A monument in rural Georgia that purported to list universal precepts of morality was destroyed by an explosive device in July.
Sometimes called “America’s Stonehenge,” the monument, formally known as the Georgia Guidestones, was unveiled in 1980. The 20-foot-tall slabs of granite were covered with 10 precepts written in English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, Hebrew, Russian and Arabic. Among the precepts are, “Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts,” “Be not a cancer on the earth” and “Balance personal rights with social duties.” Other precepts, calling for a reduction in the world’s population, a universal language and advising people to “guide reproduction wisely” were controversial.
Originally on private land, the monument was later deeded to Elbert County, an area known for its abundance of granite. Over the years, the site became a tourist attraction.
Consisting of six slabs, the monument was bankrolled by a man who used the pseudonym R.C. Christian. A local historian told Religion News Service that Christian was concerned about the possibility of nuclear war and wanted to lift humanity from its “bleak place.” In a self-published book, Christian referred to himself as a follower of Jesus, although he also argued that no religion has a monopoly on truth.
The monument, located near Elberton, was often attacked by fundamentalist ministers who considered it satanic or argued that it promoted one-world government. Earlier this year, Kandiss Taylor, an unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial candidate, vowed to remove the monument if she was elected. In May, she tweeted, “Elect me Governor of Georgia, and I will bring the Satanic Regime to its knees – and DEMOLISH the Georgia Guidestones.”
The explosion occurred at about 4 a.m. July 6. It destroyed one of the slabs and left the other five unstable, leading officials to remove the entire monument. Surveillance video showed a man running from the monument and getting into a car, but the Georgia Bureau of Investigation says it has not identified a suspect in the bombing.