With an on-air grin, a Fox News co-host who opposes a planned atheist monument in Florida said the bench will likely quickly be vandalized.
Tucker Carlson, a conservative media pundit and founder of the Daily Caller, made the remarks this weekend during a Sunday "Fox & Friends" segment on the Bradford County Courthouse's new atheist bench.
Members of the Florida chapter of the national American Atheists group plan to place a large granite bench next to a Ten Commandments monument in front of Bradford County Courthouse in Starke, Fla., next month. The competing monuments represent a compromise of sorts after the American Atheists sued Bradford County to have the Biblical statue removed last July.
But on "Fox & Friends," Carlson questioned contributor Father Jonathan Morris about the need for the atheists' bench.
"Sure it’s legal, the question is, is it necessary?” Carlson asked. “I thought atheists — and atheism, of course, is a species of religion — were against religious monuments on public property.”
Morris said that he felt the atheists were being disrespectful and that the bench amounted to "a Christian protest monument."
“I have a feeling that bench will be a magnet for graffiti,” Carlson replied. “Just a guess.”
Past interactions suggest there is little love lost between Carlson and the atheist movement, however. In May, the atheist Secular Coalition for America (SCA) named Carlson's Daily Caller site “the most unethical news publication," according to a press release.
The group accused the Daily Caller and Carlson of religiously-based media bias. It said Daily Caller staffers replied to SCA press releases with biased responses, including “I feel sorry for you…I believe strongly in Jesus Christ and God the Father," "You should be ashamed,” and “Move to Iraq. Then you won't have to worry about it."
In February, Carlson also faced criticism for calling the Wiccan movement witchcraft. Tens of thousands of people signed online petitions decrying the comments, and Carlson later apologized for the comments.