As NPR reported over the weekend, the first monument to atheism erected on government property in the United States has been dedicated in Florida.
As an atheist myself, I'm all for public awareness and acceptance of atheism. But American Atheists, the group responsible for the monument, has, I think, made a poor choice. Carved on the pillar is, among other pieces of text, a quote from the group's founder Madalyn Murray O'Hair:
An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty banished, war eliminated.
That quote strikes me as both divisive and superior in tone because it suggests flatly that people of faith pray instead of doing good work, and neither desire nor strive for the same outcomes of social justice that atheists do. In my experience, this generalization is unfair and inaccurate.
This monument does atheism no favors.
Barbara's new book is How Animals Grieve. You can up with what she is thinking on Twitter.