Commission denies monument request in writing

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By Lou Elliott Jones

The Levy County Commission put its objections to having an atheist monument at the courthouse in writing, unanimously approved it and started the clock ticking on the Williston Atheist group's appeal of the denial order.

Commissioner Danny Stevens of Williston (R-District 5), a strong proponent for putting the Ten Commandments monument that sits next to the courthouse, made the motion to issue the order denying the atheists’ request. The move was seconded by the other commissioners and it passed without discussion. 

Ray Sparrow, head of the local atheist group, said he was unaware the commission was going to take action on the matter at their regular meeting on Tuesday although it was on the agenda released to the public on Friday, Feb. 14. 

The commission's ground for denying the application is that the Williston Atheists is not a a recognized legal entity capable of transacting business, especially to provide the requisite insurance under the guideline for $1 million per incident and to indemnify the county, its employees and volunteers, among other transactions; and that the monument does not contain the entire text of the proposed writings to be on the bench. 

Sparrow said the next move will come from the group's parent organization, the American Atheists. 

“At this time I'm not aware of what they're going to do,” he said. “Some folks are looking at it. We have forwarded it to the American Atheists.”

Sparrow said, “I notice in reviewing all this stuff that it's identical to those in Bradford where a monument was installed under those guidelines.” He was referring to an American Atheist bench monument that was installed at the Bradford County Courthouse in Starke next to a Ten Commandments monument similar to the one in Levy County. 

Sparrow is not giving up. “As far as we're concerned we're still going forward with it.”