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Banner Author Objects to Jessica’s Scholarship

The guy who apparently wrote the prayer on the mural at the high school in Cranston, Rhode Island is hopping mad that a federal judge ordered it taken down. And he’s spewing some serious stupid, especially at Jessica Ahlquist, in a letter to the editor of the Hartford Courant:

I read the article Feb. 26 about a fundraising campaign among atheists to build a $40,000-plus scholarship fund for Jessica Alquist of Cranston, R.I. [news, “Athiest Who Fought School Prayer Banner To Get Scholarship”]

How nice of them. Jessica was duped by her ACLU-leaning father and uncle into bringing suit against the city of Cranston over the display of a school prayer that I wrote in 1960.

Dear Jessica isn’t yet old enough to know the meaning of atheism. She was used (and permanently injured) by powers and ideologies in the name of secular liberal progressivism that she can’t possibly understand at her tender age.

Ah yes, good old-fashioned concern trolling. Of course, you’re just concerned about Jessica. Never mind that you have zero evidence for the claim that she was duped into anything. In fact, it was her idea to challenge the banner. She’s a very intelligent person and quite capable of reaching her own conclusions. As for the meaning of atheism, it’s not that hard to understand; it just means no belief in God.

Furthermore, I’d like to think that, as the author of the moral and upstanding school prayer in question, I’d be entitled to ten or a hundred times as much money as Jessica has been awarded for having torn it down and repudiated decency and morality in our schools. Where are my donors?

Who knows. Who cares. Hemant Mehta created a scholarship fund for her because he wanted to. We created the t-shirts that helped build that fund because we wanted to. Jessica isn’t “entitled” to it, we all did it of our own free will. Others could do the same for you, of course. Maybe you should go to some of the local churches and demand that they give you money. Let us know how that works out for you.

Comments

  1. says

    as the author of the moral and upstanding school prayer in question

    Wait… I thought it wasn’t a “prayer” at all…

    (makes confused face)

  2. mikeym says

    Mr. Bradley states:

    The R.I. judge’s ruling in this case and the subsequent headlines fly in the face of all that is decent and moral about the United States and its Constitution.

    I don’t think Mr. Bradley read the judge’s ruling.

  3. Randomfactor says

    Wait… I thought it wasn’t a “prayer” at all…

    The author was just fooled by the “SCHOOL PRAYER” header at the top.

    He sounds like somebody who peaked at age 12 and is jealous of anyone who’s progressed since that age.

  4. says

    Jessica isn’t “entitled” to it, we all did it of our own free will.

    Read Sam Harris’s latest book on the topic of Free Will. Apparently you didn’t have a choice, Ed. Your brain was way ahead of you, doing the right thing. ;)

  5. rowanvt says

    So someone her age isn’t old enough to understand atheism… but is more than old enough to be a devout and all-knowing christian?

    That means that christianity is childish then?

  6. Chiroptera says

    She was used (and permanently injured) by powers and ideologies in the name of secular liberal progressivism that she can’t possibly understand at her tender age.

    (1) It never sounded to me like Ms. Alquist was “duped.”

    (2) “Secular liberal progressivism” isn’t a derogatory term. It sounds like a mighty fine movement for which Ms. Alquist decided to support.

  7. unbound says

    “…moral and upstanding…”

    Considering the treatment of Jessica by the supposedly moral and upstanding citizens, I think their use of the term should be considered self defamation…

  8. cafink says

    Also, when he wrote the prayer, wasn’t he even younger than Jessica is now? If Jessica isn’t old enough to know the meaning of atheism, how could he have known what he was writing?

  9. says

    I like that both the headline for this letter to the editor and apparently the original headline for the news story to which he’s responding misspell “atheist.” That’s some fine journalism right there.

  10. says

    Furthermore, I’d like to think that, as the author of the moral and upstanding school prayer in question, I’d be entitled to ten or a hundred times as much money as Jessica has been awarded for having torn it down and repudiated decency and morality in our schools. Where are my donors?

    Didn’t the Bible say something about humility?

  11. twist says

    Also, when he wrote the prayer, wasn’t he even younger than Jessica is now? If Jessica isn’t old enough to know the meaning of atheism, how could he have known what he was writing?

    Ah, but that’s different, because, because, god… or something.

    Plus, Jessica has a ladybrain, and we all know that ladybrains are incapable of coming to conclusions all by themselves. They have to be duped into it (I seriously don’t think there would be as many people saying that Ms. Ahlquist had been somehow tricked or manipulated into fighting the banner if she were male. It isn’t just an age thing, it’s a ‘she’s just a silly female’ thing).

  12. michaelraymer says

    The irony is that while he insults Jessica by claiming she’s too young to know the meaning of atheism, it’s clear that even at his ripe old age he’s not quite grasping the meaning of it himself.

  13. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    If Jessica isn’t old enough to know the meaning of atheism, how could he have known what he was writing?

    Clearly, he was “duped, and used (and permanently injured) by powers and ideologies that he couldn’t possibly understand at his tender age.”

    The permanent injury, at least, is evident.

  14. kosk11348 says

    Furthermore, I’d like to think that, as the author of the moral and upstanding school prayer in question, I’d be entitled to ten or a hundred times as much money as Jessica has been awarded for having torn it down and repudiated decency and morality in our schools. Where are my donors?

    Your reward is waiting for you in the afterlife. Promise!

  15. Chiroptera says

    …and repudiated decency and morality in our schools….

    Actually, what Ms. Ahlquist repudiated was the idea that praying to a deity is necessary for decency or morality.

    It was the good people of Cranston and other Christians in the nation who repudiated decency and morality in their over-the-top vicious attacks on a teen-ager standing up for her rights.

  16. Randomfactor says

    Didn’t the Bible say something about humility?

    Why, he’s 100 times as humble as Jessica!

  17. Rip Steakface says

    Too young to understand liberalism and atheism?

    I’m the same age as Jessica – we were born the same year. Given my birthday is early in the year (February), it’s likely that I’m a mere few months (or less) older than her. I don’t think I don’t understand what I believe (or don’t believe) when I produce liberal and anti-religious arguments.

    I’m an occasional commenter here and on Pharyngula. If anyone recognizes me from either, would you say I didn’t reach the conclusions I have on my own, that it sounds like I spout liberal talking points?

  18. Tualha says

    “…Constitution…”

    They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.

  19. Brownian says

    I’m an occasional commenter here and on Pharyngula. If anyone recognizes me from either, would you say I didn’t reach the conclusions I have on my own, that it sounds like I spout liberal talking points?

    You shush unless you’re repeating the indoctrination points you’re given.

    Seriously though Rip, you’re much more thoughtful, insightful, and eloquent than any of these theist blowhards (and a lot of the atheist ones) twice and thrice your age.

  20. says

    “Furthermore, I’d like to think that, as the author of the moral and upstanding school prayer in question, I’d be entitled to ten or a hundred times as much money as Jessica has been awarded for having torn it down and repudiated decency and morality in our schools. Where are my donors?”

    Let’s assume, for the sake of future merriment, that Jessica Ahlquist did what she did because she needed the Benjamins for college tuition and she knew that it would piss off the fundies to the point where she’d get barrels of free ink about that need. It would be richly ironic if she, as an atheist, did exactly what organized religion has been doing since the first shaman said, “I’m a special person, ‘cuz of my close relationship with GOD–you people need to pay my bills so’s I can work with the Skydaddy on YOUR behalf.

  21. janine says

    You are all forgetting one very important fact, all children are and will always be god fearing christians. If a teen gets in in her mind made of mush that she is an atheist, it is because of the ACLU worshiping perverted adults leading her astray.

    Remember, it is a battle of good and evil out there and the children must be protected from ungodly thoughts.

    And the horrors, this mislead teen is being rewarded for being immoral. It is like she is some sort of welfare queen.

  22. brucecoppola says

    He sounds like somebody who peaked at age 12 and is jealous of anyone who’s progressed since that age.

    Bingo.

  23. Lycanthrope says

    If I ever meet Jessica Ahlquist, I’m going to give her a serious bear hug. I can hardly believe all the harassment, verbal abuse, and slander she’s taken.

  24. michaelraymer says

    @ 21, Rip Steakface. I’ve probably read some of your comments but just can’t connect your handle to any offhand. But just based off your comment above you sound perfectly cognizant and self-aware. I really doubt you’re just parroting the views of those around you, since you seem capable of introspection. In fact, you’re far better off than I was at your age. I was still a new-agey woo-woo UFOs and aliens are among us nutter back then, so congratulations on being rational! Are many others your age as rational as you, or do you kind of stand out? I ask because I really do want to have hope for future generations, but I think I’m already turning into a grumpy curmudgeon…

  25. says

    Surely if Jessica isn’t old enough to understand atheism at the age of 16, then Christian’s etc. shouldn’t be proselytising to teenagers and younger kids, because they aren’t old enough to understand religious concepts…

  26. says

    Dear Jessica isn’t yet old enough to know the meaning of atheism.

    Wait, what? I understood the meaning of atheism when I was TEN. Maybe earlier. It meant not believing in something that people talked about but were never able to demonstrate. Just like not believing in ghosts, not believing in Santa, not believing what you dreamed was real, not believing there’s a monster under the bed that’ll eat you when mommy isn’t looking…Hell, my understanding of atheism began when I was five and had to be told that a really cool toy I’d dreamed about was never real.

    It’s real simple: you hear there might be something in a certain place, so you look in that place and don’t find it, and you never see anything like it anywhere else either, so you eventually stop believing people’s stories about it. How old do you have to be to understand that?

    If a teen gets in in her mind made of mush that she is an atheist, it is because of the ACLU worshiping perverted adults leading her astray.

    Whatever happened to demonic posession as the standard explanation? (Then again, these bigots probably can’t tell the difference between demons and the ACLU…)

  27. Cuttlefish says

    Ed, can we please talk to Jenn from Phire Branded Apparel and maybe do something for this poor guy? I’m sure the Christians of Cranston would be proud to buy t-shirts supporting him–maybe ten or a hundred times as many as those of us who bought “Evil Little Thing” shirts. I doubt any of us (or many of us) would buy them, but surely it couldn’t hurt to get the ball rolling for them. All we need is an appropriate design.

    I’m thinking “Bitter Old Thing”.

  28. Chiroptera says

    Furthermore, I’d like to think that, as the author of the moral and upstanding school prayer in question, I’d be entitled to ten or a hundred times as much money as Jessica has been awarded for having torn it down and repudiated decency and morality in our schools.

    And furthermore, seeing how current and former graduates of that high school proceeded onto the most vile and vicious attacks on Ms. Ahlquist, I’d say that your prayer didn’t do one fuck worth of good. Maybe you owe the community a couple of hundred grand, you malpracticing quack.

  29. says

    And furthermore, seeing how current and former graduates of that high school proceeded onto the most vile and vicious attacks on Ms. Ahlquist…

    Have any of the prayer advocates spoken up against such behavior? The evils of bullying really are something a teenager might not fully understand (being a bit more complex than not believing in fairy-tales), so a little adult guidance would be appropriate here.

    These so-called Christians aren’t just working from the mindset of a bully; they ARE bullies, or at least willing supporters of bullies.

  30. tassilo says

    This guy actually complains about duping children too young to understand what they are being taught? Someone once told me proudly that his 3 year old son had learned to say: “Jesus my heart”. He was upset when I pointed out to him that a parrot could probably learn that in far less time. He never caught on that I was talking about programming, and not intelligence.

  31. Doug Little says

    Dear Jessica isn’t yet old enough to know the meaning of atheism.

    Ahhhhh yes but she is old enough to call bullshit when she sees it and since when does atheism have any meaning, it is simply a lack of belief in said bullshit.

  32. machintelligence says

    Re: Jessica being duped by her father or uncle. This sounds like the Christian Patriarchy line: no mere girl could have such an opinion on her own.

  33. exdrone says

    So at the end of the day, this was just a story about an author complaining about not getting properly compensated for his intellectual property. How mundane.

  34. leonardschneider says

    (Pats David Bradley on the head) That’s nice, dear. Oh, and that bell you just heard? That’s the Fame Fairy letting you know your fifteen minutes are up.

    Me, I’m burned out. I am sick to death of whiny, angry, paranoid, sanctimonious noisy little bitches who view atheists as an affront and a threat. Really, what the fuck, man? Is your faith so shaky and tenuous that you need reminders of it plastered on every flat surface?

    Mr. Bradley, it must suck to be you. Going through life frightened of anything that doesn’t conform to your personal beliefs must be a miserable existence. Bullying a teenage girl makes you both a rotten human being and a worse Christian.

  35. kermit. says

    michaelraymer: @ 21, Rip Steakface. I’ve probably read some of your comments but just can’t connect your handle to any offhand. But just based off your comment above you sound perfectly cognizant and self-aware. I really doubt you’re just parroting the views of those around you, since you seem capable of introspection. In fact, you’re far better off than I was at your age. I was still a new-agey woo-woo UFOs and aliens are among us nutter back then, so congratulations on being rational! Are many others your age as rational as you, or do you kind of stand out? I ask because I really do want to have hope for future generations, but I think I’m already turning into a grumpy curmudgeon…

    I was “born again” at nine, of which my preacher grandfather thought good enough to baptize me in that Baptist fish tank in front of the church. I was atheist by thirteen, but, like you, it took a while to drop all of the paranormal nonsense. Another 12 years or so after conversion and I had a pretty good grasp of good science, bad science, and woo.

    The upcoming generation is great! But I am permanently grumpy anyway. As a boomer I was hoping to leave a better planet for the next generation. Instead, I am leaving my granddaughter and Rip Steakface and their friends a dying world. They will need their courage, their love for each other, and above all their *reason to see the human species through its greatest threat in 60,000 years (GW). And in the meanwhile, we have to fight chickenshit little battles over prayer plaques and gay marriage.

  36. coryat says

    Am I the only one who finds this line odd?:

    “Dear Jessica isn’t yet old enough to know the meaning of atheism.”

    Creepy paternalism from an ossified old fool? Check!

  37. dingojack says

    Waaah!
    I’m not involved in this whole ‘prayer’ thing at all.
    WHERE’S MY DONATIONS!
    Waaah! [/whiney Xtian Fundie]

    Dingo

  38. maxamillion says

    Furthermore, I’d like to think that, as the author of the moral and upstanding school prayer in question, I’d be entitled to ten or a hundred times as much money as Jessica has been awarded for having torn it down and repudiated decency and morality in our schools. Where are my donors?

    Hmm, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s (goods)

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