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Dixie Check: Judge Orders Commandments Removed from County Courthouse Steps

| July 18, 2011

at the dixie county courthouse The First Amendment prevails over the 10 Commandments. (ACLU)

The First Amendment prevails over the 10 Commandments. (ACLU)

Dixie County is a small bump on Florida’s armpit around the Gulf, its geography slightly larger than Flagler’s, its population about seven times smaller, and its diversity many times smaller than that: it’s the sort of place where an established businessman can call a county commissioner to ask to have a monument of the Ten Commandments installed on the courthouse steps one week and have his wish granted the next.

That’s what Joe Anderson did when he got the Dixie County Commission unanimously to agree in January 2006, after just one phone call, to let him place a $20,000, five-foot-tall, six-ton granite monument of the commandments atop the courthouse steps, directly under the Dixie County Courthouse sign. The following line appeared at the foot of the monument, in capital letters: “LOVE GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS.” There were no other markings. The county attorney offered to defend against any lawsuit “for free.” The county claimed the monument was owned and maintained privately, by Anderson, and that it was part of a public “forum.”

“The items placed in this forum do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Dixie County Board of County Commissioners and are not sponsored or endorsed by the Board,” a sign placed next to the monument reads. The Ten Commandments monument is the only “item” in the “forum,” though inside the courthouse there are a few monuments dedicated to war veterans. The county commission enacted a rule forbidding anyone but residents or organizations of Dixie County to use the forum.

Three years earlier, the Polk County Commission had approved a $150,000 monument bearing the Ten Commandments and placed in front of the county administration building. But in that case the commandments are part of 15 different displays, including the Florida Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, and excerpts from speeches and letters, diminishing the explicit endorsement of religion.

The American Civil Liberties Union did not challenge the Polk County monument. It did challenge the Dixie County monument, and on Friday, Federal Senior District Judge Maurice Paul ruled that monument’s placement unconstitutional and ordered it removed within 30 days.

“Despite the actual ownership of the monument, the location and permanent nature of the display make it clear to all reasonable observers that Dixie County chooses to be associated with the message being conveyed,” Judge Paul ruled. “As such, the Court finds that the monument displaying the Ten Commandments is government speech and must comport with the Establishment Clause.”

Both sides sought First Amendment protection. Dixie County argued that the display is private speech, protected by the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. The ACLU contended the display violated the establishment clause of the amendment, which forbids government endorsement of religion—singularly or plurally.

“If Dixie County is engaging in its own expressive conduct, then the Free Speech Clause
has no application. The Free Speech Clause restricts government regulation of private speech, it does not regulate government speech,” the judge ruled. “This does not mean that there are no restraints on government speech. Government speech must still comport with the Establishment Clause.”

Merrill Shapiro, president of Flagler County Americans United for Separation of Church and State and president of the national board of the same organization, has long opposed such displays on public grounds. “It is inappropriate, it is an endorsement of Judea-Christianity, it’s an endorsement of religion,” Shapiro said. In the case of the Dixie County monument, he said, “It is a very selective religious statement in an area the government doesn’t belong.”

“We hope that Dixie County officials will find a permanent place for it at a church or other house of worship, which is the appropriate place for religious monuments,” said Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLUFL. “Removing the monument is the right thing to do. It is not the business of government to promote religious messages about monotheism, idolatry, taking the Lord’s name in vain or honoring the Sabbath.”

Simon added: “Local governments can’t wink and nod their way around the highest law of the land just because they agree with the religious message they are supporting. In fact, that’s exactly what the Constitution prohibits – government sanctioned, promoted or enforced religion. It is sad that a federal judge had to order the County to honor the limited role of government required by our Constitution.”

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55 Responses for “Dixie Check: Judge Orders Commandments Removed from County Courthouse Steps”

  1. Yogi says:

    So to follow through on the logic of the article and the decision of the federal court, murder should be allowed because it is not allowed by God? The government can’t prosecute for murder because they might be establishing a religion? This ought to be interesting. I am confused. In our free society, government representatives/employees have free speech but not when it comes to stating Biblical principles because they might be establishing a religion. That’s a bit insane isn’t it?

  2. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Yogi, I’m not following your logic, but I do know there is a difference between public and private and that difference must be maintained.

    At one time we could put things like “In God We Trust” on coins and public places because it was understand that God was the same for all religions whether he/she was called Jesus, Yahweh or Allah, but then we got really multi-culti and the word, God, was determined not to include the deities of American Indians, Wicca and many eastern religions, so instead of inviting lawsuits, it’s simply easier to just stick to non-religious statements on public buildings and leave biblical sayings, sayings from the koran, creches, etc. for private sector buildings.

    Our host would make his point a lot clearer if he’d learn to tone down his obvious distaste for Americana.

  3. Taxed says:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all! We are taking God out of everything. Well, what if he stepped aside and let us do everything on our own. We would be begging him to come back and help us very quickly. I am afraid this is where we are in society which, isn’t good. Nothing is held as being sacred anymore. It is depressing to me, we aren’t moving forward. We let anyone that has a different view about God have their way. This country was built on Judea-Christian values not any other religions. You couldn’t go to another country and tell them to take down something that represented the main populations religion. They would be head you or put you in prison. Since when is it okay to do something toward Christians and we lay down and take it. I am personally feed up with it!!! I say if it offends you look away. I look away a lot of times if I don’t care for something. Get over it. Let the monument stay. Mr. Shapiro and Mr. Simon shame on both of you. I would say your Rabbi isn’t very happy with you today. Being that the Ten Commandments are in the Torah. You are basically saying God has no place in your day-to-day life or in business.

  4. Layla says:

    Our government is becoming too overbearing and into every facet of our lives. How long before it is illegal to fly the flag? What happened to free speech? The courts AND the government have too much control over our lives. These are decisions COMMUNITIES should be making.

    We are fast approaching the situation our founders were in when they left the old country. I hope the result won’t be the same.

  5. Jack says:

    The 1796 Treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was “not in any sense founded on the Christian religion” This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams. Just sayin’

  6. Jack Cowardin says:

    Now I think the 10 Commandments are a pretty good thing and help keep people from getting out of hand.
    Of course it’s darn hard to go through life without feeling guilty and doomed to hell just because you break one every now and then. But I guess there are some folks who don’t cuss, don’t hate, won’t stow their parents away waiting for’em to die, won’t look at another man’s wife ’cause she’s all dolled up, doesn’t want to win the lottery, and most importantly, doesn’t believe in killing another human being.

    Funny, but the founding father’s incorporated just about all the Big 10 into the Constitution but understood that the majority of past wars were fought over religion. And, to them, it was as good a time as any to ‘separate’ church and state.

  7. Sam says:

    Is there anywhere in America I can move to that still believes that GOD is a part of our lives . I want to live in a community that has GOD in there goverment and its people. Also were the local internet media is not anti-American.

  8. Kyle Russell says:

    Anti-American: the right-wing substitute for “things I personally disagree with.”

  9. Chad says:

    There is no problem if you want God to be a part of your life. THE PROBLEM is when people insist that God be a part of mine, or insist that I live my life as they require, based on their religious beliefs. I can look away from a monument or a statue, but in return you have to mind your own business when it comes to my life. Stop running to the government and writing laws if my life conflicts with your religious beliefs.

  10. Layla says:

    The Colonists fled England because of the oppression of the Church of England. But if you read your historial documents, local settlements were indeed founded on religion. The structure of the communities was based on the structure of the church. Do the research, it’s interesting. This country was founded upon freedom OF religion not freedom FROM religion.

    Like the rest of our early history, there are those trying to rewrite this. Those of us from the early families know better. We have the history to prove it.

    Kyle, it is disturbing to me that one so very young is so judgemental. You are being taught to hate. Not good.for one so young. You haven’t even lived yet.

  11. Gram says:

    I want to live in an educated society that understands the simplest of differences between words such as there, their, and they’re, and one that sees the natural world and the future of the planet pragmatically, without the need for mythology of hate and repression.

  12. Kyle Russell says:

    Layla, I call someone out for making a personal attack against writers for this site, and I’m the one being judgemental?

  13. Layla says:

    He wasn’t attacking; he was stating an opinion. It is very important that people are allowed to do that. Why the political labels? What good does that do for ANY of us? Really?

    I remember when we were just “people”, neighbors who lived in the same community, a good community where name calling did not exist.

    Seems to me we could all use a good dose of the 10 Commandments. Most of us learned them before we knew what religion was, or how “evil” it is supposed to be. Those were better times.

    Did not mean to lecture you. That was a loving caution. We need to stop calling people out. It is a tactic used to shut people up. Today I am going to try to get through this day without a cross word to ANYBODY. Wish me luck!

  14. Kevin says:

    Hey Kyle,

    How about the mindset on your side…whenever someone disagrees or doesn’t do explicitly as Obama dictates, that person is deemed a racist. Just listen to the recent rhetoric from Shelia Jackson Lee and others like her and you’ll get the point. Then only difference in our points is that you make a loose connection at best and I responded with facts.

  15. plasmaborne says:

    The Constitution is a secular document establishing a secular republic. The USA never was founded on the Christian Religion.

    I would donate to a billboard that had Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli on it.

  16. Slyk Ryk says:

    What is so hard to understand here ? Why do people have to keep challenging this. Keep religion out of Government and in the churches, synagogues and mosques where it belongs.

  17. chris says:

    Dont know why people are getting so upset. The ten commandments are very outdated and dont include anything like rape, incest, or torture. But they do clearly state its not right murder your fellow Jew. Murdering infidels(a biblical term) is okay by the bible but you cant hurt or steal from your fellow Jew. Pretty sad people dont even know much about their own religion. And im so sorry if you are an adult and cant be good or do things without some imaginary parental figure overhead who is jealous. Hell, ive known little teenage girls that can get over that. Not to supreme of a being if he has a human trait. Really read the bible and not just the parts your preacher tells you. Its a pretty sick and archaic book.

  18. Chloe says:

    Yes, Layla, and the Bible condones slavery, the rape of women, stoning, mass murders, etc, etc…should we let “the communties” decide whether or not they allow that too? I’m not sure that you Christians even read the Bible anymore. I think you only regurgitate the passages that your preacher tells you. What a shame that so many people waste their precious live believing in this garbage. But then again, it’s an unforgivable sin to even question the plausibility of the Christian god.

    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”–Adolf Hitler

  19. Dan says:

    This country was NOT founded on christian principles, the “colonists” did not found this country. When they did come here, most from the dutch regions, not England, they did start their little communities, BUT were intolerant of other reigions, they were all for thier freedom of religion, but not of others. This country was founded 100 years later and it was not founded on christianity, as noted there is no mention of god or jesus in any documents. The 10 commandments are offesive due to the first four of them. Also many people type that our laws are founded on them! No they are not, only two of them, thou shall not steal and thou shall not kill, seems though lately it has been changed to “murder..” when did that happen as we kill all of the time. So yes it is not appropriate to have those commandments on public lands as many are not christians, and from what I have been reading, in america the second largest group of “believers” are now non-believers.

  20. Kelton says:

    I’m am an atheist and I don’t believe in murder but I still do not like the 10commandnts in courthouses because they where “made” by god I wouldn’t care if it where ten laws but its still a pain for a athiest can’t speak his mind withou being flooded by hate mail and when ever a plant looks like god or a weld looks like a cross bam it’s evry where on the news but when something is found that disproves god then. The media isn’t interested in that and you never here a peep

  21. Chad says:

    “Like the rest of our early history, there are those trying to rewrite this. Those of us from the early families know better. We have the history to prove it.”
    Ok prove it!
    Freedom of religion means that they can put the Mosque on ground zero, but I am sure that you would have been one of the ones fighting that.
    Freedom of religion means that I can put a Flying Spaghetti Monster on the nativity scene right?
    I don’t think you will make it a whole day with out a cross word since you christians seem to be the most judgmental people on earth.
    The forefathers were not just christian, they were agnostic and atheist as well.
    911 happened because the right wing nuts on BOTH sides of the religions made it happen.

  22. Bill C. says:

    I’m very happy that the Constitution is being upheld. We, as Americans, are lucky to have a First Amendment which guarantees all of us the right to make our own decisions on religion without the government being able to use its power and standing to influence us. People are free to believe and worship as they wish, but the government is not. If you actually read the Constitution you’ll find it doesn’t say anything about Judeo-Christian anything, nor Jesus, nor God, nor even a ‘Creator’. It says the opposite – that no religious test shall be required to hold any office. And it says that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

    I like to point out that any Christian who feels this is an injustice would probably be pretty mad if I put up a five-foot-tall, six ton, granite monument stating “THERE IS NO GOD” or “TRUST IN ALLAH” on the steps of that government building, and would (rightly) call for its removal immediately.

    We cannot be free to believe if the government treats one religion above others.

  23. matt says:

    if you want to live in a country that has GOD in their goverment and its people move to iran

  24. Joe says:

    The First Amendment to the Constitution gives everyone the right to violate 7 of the 10 commandments, 8 out of 10 if you are not under oath. They have no place at a tax payer funded courthouse.

  25. Kyle Russell says:

    Kevin, I find the use of the race card in modern politics sad and pathetic. Based on history, I think it’s fairly obvious that this current debate would be happening with a Democratic president of any race. But I believe my statement is no less true than yours: from the Committee on Un-American Activities to Sarah Palin’s comments on “real America,” the right frequently attacks things by claiming they aren’t really “American.”

  26. gary says:

    to say america is a tolerant nation is ridiculous. “We accept all religions, though we are a christian nation. we need the tax-payer money and we don’t care how we get it. just keep in your place, non-christians.”

    government is a machine… a machine working in our favor. everyones favor (mostly). but when you put “god is good, make sure he gets a front row” into that machine the cogs stop working, the diodes burn out, and the display reads “syntax error”

    atheists need to be tolerant, just like the major religions of the world need to be tolerant. but to make a government work means it has to be devoid of religious and non-religious thought, it simply can’t take anyones spiritual views into account or it starts being partial.

    that said, the problem isn’t the fact that the monolith needs to be removed, it’s that some idiot allowed it to be put there in the first place.

  27. billy says:

    HAHAHA. 2011 and we still care about this stuff. I am so glad that after i stopped believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny that God was not to far behind. NO GODS , NO MASTERS!!!!


  28. Susan Kirian says:

    These are the Protestant versions—the Catholic Commandments are different in the Catholic Douay Bible. This is discrimination. And the 613 Jewish Commandments are not mentioned at all.

  29. sickofallthetheists says:

    i dont need your god or religion to be a good person, i also don’t need to have your beliefs crammed down my throat. more people have been killed over the course of human civilization due to religious intolerance then anything else. dark ages anyone ? thanks to that era, we are 1000 years behind technologically. another big thanks to religion !

  30. Bob says:

    30 million people in this country identify themselves as non-religious or atheist, and it’s the fastest growing group in the country. Why? Because we are in the age of information, and people are starting to wake up to the bullshit fairy tale. You can find the answer to every question on Google. That is, every question that can be answered. Seems to me an all-powerful creator would have a youtube channel. It appears that god is the only thing you can’t find evidence of. Well, him and invisible pink unicorns. Keep you’re fucking superstition to yourselves!

  31. Dave R says:

    I applaud this decision! We need to take all references of the non-existent spiritual world from government buildings, pledges, money, etc. Taxed says, “We are taking God out of everything”. As well we should, sir. If you want to believe in a fairytale being, go do it in your home or church, and leave us rational free thinkers and our government out of it. If these ten commandments were so great, and you are willing to destroy the constitution to uphold them, then I guess rape, child molestation, slavery, misogyny, and everything else your perfect god simply forgot to include is moral and legal. No, these ten commandments were stolen from the Egyptian book of the dead many years before Moses made claim to them being from his god. Take god out of everything and perhaps we can finally move our country towards a true morality. Ask yourself why 93% of American prisoners are religious while 16% of all Americans are atheists. Good was never given to us by any god but evil sure was created by believers.

  32. RJ says:

    Good ruling. No need to mix government and religion lest we end up like Iran. Based on some of the comments in this thread it sounds like a lot of Christians can’t be good unless a 2,000+ year old book tells them too. How messed up is that?

  33. Monty Gaither says:

    Without Freedom FROM Religion there can not be true Freedom Of Religion. If the government can endorse a particular religion, it can use it’s power to persuade people to join that religion. If it can require that you belong to a religion, then it can limit what religion(s) you can belong to.

    Most of the commandments in the decalogue are actually anti-American. Please click here to see what I mean.

    Religion, the Cradle of Liberty – NOT – please click here.

    Capitalism works because people do “covent” their neighbor’s property. Someone sees their neighbor has a better car and goes out and buys one like it or better than it.

  34. RJ says:

    @ Sam,
    I hear Iran is a theocracy. Go there and see how that’s working for them. Not sure you’ll be too welcome though because they have a different “friend” than you.

  35. John says:

    Well I want the five pillars of Islam outside of the courthouse, we can put them right next to the ten commandments.

    What about the tenants of Buddhism? Can we add those too?

    The only commandments that even hold any legal precedence are “Don’t kill” and “Don’t steal” and maybe adultery in some states, not sure of the legality of that. Last time I checked, there’s really no legal requirement to “Honor thy mother and father” nor is there a law against “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

    It’s freedom of religion, not freedom of Christianity. The founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves.

  36. XaurreauX says:

    Secularism is for grownups.

  37. Victoria says:

    Hey Taxed, you should take your own advice. Don’t like this? Look away!

    So glad the government is finally taking steps to stop combining church AND state. If I don’t believe in your “God”, I don’t have to look at it everywhere I go! Take it to your church/home but stop shoving your religious beliefs down everybody’s throats.

  38. Joe says:

    So, does Dixie County intend on publicly executing people for working on the Sabbath, or disobeying their parents?… While punishing rape with a simple fine? That’s what the Bible says to do after all.

  39. J707 says:

    I guess it just isn’t enough to have huge palatial untaxed churches all over the place full of religious symbols and statues. For some reason, shoving your invisible friend’s list of rules in everyone’s face anytime they need to enter a government building is important.

    Clearly the belief in a vengeful, angry, invisible supervisor comes with some feelings of insecurity, and having more people share this delusion with you feels much more comfortable.

  40. Taxed says:

    I love this, I knew when I wrote my personal opinion I would bring every Atheist out. Have you ever given a thought to the here after? I would like to ask each of you “God haters” out there “Where do you think you will be after you die”? Just floating in nothingness, a firey hell maybe by yourself.? Which is it? What do you do in a time in your life that things are not picture perfect? Maybe, during a time of loss of a special person?

  41. Jack says:

    I’m actually agnostic, I don’t deal in absolutes likes religious fundamentalists or atheists

  42. Chad C says:

    It appears there are 2 Chads here.
    My post: July 18 9:10pm

    I can only speak for myself, but I disagree with the use of religion for political purposes. I have distanced myself from it in some ways because I see God manipulated as a tool of oppression. I have a spiritual relationship but it is very private and not a part of any judgement against another person. Those who use God for selfish ways have much more to fear.

  43. Tylor says:

    Religion – an outdated concept designed to control the masses by pressing the beliefs, values, etc. of a select few into the lives of many.

    God – the singular figure these select few pick to justify the delusion

    The church has, without fail, refused to belief anything of scientific merit unless it benefits the church itself. How long did it take the church to believe that the sun was the center of the solar system? How long did it take them to admit there might be the chance for extraterrestrial life?

    Religion is a medieval concept. While religion has constantly been a part of the human condition, during the Greek and Roman empires, science was a far more powerful force in the advancement of the empire than the power of the gods. During the dark ages, Religion was the one thing that people could hold on to. Governments failed. There was no central power. The church filled the power void.

    I have no problem with religious people. But when they find it a sin that I refuse to believe in a supernatural deity when there is no concrete proof of his or her existence, and then try to stuff their beliefs down my throat, I find it very offensive. This was a country founded on the principle of freedom of religion, which means all are allowed to have and express their own religious beliefs. However, it was also founded on the principle of separation of church and state, which does not allow the government and the church to mingle in any way. It is unfortunate that our government doesn’t follow this simple creed set by our founders, but I hope one day enough of us will wise up and it won’t matter.

  44. Ethan says:

    Funny that christians think this country was founded on the christian religion. There is nothing, and I mean absolutely NOTHING original in the christian religion. Its a mish-mash of religions preceding it, mostly pagan. Layla said: “But if you read your historial documents, local settlements were indeed founded on religion. The structure of the communities was based on the structure of the church. Do the research, it’s interesting. This country was founded upon freedom OF religion not freedom FROM religion.” Layla, your statement is rooted in complete ignorance. You cannot have freedom of religion without freedom from religion.Do you understand that? The constitution is a secular document, not a religious one. The ten commandments were around 100’s of years before the hebrews. Ignorant, jackasses think this country is some version of the christian religion. Wake up! Greek philosophy, not religion, discusses values, morals, and ethics like that in the bible long before the hebrews and christians stole it. Get a clue…

  45. Peggy says:

    Taxed – We’re not “god-haters” because you can’t hate something you don’t believe in.

    When I die, I’ll be dead. I won’t be anywhere and I really won’t care. Because I’ll be dead.

    When I have a personal trial I depend on myself. I don’t need an imaginary friend to make me feel better.

  46. palmcoaster says:

    I do not mess up with anyone’s religion and respect them all, as I expect mine to be respected by others as well. The Ten Commandments are good advise to follow and don’t see a problem when I see them posted anywhere to the contrary a good reminder to be good. All religions are intended originally to elevate us and our spirits and make us better human beings. Nothing wrong with it! When our times will come to depart, we will all find out if what we believe in will be out there waiting for us, wether a big empty nothing or an Almighty hand extended to greet us.

  47. JohnB says:

    Since the U.S. Constitution, Amendments 1 & 14 bind (in original Federalism) the Federal govt’s jurisdiction I care more what Article I, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution says:
    “Religious freedom.—There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace or safety. No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.”

    I cannot find a similar definition of Dixie County charter or statute but the point I wish to make is if in 2005 Texas, , established a lawful ‘secular use’ [non-worship] purpose for a monument depicting the basis for common, civil and criminal law I see nothing about a private donation of a monument depicting the origin of these concepts in their earliest form as violating the Florida Constitution. It’s one thing to have the right to dismiss or be shielded from dogma about a supernatural source for rational rules for society but it’s another to dismiss their value out of some protection of ignorance for the historical foundations of those laws.

  48. Seriously? says:

    Good grief. All these whiners about govt. intrusion…it’s on a public government building. You can have your church monuments, anywhere but on a fucking courthouse. Grow up and realize people disagree with you.

  49. tara a says:

    I think it is really sad for all of you who don’t believe in God, and that is fine, it is your right. I just wonder how many of you are from Dixie County or will ever have to pass by our courthouse? I personally just went by there yesterday and think it is a beautiful monument that represents the beliefs of the majority of people from Dixie County and our surrounding areas. I think it is a sad day when people from Flagler or wherever all of you come from that you have nothing better to do than downgrade a group of people and religion that you know nothing about. If any of you were to come live in Dixie County, you would see what a tight and supportive community it is. One that takes care of each other, goes to church and pray for their neighbors when they have hard times. And praise the Lord, He seems to always take care of us. Seriously…grow up and realize some people disagree with you, but we don’t have to be rude.
    And for all of you atheist and non-believers…continue your Bible study into the New Testament. Jesus Christ (Christians) teaches to forgive, to turn the other cheek, not to pick the splinter out of your neighbors eye when you have a plank in you own…I think you could stand to work a little bit of that concept into your own lives!

  50. Layla says:

    Wow! My point was that it would be nice to decide this LOCALLY, rather than in the courts. And just look what came out…

    Good post, Palmcoaster.

  51. tara a says:

    That was kinda part of my point Layla!

  52. Layla says:

    To Tara: Amen!

  53. Tim says:

    @Layla: Read the constitution, specifically the First Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights. This bill was required by some of the original 13 states, because they didn’t feel that the original Constitution guaranteed enough rights. Note that the First Amendment specifically calls for the separation of church and state. By insisting otherwise, you are being very un-American. End of story. Localities are not allowed to change this.

    It is unimportant what happens to your “soul”. It can’t go to heaven or hell, because those places do not exist (except possibly heaven==Hawaii).

  54. Victoria says:

    You assume all atheists never believed in after life. On the contrary, I was a diehard Christian for 25 years of my life. Brainwashed since birth. The difference between you and I is I decided to start using my brain.

    I actually pity you. The freedom from religion when you finally realize you don’t have to be afraid of “fire and brimstone” is the most relieving moment I’ve ever felt in my life.

    Do yourself a favor and learn about your religion, philosophically and historically. It’s all a bunch of bulls**t.

  55. Dave R says:

    Taxed, “I think it is really sad for all of you who don’t believe in God”

    I’m godless and actually quite happy and prosperous, thank you,
    but don’t cry for me, preacher man, we will all be the same dust

    The point is : church | state <- see the line ? stop crossing it

    Simple as Pi

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