Brava, Jessica Ahlquist: Rhode Island High School Student Wins Separation Lawsuit

Rhode Island high school student Jessica Ahlquist has taught her school officials a useful lesson on civics this week. The Cranston High School West student won her challenge to a large prayer mural displayed at the school with a federal judge ordering its removal as a violation of the separation of church and state.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux issued a 40-page ruling Wednesday but I have not been able to review it (and this morning it is still not on Lexis/Nexis).

In the complaint below, the ACLU details how Ahlquist tried to engage her friends but found few allies in her campaign to have the prayer removed. She was undeterred by the peer pressure and created a Facebook account to campaign for its removal.

When she learned that the School Committee had established a subcommittee to consider the Prayer, she mustered her courage and spoke against the Prayer at its meeting on November 30, 2011 (11/30/11 Min. at 10) (“But, as an atheist, I have the right to go to school and not feel discriminated against by the people who are praying there.”) “When [Plaintiff] said she was an atheist, someone in the room let out a small gasp and J –A- heard some quiet whispering. She felt they dismissed her beliefs and feelings, and made her feel entirely alone, causing her to wonder whether she was irrational for feeling the way she did. She also felt extremely nervous and unwelcome at this meeting.” (Pl. Int. # 5 at 8)

Plaintiff also spoke out against the Prayer at the Subcommittee meeting of February 22, 2011 (2/22/11 Min. at 7) and at the School Committee meeting of March 7, 2011 (3/7/11 Min. at 60 and video of entire proceedings, Pl. 19). At the February 22 subcommittee meeting, Plaintiff again was made to “feel very intimidated and nervous, as well as hated. Speaking was much more difficult that night because she felt that many of the people in the room were angry at her and disliked her personally for speaking out against the prayer.” (Pl. Int. #5 at 9) After the March 7, 2011 meeting and after she filed the law suit, Plaintiff received bullying and intimidating taunts, comments and threats at school, on her way home from school, and on-line. (Pl. Int. #5 5 at 10-14; JA Dep. at 40-44)

At a meeting on the issue, local board members publicly proclaimed their faith and the need for the religious statement. Committee member Traficante identified himself as “a person of faith” and noted that as a coach he made sure to start every game with a prayer with the team. He insisted on preserving the display as part of the “obligation as School Committee members to protect and defend the moral values of our students and that banner helps us to express that[.]” Chairperson Iannazzi’s went further to say that the country “was founded not on freedom from religion but freedom of religion. Each person has the ability to practice whatever religion they want. That does not mean that they have the freedom from religion being practiced.” Obviously, the federal court disagreed.

The school insisted on fighting this well-based challenge despite a long line of cases contradicting the positions of the school board. As the Court noted in Pleasant Grove City, Utah v. Summum, 555 U.S. 460 (2009), “[b]y accepting a privately donated monument and placing it on city property, a city engages in expressive conduct[.]” It further stressed that a permanent monument is, “by definition, a structure that is designed as a means of expression.”

This girl stood up to not just peers but politicians to fight for the values of separation of church and state. In doing so, she gave her friends a lesson in civic responsibility and gave her school board a lesson in constitutional values. At a time with separation principles under attack, Jessica added a case in the win column for a society where faith is a personal not a public priority.

Congratulations to the lawyers of the Rhode Island ACLU in this important victory and again to Jessica Ahlquist and her parents.

Ahlquistv.CranstonComplaint

124 thoughts on “Brava, Jessica Ahlquist: Rhode Island High School Student Wins Separation Lawsuit

  1. I went to the school web site and see the school motto is the Golden Rule. They really believe in practicing what they preach, y’think?

  2. “But, as an atheist, I have the right to go to school and not feel discriminated against by the people who are praying there”

    So, this atheist forces her warped belief system down everyone elses throat, by twarting the laws and twisting them to suit her own views. She taught them a useful lesson in civics? What’s that, how to twist and contort the laws to rape the justice system? Wow, what a lesson that is. It’s teaching us how so many are so ignorant of the true meaning of “separation of church and state”.

    It is shameful that so many are completely clueless as to what “separation between church and state” means. The ORIGINAL INTENTION was to KEEP THE GOV’T OUT OF THE CHURCH BUSINESS. Not to systematially remove all public displays and acknowledgements of God from everywhere. When you go to the US Supreme Court, you will see displays of prayers, etc… This is hypocritical what the militant atheists have done to the justice system.

    Hopefully the American Center for Law and Justice is already working on this. The ACLU (which was formed by communists and atheists) routinely twarts and rapes the justice system to suit its own distorted views and idiotic views of its “clients”.

    Maybe one of the students there will ask this atheist student the dreaded “question”: “what proof and evidence do you have that proves atheism is accurate and correct?”

  3. Barney, you have it bass ackward. Your comment leaves me speechless for it’s total lack of understanding of the meaning of the First Amendment and keeping government out of religious affairs.

  4. Barney

    Your twisted view of the seperate roles of religion and government in the US is the reason we as citizens and as a country have legal and Constitutional protections from such religious zealotry. Your view is consistant with those of the governments of Iran or Saudi Arabia, not the United States of America.

  5. “Not to systematially remove all public displays and acknowledgements of God from everywhere.”

    Fine with me. You know nothing of this “god” fellow. All you know is how to market a false gospel to fearful sheep. And you have it exactly backwards, as the court rightly found. Deal.

  6. “The ACLU (which was formed by communists and atheists)” — I’m not sure of the truth of this statement but, taking it as a given, all I can say is “Thank God for communists and atheists.”

  7. “It is shameful that so many are completely clueless as to what “separation between church and state” means. The ORIGINAL INTENTION was to KEEP THE GOV’T OUT OF THE CHURCH BUSINESS.” (Barney Collier)

    Oh Barney, Barney, Barney … you are about to get your pseudo-proverbial/intellectual ass kicked from here to hell and back. If your ignorance weren’t so damn dangerous to the rest of society, I’d almost feel sorry for you.

  8. OS – 8-{D

    The fact is nobodies right to pray in school is being infringed. I can prove that by simply stating I am going to pray right now & any one of you who thinks you can stop me is free to try. . . . Ramen

    OTOH – if I insist that you pray with me, or listen to me pray thats a different matter & the courts should stop that in civic locations.

  9. Jessica Ahlquist has learned a very valuable lesson in character building and obviously knows how to make the hard choices. Atta girl!

  10. BTW, remember the Pilgrims — those folks of Plymouth Rock fame, the forefathers we revere for seeking freedom OF religion? Well, they already had freedom of religion back in the Netherlands, but so did all those folks of other faiths(damn Catholics, damn reformists, damn mystics). It was all those other religions which the Pilgrims wanted to be free FROM which prompted them to sail for America. And to make money — the trip was financed by a business venture interested in the fur trade.

    Guess the American dream has always been founded on hegemony and greed.

  11. Frankly, using their reasoning, the county needs to provide the spaghetti and meatballs for our holy ritual to our diet, um……deity.

    rAmen.

  12. “So, this atheist forces her warped belief system down everyone elses throat, by twarting the laws and twisting them to suit her own views.”

    Barney,

    I’m a Jew and this offends me. “Heavenly Father” is Christian terminology for God. Were my child in this school I would have supported this suit. Where in hell do you think you have the right to force your beliefs on my kid in a public school paid for with my tax dollars. You are clueless about the Constitution, our
    Country’s history and even aspects of your own religion. All you’ve got is the self-confidence and bluster of someone who has heard a few talking points and thinks he knows something. It is alright for you to force your belief system down the throats of people who don’t share your beliefs, which is what this wall sign was doing. By your own words shall you be judged. You are a hypocrite.

  13. “Guess the American dream has always been founded on hegemony and greed.” (Oro Lee)

    Good guess.

    The Congregationalists (Pilgrims) also extorted payment to support the Congregational Church from anyone who lived within the boundary lines of their towns whether said person was a member of the church or not. (No separation of church and state there.) The money was usually collected as a tax to build or maintain the Church’s meeting hall and cemetery or as a “Minister’s Tax” to support the clergy.

    ” Non payment of the tax could have serious consequences as John Davis discovered when he found himself in “gaol.” A Committee from the Church was asked to look into the propriety of the General Court in discharging him. He was a Baptist and objected to supporting the “orthodox” (State supported) Church.” http://www.wtcongregationalchurch.org/history.shtml

  14. “Traficante identified himself as “a person of faith” and noted that as a coach he made sure to start every game with a prayer with the team.”

    ***********************

    I think I see another court challenge not too far away. Nothing like a state authority figure ramroding his view of religion down young people’s throats. Thanks, Coach Traficante, for the public admission of coercion.

    Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000); Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963)

  15. From Mass Humanities:
    http://massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=292

    Roger Williams banished October 9, 1635

    On This Day… (October 9)
    …in 1635, Puritan minister Roger Williams was found guilty of spreading “newe & dangerous opinions” and banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Before leaving England in 1630, Williams had seen heretics whipped, imprisoned, and burned at the stake. He called for religious freedom, a serious threat to the social order, and avoided arrest only by fleeing to Boston. Once in Massachusetts, he began preaching religious tolerance. The colony’s leaders agreed with the English authorities that this was nothing less than “Satan’s Policy.” They denounced his views and forced him out of the colony. He took refuge with the Narragansett Indians, whose chiefs sold land to him and his followers. They established a new settlement and named it Providence, in thanksgiving to God.

  16. Oh my….. Separation of Church and State……

    Madelyn Murray O’Hair would be happy….When I lived in Austin….I had the privilege of working with the Attorney that argued this case….as well as later in my Austin sojourn I met John….

  17. The song from the movie Lillies of the Field could be sung by a group outside the building where the school board meets.

    Aaaaamen, Aaaamen, A a men, Amen , Amen. {next verse}

    Duuumb schmucks, Duuumb schmucks….
    Duuumb schmucks inside , inside.

    Seeend them South, Seeend them South…
    Seeend them South, them South thence South.

    The plaintiff can lead the choir. I will fly to Rhode Island to join.
    Post the First Amendment right over the toilet in the Faculty Mens Room when they are not looking. That is the only time they read anything.
    Post the court decision on the Public Bulletin Board if they have one. If they ake it down, then file suit number two.
    If you are in the Fifth Grade in this school district then it is time to start your own group. We call our group The Cult of The 5thGrade. The premise of the group is that adults are too busy to read much or pay attention to basics. Like these schmucks here trying to preach and not teach. The first project might be to get T shirts which say: Teach Dont Preach. You can buy iron on letters at Staples that will adhere to your T Shirt.
    A good name for your group in that particular school might be:
    1stAmdtDontTreadOnMeGroup. But, then they might send you to New Hampshire.

  18. “After the March 7, 2011 meeting and after she filed the law suit, Plaintiff received bullying and intimidating taunts, comments and threats at school, on her way home from school, and on-line.” -from the posting

    http://jessicaahlquist.com/

    Another light in the darkness. Good for her.

  19. You mean the decline of society as illustrated by a man is so insecure in his beliefs that he feels the urge to call a young woman, a young woman who doesn’t share said beliefs and has the Constitutional right not to share said beliefs, a stupid cunt?

    Methinks the laddie doth project too much, Sean.

  20. Whatever you say Gene…btw I also do not believe in GOD. I just do not go around trying to tell the other 90% of American that they have to change things just for the MINORITY. ;-)

    But yeah whatever you say…

    Thanks for setting me straight. I feel better….

    Oh, and such language…shame on you…LOL

  21. Apparently you don’t believe in the Constitution either, Sean.

    The Establishment Clause forbids the government from forcing the religion of any group on others no matter if that religion is held by the majority or not.

    As to the language?

    You’re the one who used it first, so if you’re offended by that let me be the first one to say fuck you very much.

    I do so hope that doesn’t offend your delicate unconstitutional sensibilities or that of the majority whose boots you choose to lick rather than stand up for your right not to have a God you don’t believe in either forced upon you by the mechanisms of state. You’ll make a fine pet for your theocratic Christian overlords. Until they decide to burn you at the stake for being a heretic.

  22. Hummmm…yeah I see the problem. Someone that quotes the Constitution on Separation of Church and State when they themselves are ignorant on the subject. This is really just a blown out of proportion phrase used by Tomas Jefferson in a letter he wrote.

    The Constitution really does not address that other than the 1st Amendment which really just says no law will be established prohibiting. It does not encourage or discourage, per se. Plus I really do not read this as promotion any specific “religion”.

    But hey let’s keep going down this road of catering to the MINORITY and making sure everyone gets a participation trophy and is happy. It is working so well and making our country so GREAT….

    Oh and shame shame again…such language. I just called her a C**T. You starting dropping the vulgar language…BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  23. Yeah, let’s do go down that road, ignoramus.

    “The Constitution really does not address that other than the 1st Amendment which really just says no law will be established prohibiting. It does not encourage or discourage, per se. Plus I really do not read this as promotion any specific ‘religion’.”

    The incorporation doctrine applies the Bill of Rights to the states by virtue of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Also, the very process of amendment means “an alteration proposed or put into effect by legislative or constitutional procedure”, ergo, the 1st Amendment is the Constitution, dingus. As to what the Constitution says, it says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. This that government cannot endorse a religion nor prohibit a religion. What endorsement and prohibition mean is further refined by jurisprudence, specifically the jurisprudence of Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971) – which formulated the test:

    1) The government’s action must have a secular legislative purpose;
    2) The government’s action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
    3) The government’s action must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion.

    and Pleasant Grove City, Utah v. Summum, 555 U.S. 460 (2009); which as the Professor notes stated . . .

    “[b]y accepting a privately donated monument and placing it on city property, a city engages in expressive conduct[.]” It further stressed that a permanent monument is, “by definition, a structure that is designed as a means of expression.”

    Clearly the actions of the school violate the second and third prongs of the Lemon test and the refinement of the third prong of the Lemon test found in Pleasant Grove.

    “But hey let’s keep going down this road of catering to the MINORITY and making sure everyone gets a participation trophy and is happy. It is working so well and making our country so GREAT”

    Well bad news for you, slick. This isn’t a Christian country, it’s a secular country by the terms of the Constitution, and it wasn’t Christianity that made this country great. You claim you aren’t a Christian, so you’re a minority too. I’m glad to see that not only are a vulgarian, but a contrarian as well, in addition to being too stupid to realize that this case defends your rights not to be coerced by the majority in matters of faith. All of this presupposes that you aren’t simply a Christian zealot troll “lookin’ to piss off some of them heathen lib-ruls” – which you obviously are. The sad part is that you don’t get that the joke is on you.

    Carry on, theocrat troll.

    The only person you are fooling is yourself.

  24. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” was a radical stroke of genius at the time and thanks to that genius has protected this nation from devolving into religious warring factions while permitting new religions to flower and flourish. It has also protected the non-religious from their intemperate fellow citizens bent on proselytism by force of might or law.

    Pure genius

  25. RI atheist, 16, thrilled with prayer banner order
    By Laura Crimaldi
    Associated Press
    1/12/12
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/2012/01/12/ri_atheist_16_thrilled_with_prayer_banner_order/

    Excerpt:
    PROVIDENCE, R.I.—The Rhode Island teen who won a legal battle over a prayer banner displayed at her high school said Thursday that a federal court order requiring the banner’s removal reflects “what true American values are.”

    Jessica Ahlquist, 16, who describes herself as an atheist, said the prayer banner displayed in the Cranston High School West auditorium does not belong in a school.

    “When I saw it there, I knew it didn’t belong,” Ahlquist told reporters. “And every time that I saw it, it was a reminder that my school wasn’t doing the right thing and that my school didn’t necessarily support me and my views.”

    A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the banner to be removed immediately. Attorney Joseph Cavanagh Jr., who represented the city, said the banner is being covered up pending a decision from the School Committee on whether to appeal.

    The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sued the city and school committee last year over the banner on Ahlquist’s behalf.

    The school committee plans to discuss the litigation at its next meeting on Tuesday.

    Some board members are saying they do not want to appeal because of the potential costs of continued litigation. The court order also requires the city to pay for the ACLU’s legal fees. Cavanagh has handled the case so far for free.

    Committee member Michael Traficante said he’s “extremely disappointed” in the ruling.

    “What’s ironic is this banner has to be removed because one individual after 50 years believed it to be offensive because of her disbelief in any religion,” Traficante said.

    Gov. Lincoln Chafee said he agrees that the banner violates the Constitution and supports the court order.

  26. Sean,
    are you talking about the minority in the Senate that is styming majority rule? Or are you talking about the rights that a minority is guaranteed under the Constitution?

  27. I find it ironic that the good people of Cranston, RI, are willing to fight to the death over a religious icon catering to some Christians, but not one word spoken in favor of posting a copy of the Constitution in the halls of the school.

    Anyone taking any bets on how close we are to a theocracy?

    As for Sean, if I heard a person on the street call a young teenage girl a “c**t” for any reason, I’d engage him only so far as to bop him in the nose. A discussion would be out of the question, as I could surely not stand that foul mouth directed against a kid.

  28. I find it interesting that someone who writes at about a ninth or tenth grade level and obviously is not a lawyer, wants to argue Constitutional law on a law blog with Constitutional lawyers.

    I always hate to get clients like that, because they think they know more than the pros because they Googled something. I have fired more than one client for that behavior, and I am sure every one of the lawyers here have done the same thing.

    One of the giveaways regarding immaturity is the gratuitous foul mouth that is more often found on YouTube comments than in a serious discussion. I am wondering if our current troll is one of the bullies from the school. Kind of sounds like it.

  29. Oh..did not know you needed a picture. I’ve made my point. BTW…why did you become a lawyer? No aptitude for something useful…like math or science?

  30. “brave girl. now come the hard part, all the shitstorm she’s going to get for winning. ” -pete

    Yep. Odds are good…

  31. Uh yep…I hope to graduate next year. I’ve been told I should go into law because I like to argue. I thought about it but have too much self respect.

  32. Sean:

    Otteray Scribe is a Forensic Scientist. Plus he flew airplanes for the military.

    I think he knows a tad bit about science.

  33. I would suggest against it, Sean. Liking to argue isn’t enough. You have to be good at it.

    You’re not.

    Besides, what you like to do is fight, not argue.

    You’re not very good at that either.

  34. There is a vast difference between being a skilled argumentarian than an oppositional, passive-aggressive, foul mouthed, immature jerk.

    Gene, and Bron, did I miss anything?

  35. You should see a doctor about that cough.

    Then again, the only treatments for inbreeding related disorders are gene therapy.

  36. I dont know, the QED, MBA was rather funny.

    and he is right, an MBA for an EE would be QED and then some. An EE wouldnt even bust a neuron on an MBA. It would be child’s play.

  37. “I find it interesting that someone who writes at about a ninth or tenth grade level and obviously is not a lawyer, wants to argue Constitutional law on a law blog with Constitutional lawyers.”

    OS, HE’S A TROLL!!! HE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING EXCEPT FEEDING HIS EGO BY RILING HIS SUPERIORS. QUIT FEEDING THE TROLL!!! NEVER DIRECTLY COMMUNICATE WITH A TROLL. TALK ABOUT TROLLS IN THE THIRD PERSON — USE HUMOR AND WIT AND REFERENCES TO CLASSICAL WORKS AND OTHER MATTERS WITH WHICH TROLLS ARE UNFAMILIAR. TROLLS DISAPPEAR UPON REALIZING THEIR PATHETIC AND INEFFECTUAL ANTICS AMUSE THEIR SUPERIORS.

  38. Oro,

    It’s sport, girl. :D

    We’ll get tired of playing with it in a bit. As soon as the new troll smell wears off of him.

  39. In all honesty…messing with you guys (although easy) is kind of fun. I am certainly book marking this site. I am out for the night but will check in with ya in the morning.

    Dude it was so easy to keep you simpletons online….BAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    GH finally figured it out. He seems like he might be the smartest in this group.

  40. Gene, what we have here is the typical junior high bully mentality. Bullies have no agenda other than to try and feel empowered by belittling others. Bullies like the Internet because they can bully with few or no consequences. They can live with the illusion they have magical powers to control others simply by writing comments on blogs, YouTube and Facebook. That might work with a kid who does not have a fully formed ego. When the bullies try their tricks with adults old enough to be their parents or grandparents and have terminal professional degrees, the shoe is on the other foot. The bully has no clue they are being toyed with like a cat playing with a ball of yarn.

    One of my favorite things is to get a lawyer to ask me a question to which he does not know the answer. Setting up a lawyer for cross examination like pins in a bowling alley is an exercise in carefully worded responses, much like the Bene Gesseret using The Voice. Then they don’t know until it is too late they are not the ball but the pins. I have been a long time student of the work of Milton Erickson, master of the indirect suggestion.

  41. Okay okay now I am serious. I am out for the night. It has been fun and you guys had some good burns. However, I would caution you about being so aggressive. Seems like some of ya took this waaay too serious. Pease out brothers.

  42. Come back any time you want to embarrass actual Christians again with your ignorance, intolerance and foul mouth, Sean.

  43. Now this is funny….Gene…You can’t do the troll roll can you? Beside Sean does not like to argue….bicker is more like it…tries and point out what is wrong rather than making a valid point….or anything useful….

  44. “….or anything useful….”

    AY, people like that are as useful as a condom at a convention of Lesbians.

  45. I used to have an assistant who was a Lesbian and proud of it. I got the lowdown on a lot of stuff, some of which I don’t think I was quite old enough to hear.

  46. The Cultofthe5thGrade met this evening to discuss the topic and we have read all of the comments. All. We voted to decide whether to chimne in on the “adult” bickering going on here. Fifty percent voted not to characterize it as “adult” bickering and to remain silent. The other Fifty percent voted to ask you guys to consider toning down the direct verbal assaults on each other. We thought it mindless to characterize each other as childish, when in fact you are all very adultish. Our 5thGrade group doesnt fight like this. We are referring to this experiment in joining this blog as GroupTerapy. sp intended.

  47. Sean:

    I say round 2. No hitting below the belt, no mention of any one’s mother, a persons dog or cat and children are off limits as well. No lesbian jokes, no racial comments, no comparisons to gays or their lifestyle, religious references are strictly forbidden and no mention of political party affiliation will be tolerated. No foul language or referencing body parts. No derogatory remarks about a person’s intelligence or lack thereof, no short, fat or tall jokes, no thin jokes, no references to overeating or bulimia. Comparing someone to Barry Manilow or Elton John is off limits, Frank Sinatra references are OK in regard to eye color only.

    Let the round begin.

    Ding, Ding, Ding

  48. My computer quit and has been in the shop all week. Withdrawal symptoms include reading some books that have been patiently waiting. Anyway, back to the topic at the top. Congratulations, Jessica! You spoke for all those whose religion, or lack thereof, is different from that reflected in the banner but who didn’t speak up.

  49. Little Jessica, I have no doubt that you will grow up to be a militant Communist, just like dear leader intended. Poor little thing,you don’t even realize that you’re being used.

  50. My friend Kestrel has pulled together some comments from several web sites that are chilling. Jessica and her family have become targets of vile hate speech and worse. Serious threats have been made against her, and law enforcement is treating the threats as serious. Investigations are supposed to be underway. Kestrel works in radio and is a careful reporter, so his comments and observations are well researched.

    Here is Kestrel’s account:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/15/1054939/-16-year-old-girl-threatened-by-Christians-with-beatings-and-worse?detail=hide

  51. so much for holier than thou

    my favorite of the postings is “gods going to f**k your a$$ with that banner you scumbag”.

    hallelujah

  52. “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Mohandas Gandhi

    “They said they were going to do what in My name?” – Jesus

  53. Pete, I am interested in the obsessive interest the right wing seems to be obsessed with sodomy. It is a theme that runs through many of their speeches and published writing. From Jerry Falwell to Rick Santorum, down to commenters on RedState and the other “conservative” blogs, there is a common theme of fascination with anal sex, often with foreign object. What is that about? We know that Rick (Please Don’t Google My Name) Santorum has it, but how about their sycophants and camp followers?

    On Saturdays Kos has a compilation of the week’s hate mail and asks readers to rate the week’s collection and comment on them. What is it about gay sex, anal sex and fellatio that fascinates them so much?

    Here is the 4th Quarter compilation of some of the more interesting hate mail. Before reading, you might want to take a tranquilizer and have a barf bag handy.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/12/24/1048566/-Saturday-Hate-Mail-a-palooza:-Best-of-Q4-edition?via=tag

    Here is his best of the year 2011 edition of Hatemailapalooza:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/12/24/1048566/-Saturday-Hate-Mail-a-palooza:-Best-of-Q4-edition?via=tag

    The sad thing is there is a lot more where that came from.

  54. wow, i could actually feel my IQ dropping on some of those

    the one that says he has fourteen guns and will cut someones dick off with a chainsaw, i’m pretty sure that’s ted nugent.

    i’m gonna save some of those, put them on signs and go to tea party rallys. let some of the tea partiers see what kind of people they’re really associating with.

  55. OMFG! About time you think you have found the bottom, another mouth breather shows us a new depth. WWJD, indeed!

  56. “FFRF, a 501(c)(3) a charity which has run a student activist scholarship fund in an accountable fashion for decades, has also announced a new scholarship, “The Atheists in a Foxhole Support Fund,” and is making Jessica the first recipient.” (refer to Nal’s link)

  57. “In addition to sending flowers, FFRF announced, after Jessica’s state legislator had called her “an evil little thing,” that it is re-awarding Jessica its Thomas Jefferson Student Activist award, this time doubling the scholarship to $2,000. “The thicker critics lay on the hate, the more we freethinkers will support Jessica,” Gaylor said.” (also from the link)

    I have a feeling that she’ll be just fine in the long run, which isn’t to minimize what she’s going through now…

  58. Just because the Catholic church and other Christian church goers quite often know nothing about what they preach and some quite often do more harm than good; does not make a sweet prayer written by a child many years ago offensive. This request for removal was ignorant and childish. This prayer had nothing offensive in it, to remove it hurt many people who believe in a god; just because you don’t believe does not give you the right to take it away from others, it was not asking for anyone to believe, or was it saying anything bad about non believers.
    There are many ignorant religious people throughout the world and many ignorant non religious people also. It is not fair to punish all of them because some are ignorant fools. This was ignorant to remove this sweet sentiment written by a child 49 years ago that was not in any way offensive to enlightened non ignorant atheists. The only reason this could have been a violation of her constitutional rights was if she or others had been forced to read it or it was read aloud or copies distributed of the prayer. She had a choice to look the other way she did not have to read it nor did anyone else.Please stop rewarding this girl for what she did, all she did was prove her intolerance for her fellow human beings as well as her ignorance. The school offered to remove the only part of the prayer that had anything to do with religion and it was still refused; they tried to make her and others more comfortable even though it went against what they believed. This girl has no tolerance at all and no respect for others. The only wrong doing was how people treated her after she shared her beliefs, but this is HIgh School it should have been expected. Perhaps if she had been more tolerant of their beliefs they would have been more tolerant of hers.

  59. Or perhaps if they had understood the impropriety of posting a prayer in a public school in the first place as a matter of Constitutional Law, they wouldn’t have lost in court.

  60. Gene, you can talk to those folks until you are blue in the face, but they will never “get it.”

    There is a total lack of understanding of both law and simple respect for the belief systems of others.

    When watching a sports event, such as an auto race, that has an invocation at the start of the race, I cringe. Along with the usual prayer for a safe race, the minister almost always ends with something about accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. I know for a fact there are a lot of Jewish and Muslim race fans, not to mention Rastafarians and others. How would that same crowd react to a plea to other deities? Never mind, I know the answer to that one.

    Andrea has a lot to learn about people, respect and the law.

  61. OS,

    I had almost this exact same argument elsewhere on the net tonight. This case came up and a friend of a friend started in about how there was no such thing as the Separation of Church and State because “those words aren’t in the Constitution”. I informed him of the error of his ways citing both the Establishment Clause and Lemon v Kurtzman. I then explained that not all legal doctrines are named for exact language in the document they refer to and that this doctrine was based on a phrase Jefferson used in his famous Danbury Baptist Association letter. The most offensive part of the exchange was his apparent pride in his ignorance and resorting to “you just told me a bunch of lawyer bs” and his weak semantic rebuttal.

    When people like that get a bad diagnosis from a doctor, I wonder if they say it’s just a bunch of doctor bs?

    Ignorance is one thing. Pride in ignorance another all together. The only way I can think of to deal with it is be like water eroding stone.

  62. raff, perhaps if a meatball covered with spaghetti sauce lands on her head, she will see the error of her ways. The FSM may be messy, but does not mess around….

  63. Gene, we see it all over. I have ceased to be amazed at the pride of ignorance displayed by some people. Actually proud of being ignorant and bragging about it. We have had some textbook examples right here on the Turley blog.

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