Atheist Monument Placed Next to 10 Commandments Outside Florida Courthouse

Photo: 1,500 pound granite monument outside of courthouse

STARKE, Fla. -- The first atheist-sponsored monument on government property in the United States was unveiled in Starke on Saturday.

The monument, established in the "Free Speech Zone" next to the Bradford County Courthouse, is the result of a settlement reached between the County, local plaintiff Daniel Cooney and the American Atheists group.

Daniel Cooney has lived in Starke for over 30 years with his own opinions about religion. He said he feels that his opinions have inspired other Starke residents to find their voice.

Following a protest against the Ten Commandments monument placed in the "Free Speech Zone," Cooney filed a lawsuit against Bradford County alleging the Ten Commandments monument at the courthouse amounted to government endorsement of religion.

As of Saturday, the American Atheists organization is now represented with a 1,500 pound monument engraved with quotations from some of America's founding fathers and a list of the punishments for breaking the Ten Commandments.