STARKE, Fla. - If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That's what American Atheists decided after losing a challenge to the placement of a Ten Commandments monument in front of the Bradford County Courthouse.
The atheists say it's the first atheist monument allowed on government property in the United States.
It comes in the form of a granite bench which sits alongside another monument in front of the Bradford County courthouse: The Ten Commandments.
You may have noticed the new addition at the Bradford County courthouse. It weighs about 1,500 pounds and those with American Atheists are calling it the perfect counter to the Ten Commandments monument just a few feet away.
"Thanks to the Starke city government, this bench, this Atheist bench, is in tribute and acknowledgement of Atheists, which is long overdue," said Marshall Martin.
This all comes after American Atheists filed suit last year. They asked that the Ten Commandments monument be removed from government property, saying it violated the separation of church and state.
That was an idea that didn't sit well with some. Cassandra Kiser supports the Ten Commandments monument.
"I just think it's time for God's people to take a stand," said Kiser. "I don't believe in anything that goes against God."
Rather than get rid of the Christian monument, the county decided that the Atheists were allowed to have their own.
After that ruling, the group that had put up the Ten Commandments monument wrote the following statement on their Facebook page:
"We want you all to remember that this issue was won on the basis of this being a free speech issue, so don't be alarmed when the American Atheists want to erect their own sign or monument. It's their right. As for us, we will continue to honor the Lord and that's what matters."
Free speech or not, some say this is about being fair.
"I think most Christians recognize that we live in a diverse country and that we can all get along if we abide by our Constitution, which protects all of our rights and that's what the Atheist monument really stands for," said Joseph Beck.
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