The Christians once again have the opportunity to show their religion of "love", by verbally abusing and threatening, Jessica Alhquist, a 16 year old Rhode Island high school student. Her school, Cranston High School West, had a banner with a Christian prayer. She complained that it was unconstitutional. She tried reasoning with the school, to no avail, and then the ACLU took up her case. They won in court.
From Hemant Mehta's blog:
The 40-page decision from U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux can be read here(PDF).
The Court rules that Plaintiff [Ahlquist] has standing in this matter and rules in her favor on the merits of this dispute. The Court also orders the immediate removal of the Prayer Mural from the auditorium at Cranston West.
The Court refrains from second-guessing the expressed motives of the Committee members, but nonetheless must point out that tradition is a murky and dangerous bog. While all agree that some traditions should be honored, others must be put to rest as our national values and notions of tolerance and diversity evolve. At any rate, no amount of history and tradition can cure a constitutional infraction. The Court concludes that Cranston’s purposes in installing and, more recently, voting to retain the Prayer Mural are not clearly secular.
Plaintiff is clearly an articulate and courageous young woman, who took a brave stand, particularly in light of the hostile response she has received from her community.
JT Eberhard, from Freethough Blogs, has a long blog telling the entire story, here.
There is a large, angry mob in Cranston, Rhode Island (and I imagine this mob extends across the United States) who believes Jessica Ahlquist, a shy, overly compassionate high school student is the bad guy. This boggles my mind.
She saw the prayer banner and did not run immediately to the ACLU. Instead, she informed the administration that the banner marginalized atheists and was illegal. They continued to break the law.
The ACLU sent a letter to the school telling them that the banner was illegal and informing the administration that this was an open and shut case. They did not open with a lawsuit, but they did ask the administrators to stop breaking the law. The administrators declined.
The lawsuit was then organized and the administrators held a meeting to decide if they wanted to fight it out in court. Jessica went to that meeting, was harassed by the adults in her community in doing so, and begged the school not to piss away educational dollars fighting a losing battle. She didn’t want to fight, she just wanted the law to be observed. They didn’t listen.
The mobs inside the school and outside the school were quick to call Jessica immoral as they bullied and harassed her. One day she had to be taken out of school early due to other students threatening violence, presumably because Jessica was the immoral one.
The shrieks from the community came instantly: “This immoral girl is willing to eat away at educational dollars to destroy our tradition!” The presumably moral ones, of course, were the people who valued tradition over the law and over concern for the well-being of marginalized students. Second, the presumably moral ones were the people using the future education of the students in their charge as an aegis so they could continue to break the law. Somehow Jessica was the bad guy.
Naturally, loving Christians responded by hurling abuse and threats at Jessica:
How does it feel to be the most hated person in RI right now? Your a puke and a disgrace to the human race.
shes not human shes garbage
I think everyone should just fight this girl
F**k Jessica alquist I'll drop anchor on her face
Let's all jump that girl who did the banner
But for real somebody should jump this girl
I want to punch the girl in the face
I hope there's lots of banners in hell when your rotting in there you atheist f**k
jessica alquist is gonna get punched in the face
The behavior is not surprising, but still makes me angry that the threats were significant and she actually reported them to the police. She is very brave; she has done absolutely nothing wrong, and it never ceases to amaze me how some Christians can be such cry babies and sore losers, and then immediately turn nasty.
And two other updates from Hemant Metha:
Interesting piece of trivia: Judge Ronald Lagueux was appointed to the bench by that liberal activist…. Ronald Reagan.
Jessica Ahlquist has been added to the list of Reason Rally speakers!
More on this story, by Blag Hag:
Jessica Ahlquist may have won her legal battle to remove an unconst..., but that doesn’t mean she can finally resume her everyday life. No, now she’s receiving horrible commentsfrom fellow classmates, community members, and other angry Christians who are very, very offended that their religion no longer has the special status to be forced upon others. There’s the general anti-atheist remarks:
“May that little, evil athiest teenage girl and that judge BURN IN HELL!”
“yeah, well i want the immediate removal of all atheists from the school, how about that?”
“Jessica Ahlquist may have won her case, but she’s going straight to hell. #Godovereverything”
“I hope there’s lots of banners in hell when your rotting in there you atheist fuck #TeamJesus”
Read the rest here.
Yeah, the irony of their own behavior is completely lost on them.
I'm not sure she'll be ableto still attend class there ?
Yes, she already stated she's not sure that school is the place for her. She received threats from classmates, too :-(
She may need to change schools for her senior year.
She's got her topic for one hell of a college application essay.
This whole episode, appalling as it is, will only help Jessica in the long run, deepening her confidence in her intellect, and strengthening her already principled character.
I'm amazed how brave this fifteen year old girl is... And reporting the threat to the police; and going through the whole judicial system...
She definitely deserves some award... I hope her parents are proud of her..
Possible rallying cry, now that would be fun. I've been digging around for comments, visited her blog and read comments there and I think we should be spreading the good word of christian hate.
I'm following her on Twitter. Apparently a lot of atheists came to her defense and started "pummeling" her attackers.
Only a massive pummeling will suffice. =)