Danny Tyree: Athiest monuments: Taking them sitting down
It looks as though the old Judeo-Christian monopoly hasn’t got a prayer.
According to the Associated Press, the American Atheists advocacy group recently unveiled a 1,500-pound granite bench extolling secular principles outside the Bradford County Courthouse in Starke, Fla. The bench is the result of a mediated settlement involving a controversial Ten Commandments display erected a year ago.
This is believed to be the first atheist monument allowed on government property in the U.S. But the floodgates may be opening.
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, says the group ultimately intends to place a monument at every public location where a religious display already exists.
He says the organization already has the funds for the first 50. That’s right: the atheists, who champion the supremacy of science and reason, are diverting all their scientific resources to massproduce a place to plop your buttocks. Only in America.
I understand that the next item on their ambitious agenda is securing an injunction to place an atheist in every foxhole.
Phase Three of the project was to involve building atheist drones, but serious doubts arose about the wisdom of using planes that would fail to acknowledge their creator’s programming.
Supporters of the benches insist that nonbelievers will never be ignored again. Unless they also happen to be overweight, critics of Big Pharmaceuticals, members of third parties or...
Does the organization realize what kind of ruinous "arms race" they could initiate with such a "tit for tat" monument project? If deep-pocketed Christian groups are provoked to install more and more Ten Commandments monuments and other religious displays, it could be reminiscent of the late Cold War arms buildup when President Reagan effectively bankrupted the Soviet Union.
Could we wind up with Vladimir Putin replacing Silverman as American Atheists president? ("I can be good and moral without fear of an imaginary Supreme Being, unless I’m tempted by the chance to steal a Super Bowl ring...")
The benches could also be used against the nonbelievers, as Judeo-Christian traditionalists nestle on them to admire the nearby Ten Commandments monuments.
Of course that’s not as simple as it sounds. ("I’ll sit here and read the commandments and wait for the birth of the Messiah..." "Uh, Simon, about our mission statement...")
One Bradford County politician sees a definite bright side to the tolerance and diversity displayed in the mediated settlement, declaring "This is what makes America the greatest nation on earth! Well, this and driving on the right side of the road. And elastic waistbands. And Hooters. And out-of-towners who shop at my granite monument yard..."
Yes, the Starke situation illustrates the great American melting pot. One side says, "This melting pot should remind you of the pits of hell" and the other side says, "This melting pot has more brain cells than all you superstitious rubes put together." Ah, the Statue of Liberty must be proud.
The Starke situation may be the kick in the pants that Christians need. Instead of complacently paying lip service to a slab of stone, maybe they’ll study, learn to defend their beliefs and live out their Christian values daily. ("What? I thought it was your turn to take out the garbage and refrain from making graven images. I’ve gotta get a day planner.")
Danny Tyree welcomes reader e-mail responses at firstname.lastname@example.org.