commission today has the opportunity to show they are not anti-atheist by accepting a monument to atheists alongside a monument honoring theists,” Scott told the group Tuesday. “Only by adding an atheist monument or removing the religious monument can we honor the Constitution that all military personnel pledge to defend.”

Just to be clear, this was only a work session, not a regular meeting, so nothing official took place. It’s still possible Amanda could propose the monument at their next regular meeting and they could vote to approve it… but it seems pretty clear that’s not happening.

What’s amazing is how this Commission has now promoted religion over non-religion — and, really, Christianity over everything else — twice in the past few months, even though they were made aware of the legal problems in doing so. But they still don’t care. Forget Amanda, forget the Jews and Muslims and Pagans in the county. None of them matter.

I hope Amanda files a lawsuit. (She’s currently considering her options.) If the Commission members don’t care about what she has to say, maybe they’ll care when they piss off voters by wasting taxpayer money on a completely-avoidable legal battle.

The Commission has two perfectly acceptable options available to them: Say no to the religious monument or approve the atheist one. Saying yes to one but no to the other, even if it’s found to be legal, sends the wrong message to the citizens of the county.

(Large portions of this article were published earlier. Thanks to Brian for the link)

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