STARKE, Fla. — A group of atheists unveiled a monument to their nonbelief in God on Saturday to sit alongside a granite slab that lists the Ten Commandments in front of the Bradford County courthouse.
As a small group of protesters blasted Christian country music and waved “Honk for Jesus” signs, the atheists celebrated what they believe is the first atheist monument allowed on government property in the United States.
“When you look at this monument, the first thing you will notice is that it has a function . . . we selected to place this monument in the form of a bench,” said David Silverman, president of American Atheists.
It also serves another function: a counter to the religious monument that the New Jersey-based group wanted removed. It’s a case of if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
American Atheists sued to try to have the stone slab with the Ten Commandments removed from the courthouse lawn in this rural, conservative town in northern Florida. The Community Men’s Fellowship erected the monument in what is described as a free-speech zone. During mediation on the case, the atheist group was told that it could have its own monument, too.