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Atheists in Bradford County, Florida Erect A Monument to "Unbelief"

Updated on July 2, 2013

Atheist Monument Unveiled in Florida

Top of the Atheist Monument

top of Atheist monument
top of Atheist monument | Source

American Atheists President, David Silverman


Michael Tubbs, Chairman of the Florida League of the South

Michael Tubbs
Michael Tubbs

Two Atheist Monument Inscriptions

Side #1 of the atheist monument is the following inscription:

"An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated."

-A quote from Madalyn Murray O'Haire

Inscription on side #2:

(The top)

Punishment for Breaking the Ten Commandments

"And thou shalt stone him with stones that he die; because he hath sought to trust thee away from the Lord thy god."

-Deuteronomy 13:10

(9 Other Old Testament verses inscribed on this side, but not listed here)

Atheist Billboard by Backyard Skeptics

Photo of Billboard at 1526 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA
Photo of Billboard at 1526 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA | Source

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

The atheist group American Atheist failed in an attempt to remove the Ten Commandments from the courthouse lawn in Bradford County, Florida.

So what did they do?

They erected their own monument, in a tribute to no god. American Atheists plans to continue erecting atheist monuments around the country wherever the Ten Commandments are found on government property.

American Atheists Declare this a Monument to our Secular Nation

David Silverman (pictured on the right), President of the American Atheists, made the following statement at the unveiling.

"Today, America's atheists take another step forward in our struggle for equality."

Christians could be seen across the street from the unveiling, holding signs that say things like "God loves you" and "Honk for Jesus!" among other things.

There were an estimated 200 people that attended the monument unveiling, of which some were protestors. One man even attempted to place a toilet seat on the bench part of the atheist monument during the unveiling. Atheists swiftly stopped him. His photo - including the toilet seat block - can be viewed in this NY Daily News article.

Some members of the group, Florida League of the South, waved signs that read "Yankees Go Home."

Michael Tubbs (pictured on right), Chairman of the Florida League of the South, a Christian Organization made the following comment about the atheist monument unveiling:

"It's kind of a stick in the eye of the uh Christian people of Florida to have these outsiders come down here with their money and their leadership, and uh promote their outside values here."

It may be important to note that as Michael Tubbs points out, that the American Atheists are not based in Florida, and does not represent the feelings of the majority of the population in Florida.

The American Atheists Center is actually located in Cranford, NJ, as found on its website.

Take the reader poll: Do you think that outside atheists should be able to come in and erect monuments in states that they do not reside?

Not the First Time Atheists Quote the Treaty with Tripolitania

One side of the atheist monument erected in Bradford County, Florida reads an excerpt from Article 11 of the Treaty the U.S. made with Tripolitania (present-day Libya) in 1796.

The excerpt reads:

"...the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion..."

Other atheist groups have been known to use this same excerpt, such as the Backyard Skeptics, an atheist group based out of California. Their billboard (pictured on the right), was put up in Costa Mesa, CA.

Jesus Statue in Whitefish, Montana

Located in Whitefish, Montana in Flathead National Park
Located in Whitefish, Montana in Flathead National Park | Source

Trivia About Judge Dana Christensen

Trivial fact: President Barack Obama appointed Dana Christensen as a Judge in 2011.

In Related News...Jesus Can Stay in Montana

There is a Jesus statue standing in Montana as a fallen WWII memorial. This statue is a remnant of once was known as Big Mountain Ski Resort, and is maintained by the Knights of Columbus.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen has ruled that the monument does not have to be removed from the Flathead National Forest, after atheist group Freedom From Religion suddenly became offended by it.

The statue has been there since 1955, as a memorial for U.S. soldiers that saw similar monuments while fighting in the mountains of Europe. The Judge will allow the Knights of Columbus to re-apply for another 10-year permit.

Judge Christensen ruled that a reasonable observer would not deduce that the government sanctions Christianity over atheism (or other religions).

The Wisconsin-based atheist group Freedom From Religion wanted to have it removed, arguing that it was being sanctioned by the Forest Service.

The Freedom From Religion group was shocked by the ruling.

Atheist groups like this are going crazy over monuments like the Jesus statue because of what is called "offended observer" standing. It is an issue that is pending in ACLU vs. Deweese. Any observer can simply file a complaint against government religious displays because he or she is offended.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has used offended observer to challenge memorial crosses, nativity scenes, and Ten Commandments displays across America.

Reader Poll

Do you think that outside atheist groups should be able to come to your state and community and erect monuments to unbelief?

See results


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    • profile image

      Mklow1 4 years ago

      The city and the specific group that put up the 10 commandments welcomed the atheist monument. Don't you watch the news?

    • profile image

      Mklow1 4 years ago

      I understand clearly, which is why I put the post above. Hello

      My question was do YOU recall what the article was about because you seem to be the one complaining about not for profits if they are christian, but not atheists. I just found that odd and hypocritical.

    • johndnathan profile image

      John D Nathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

      AA should also not be tax exempt.

      You do recall what this hub was originally about, right? AA protests the Ten Commandments being put on Federally Owned property so they decide to put up their own monument. If you're going to put religious icons on property that is supposed to be owned by everyone then it should be open to every religious group, including those that choose to not practice a religion.

    • profile image

      Mklow1 4 years ago

      I find it funny that you rant and rave about churches being not for profit, yet I don't complain about the group featured in the article above that is a NFP.

      "American Atheists is a nationwide non-profit organization which defends the civil rights of non-believers, works for the total separation of church-mosque-temple..."

      You should try to be a little more open minded like the rest of us.

    • profile image

      Mklow1 4 years ago

      Such as???

    • johndnathan profile image

      John D Nathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

      I give the other not for profits the same treatment I would the religious institutions that abuse their tax-exempt status for monetary and political means.

    • profile image

      Mklow1 4 years ago

      Maybe not little leagues, but there are thousands of NFP that focus only on doing bad. Why don't you pick on them?

      I am sure there are mean old Christians just waiting outside of your house to pelt you with eggs! lol

      The churches I have been to do so much good in the world. You are being a little melodramatic with the "demonizing". You sound like you have quite the flair for the dramatic.

    • johndnathan profile image

      John D Nathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

      Last I checked the little league baseball teams weren't demonizing my family or using their influence to push political issues.

    • profile image

      Mklow1 4 years ago

      The reality is that a church is a not for profit (501(c)3). Not for profits are opened everyday for something so little as a little league baseball team. Do you want your taxpayer dollars going to that? They can be opened as a fundraiser for a child molester. Do you want your taxpayer dollars going to that? Why would you focus solely on churches? By your argument, we should get rid of all not for profits if they offend someone, which would be all.

    • profile image

      Mklow1 4 years ago

      Be my guest, it's not like I am checking the books anyway

    • johndnathan profile image

      John D Nathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

      Then I guess you won't mind if I start a completely fake religion and apply for tax exempt status of my church. I'm sure you'll he happy to join in with your fellow taxpayers and help to support my profitable endeavor with no factual basis or clear benefit to society whatsoever.

    • profile image

      Mklow1 4 years ago

      I never said you should understand why churches should be tax exempt. I only said I don't care one way or the other.

    • johndnathan profile image

      John D Nathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

      But here's the catch, because churches are tax exempt it is then we the taxpayers that are making up for their shortfall, and ultimately supporting an organization that may or may not be justified in our views. It may only be indirect support, however I don't see why I should pay for an organization that condemns myself and my family.

    • profile image

      Mklow1 4 years ago


      I have no problem with people practicing whatever religion they want, or no religion at all.

      I have no problem with any church being tax exempt. I have no problem with no churches being tax exempt. That is their business, not mine. I don't go to church for the business aspect, only the spiritual aspect.

    • johndnathan profile image

      John D Nathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

      Actually the freedom of religion clause gives people the right to practice whatever religion they want, or no religion if they so choose. You have the right to practice no religion if you so choose.

      Why are religious institutions tax exempt? Just because they are part of a religion does not mean that they serve a benefit to society. And remember that your tax dollars not only help fund Christian churches, but mosques, temples, and other religious structures of the many other religions. One exception is the Church of Satan, because they believe in doing their civic duty in paying taxes, however they could elect to become tax-exempt as per the rules governing religious organizations and there is little you could do about it to stop it apart from abolishing tax-exempt status for all religious organizations as the government cannot play favorites in the freedom of religion clause.

    • profile image

      Mklow1 4 years ago


      You are only mentioning the Christians that are protesting. You have failed to mention that the Christian Group that erected the 10 Commandments actually welcomed the atheist monument. It is freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. An open mindedness should come from both sides before there is criticism.

    • zeke2100 profile image

      zeke2100 4 years ago

      Thanks Melissa for sharing. Freedom of Speech is a good thing.

    • profile image

      Melissa 4 years ago

      I'm not an atheist, but somehow I find pleasure in seeing the atheist express their opinions in such a profound way. They're finally coming out of the shadows and qualifying their beliefs. As long as there is freedom of speech; let them have their say!

    • zeke2100 profile image

      zeke2100 4 years ago

      @johndnathan - I have re-read the article to myself many times. You are entitled to that opinion.

      You may also read the exact quote of Michael Tubbs and see how he comes across as unintelligent and pre-Civil War. I quoted the President David Silverman as wanting to stand for equality. I did not endorse the toilet seat incident, just stated as it happened.

      I did not put down atheists or any other group in any way. There was no name calling or character assasinations.

      You may find the tone offensive but it was unintentional. I assure you that I wrote this article without degrading atheists. If you feel that your point of view is better, than write your own Hub and try to do so without offending anyone (I hear it's quite challenging).

    • johndnathan profile image

      John D Nathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

      @zeke2100: The article was presented to the reader as though the writer was shocked that the atheists would do such a thing. As I was reading this I pictured in my head how the writer would tell it to others in person, and I imagined them laughing and shaking their head in disbelief. Now you may feel the bias is entirely on my side here, however I feel the tone of the article needs some serious work as it does not present the article professionally.

    • Burnell Andrews profile image

      Burnell Andrews 4 years ago from LaBelle, Florida

      I have no problem with it personally with them putting something up, just don't like the idea of things like the Ten Commandments being taken down, but mainly because I consider them our tradition and history, lots of religious icons on government land, erasing it is just erasing our shared heritage. By the by I am agnostic if it matters.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Elizabeth 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Being an atheist requires no faith at all. That's a catchy little line that gets thrown around a lot by people who are not atheists and probably don't know many, but its hardly accurate.

    • TheLibertyCell profile image

      Jim Lyde 4 years ago from Austin, Texas

      It takes infinitely more faith to be an atheist than to believe in Deity.

    • zeke2100 profile image

      zeke2100 4 years ago

      @johndnathan - I would actually say this article was not written with a "lot of bias." Feel free to write your own un-bias Hub on the issue.

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Elizabeth 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Or you might want to demonstrate what American Atheists do. They promote the separation of Church and state - as it's supposed to be. What an incredibly one-sided article. It's a pity, really - and the fact that the christians who have had their ten commandments up for fsm knows how long felt the need to "protest" equal opportunity by trying to put a toilet seat and toilet paper on the bench erected by the atheists. They want us to respect your religion, but they can't offer the same respect in return to opposing views. I imagine there would be a hissy fit of epic proportions if someone wanted to put up a Muslim monument - but the government has declared that all points of view have a right to place monuments. No special treatment - just equal treatment.

    • johndnathan profile image

      John D Nathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

      Hmm, there is a lot of bias in here against Atheists. When writing a news article it helps to provide both sides of the issue, or more if there are more than two sides. You may want to include in here that American Atheists are simply erecting the monument, because they feel that since the Ten Commandments are allowed on public property that any religious or irreligious organization should be allowed as well and that the government should not show privilege to only one religion.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting article. Kind of crazy, that world out there.


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