An article in the Washington Post reports on the new monument that has been installed next to one of the Ten Commandments outside a Florida courthouse.
Atheists had sued to remove the Ten Commandments monument because it violates the the Establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. An agreement was reached that, instead of removing the monument, atheists would be able to erect their own monument on public property next to it.
The monument that the atheists erected contain quotes by various founding fathers that are much more apt for a courthouse than the Ten Commandments, almost half of which apply to how God should be worshiped and have no bearing on U.S. Law.
While I support displaying monuments to our founding fathers and quotes from them that support actual U.S. legal principles, I have serious reservations about how this particular case played out.
Allowing a secular monument on public land, of course, does not violate the Establishment clause, but doing so in this case inextricably links the secular monument with that of the Ten Commandments. In essence, it gives validity to the idea that it is OK to allow a religious monument on public property. By agreeing to erect a secular monument next to a religious one, these atheists have legitimized the display of religious symbols on public property.
We have secular monument aplenty across our land. The Jefferson and Lincoln monuments come to mind. This is how it should be. Our legal system is founded upon the U.S. Constitution, a document that never once mentions God, and even explicitly forbids the government showing preference for any religion.
We don’t need the condecending permission of religious minded judges or politicians to allow us to erect a monument to those who founded our country. By accepting this settlement, atheists essentially allowed the religious crowd, who erected their monument in violation of the laws of this land, to give them something that was theirs by default.
This is not a win for atheists. By agreeing to allow an obviously illegal monument to stand, they have legitimized those who seek to push their religious agenda into our government at every level, and thereby made it a win for the enemies of secularism.