Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Please Do Not Harass The Guy Who Vandalized The Atheist Monument (And Some Other Responses)

The Atheist Monument in Florida was recently vandalized[1], but that story has a happy ending.  The young man who did it has already apologized.  He posted what appears to be a sincere apology[2] to American Atheists' Facebook, the same place he had outed himself as the vandal.

With the picture, American Atheists posted:
The vandal, Zach, has sent us an apology, which we have accepted.
We appreciate everyone's support and completely understand and agree with your feelings about this—what he did was hurtful to our community and just reinforces the untrue idea that atheists are second-class citizens, worthy of contempt and ridicule, just because we do not believe in gods.
The vandal is just a teenager and he made a mistake. We ask people NOT to call or text him (his phone number has been leaked); two wrongs don't make a right and this is not appropriate, either. Thank you for understanding.
We have asked him to clean up the monument and send us another picture of him with it to show us that he holds no ill-will against us. We'll let you know when we hear back.
Thank you again for your support. - American Atheists
He's a minor who chews tobacco, but that's a different issue for a different day.  I'm choosing to take the apology as sincere and moving on.  Although, I really don't even care if it's sincere or not.  If it turns out that it's not at all sincere, the point that we don't deserve such mistreatment has been made.  That's why I want to highlight American Atheists' request.

If you've received his phone number since it was leaked, please do not use.  Please do not harass this young man.  The point's been made.  It's time to move on.

But while Zach did the right thing, there's one person who didn't get it[3].

"Fuck yo shit! U come in our town on our terf! The commandments weren't hurtin a damn soul! Yall started this shit! Now its our move! Maybe he shouldn't have spit on it but shit it does rain ya know! Stupid dumbass! U wont a police report? What happened to seperation of religious and state matters? Haha ur a joke! U want a war u got one! Hes a kid who's angry and feels stepped on! Thats why he did that shit! How much have Christians been persecuted?!?! And u wanna bitch cuz some kid spit on your rock? Ur fucking pathetic all of you!"
Fortunately, this grammar & logic deprived individual and moderately racist[4] doesn't appear to be representative of the reaction from Christians.

Also posted on the American Atheists Facebook[5] was:
This is an apology from those that stand on the non-ignorant side of the people that actually understand and follow the laws of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. 
Some kids in our town (Keystone) were brought up on extremist Christian ways and in some churches it is so bad that they can be considered a cult. The fact that the American Atheists Inc built a monument not 30 feet from the 10 Commandments at the courthouse in Bradford County really irritated a bunch of people in our area. But there are a handful of liberal minded and forgiving, not to mention understanding, people here that do not wish to thrash the name of other religions. Some Atheists, some Christians. Keystone may seem like the Christian melting pot due to its high populated area of churches, but there are a few that I am even friends with that follow other religions such as Atheism, Hinduism, and Wicca. I find it funny how those who follow the religions that are not Christianity are less aggressive to others. While Christians on the other hand are more than willing to smite those who act against people who don't follow God. 
I am ashamed to be surrounded by such pig-headed and closed minded people. I apologize for them.
It's kind of ranty and makes the mistake of calling atheism a religion, but the point is that a Christian is rightly condemning the behavior of other Christians.  Another was this picture sent via Twitter[6].

All 4 of these are a good thing.  Even the negative one.  This collection of responses shows that open minded Christians will respect our rights and racist morons like Ace will be the kind of haters that are the example of what we're fighting against, with the apparent help of some Christians.

I've seen people complain about this monument, saying that it's a waste of money.  Or that it's focusing on the wrong thing.  I think this shows that those criticism are nonsense.  The publicity and good will garnered from just this incident has been worth the cost of this granite bench.

I'm looking forward the atheist monuments that follow.

1.  http://aparticularblogbyaparticularatheist.blogspot.com/2013/07/christian-shows-what-he-thinks-of.html
2.  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151715134537418&set=a.495249962417.276326.71352317417&type=1
3.  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=601168653260565&set=o.71352317417&type=1
4.  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=589951394382291&set=o.71352317417&type=1
5.  https://www.facebook.com/AmericanAtheists/posts/10151715412632418
6.  https://twitter.com/HaruhiKatrina/status/359111694175305729

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