Christians have a monument; Atheists, a petulant middle finger.

Ten-Commandments-HebrewWhen I first saw the headline  I admit being genuinely curious what sort of monument an atheist group would erect.

After all, what is the tie that binds atheism? It seems that by definition “atheists” would reject any attempt to lump them all together with one symbol or phrase that unites and epitomizes an atheist “credo.”

That is, after all, the point of religious monuments. Christians in general will erect a cross, the tablets of the Ten Commandments, a statue of Christ, while we Catholics will include statues of the Blessed Mother or other saints, and a crucifix. Jews have the Star of David or the tablets of the Decalogue. Muslims have the crescent moon.

These things point to a central truth of the faith that all adherents to that faith would immediately recognize and understand and identify with. The item would call to mind the religious duty of the person of faith, the revelation of God to man, the whole she-bang, in some way.

So what would atheists choose to be their monumental sign on the lawn of the courthouse where a monumental tablet of the Ten Commandments sits?

Basically, a middle finger.

 A North Florida county courthouse will soon be home to what’s believed to be the first public monument dedicated to atheism in the nation.

Bradford County has reached a deal to allow American Atheists to install a 1,500-pound granite bench near the county courthouse. The bench will feature quotes from Thomas Jefferson and Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

It will also include a list of punishments for violating the Ten Commandments, including stoning, and will include a quote from the Treaty of Tripoli, a late 18th century peace agreement that declares the U.S. was not founded on Christianity, The Gainesville Sun reported.

That’s it. It’s not a monument “dedicated to” atheism, it’s a monument against Christianity. It does not extol the virtues of, explain the foundational reasons for, or reveal the motivating idea behind anything; rather it attempts to put a thumb in the eye of Christian Americans. It doesn’t even really argue against the existence of God or for a godless universe, just focuses on tearing down Christianity and the Christian underpinnings of America.

They could have gone with something that extolled human achievements or wisdom that they believe occurred apart from any belief in a deity. They could have memorialized accomplishments and good lives of prominent atheists. Heck, they could have taken a stab at a flying spaghetti monster!

For that matter, they could have chosen another, non-Christian, foundational legal code to feature: the Code of Hammurabi, perhaps. Or something that merely said, “You don’t need a deity, just be good to each other.” That would have promoted something somewhat positive.

But no: they chose to raise a petulant middle finger instead.

See: for a Christian believer worth his salt, no quotes from Jefferson, O’Hair, or treaties, and no out-of-the-whole-context-of-salvation history quotes from the Bible will make a whit of difference. We don’t believe America is “founded” upon the Judeo-Christian heritage or that that heritage is vital to the survival of a just Western society just because some of the Founders said so or we want it to be so. We (at least we Catholics) don’t ignore the parts of the Bible that seem hard to square with a just and loving God, because the whole picture of salvation history shows how those things fit in.

A monument like this one is merely a snit. It’s an un-monument. It seeks to tear down rather than build up. But, like all adolescent tantrums, it reveals the immaturity of the perpetrators rather than the stupidity of the targets: the Ten Commandments are not going away, even if some localities bow to pressure to remove their display from public grounds.

But in this instance, this monument to the petulance of some atheists will sit with equal dignity to the Ten Commandments, the words of God that have stood the test of millennia of human history.

But there is an upshot.

It is a bench, after all, so all one has to do to defeat their purpose is, well, sit on it to block the words from view. And, depending on the arrangement, perhaps sitting on it will provide a good vantage point to sit and view and meditate upon … the Ten Commandments!

  • Erick C

    I converted to the Catholic church years ago and when I was non-religious I would of probably held a statue of
    a certain philosopher like Socrates or something to describe my views rather than hold such hate-filled insults. The concept of Human Rights came from the Catholic theologians, because we recognize the dignity of every human being and that is part of the foundation of our country. By the way Thomas Jefferson read a book by St Robert Bellarmine that discussed the values of the republic, just adding that important detail. I recommend anyone to read How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods.

  • Larry

    Tom shares with the world what athiests should be carving into their bench. Mind boggling.

  • Marti Luke

    The “anti-monument” by atheists makes perfect sense since today’s atheists are nothing if they are not against something. No longer are atheists, homosexuals, et al satisfied to simply live out their beliefs in peace. They must attack and attempt to destroy everything and everyone who does not share those beliefs. And with supreme irony, they do so hurling accusations of intolerance along the way.

  • A P O’Beachain

    Atheists say there is no God. I do not believe in Mediums, Channelers but I do not shove quotes onto plaques against them to pretend that they are genuine. I ignore them and give them no attention which seems to be their goal.

  • James

    Catholic doesn’t like atheist monument. Writes a blog post even more snitty, petulant and self-righteous than the monument itself could ever hope to be.

    • Kathryn

      Atheist doesn’t like Catholic blog. Makes an ironic comment.

      • Larry

        Ironic and accurate.

        • Erick

          More like inaccurate. Atheist un-monument exposes the arrogance and intolerance that embodies the goals of the atheists that built it. Ten Commandments shows that transcendent morality that isn’t determined by civil power.

  • Sean Argir

    “But in this instance, this monument to the petulance of some atheists will sit with equal dignity to the Ten Commandments, the words of God that have stood the test of millennia of human history.”

    WAIT……how old again does the church believe the Earth and universe is?

    • David J. White


      The Catholic Church does not regard Genesis as a physics and biology textbook. The Catholic Church made its peace with things like evolutionary theory a long time ago.

      Strictly speaking, the Catholic Church does not now have an official position on how old it “believes the Earth and universe is”.

    • Bruce

      about 13.8 billion years

    • Kathryn

      At least learn a little about the intertwining of Catholicism and science before you say something that just makes you look ignorant.



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