Atheists Win Motion in Florida 10 Commandments Lawsuit

Levy County, FL—The lawsuit challenging the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the courthouse yard in Levy County, Florida, is being allowed to move forward, a United States District Court Judge ruled.

American Atheists and members of a local atheist group filed suit in June 2015 when Levy County refused to remove the Ten Commandments monument and after being denied twice the opportunity to place an atheism-inspired monument alongside the Ten Commandments monument. The County had filed a motion to dismiss the case. That request was denied on Wednesday, January 27, 2016.

The Ten Commandments Monument at the Levy County Courthouse that is at the center of the lawsuit.

The Ten Commandments Monument at the Levy County Courthouse that is at the center of the lawsuit.

“This is all about equality,” said American Atheists National Legal Director Amanda Knief. “Levy County can choose to remain neutral when it comes to religion and remove the Ten Commandments monument or they must allow other groups to place similar monuments. It’s that simple.”

After local atheists requested the removal of the Ten Commandments monument, the county created guidelines for future monuments, including the requirement that the monument “reproduce the entire text” of any document that played a significant role in the history of the United States, Florida, or Levy County. The Ten Commandments monument does not appear to reproduce the entirety of the Bible.

The case in Levy County is similar to a previous case that was settled in Bradford County, Florida, and resulted in the placement of the first monument to our nation’s secular history by an atheist group on public land.

The county is now required to file its answer to the initial complaint within three weeks.

You can read the complete denial of the motion to dismiss here and the initial complaint by American Atheists here.

For More Information Contact:
Amanda Knief, National Legal Director, 202-618-2472, [email protected]
Nick Fish, National Program Director, 908-276-7300 x8, [email protected]

  • Jack

    “That request was denied on Wednesday, January 27, 2015.”

    I think that’s suppose to be “January 27, 2016”.

    Now the court must do the right thing and rule to take down the 10C monument.

    • Nick Fish

      Used to be that we’d screw up the date on checks after the new year. Now it’s press releases. Thanks for catching that, Jack.

  • James Miller

    They will fight and claw to keep their superstitions, probably with terrorism at home at the end, but ultimately this last god will go the way of its predecessors.

    • Matt Mahar

      It’s the 10 commandments outside of a courthouse which represent law. Even if one does believe it to be mere superstition, it was in part what helped to develop our modern legal system. What can an atheist offer for justice and law outside of relativism. What exactly is so offensive?

      • Drake Way

        What can an atheist offer? The First Amendment.

        Your move.

      • NavinJay

        Yes, because it is illegal not to honor your mother and father and illegal to place any other god before whatever god the statue is referring to. Glad we got that straight.

      • Heather Hersey

        What law? This is a secular nation. You need to re-read the original Constitution.

      • Heather Hersey

        What law? This is a secular nation. You need to re-read the original Constitution and Declaration of Independence..

      • David Zsenak

        Lets look at the commandments, and then look at what are laws.

        1: Have no god before me/Shall not make any image of God.
        > Pretty sure the first amendment kinda shanks this in the kidneys. Can’t make having a different god illegal. And art is usually covered under “freedom of speech”
        2: Shall not take God’s name in vain.
        > God-damn this ain’t a law.
        3: Keep holy the sabbath.
        >yeah, no. Not reflected in laws at all, except maybe liquor laws. Would cause a clusterfuck if made official. Is it sunday or saturday? what about other religious holy days?
        4: Honor thy parents.
        > hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha this has no legal standing
        5: shall not kill.
        > Ok… murder is illegal, but has been regardless of the culture. Its in Hamurrabi’s laws for chrissakes.
        6: Shall not commit adultery.
        > Adultery has been criminally punished since before Judaism was a thing. Mostly because it screws with inheritance, but still.
        7: shall not steal
        > again, criminally punished since ancient times. usually by death or mutilation.
        8: Shall not provide false witness
        > Basically, don’t lie. If this was illegal, we wouldn’t have politicians.
        9: shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
        >See #6
        10: shall not covet neighbor’s property
        >see #7

        Sooooo…… not the basis of our legal system. they’re either banned from being enacted (1,2 and probably 3) not enforced legally (3, 4, and most cases 8) or are a commonality across civilized society (5,6,7,9,10)

      • Jeremy Harris

        Coming from an atheist, the 1st commandment for starters.

      • James Miller

        1 through 4 is complete nonsense and have nothing to do with law. But thanks for playing. 🙂

      • prinefan

        Supernatural beliefs do not represent law, or reality. Phony claims like that are pathetic attempts to legitimize the myth of god that birthed the scam of religion.

      • Bill

        Why do people insist that if not for religion, we’d all be eating each other? What can an Atheist offer to this process? Simple.. logical reasoning… Something religion has completely failed at and have caused many people to be jailed, persecuted or even killed over what they believe. Why is it so offensive? Because, that stupid ass religion is what many use to justify the worst things imaginable. I’m sick of someones idiotic religion being used to try to tell the rest of us how we should live. When things like that stop, then we will stop worrying about where people post things promoting their imaginary friend in the sky.

        • Marcus

          Don’t forget a lot less in the whole “My god is right! And if you don’t agree I’ll use an army to fight you about it!”

      • Chuck Zimmerman

        Nope. 7Th Amendment of OUR Godless Constitution establishes common law as the law of the land.

      • The_Random_Sample

        Well, we could take Kant’s definition of his Categorical Imperative from his Critique of Pure Reason. It sets forth exactly how one can (and, indeed, should) arrive at moral rules in the absence of religious considerations.

      • pyrophilia

        it’s a symbol. symbols are important. They aren’t irrelevant. This is the public sector paying respects to a religion. That violates the establishment clause and sends the message that anyone who isn’t a christian is a second class citizen to anyone who passes by it in front of the court houses.

        It’s public land, used for things in the public interest. I have no issue with people putting these things up on PRIVATE property but the state is supposed to be neutral in religious matters and this being there violates the sanctity of that neutrality!

  • fjpor

    The monument currently in place was submitted and put in place in the short span of time beginning November 18, 2009 and ending with the monument being erected in January 30,2010 – record time, don’t you think? When the application was placed before the commission it was voted up immediately without any desenters. The entire process was suspect from the beginning and showed just how religion-oriented Levy County was and continues to be to this day. The original filing by Williston Atheists was on January 13, 2014 which was denied by that county commission at it’s earlies possible date. An appeal was filed on March 20, 2014 and once again, an automatic denial. Williston Atheists and Ray Sparrow have been adamant that this was not going to go away.

  • No Brown M&Ms

    Never mind Separation of Church and State. That is the tackiest looking monument ever! And the “THE TEN COMMANDMENTS” at the bottom … the best thing I can say about it is that its spelled correctly. Ugly font, 0 sense of aesthetics. God would be pissed. Please, bulldoze that hideous piece of shyte.

  • fjpor

    The Ten Commandments Monument currently in place had a short life span between application and erection on the courthouse lawn. It started on November 18, 2009 and ended January 30, 2010 – from beginning to end with no desent by the Commission. The current pleading by Williston Atheists began on January 13, 2014 when the original application was file and then immediately denied. An appeal was filed on March 20, 2014 and, once again, was denied as soon as was legally possible by the Commission. Williston Atheists and Ray Sparrow have been adamant that this would be followed through to the end and now it begins it is nice to see that some action has finally begun.

  • Fujikoma

    A similar sized monument with something O’Hare would have said approximating the words ‘There is no god’ would satisfy the ‘significant role’ feature of U.S. history and prevent any arguments over the dimensions of the object. Hell… it would be funny to use the exact same tablet shape and size.

  • Ted Rodosovich

    We worshippers of Thor will end all this bullshit anyway. Every Thursday we pray (prey pray) to Thor to slaughter all the other gods and then present hizzelf to us his worshippers on Earth. We then run him thru the nearest car wash to desupernaturalize him. Then we get him a legit job like becoming a hair stylist, truck driver, school teacher, grocery bagger, etc. No more gods to mess things up.

    • Shaun Keefe

      I worship Odin.

      My god can tell your god what to do.

      :p

      • Roman Marquez

        The yin the yang, the dark and the light, the good the bad, the divine the evil, it doesn’t matter what you call it or how you worship if you obey the ten commandments you’re on one side, if you don’t, you’re on the other.

        • Shaun Keefe

          Roman, are you just going around to all of the places I have posted and commenting?

          • Roman Marquez

            Ifls shutoff the comments like typical liberal bull shit and I didn’t get to reply to your climate change accusations.

  • XaurreauX

    The little ninnies in Levy County thought they could just make the whole thing go away. Telegram!

  • ErikViker

    I lived in that county for 13 years back in the 80s and 90s. I am not surprised that some of the people in power there still want to use taxpayer-funded resources to push their religious beliefs onto all citizens. Shame on the current county leaders for taking such a hostile and un-American position.

  • Bob Ritter

    Three comments. First, congrats Amanda and AA for winning the motion. Each step is important on the path to victory. Second, the Ten Commandments have minimally contributed to our legal system, if at all. Our legal system was primarily built on British common law and the American colonial experience. Few of the commandments are found in our law and those that are have a secular basis. More to the point, the religious commandments are not part of our law and coveting our neighbors goods, for example, is the foundation of our economic system. Last, I could use everyone’s help to locate 20+ Fraternal Order of Eagles Ten Commandments monuments. Please visit my website at http://www.eaglesmonuments.com to send me locations and photos. Keep the effort to move these monuments to private property alive.

  • J.D.B.

    If you truly don’t believe in any God or higher being, then this statue shouldn’t bother you. Lets go on a tangent 100 years forward in time…Its highly probable that someone who shares the atheist mindset would erect a statue like this to serve as a remembrance of “silly” our beliefs used to be…Now said like-minded people would look back on this and remember a time when citizens of the United States were petty and narrow-minded. This looks like nothing more than a decoration to me. History will now tell ANOTHER tale of a jealous group of fellow-atheists who failed to overcome their own personal hatred of losing. This group of immature atheists fought to tear away our Constitutional rights of freedom of speech, and expression, but decided to ONLY AFTER their statue proposal didn’t pass. Petty, Juvenile, etc. I hope this blemish of an infantile tantrum that was thrown, instead of for instance, raising the resources needed to put a monument exponentially more attention-grabbing on some property extremely close by, thus making original offending monument the laughing stock of all who see it, resulting in the county most likely removing it themselves, or one of an infinite number of other methods that would actually be good for atheism understanding as a whole, doesn’t make too many people of intelligence view “atheists” as a group of immature, vengeful, and close-minded juveniles whose ideals are reflected by their actions. I mean SHIT, I was excited to read a story about the people defending their rights, thoughts, and beliefs. DO NOT BLAME THIS ON ATHEISM! IT’S JUST PEOPLE FALSELY CLAIMING ATHEIST IDEALS, WHILE IGNORANTLY AND BLINDLY MAKING ATHEISTS AS A WHOLE LOOK HORRIBLE.
    O.k. I’m done. JEEZ…

    • YourWorshipfulness

      You really don’t understand the point of laws then. They are breaking the law by endorsing one religion over others and refusing to let other people place statues endorsing their point of view. It must be everyone or no one–it must be equal.
      You can say–oh, it’s just a statue, look away if you don’t like it–but that’s not the point. It would be like a police officer purposely ignoring a shoplifter because he is only stealing a pack of gum–but every day that he gets away with it, someone else notices and then they steal a pack of gum. Pretty soon everyone is stealing gum and you can’t prosecute them all, so everyone gets away with it.
      I don’t want to go to every government building and stare at a quote from a religious text that I don’t believe in any more than a Christian wants to go to renew their driver’s license and be confronted with a section of the Koran. I also don’t want my tax dollars funding this nonsense when they could be going to social programs.
      Also,
      This statue is on public land it is a purely religious monument, which means that everyone who needs to access the building will see it and anyone who doesn’t believe in the 10 commandments will have the clear message sent to them that their religion is less privileged or taken less seriously–and never mind those of us who do not believe.
      Why don’t you ask yourself what the motive behind this statue is–they could have easily chosen the declaration of independence or the Bill of Rights or any other actual AMERICAN historical document, but they didn’t.

  • stew little

    Im an avid atheist. My issue is that atheists around this country are trying to get rid of our traditions. Leave the damn commandments alone and start worrying about some actual issues in the world. Like Islam creating a holy war, catholics raping kids and stem cell research not gaining more research. Fcksake people. Its a plaque that you can either read or just walk by. Its not hindering your freedom if that plaque is up. This is really really givin us atheist’s a bad look. Like we don’t get enough flak

  • Ben.

    Hi, I am in college and for one of my classes we have to do a research project. I am posting on here because my group and I are trying to get a wide variety of people to take our survey. It is eight quick questions and everything is anonymous. If you could take a couple minutes and answer our survey it would be greatly appreciated. The link to our survey is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KY57K3S. Thank you for your time.

  • gary clarke

    With all due respect, are American Christians really that dumb?! Those ten commandments (and everything else in the Hebrew Bible) are for the Israelite, coming out of the barbaric bronze age by some illiterate Arab nomads… Such a shame it isn’t true… Lol

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