Dedication Of Nation's First Atheist Monument Saturday In Starke

Originally published on June 28, 2013 2:17 pm

The first monument to atheism ever erected on government property in the U.S. will be dedicated Saturday in Starke.

The monument will be in close proximity to a black granite display of the Ten Commandments installed in the courtyard of the Bradford County Courthouse last year.  

American Atheists sponsored the display after losing a lawsuit to get the Ten Commandments removed.

38-year old Daniel Cooney was the local plaintiff in that case.

“You know, this is a public area. A courthouse to me represents a place people ought to be able to go seeking justice and so forth regardless of their personal beliefs or lack thereof,” says Cooney.

The atheist monument consists of a granite bench attached to a 4-foot high panel engraved with quotes from humanist leaders like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

Kevin Baker, pastor of Victory Chapel Christian Fellowship Ministries in Starke says at least it will be useful.

“Last week when they were putting the concrete down," he says, "I pulled over and told them I really appreciated them putting a bench there so I could study my Ten Commandments and sit down while I do it.”

Saturday’s dedication ceremony will include speeches by local officials as well as by state and national leaders of the American Atheists organization. 

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