Rhode Island is the birthplace of American religious freedom and the wall of separation between church and state. Sometime between its founding and 2010, however, Rhode Island seems to have forgotten this proud part of its history. That was when a new student noticed a banner at Cranston High School West that read:
Our Heavenly Father.
Grant us 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.
Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win.
Teach us the value of true friendship.
Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.
This student was Jessica Ahlquist, and her challenge to the legality of the banner under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment made history for for her poise and determination–and for the viciousness with which it was met. Jessica is in town for the American Atheists Regional Convention this weekend, and she will join us in the studio to talk about her court case and about how life has been since it was won.
- Ahlquist vs. Cranston, an overview of the case
- “Ahlquist Family Told to ‘Get out of RI’ in Threatening Letter“
- “Banner Author Objects to Jessica’s Scholarship“
Listen to AM 950 KTNF this Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio at 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org during the live show. If you miss the live show, listen to the podcast later.