6.17.13 … America’s First Atheist Monument: 1,500-Pound Granite Bench .. 1,500-Pound gorilla?

America’s First,  atheist monument,   U.S. public monuments, Bradford County, Florida, TIME.com:  Love the irony here … But aren’t there plenty of monuments with secularist quotes … What makes this uniquely “atheist?”

The first U.S. public monument to Atheism is set to be unveiled outside a Florida courthouse later this month. It’s a granite bench engraved with secularist quotes. And weirdly, it owes its existence to the Ten Commandments.

Here’s how it happened. In October 2011, Bradford County, Florida established a “Free Speech Forum” outside its courthouse, allowing private groups to place monuments at their own expense. Last May, the Community Men’s Fellowship, a local Christian group, took advantage of that arrangement, placing a 5-foot, 6-ton stone slab engraved with the Bible’s Ten Commandments.

But that violated separation of church and state principles—or so alleged advocacy group American Atheists, which took Bradford County to court. Faced with a costly legal battle, the county asked the Community Men’s Fellowship to remove their monument. They refused.

So the case ended in a compromise: the Ten Commandments slab would stay, but American Atheists would be allowed to put up their own monument, as well. Hence, the 1,500 lb granite bench, which will be engraved with secularist quotes from figures like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, as well as American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

via America’s First Atheist Monument is a 1,500-Pound Granite Bench | TIME.com.

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