Florida Officials Reject Proposal to Place Atheist Monument Near Ten Commandments Display

EbyabeLEVY COUNTY, Fla. — Officials in a Florida county have denied an application to erect an atheist monument near a Ten Commandments display at the county courthouse.

The group Williston Atheists had submitted an application last month to Levy County officials to place the 1,500 pound granite bench on the grounds.

However, in considering the matter this week, the county said that the proposed monument contained quotes that were considered incomplete.

“None of the texts on the proposed monument appear to be a reproduction of the entire text of any document or person, as required in the guidelines,” the county’s report explained.

“The vote was unanimous to deny the application at this time and that was based on the fact that the application in the opinion of our board was not complete, it did not meet all of the guidelines,” County Coordinator Fred Moody reiterated to local television station WCJB.

The monument was to feature quotes from Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams and American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

Williston Atheists member Charles Ray Sparrow asserted that the commission’s reasoning was bias because the Ten Commandments monument had not been rejected for the same reason.

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“It is just an excuse,” he said. “We will not give up.”

The bench was to be identical to a monument that was erected last year in Starke, Florida near another Ten Commandments display. As previously reported, the monument was part of a settlement between officials in Bradford County and the organization American Atheists of Cranford, New Jersey. American Atheists had sued the county in 2012 for permitting the display of the Ten Commandments on the premises, which was placed by a group known as Community Men’s Fellowship.

The county had asked the Fellowship to remove the Decalogue, but the men refused to do so. Therefore, instead of forcing the matter, it was agreed to allow American Atheists to erect their own display outside of the courthouse in the free speech area.

“We have maintained from the beginning that the Ten Commandments doesn’t belong on government property,” stated American Atheists President David Silverman in a press 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.”

Sparrow told reporters this week that his group likewise desires equal representation at the Levy County courthouse.

“The majority of citizens in the community are deeply religious; I understand that. But there are also citizens of this community who are not religious,” he said. “They choose to be represented in a public forum that is available to all citizens so we choose to be represented too.”

Williston Atheists state that they will continue to urge the county to allow the monument to be erected.

Photo: Ebyabe

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  • Amarachukwu Florence Nnamani

    The GOD that we serve is d ALMIGHTY. None questions His SUPREMECY & SOVRIENGTY. Pls, artheists stop fighting ur maker. Humble urself before Him & u will enjoy His infinite love, mercy & grace.

  • Alan Rose

    A monument to atheism is, in large part, a monument to intellectual freedom. While I grant that that the person who bows to god and trusts in Jesus does not have any need or use for intellectual freedom, the concept is actually quite popular and important to a fairly large number of Americans.

    We don’t ask that you understand this concept, only that you recognize it’s importance.

    To us, of course. Not you.

    • Alan AD

      atheism…a non-belief in God.
      atheism…a belief in nothing.
      atheism…a belief in intelligence in and of itself.

      And you want to make a monument to the concept that “from nothing, and through nothing, and to nothing” are all things?

      Why not put up nothing and write nothing about nothing?

      Then celebrate that you can do anything you want!


      “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
      Romans 11:35-36

  • Could somebody please remind me which part of the US Constitution and Declaration was founded on atheistic principles?

    I say let atheists stand up for what they think is right. Let them spend their resources waging their battles. God’s people could spend all day trying to convince another that the grass is green, but if they feel it’s pink, they are at liberty to use their God-given free will to believe so. Doesn’t change the fact that the grass is green though.

    Jesus is Lord.

  • Maureen Williams

    Mr. Bradbury should read “The 5,000 Year Leap”. It’s fascinating, and gives a thorough background of how the government of the United States was formed, and how many of the Ten Commandments were incorporated into our laws. The Ten Commandments are not just for Christians, but according to the Holy Bible, they were originally given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai, to let the Jewish people know what God expected of them. Not one of those commandments harms anyone. Every one of the Ten Commandments gives perfect guidance for how to live our lives. I find it amusing that the atheists are so afraid of those basic laws, that they have to erect some kind of monument to unbelief. On the Supreme Court building in Washington DC, Moses is depicted holding the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments. Yes, there are other great lawgivers there as well. But the atheists only attack the Bible and its laws, not the laws of the other great thinkers. So sad. The atheists could have the same joy and peace as we Christians, but they won’t humble themselves before their Creator and acknowledge Him as the author of life.

  • All truth is God’s truth

    Sparrow in above article says “The majority of citizens in the community are deeply religious; I understand that. But there are also citizens of this community who are not religious,” he said.

    Everyone has spiritual needs, perspective, being, and/or a soul whether accept or not – metaphysical age old believed.

    So people who perceive themselves atheists are in fact religious if honest w/ themselves and their, what the Bible says in Romans 1, a God-given conscience.
    Secularism – one of many “ism(s) like atheism amplified by macro evolution which spawned Marxism, Communism, Nazism, etc., ideologies which resulted in killing hundreds of millions – is also a religion.
    In both people choose to believe(have faith)in some set of values (or moral compass) and develop own answers to the three worldview ???s.
    1) Where/how did we come into being? 2) Why are we on this planet mankind calls Earth? 3) What happens when we die?

    Christianity, actually a faith vs religion since based upon a personal relationship with Jesus the Christ, has the three questions answered in the Bible – the acknowledged Authority by majority of Christian believers of this historical authenticated work that God Himself claims is His word. (If one refutes this, ask “Have you examined the evidence?” In DJ Kennedy’s “Skeptics Answered” book, a world renowned attorney and Ivy league school professor was asked this question by a Christian student after denouncing the Bible’s authenticity – after a over a year of focused study, he became a Christian.)

    As with all religions, atheism and secularism also ask the question Pontius Pilate asked Jesus (although think he was asking more of himself) after Jesus’s horrendous scourging – “What is truth?”. Interesting Jesus chose silence.

    Authority on what to believe is the MAIN issue everyone needs to determine for themselves – unfortunately limited by one’s own choices and reasons developed from limited life experiences.
    Maybe that was why no answer from Jesus was recorded to Pilate’s question. (Since John 1:1 says Jesus was present at beginning of Creation presume He knew the answer. Perhaps Jesus knew Pilate could not “handle the truth” or would not accept anyway so why waste the pearls.)
    The Bible says the God who created mankind chose to allow His creations (the only life with souls) to choose to acknowledge, worship, and love Him willingly. This all-holy, all-seeing, all-powerful, everywhere-present God even sent to earth His only Son as a justice-serving-blood-sacrifice for the sins of all mankind so He could reconcile with mankind.

    For those who profess there are no absolute or relative truths, I sincerely hope they have absolute or relative assurance they are not being manipulated by the Bible-declared enemy of mankind.

    For the eternal sake of the souls involved in these spiritual life & death choices and decisions, offer a quote from a recent Our Daily Bread devotion “Grace is getting what we do not deserved, Mercy is not receiving what we do deserve.”
    May the God of the Bible clearly make known His grace and mercy in the lives of all who read this for earthly abundant living and, more importantly, assurance in the life after.