All – U.S. District Judge Ronald Lagueux ruled in Rhode Island that a Cranston High School West Prayer banner in the school’s gym must be removed from the premises. The banner has been displayed there since 1963, when it was written by a 7th grade student at the school.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled government-sponsored prayer in public schools unconstitutional in 1962.

The case was brought by the ACLU on behalf of a 16 year-old student of the school, Jessica Ahlquist.

When interviewed, Ahlquist gave a sadly familiar account of what happens to atheists in situations like this:

Ahlquist said because of some negative backlash, she’s considering whether to return to Cranston West for her senior year, next semester.

“I’ve had some difficult experiences there. I don’t know how West is for me now,” Ahlquist said.

Ahlquist said she is proud of her decision to fight for what she felt was right.

“Even if kids in school hate you, even if there are nasty comments all over the Internet, it’s important to just stand true to what you believe in,” Ahlquist said.

But the sacrifices of this young lady will serve to liberate those that follow her from the same alienation and abuse.  Thank you, Jessica.

– kk

  1. archaeopteryx1 said:

    Not surprisingly, I commented yesterday on regarding this brave young girl, addressing what Jessica admitted was a frightening experience – that of admitting publicly that she was an atheist, reprinted here:

    “You go, Girls!

    “‘It was by the grace of God that this despicable little monster of a
    girl has the freedom to express her anti-beliefs and nationally
    broadcast her extreme tolerance: the atheist way. I try really hard to
    be a good Christian, but this is just too much. This is what happens
    when kids don’t get discipline, and when parents are deadbeats. Boo
    these people, I hope they lose their homes.’

    “Actually, it was by the grace of the Framers of the United States Constitution, who saw the wisdom of separating Church from State, that Jessica was free to take her stand. But that statement (above), is typical of the kinds of attitudes that prompted Mohandas Gandhi to say, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    “Remember when you were little kids, when, just for fun, you would pick a word at random and say it over and over and over until it really didn’t even sound like a word anymore, it was just a nonsensical jumble of sounds? Sure you do, we’ve all done it. The word, ‘Atheist’, can be a lot like that – the more you hear it, the more you use it, the more you admit being one, the more the word loses its ability to stun, to shock, to frighten. Sure it’s scary to face friends who believe differently from you, but if they fixate more on your beliefs than on your right to believe them, could they really have been friends in the first place? The more you use it, the easier it gets – eventually, it becomes a point of pride.

    “I never seek to convert, just present my opinions, maybe a few facts as I believe them to be, and encourage those who have already decided, to step out and commit to their convictions.

    “pax vobiscum,

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