Skip to main content

Let's invite her to Netroots Nation.

In Cranston, Rhode Island, 16 year old Jessica Ahlquist, a student at Cranston High School West, filed suit back in April along with the American Civil Liberties Union objecting on First Amendment grounds to a prayer banner hung in that school's auditorium.

UPDATE:This is mentioned in one of the linked articles, but PZ Myers has put out a call to action on Pharyngula. I'll bring it here:
Unleash the Kraken on Peter G. Palumbo!
 January 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm  PZ Myers
Palumbo is a Rhode Island representative; he just called one of his constituents, Jessica Ahlquist, an “evil little thing” who was “being coerced by evil people”. I think he needs to apologize. No, scratch that; he needs to lose his next election. Contact him! Palumbo’s email address is His office phone number is (401) 785-2882.
The post contains a link to the podcast of the radio show where Palumbo made the remark in question. (h/t: WayBeyondSoccerMom)

(Nota bene: There ain't gonna be a title change. I stand by it.)

The issue has been controversial. The School Committee held a number of public hearings, during which tempers flared and people both for and against the banner filled the auditorium at Western Hills Middle School to voice their opinions. Based on those discussions, it appears a majority supports leaving the banner intact. But Ahlquist and the ACLU remain critical of it, citing the obvious religious nature of the phrase "Our Heavenly Father" and "Amen" within a school setting.

“A Christian Catholic prayer may bring comfort to the majority of students in my school,” said a confident and composed Ahlquist, who sat surrounded by her father, two lawyers, the ACLU Executive Director Steve Brown, a reverend and a rabbi. “But it sends a different message to the large population of students of other faith or in my case, none.  I firmly believe that it should not be on display in a public school.”

I find it disheartening that the issue would even be controversial in the first place.

The Court's decision in this case established the "Lemon test", which details the requirements for legislation concerning religion. It consists of three prongs:
The government's action must have a secular legislative purpose;
The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
The government's action must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion.
If any of these 3 prongs are violated, the government's action is deemed unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Well, there you go. It is difficult to imagine a banner with an inscription, beginning, "Heavenly Father" and ending with, "Amen" in a public school auditorium having any secular purpose, or not being considered to advance one religion while inhibiting others (or the lack thereof, in the instant case) but the attempt was made.

"Roger Williams, the founder of the Rhode Island Colony, opposed government sanctioned or mandated expressions of religious significance and [the school district] attempted to reject and trivialize the message to preserve it," Labinger said, noting that school officials aruged there was no religious significance to the mural and emphasized its historic value.

Emphasis mine: see, "tea, weak."

And a federal judge didn't buy that one either, ordering that the banner be removed.

Get this: The auditorium has been locked while the district considers whether to appeal the ruling.

That said, the followers of the Prince of Peace have responded to the judge's ruling by issuing various levels of fatwa on this young girl.

From the  JesusFetusFajitaFishsticks blog come various screenshots of the threats of violence made against Jessica Ahlquist.

Including such messages of unconditional love as:

“shes not human shes garbage”

“I think everyone should just fight this girl”

“I’ll drop anchor on her face”

“Let’s all jump that girl who did the banner”

“When I take over the world I’m going to do a holacaust to all the atheists”

“i cant wait to hear about you getting curb stomped”

“everyone is going to beat you up prob”

“what a little bitch lol I wanna snuff her”

And perhaps, most chilling of all:

Stochastic terrorism, anyone?

Since the decision, Cranston Police said they are investigating threats made against Ahlquist on the Internet, including numerous Twitter posts by some of her classmates declaring that she should be beaten up. Some of the comments could constitute cyberbullying and represent violations of the Safe Schools Act — recently passed legislation that establishes a unified state policy against cyberbullying approved by the Rhode Island General Assembly last year and signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee last summer...Police said they are patrolling Ahlquists' house and the school this weekend.

And before we brush this off as an overreaction, let's remember Drs. Tiller and Slepian.

The,"No True Scotsman" argument in response to this is inevitable, of course. I'll go back to JesusFetusFajitaFishsticks for a response to that:


Originally posted to Nest of kestrel9000 on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 08:04 AM PST.

Also republished by The Federation, Extraterrestrial Anthropologists, and Street Prophets .


Who is correct?

96%1938 votes
3%61 votes

| 1999 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Sharoney, Renee, Thumb, Alumbrados, OkieByAccident, Angie in WA State, Sylv, vicki, TXdem, Sean Robertson, Chi, filkertom, hester, copymark, teacherken, Nate in IA, Ivan, Maudlin, importer, Geenius at Wrok, Em, Randomfactor, Gooserock, Danno11, PeterHug, odum, TechBob, Emerson, karlpk, MouseThatRoared, Shockwave, Wintermute, Jay C, Stein, uffdalib, rightiswrong, eeff, dsb, frsbdg, polecat, RKS, x, Sandy on Signal, recentdemocrat, floridagal, MarkInSanFran, jancw, Creosote, kissfan, Christian Dem in NC, tarminian, entlord, JohnInWestland, bronte17, missLotus, cyberKosFan, annrose, djMikulec, ask, KibbutzAmiad, Bionic, Malixe, vmibran, MisterOpus1, farmerhunt, roses, wishingwell, Fe, sngmama, jalbert, Iberian, splashy, Cedwyn, KathleenM1, hopeful, sidnora, rjnerd, ammaloy, psnyder, MrSandman, danthrax, TexDem, figbash, pat bunny, Noodles, roseeriter, potatohead, Damnit Janet, yet another liberal, BMarshall, Chirons apprentice, Steven Payne, Sychotic1, Calidrissp, rlharry, BlogDog, Democratic Hawk, Lilith, Matt Esler, econlibVA, auron renouille, Curt Matlock, randallt, jcrit, Black Max, realalaskan, boran2, bibble, Gowrie Gal, sb, rapala, nailbender, Skennet Boch, drofx, G2geek, historys mysteries, Bluesee, SisTwo, PAbluestater, UncleCharlie, LakeSuperior, JanetT in MD, SherwoodB, Independent Musings, Tonedevil, democracy inaction, OpherGopher, irate, Alice Venturi, ccasas, triciawyse, ChemBob, kiri, TigerMom, Dobber, boofdah, PSzymeczek, billybush, GreenPA, majcmb1, Dr Squid, Pam from Calif, pasadena beggar, jimstaro, EvilPaula, aaraujo, sofia, skyounkin, Ice Blue, most peculiar mama, blue jersey mom, kaliope, PinHole, Tool, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, Savvy813, petestern, Shotput8, mph2005, Shaking the Tree, dsteffen, Cory Bantic, Rogneid, peacestpete, Ekaterin, murasaki, WayBeyondSoccerMom, kathny, Jim R, Nowhere Man, Wave Breaker, martini, Knucklehead, Shirl In Idaho, Nance, Sanuk, BachFan, irishwitch, detroitmechworks, tarheelblue, tommymet, Debbie in ME, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Medium Head Boy, myboo, rcbowman, 417els, Clytemnestra, BlueInARedState, emeraldmaiden, Themistoclea, rl en france, Yellow Canary, raptavio, technomage, smokeymonkey, Catesby, deha, arlene, Son of a Cat, fou, raincrow, blueoasis, SherriG, global citizen, Remillard, twigg, Ashaman, gatorcog, SadieSue, JVolvo, happy camper, armadillo, CTLiberal, tommyfocus2003, ER Doc, Dinclusin, middleagedhousewife, anninla, Turbonerd, onionjim, SingerInTheChoir, bumbi, Cenobyte, IL clb, Unknown Quantity, CA Nana, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, fiddlingnero, blueoregon, kurt, Statusquomustgo, Brunette, PhilW, FrankieB, Bernie68, bstotts, Temmoku, ms badger, kml, AllanTBG, Nulwee, Opposite Reaction, ZenTrainer, ammasdarling, old wobbly, timewarp, out of left field, bluicebank, asilomar, Habitat Vic, merrylib, Loudoun County Dem, tgypsy, ninkasi23, leema, Dartagnan, ColoTim, Positronicus, linkage, threegoal, edsbrooklyn, david mizner, jeanette0605, Matt Z, Shadowmage36, artisan, Kentucky Kid, jayden, GMFORD, jedennis, second gen, cyncynical, millwood, Moderation, jhop7, pioneer111, Wreck Smurfy, Rumarhazzit, GeorgeXVIII, fallina7, M Sullivan, Prof Haley, sable, vet, chicago minx, JDWolverton, rogerdaddy, Clio2, gfv6800, Port City Moon, wayoutinthestix, BethyNYC, Youffraita, Mr Stagger Lee, bythesea, smrichmond, FG, Sharon Wraight, Akonitum, Its any one guess, jakebob, mikeconwell, Calamity Jean, here4tehbeer, Lujane, tofumagoo, royce, Cassandra Waites, hwmnbn, dewley notid, Jake Williams, triplepoint, Jeff Y, home solar, Tam in CA, envwq, glendaw271, petulans, Parthenia, msdobie, DixieDishrag, Uncle Bob, adobedragon, HarpboyAK, JamieG from Md, Nica24, sagansong, rodentrancher, palantir, tristan57, ekyprogressive, WearyIdealist, toom, gsenski, GrannyOPhilly, Diogenes2008, shortgirl, lissablack, statsone, fayea, oldliberal, LaFeminista, prettygirlxoxoxo, Rhysling, MufsMom, ARS, beinemac, The Dead Man, juca, socalmonk, bsmechanic, matmak, Don Enrique, Methinks They Lie, Gorilla in the room, jennylind, Hopeful Monster, CamillesDad1, Calfacon, Denise Oliver Velez, kevinpdx, Keith Pickering, MichiganChet, stevenwag, sfarkash, nancat357, astral66, schnecke21, deviant24x, Leftcandid, porchdog1961, HoopJones, Amber6541, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, commonmass, Valerie Tarico, coppercelt, mamamorgaine, awcomeon, Laurilei, flitedocnm, TFinSF, roadbear, NJpeach, Observerinvancouver, David Harris Gershon, voracious, catwho, fidellio, CS11, CS in AZ, Crabby Abbey, angelajean, LOrion, Polly Syllabic, Lost and Found, freeport beach PA, netop, ATFILLINOIS, Garfnobl, Eddie L, CayceP, DiegoUK, rja, DrTerwilliker, Otteray Scribe, Craig S, cocinero, Oh Mary Oh, nosleep4u, ZedMont, Its a New Day, Onomastic, annieli, Jasel, yellow cosmic seed, kerflooey, owilde69, zooecium, ozsea1, Plox, Bob Duck, ban nock, sostos, jm214, Hopeful Skeptic, freesia, La Gitane, FarWestGirl, asterkitty, OhioNatureMom, ebirch1, SoCaliana, marleycat, zukesgirl64, Ace Nelson, MasterfullyInept, badscience, thomask, Muskegon Critic, DruidQueen, Claudius Bombarnac, dle2GA, Sabazinus, muddy boots, RfrancisR, SueM1121, dakinishir, wintergreen8694, enhydra lutris, MadamE, Safina, n8rboy, whaddaya, poliwrangler, Wood Dragon, Caddis Fly, EarTo44, Marihilda, waiting for lefty, Mets102, Vatexia, joey c, SteelerGrrl, stlsophos, StratCat, Nightshade Q, googie, Chitown Kev, aerie star, Mentatmark, ChiTownDenny, DEMonrat ankle biter, allergywoman, The BigotBasher, drawingporno, thepothole, No one gets out alive, Mathazar, Rejoinder, IowaBiologist, AnnetteK, livingthedream, jacey, Pinto Pony, stormicats, Cordyc, OldDragon, Heart n Mind, slimcat, Flying Goat, leathersmith, Siri, charliehall2, state of confusion, SilverWillow, David54, S F Hippie, AnnieR, Lonely Texan, Trotskyrepublican, congenitalefty, Lh1695, Mr Robert, Mollydog, Mike RinRI, mapamp, peachcreek, jan4insight, belinda ridgewood, the Don, ClutchCargo, doroma, qannabbos, Brown Thrasher, sexgenderbody, wxorknot, 43north, tytalus, easterbunny53717, Kinak, AuntieRa, Glen The Plumber, Equal Time Radio, Marjmar, maf1029, John Kelly, BradyB, Canis Aureus, Captain Chaos, GoGoGoEverton, DamselleFly, Dallas L, koosah, The grouch, akadjian, glorificus, Setsuna Mudo, Neapolitan, Mr Jones, EnoNomi, Ecclesiastaverbs, echedgar, Slamfu

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site