Atheists unveil "first" monument on government property

People gather around to sit and take photos during the unveiling of an Atheist monument outside the Bradford County Courthouse on Saturday, June 29, 2013, in Stark, Fla.
AP Photo

STARKE, Fla. A monument to atheism now sits near a granite slab that lists the Ten Commandments outside a courthouse in a conservative north Florida town.

The New Jersey-based group American Atheists unveiled the 1,500-bound granite bench Saturday as a counter to the religious monument in what's called a free speech zone.

Group leaders say they believe it's the first such atheist monument on government property.

About 200 people attended the event. Most were atheists, but a few protesters attended as well, including a group with signs that said, "Yankees Go Home."

The atheists sued to try to have the Ten Commandments removed but dropped the case when they were told they could have a similar monument.

Bradford County's attorney, Will Sexton, told CBS affiliate WTEV in Jacksonville that allowing an Atheist monument saved tax payer dollars.

"The county's position had always been that if private groups wanted to install monuments in the forum, they were permitted to do so, but the county was not taking any position and did not want to spend any tax payer money," said Sexton.