Next month, the Bradford County Courthouse in Florida will become home to the first atheist monument on government property.
Though public buildings like courthouses have long been home to Ten Commandments monuments, other faiths and non-faith have not received similar representation. The group American Atheists plans to change that on June 29 when it unveils a 1,500-pound granite bench engraved with atheistic quotations.
“We have maintained from the beginning that the Ten Commandments doesn’t belong on government property,” American Atheists President David Silverman explained a news release. “There is no secular purpose for the monument whatsoever and it makes atheists feel like second-class citizens. But if keeping it there means we have the right to install our own monument, then installing our own is exactly what we’ll do.”
The atheist group sued Bradford County, Florida last year after the Christian group Community Men’s Fellowship paid to have a 6-ton granite monument of the Ten Commandments installed at the courthouse.
American Atheists later reached a settlement with Bradford County, according to the news release, which allowed them to install their new monument.
“We want you all to remember that this issue was won on the basis of this being a free speech issue, so don’t be alarmed when the American Atheists want to erect their own sign or monument,” Community Men’s Fellowship wrote on Facebook following the settlement. “It’s their right. As for us, we will continue to honor the Lord and that’s what matters.”