YESTERDAY saw the unveiling in Florida of America’s first atheist monument – and shortly after Young Earth creationist Eric Hovind climbed onto the granite slab and shouted his thanks to the atheists for giving him a platform to declare Jesus is real.
According to Rational Wiki, Hovind, 35:
Is the son of convicted tax-dodger and creationist wingnut Kent Hovind. Since his father’s imprisonment, Eric has taken over the running of his ministries. Despite having a slightly less annoying voice he’s every bit as insane.
The monument was placed in front of the Bradford County courthouse, next to one the lists the Ten Commandments. It was funded by American Atheists, who launched a lawsuit to have the Ten Commandments slab removed from the courthouse lawn in this rural, conservative north Florida town best known for the prison that confines death row inmates.
The Community Men’s Fellowship erected the monument in what’s described as a free speech zone. During mediation on the case, the atheist group was told it could have its own monument, so it went ahead and commissioned one.
Said David Silverman, President of American Atheists:
When you look at this monument, the first thing you will notice is that it has a function. Atheists are about the real and the physical, so we selected to place this monument in the form of a bench.
It also serves another function — a counter to the religious monument. It bears quotes from Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of American Atheists. Furthermore, it has a list of Old Testament punishments for violating the Ten Commandments, including death and stoning.
About 200 people attended the unveiling. Most were supportive, though there were protesters, including a group from Florida League of the South that had signs that said “Yankees Go Home”. Said Michael Tubbs, state chairman of the Florida League of the South.
We reject outsiders coming to Florida — especially from outside what we refer to as the Bible Belt — and trying to remake us in their own image. We do feel like it’s a stick in the eye to the Christian people of Florida to have these outsiders come down here with their money and their leadership and promote their outside values here.
According to this blog, during his speech Silverman announced that, though an anonymous donor, there will be 50 atheist monuments placed throughout the United States.
And while on the subject of monuments, we learned today that the Methodist minister who objected to having an image of the Oklahoma sacred rain arrow statue on his car’s licence plate was publicly branded today as “pathetic” and “ignorant” by Jura Nanuk, founder & President of Central-European Religious Freedom Institute.
In an open letter to pastor Keith Cressman of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Bethany, Oklahoma, Nanuk wrote:
I sincerely hope the God whom you preach will open your eyes and enable you to see absurdity of your claim. I am appalled by your lack of accord for cultural heritage of indigenous American population and I sincerely believe suing the state of Oklahoma for an innocent Native American symbol on its license plate is below pathetic.
I don’t know if you are aware that the very name of the state in which you live and preach is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning ‘red people’. Do you plan to request changing the name of Oklahoma because it violates your own religious beliefs by reminding you of ‘pagan’ religion?
I find it necessary to remind you of the fact that the land you live on was taken away from those okla humma people and that having Native Indian symbol on your state’s license plate is a symbolic way to show them due respect. After taking their land away from them and forcing them to live in reservations don’t you see that having their symbol on license plate is symbolic way of saying ‘sorry’?Why do you see it as a problem?
Did it ever occur to you that instead of pretending to be a victim due to your hurt feelings you might show some compassion for people who were taken to the brink of extinction by your ancestors?
I sincerely hope your God will forgive you your ignorance and lack of compassion.
Hat tip: Pete H & Trevor Blake