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Oct 14 2011

Fox News Commenters Hate America

This isn’t religious, it’s merely tradition
I’m certain our case will be met with approval
A secular prayer—just a trivial thing—
So we’ll fight tooth and nail to prevent its removal

The prayer was a gift from a class in the sixties
Its place in tradition just can’t be denied
This isn’t religious! It’s all about freedom!
And we’ll fight, with our secular god on our side

For decades, the mural’s been there in the hallway
And no one—not one—had complained it’s religious
The taunting and threats that this Jessica’s getting?
It’s her fault alone, cos she’s so damned litigious

She’s out for attention! That’s all that this is!
The god-hating liberal, atheist slut!
We good Christian people should teach her a lesson
How sometimes it’s safer to keep your mouth shut.

How dare she insult us? How dare she mock God?
How dare she belittle the prayer in the hall?
How dare she believe that the law’s on her side—
Remember… this isn’t religious at all!

Angry rant, after the jump:

So, clearly, this is a continuation of the story of Jessica Ahlquist, the bravest girl in Rhode Island. The story has hit the national news now, so we can play my favorite game of “compare the comment threads”. I like to dive in–none of this getting toes wet first business–so it’s off to Fox News. I must compliment the readers of the Providence Journal; compared to the Fox News commenters, ProJo commenters are a breath of fresh air. Fox News commenters are… by and large, predictable. There are a small handful of people whose comments reflect an understanding of the actual case and law, but they are rare oases in a desert of stupidity.

I started out laughing. I really did. Out loud. Scaring the cuttlecats. I mean, how can you not laugh, when you compare the pragmatic protest that Jessica represents, with this:

Wouldn’t it be neat if all Christians all over the world united to pray for this teenager. Her name is Jessica Ahlquist. I promise to pray for her daily for the next 30 days. If you are with me pleasecopy this and put this as your FB status. It would also be neat that a girl who tried to take prayer out of school managed to get hundreds, thousands, or even millions of Christian’s to pray for HER.

Yes, let’s all pray for her. And then… wait.

Get right on that, would you?

After that great start, the stupidity just kept coming. It is quite clear that the commenters have no idea about the issues at stake, and they really don’t seem to care. It’s all about her attention-seeking; it’s all about an individual trying to deprive a Christian majority of their rights. For a network that features American flags as prominently as they do, Fox is doing a poor job attracting readers that actually understand the law of the land. There is a history of establishment clause cases; Jessica knows this, and Fox readers do not. And again, do not seem to care. When the occasional commenter brings it up, they are accused of being libtards, aclu lackeys, godless evolutionists (seriously, in the comments on this story, I swear to you, some pinhead actually wrote “if we descended from monkeys, how come there are still monkeys?”).

And then I read this:

I say just take her out to the parking lot, put on some gloves so as not to leave any marks, and just b e a t her selfish little a s s for her. If she tells on you, b e a t her a s s again. What have you got to lose? I can guarantee that throwing bibles at her isn’t going to help.

And this:

She should be removed…PERMANENTLY…Nothing here but a wannabe future aclu w h o r e….

They are talking about a 16-year-old girl. A five foot tall girl.

It turns my stomach.

PZ mentioned the catch-22 in the ProJo story; it seems to me the mural’s defenders have one of their own. Is the mural secular? Trivial? Not religious at all? Then it’s really not worth defending (as evidenced by the painting over of another mural in the same school district). Would painting it over be an affront to believers? Then it’s in violation of the establishment clause, and is clearly unconstitutional.

But we know what Fox commenters think of the constitution. Nothing at all.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    drksky

    Arrgghghg!!! Why do sites like FOX make it so damned hard to view the comment threads from beginning to end!?!?!?!

  2. 2
    Worldtraveller

    I have been saying the same thing for years, about the continued lame copouts that the SCOTUS and lower courts use to justify leaving so much of the religious content around (that’s mostly from the 1950s).

    If it’s trivial (see, e.g. ‘ceremonial deism), then the religious godbots shouldn’t be bothered, right? Clearly, based on the outrage that occurs any time someone mentions getting the Pledge of Allegiance back to its original state, it is clearly more than ceremonial. The fact that both sides agree to this one point is also undisputed.

    Just don’t tell that to the courts….

  3. 3
    BioGirl

    As much as I am for freedom of speech, these hateful comments make me question where the heck I am!

  4. 4
    BinJabreel

    I think the reason they make it hard to see them all at once is so that it’s harder for us to see the really embarassing parts, and so that any cogent, thoughtful and evidence-based responses to the crazy get shuffled down into the sea of bile and hate so the faithful never have to be exposed to them.

  5. 5
    Glodson

    Okay, the praying thing is silly. But at least the idea is there is “hey, if she comes to understand God, she’ll understand why she’s wrong.” It is a comment that can be laughed off. Sure, it would be better if one could apply reason to show that Jessica is in the wrong. But Jessica isn’t wrong, so it would take a miracle to show her to be wrong. It isn’t a call to violence. If all the comments were like that, I would feel a little better about humanity.

    The calls to violence against a young girl make me sick. And really anger me. That is disgusting. That is sickening. Yes, we have freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean all forms of speech are protected. Those are fucking threats. Those are people that are diseased. It is one thing to oppose a person’s stance. That’s a part of life. That’s fine. But to threaten another human with violence because you don’t agree with their point of view, that’s monstrous.

    Jessica just wants her First Amendment Rights respected. If you are a theist and don’t think her rights are being violated, that’s fine. You’re wrong, but you are allowed your opinion. But if you feel that you can talk about beating her, killing her, and otherwise attacking her, you are a fucking evil little bastard.

  6. 6
    don Roberto

    I’m a theist. I’m also slightly rabid about the Constitution and freedom of religion. Mine is a minority religion, but my parents taught me about justice, equality, fairness, and freedom of speech and religion (they raised me Christian, too, but it didn’t “take”). I used to live about a hundred miles from this brave young woman, and I wish I still did so I could go shake her hand, and offer to escort her to and from campus, too, if she felt threatened.

    If (inconceivably) mine suddenly became the dominant religion tomorrow, I’d still believe in the things listed above, because I’m an American, too. Everyone does better in an atmosphere of freedom, but these oh-so-brave-on-the-Internet (brave enough that they want to beat up a fifteen-year-old girl) vermin don’t get it. They don’t understand that if the government gets to push a particular religion, there’s no guarantee it’ll be theirs. And even if it is,there’s no guarantee it’ll be their sect. If they think once everyone is Christian then everyone will join hands in a big ol’ Kumbaya sing-along, they haven’t been paying attention to history. Oh. Right. Never mind.

  7. 7
    Trebuchet

    “Fox News commentators hate America.”

    Fixed that for you. They really do; they just don’t know it.

  8. 8
    Cor (formerly evil)

    don Roberto:

    Zoroastrianism? It’s Zoroastrianism, isn’t it? It would actually be pretty cool if that became the dominant religion here.

  9. 9
    plutosdad

    Ironic this is happening in Rhode Island, the colony that was the very model of secularism, founded in part by Baptists fleeing persecution by Puritans, and allowed Indians and Muslims to follow their own religion unlike the surrounding colonies. These Christians really need to learn some history.

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