The group American Atheists recently installed a granite monument in front of the Bradford County courthouse in Starke, Florida. The group placed the monument there as the result of a compromise, after a local Christian group refused to remove their Ten Commandments monument — and then both groups filed First Amendment lawsuits.
David Silverman, the American Atheists president, called his own monument a “counterpoint” and an “attack.”
“We’re not going to let them do it without a counterpoint,” Silverman said. “If we do it without a counterpoint, it’s going to appear very strongly that the government actually endorses one religion over another, or — I should say — religion in general over non-religion…”
“It is an attack, but it’s an attack on Christian privilege, not an attack on Christians themselves, and not so much an attack on Christianity.”
It has been said here before that some atheists apparently have no independent ideology; they exist only as a response to Christians. That philosophy was on display in the monument itself, as it didn’t contain any quotes or text “celebrating reason” — only those mocking religion, and singling out only Christianity, as Silverman did. It was only a response to the Ten Commandments monument, while the Ten Commandments, perched in front of the County Courthouse, are a recognized foundation of modern law.
Silverman also fails to say what “privilege” Christians are exercising, given that the atheists were able to do precisely what everyone else could. In fact, the AA monument did more, since it actively mocked religion and Christianity, through selective quotation and direct affront (including a grossly out of context quotation by Thomas Jefferson from his letter to Peter Carr.) By contrast, the Ten Commandments monument only listed the commandments — it didn’t mock atheism. (It’s unclear why Silverman only attacked Christianity, when the Ten Commandments are a part of three religions. You’d think he was scared of mocking Jews or Muslims.)
The MRFF celebrated this “atheist privilege” last year, when atheists at Fort Bragg “secured the right” to mock religion — while Christians had been told they could not criticize anyone else.
Other atheists, including the American Atheists military director Paul Loebe, claimed the monument was shown “disrespect” by Eric Hovind, who
jumped atop the peak of the monument and shouted his thanks to the atheists for giving him a platform to declare Jesus is real.
Their offense is immensely ironic, as they ascribe “sacred” value to a block of granite — and one that was intentionally designed to be a functional park bench, no less.
Of course, the military atheists who spoke of “disrespect” neglected to mention that Silverman jumped up on the (not-functional-as-a-bench) Ten Commandments monument. Apparently, its only “disrespect” when non-atheists do it.
Todd Stiefel has been the money behind much of the recent atheist movement — essentially funding many recent major atheist events (including their press coverage). This monument was funded by him. “Fifty more” are planned, thanks to an “anonymous” donor.
How might the atheists choose where to attack Christianity next? If you believe Hemant Mehta, they’re going to target poor towns that don’t have the financial resources to defend themselves — like Baker, Louisiana, for example [emphasis added]:
Randall thinks it’d make a great candidate for American Atheists’ next atheist monument; Baker is suffering financial difficulties right now. They don’t have money to waste on a lawsuit. They would be forced to either take down the monument or accept one from AA.