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!

39 thoughts on “Christians have a monument; Atheists, a petulant middle finger.

  1. Gabby says:

    Haha…love your end humor, Mr. Crowe! Made me LOL! :)

  2. SLCMLC says:

    Tom- we’re in full agreement on this one. Not an appropriate display by atheists and just needlessly negative. Let’s all work together to build a more positive world.

    (Now, can CV publish some more positive articles :-) )

  3. Lettie says:

    If you expect others to respect public Christian displays, which it is vastly clear this site does, then you have to respect the public displays of others. It’s that simple.

    I don’t see a lot of respect for people of different viewpoints in this article. If the quote from the US treaty is anti-Christian, should we pretend it doesn’t exist? Do atheists have a right to state viewpoints you disagree with?

    This is nothing more than mockery. If someone were to mock Christianity, this site would be all over the “persecution of Christians.”

    Oh wait, you wrote about that yourself, while also describing the Muslim world (all billion of them) as violent, and describing Muslims who live by Shariah law as theocratic, even though hundreds of millions do so every day peacefully: http://www.catholicvote.org/breaking-smithsonian-shows-depiction-of-mohammed-being-eaten-by-ants-muslim-world-erupts/

    So yes, feel free to mock and disrespect atheists and Muslims, but no one should harm your freedom of religion by doing the same.

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      You do realize that I actually proposed things the atheists could have done that would have been appropriate monuments *to* atheism, don’t you? You do realize that the atheists’ monument *is* a mockery of Christianity, rather than a monument *for* atheism, right? You do realize I did not say anywhere that they have no right to post a monument, right? Do you see why your comment is a complete non sequitur?

      1. SLCMLC says:

        I dunno Tom, I really liked today’s article but I think Lettie has a point. The article she linked to was pretty negative and seemed to draw a lot of negative associations with Muslims that were unnecessary.

        Of course, it’s an old article so I’m not sure what the point of linking to it was. I think the lesson is we ALL so easily fall into the trap of negativity without even realizing it. I’m sure the atheists in this article didn’t think they were doing anything wrong either (well maybe not, they kind of sound like trolls). That’s why I thought you calmly explaining what they SHOULD have put on their monument was a refreshing point.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          I’ll be honest, I didn’t even click through because I don’t recognize the title, so I’m pretty sure it isn’t one of mine, so I take no ownership of it.

          1. SLCMLC says:

            BREAKING: SMITHSONIAN SHOWS DEPICTION OF MOHAMMED BEING EATEN BY ANTS. “MUSLIM WORLD” ERUPTS.
            BY TOM CROWE

          2. Tom Crowe says:

            Hunh. So I did write it. And? How does it apply to this topic at hand?

          3. Tom Crowe says:

            Oh… THAT? You and Lettie are going to get all upset about that post? Wow.

            So you’re saying my pointing out actual examples of Christian oppression and saying that they’re unjust undercuts my ability to… point out that someone is asserting their “right” by targeting Christianity with unfair criticism.

            How does that work?

      2. Lettie says:

        I repeat: if you’re going to write articles about public displays that disrespect your beliefs, do not do the same. Calling this display a “snit” and an “unmonument,” “immature” and like an “adolescent tantrum” is clearly disrespect.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          That’s because all of those labels apply. Why should an immature, adolescent snit of a monument be respected? You can repeat all you want: your comment is still a non sequitur.

          1. SLCMLC says:

            Not upset at all by that article, could care less. Was just trying to turn this into a teaching moment. “The article she linked to was pretty negative and seemed to draw a lot of negative associations with Muslims that were unnecessary. Of course, it’s an old article so I’m not sure what the point of linking to it was. I think the lesson is we ALL so easily fall into the trap of negativity without even realizing it.”

          2. Tom Crowe says:

            ah, ok. I disagree with your assessment of that post, but am not interested in re-litigating it in these comments.

    2. Tom Crowe says:

      Finally clicked through to see the post you reference. Not sure what your point is.

      So you’re saying my pointing out actual examples of Christian oppression and saying that they’re unjust undercuts my ability to… point out that someone is asserting their “right” by targeting Christianity with unfair criticism.

      How does that work?

      1. Bob Sanders says:

        I read the linked article. Her point is pretty salient. You said things that are flat-out false, and offensive, to Muslims. As a result, it’s hypocritical to criticize others for a display offensive to your faith when you are offensive to another’s faith.

        And to be clear, your description of Shariah law is offensive to the hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims who live by Shariah law every day…like praying five times per day.

  4. If it “Atheist” is considered a group then it falls into a “religious” group and can not be on public ground.

  5. I applaud your perception. This seeks to tear down rather than build up. Well done.

  6. Colin says:

    Hmm…is it possible that this type of display also violates the Establishment Clause? Wouldn’t that be ironic.

    1. Mimi says:

      if Atheist is a new religion then it can not be put on public ground. Any more than Christianity can not be put on public ground. Must separate.

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