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They Will Not Be Grateful

I’m a bit late for Religious Freedom Day. Chris Rodda got a great post out on Jefferson’s opinion of Patrick Henry, who tried to turn our country into a theocracy in its early days. Me? I was ridiculously busy.

JT and Christina, on the other hand, have been doing a bang-up job of chronicling the cost of protecting our religious freedoms. In case you don’t pay attention to these sorts of things, Jessica Ahlquist won her court case last week, with a judge rather snarkily confirming that a prayer on the wall of her public school is a prohibited government endorsement of religion.

Since that time, Jessica has received condemnation that tops the ravings she had to deal with while the case was in progress. Her address was posted online. People have cheerfully threatened to kill her. Her humanity has been questioned. For a lovely sampling of the hatred aimed at this teenaged girl, check out the following posts:

JesusFetusFajitaFishsticks has also been tracking the vitriol aimed at Jessica from random sources.

The worst of these comments comes from Jessica’s state representative. It’s less threatening than many comments, but the fact that it comes from someone whose job is upholding the law of our land makes it particularly appalling.

Extra appalling is that it is the oddity of hardcore public secularism in the U.S. that has allowed so many sects to flourish here to the point where their adherents don’t understand the point of the First Amendment to begin with. These people should (on a relative basis, assuming they find value in being able to practice their religion that I don’t) be thanking Jessica instead of reviling her.

They won’t, of course, but they should.

Comments

  1. F says

    Yes, exactly, they should be thanking her. Next time they bring up Creeping Sharia, someone should remind them. With a hammer.

  2. Chris says

    Senator Beth Moura has also had a go at her on twitter, but has deleted most of the tweets now. @_canyouseeme kept screen shots.

    And did anyone see the creepy tweets from @JohnDePetroWPRO to Jessica yesterday? Just weird.

  3. Jonathan says

    Why exactly should ANY religious person be thanking this atheist teen twit of a girl who has just given a crushing blow to the religious freedoms of religious students at that school who may have wanted that prayer to stay where it was? I guess the only person who gets what they want is the atheist. As a religious person I will NEVER thank Jessica nor anyone like her but see them as a clear and present danger to the religious freedoms we have enjoyed in the U.S. for two hundred years. Jessica is the latest threat to religious freedom in America and if people like her have their way we will end up with the American version of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or North Korea or even Cuba.

  4. says

    Why? Because there isn’t a single denomination of any religion practiced in the U.S. that hasn’t been a persecuted minority. Maybe you should study up a little bit on why the First Amendment exists in the first place?

  5. Irene Delse says

    @ Jonathan:

    It’s almost embarrassing to respond to such overblown claims. Cuba and the Soviet Union, no less!

    But there’s one very important point here: “Religious Freedom” includes the freedom of not believing in any religion. Deal with it. Or explain why a Christian prayer in a public school is not infringing on the religious freedoms of all non-Christian students.

  6. Jonathan says

    I have seen that so-called “prayer” that was posted at that school and the only religious element to that “prayer” at all were the words “our heavenly father” and “amen”. Everything else could be the goal of anyone religious or not. So that prayer was hardly a prayer at all. Even if it was a prayer, which in my view it was not, but even if it were it would not infringe on non-believers in any way because after all atheist don’t believe in God so any “prayer” offered to said God would be a prayer to something not real nor would any non-religious person necessarily have to even say the prayer. Religious freedom is just that “Religious” and last I checked there were no laws that required anyone to be a Christian or Budhist or Hindu or Muslim or Jewish for that matter. I certainly would see nothing gained by proposing any such law anyway as all you would get is outward conformity and nothing more. So I would contend that there was no reason why ONE student objecting to a form of religious expression (although as I’ve stated I don’t believe that “prayer” to be remotely religious except for “our heavenly father” and “amen”) should remove the rights of all the other students who wished the “prayer” to remain. Why should ONE person have their wishes granted more validity that the majority? Perhaps the students should have all voted on whether to keep it or not..then everyone would have had a say and not just one girl.

  7. athyco says

    A rewrite:

    May we find each day the desire to do our best,
    To grow mentally and morally as well as physically,
    To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers,
    To be honest with ourselves as well as with others,
    May we help one another to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win,
    Let us learn the value of true friendship,
    Let us always conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.

    Take out “Our Heavenly Father,” “Amen,” and the “Grant us/Teach us/Help us” directed to an entity outside the school, and you’re 100% right. It’s no longer a prayer. So why refuse to make such simple changes, as the school board did? If you are arguing that the religious contingent will be harmed by the change, then you *are* arguing that it is a prayer–with the religious connotation firmly attached. That argument puts you on the losing side of church/state separation. If you argue that no, the religious contingent is not harmed, then why would you be peeved that someone who has claimed harm has had that claim validated by a court of law?

    You never heard about my situation in a small-town Alabama school when a new principal requested that two students say a sectarian prayer at the first assembly of his tenure. That’s because I had court cases like this one to put on his desk the next day. People like Jessica gave me the clear precedents to stand up for myself and for students who’d confided their atheism to me. She’s provided yet another valuable point around which people who wish to enjoy their religious freedoms (of and from) can rally.

    If you can ignore the minority atheist, Jonathan, then what’s to prevent your ignoring the minority Catholic, Baptist, Jehovah’s Witness, or Greek Orthodox in whatever community of Christianity in which they find themselves? Do you think the Danbury Baptists were complaining about atheists in their letter to Jefferson, after all?

  8. Jonathan says

    First of all the only place you would find the separation of church and state is in the constitution of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (an avowedly atheistic state). It is not found in the Constitution (only what Congress cannot do is specified..not what any State or City or even individual may not do). All the First Amendment forbids is that Federal government from establishing a state funded church like existed with the Church of England in the UK..nothing more and nothing less. I see no harm done to Jessica or anyone else at that school unless merely being offended is harm then atheists offend me ever single day they take another breath because if they had the political power to do so they would arrest me and all those like me..throw away the key in death camps like other atheistic states have done in the past. Whather or not the banner was a “prayer” in the strictest sense of the word is irrelevent..the fact that Jessica trampled the rights of everyone else in that school that wished it to remain is what is relevent. I have not, nor would I support, any action against Baptists or Catholics or Jehovah’s Witnesses or Greek Orthadox or any other religious group because to do so would violate the free exercise of religion of those persons..atheists, as non-religious persons, since there is no move to forcibly convert atheists anywhere in the United States are in no danger as no one can convert you against your will..it’s simply impossible. The Danbury Baptists were concerned that the newly formed United States would establish an official government Church like existed in England..that is, as I’ve said, is what the First Amendment forbids..nothing more and nothing less. So finally I will never thank Jessica or anyone like her because people like her are a clear and present danger to the religious freedom of every religious person. Only reason we have religious freedom in this country at all is because atheists lack the political power to remove that freedom..which they would do without hestitation because they believe we’re some cancer to be purged from society.