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Jan 14 2012

Now there’s a surprise

You’ll never guess how Christians are reacting to the successful lawsuit against the School Prayer mural formerly hanging in Cranston High School West.

The uncle of the 16-year-old Cranston West student and victorious plaintiff at the forefront of the school prayer mural case said his niece is the victim of cyberbullying and police and school officials confirmed they are investigating…

Yesterday, one Twitter user said “this girl honestly needs to be punched in the face.”

Another user bragged “your home address posted online i cant wait to hear about you getting curb stomped you ****ing worthless c***.”

And remember, these are the “meek” that expect to inherit the earth. The good news is that this time there may be some blowback to the blowback.

[S]ome 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.

The legislation, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Beatrice A. Lanzi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) defines cyberbullying as “the use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression” that “causes physical or emotional harm to the student,” “places the student in reasonable fear of harm to himself/herself,” or “creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile or abusive educational environment for the student.”

I say nail ‘em. My right to swing my fist ends at the tip of someone else’s nose, and my right to free speech ends at the point where it becomes an explicit or implicit threat to harm someone. We’re a democracy, not a mob. We don’t get to stomp minorities, no matter how much they stand up for their own constitutional rights.

15 comments

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  1. 1
    mikespeir

    But these people aren’t Real Christians. I’ve seen where Real Christians have said so. Fixes it all up for me!

  2. 2
    Phillip IV

    And of course by railing against the verdict as an attack on their religion, they are confirming that the court’s interpretation of the mural as non-secular was correct. Meaning that they don’t even potentially have a point to make. Not that that’s going to stop them, though.

  3. 3
    Tony Hoffman

    The Christians who get pushed back here always remind me of the villains at the end of a superhero story; sinking into the depths of a body of water, or being pulled off to a prison, always muttering, “You won this time, but I’ll be back. Oh, I’ll be back.”

  4. 4
    peicurmudgeon

    Anyone who acts like this is despicable, and we all know it isn’t just Christians. We have people who are the same in the atheist/skeptical movement.

    I am not excusing anyone, I am condemning all who act like this.

    The major difference of course, is that others in the Christian community tend not to publically call out these actions. At least not anywhere I have read.

  5. 5
    Randomfactor

    I have to laugh at all the news coverage pretending that the first words on the school prayer banner are “Our Heavenly Father” but that doesn’t make it a prayer in school.

    Apparently there’s a fnord somewhere in-between the first two words, printed above them: SCHOOL PRAYER.

  6. 6
    grumpyoldfart

    My prediction:
    The cops will identify no-one, prosecute no-one, and stay on the case, only for as long as it remains in the headlines. Then they’ll drop it like a hot potato.

  7. 7
    feralboy12

    If you read the actual prayer, it’s easy to see the problem.
    It begins, “Our heavenly father, grant us the desire to do our best to grow morally as well as physically. To be kind to our classmates and teachers.”

    These people are waiting for someone else, a non-evidenced supernatural being no less, to grant them basic human qualities.

  8. 8
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    S]ome of the comments could constitute cyberbullying threats

    Cyberbullcrap. Why do you need a law written specifically to address bullying and or electronic communication? (You don’t, really.) File real, old-fashioned charges along with this “maybe the comments violate some new rule we made up to look like we’re doing something” charge.

  9. 9
    Reginald Selkirk

    police and school officials confirmed they are investigating…

    Are these the same school officials who refused to take the banner down in the first place, thus resulting in this lawsuit? Their involvement is small comfort.

  10. 10
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    You’ll never guess how Christians are reacting to the successful lawsuit against the School Prayer mural formerly hanging in Cranston High School West.

    Y’know actually I did kinda guess right – although I hoped I was wrong about it.

    All this hate on a girl who just said “Hey, that prayer banner’s unconstitutional” and was right.

    I hope Jessica Ahlquist is being very well-protected & hidden or moved to somewhere safe right now. Wish it wasn’t necessary for that – hope she comes out of this hatefest okay. Best wishes and more power to her.

  11. 11
    Makoto

    @peicurmudgeon – I believe you know my friend, the No True Scotsman. These people self-identify as Christians, and are doing the bashing on her.

    I know there are plenty of people in the atheist / skeptical community that I’d disagree with on a wide range of topics. But there’s a big difference – the atheist / skeptical movements aren’t based on a set of moral codes, unlike Christianity (even if they can’t all decide on which set of moral codes are the most important from sect to sect). It’s kind of like when one of the “Religious Right” is caught having an affair while married or something after working so hard to convince others that gay marriage is a threat to “traditional” marriage.

  12. 12
    davidct

    These are the people who want to impose their “moral” values on society as a whole. It looks as if religion has a problem making people into decent human beings.

  13. 13
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    I just read the full transcript of Judge Ronald R Lagueux’s decision in this case. http://www2.turnto10.com/mgmedia/file/445/cranston-prayer-banner-ruling/

    A few things stood out in my mind:

    I don’t
    know what he’s going to say but all I know is
    that you’re going to be happy to see Him face
    to face.

    This is from a speaker at the February 2011 subcommittee meeting. Pure and utter crap. Who would be happy to see that genocidal prick?

    Then there’s this, from a speaker at the March 2011 full School Committee meeting:

    If this banner is taken down, you
    are indeed establishing a bunch of people who
    are not going to believe in God

    You’re telling me that keeping the banner up establishes a bunch of people who do believe in god? Most of the people who see the mural are already likely to believe in god. Keeping the mural up or taking it down isn’t likely to change the beliefs of a student. I can’t understand how taking the banner down is going to turn students into atheists. The guy acts like the mural is so integral to the identity of the christian students that its removal will strip them of that identity. If that was the case, then their sense of self wasn’t terribly strong to begin with.
    So many people in the various meetings directed their comments at Jessica. Many of them were downright rude. I was shocked & proud to hear of the theist who chided one group of jesus freaks
    for their “un-jesus like” comments directed at Jessica.

    Judge Lagueux made one comment that made me proud of him, and highlighted Jessica’s tremendous strength of character:

    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.

  14. 14
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    In case folks haven’t already seen this :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/01/15/unleash-the-kraken-on-peter-g-palumbo/

    Apparently Rhode Island red representative has piled on calling one of his constituents, Jessica Ahlquist, an “evil little thing” who was “being coerced by evil people.”

    Which is, of course, offensive nonsense. Nonsense which could cost him the election if PZ Myers & the Pharyngula horde gets its way – some good responses there.

  15. 15
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Interesting – in a horrible sort of way – to reflect on the quite literal dehumanisation of a teenage girl there in Rep. Palumbo’s language. She doesn’t even get the dignity of being called by name or a gender pronoun or a ‘person’ but instead becomes labelled as a mere “evil thing” like say, a white phosphorous hand grenade or land mine or a horror-movie severed-but-alive-evil-hand would be.

    The level of hatred and cruelty and failure to recognise Jessica Ahlquist’s humanity – let alone – her correctness and intelligence and courage there is just staggering.

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