atheist monument.

last saturday, june 29, 2013, the usa’s first atheist monument was unveiled on the courthouse grounds of the tiny, conservative town of starke, florida.

IMG_1871IMG_1869IMG_1878IMG_1879IMG_1877there is a misconception in some religious circles that americans are entitled to freedom of religion, but not freedom from it.

these are people who truly do not understand the freedom they claim to value more than any other freedom in the world; people who are oblivious to their privilege as part of the long-standing majority in the united states.

when freedom of religion and freedom from religion are divorced from each other, both are lost. freedom of religion cannot exist without freedom from religion; when you exercise your freedom to practice the religion of your choosing, you simultaneously exercise freedom from other religions.

atheists choose to exercise religious freedom by practicing no religion. this is our right. this is your right. no one should make you, or try to make you, abide by any religion you do not choose.

the atheist monument was a formality. it was a necessity. it was a message. it was put there to say to the christians of starke, florida, and in the rest of the country, that their intolerance will not be tolerated; that their demand for special rights will not go unchallenged.

after the monument unveiling, a couple of preachers stood up in the crowd and, in their words, lovingly warned us of the judgment to come.

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when you protect the rights of others, you ensure protection of those same rights for yourself. to deny rights to others that you think you should have is to demand special protection. it’s discrimination. it’s bigotry. it’s hypocrisy.
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