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High School Atheist Wins Unsurprising Court Case, Gets Death Threats — Why?

This piece was originally published on AlterNet. Note: The college scholarship fund is still being raised for Jessica Ahlquist on the Friendly Atheist blog. Donations of all sizes are welcomed through February 29.)

Jessica AhlquistIf you take away just two things from the story about atheist high school student Jessica Ahlquist, and the court case she won last week to have a prayer banner taken out of her public school, let it be these:

1: The ruling in this case was entirely unsurprising. It is 100% in line with unambiguous legal precedent, established and re-established over many decades, exemplifying a basic principle of Constitutional law.

2: As a result of this lawsuit, Jessica Ahlquist is now being bullied, ostracized, and threatened with violence in her community. She has been called “evil” in public by her state representative, and is being targeted with multiple threats of brutal violence, rape, and death.

Which leads one to wonder: What the hell is going on here?

Let’s get #1 out of the way first. This court decision — that as a public school in the United States, Cranston High School West cannot promote religion, either any particular religion or the idea of religion in general — is, in any legal sense, entirely non-controversial. In court ruling after court ruling after court ruling, for decades now, this principle has been made eminently clear. There have, of course, been some genuinely controversial court cases recently about separation of church and state, which examined previously untested questions and established new legal precedent. But Jessica Ahlquist’s was not one of them. Not even in the slightest. This was a no-brainer. If the school district’s lawyers didn’t uncategorically advise the district that they didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell, and fervently plead with them to concede the case before trial, they should be disbarred. (A PDF of the full court ruling, including extensive citation of clear precedent, can be found on the Friendly Atheist blog.)

For anyone who doesn’t understand this ruling or agree with it, let me take a moment to explain. First of all: No, the majority does not always rule. In a Constitutional democracy, people with minority, dissenting, or unpopular opinions and identities have some basic rights, which the majority cannot take away. If the majority thought that everyone had to dye their hair brown, or that all witches should be burned at the stake, the majority would not rule. Redheads have the right to not dye their hair brown; witches have the right to not be burned at the stake. No matter how much in the minority they are.

First AmendmentAnd the right to not have your government impose a religious belief on you is one of these basic rights. The right to make your own private decisions about religion or the lack thereof, without your government enforcing or promoting a particular view on religion that may or may not be your own, is one of the most central rights that this country was founded on. In fact, it’s the very first right established in the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” As U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux said in his ruling, “When focused on the Prayer Mural, the activities and agenda of the Cranston School Committee became excessively entangled with religion, exposing the Committee to a situation where a loud and passionate majority encouraged it to vote to override the constitutional rights of a minority.”

Oh, and no, this case was not about “history” or “tradition.” Many people opposed to this ruling are making a very disingenuous argument: saying that the prayer in question wasn’t really a prayer, that the religious content wasn’t really religious but was simply “history” and “tradition,” and that it therefore shouldn’t be a problem. Bull. When a public school has a banner in its auditorium beginning “OUR HEAVENLY FATHER” and ending “AMEN”… that’s a prayer. The religious fervor with which the banner was defended attests to that. As Judge Lagueux pointed out in his ruling, “No amount of debate can make the School Prayer anything other than a prayer, and a Christian one at that.” Furthermore:

The Court refrains from second-guessing the expressed motives of the Committee members, but nonetheless must point out that tradition is a murky and dangerous bog. While all agree that some traditions should be honored, others must be put to rest as our national values and notions of tolerance and diversity evolve. At any rate, no amount of history and tradition can cure a constitutional infraction. The Court concludes that Cranston’s purposes in installing and, more recently, voting to retain the Prayer Mural are not clearly secular.

And — very crucially:

The retention of the Prayer Mural is no doubt a nod to Cranston West’s tradition and history, yet that nod reflects the nostalgia felt by some members of the community who remember fondly when the community was sufficiently homogeneous that the religion of its majority could be practiced in public schools with impunity.

And no, this court ruling didn’t take away anyone’s right to practice their own religion, or to express their religious views, or to pray at their school, or even to organize religious student clubs on their school campus. People in Cranston, Rhode Island are still entirely free to do all these things. The ruling simply said that, as a government institution, Cranston High School West is not allowed to endorse any one of those religious views and practices. It said — as has been said again and again and again by the courts in the United States — that the government, including the public schools, should stay the hell out of the question of religion.

Very importantly, this is a principle that doesn’t just protect atheists. It protects everyone’s right to practice their own religion, or lack thereof, as they choose — regardless of whether that religion is the majority or the minority. As someone in a discussion about this case so eloquently pointed out to Christians screaming “Majority rules!”: If you lived in a small town, and dozens of Muslim families quickly moved in and became the majority, should they have the right to post a prayer to Allah in the public school?

So yeah. To anyone with even the most basic understanding of civics and the Constitution, the court decision in favor of Jessica Ahlquist, ruling that her public high school could not have a banner in the school auditorium offering a prayer to the Christian god, was about as surprising as the fact that millions of people enjoy chocolate and think kittens are cute.

So why are so many people so enraged about it?

Have no doubt — people are enraged. Not just disappointed; not just upset. Enraged. Even before the judge’s decision, Jessica Ahlquist had been ostracized, bullied, and even occasionally threatened over her lawsuit. But when the court ruling came down last week, the climate of harassment and hostility against her escalated out of control, into widespread vilification, venomous bile, and explicit, widespread threats of violence, rape, and death. Including the following:

“Let’s all jump that girl who did the banner #fuckthatho”

“I want to punch the girl in the face that made west take down the school prayer… #Honestly”

“hail Mary full of grace @jessicaahlquist is gonna get punched in the face”

“Fuck Jessica alquist I’ll drop anchor on her face”

“lol I wanna stick that bitch lol”

“We can make so many jokes about this dumb bitch, but who cares #thatbitchisgointohell and Satan is gonna rape her.”

“Brb ima go drown that atheist in holy water”

“”But for real somebody should jump this girl” lmao let’s do it!”

“shes not human shes garbage”

“wen the atheist dies, they believe they will become a tree, so we shld chop her down, turn her into paper then PRINT THE BIBLE ON HER.”

“May that little, evil athiest teenage girl and that judge BURN IN HELL!”

“definetly laying it down on this athiest tommorow anyone else?”

“yeah, well i want the immediate removal of all atheists from the school, how about that?”

“If this banner comes down, hell i hope the school burns down with it!”

“U little brainless idiot, hope u will be punished, you have not win sh..t! Stupid little brainless skunk!”

“Nothing bad better happen tomorrow #justsaying #fridaythe13th”

“How does it feel to be the most hated person in RI right now? Your a puke and a disgrace to the human race.”

“I think everyone should just fight this girl”

“I hope there’s lots of banners in hell when your rotting in there you atheist fuck #TeamJesus”

“literally that bitch is insane. and the best part is she already transferred schools because shes knows someone will jump her #ahaha”

“Hmm jess is in my bio class, she’s gonna get some shit thrown at her”

“gods going to fuck your ass with that banner you scumbag”

“I found it, what a little bitch lol I wanna snuff her”

“if I wasn’t 18 and wouldn’t go to jail I’d beat the shit out of her idk how she got away with not getting beat up yet”

“nail her to a cross”

“When I take over the world I’m going to do a holocaust to all the atheists”



Even her state representative, Rhode Island State Representative Peter G. Palumbo, has gotten into the act. He went onto WPRO talk radio to excoriate the ruling (saying, among other things, “we’re crucifying Jesus again”), and to mock and vilify Ahlquist, calling her a “pawn star” (that’s a 16-year-old girl we’re talking about), a “clapping seal,” and an “evil little thing” (later modified to “coerced by evil people”). (Slight tangent: It’s bad enough when ordinary citizens don’t understand enough Civics 101 to know that this ruling was not only correct but entirely uncontroversial. It’s much worse when this isn’t understood by a State Representative, whose job it is to understand the law, and who took an oath to uphold the Constitution. Palumbo’s phone number, by the way, is (401) 785-2882, and his email is rep-palumbo@rilin.state.ri.us .)

What the hell is going on here?

Why has an entirely unsurprising court ruling — on a well-established point of law, based on one of the most fundamental rights established by our country’s Constitution, protecting everyone’s right to practice their religion without government pressure or interference — resulted in such grotesque, hateful, violently threatening rage aimed at a 16-year-old girl, simply for having the temerity to ask her public school to obey the law?

Some of it, of course, is Internet culture, and the anonymity that makes people feel comfortable saying horrible, cruel, threatening things they would probably never say in person. Some of it seems to stem from a grossly underfunded public education system, and the widespread piss-poor understanding of Civics 101 that apparently goes along with it. And some of it, of course, is just generic enforcement of conformity, and generic hostility aimed at anyone who steps outside social norms. (A tendency that’s especially prevalent in high school.)

But some of it seems to have to do with the unique nature of religion.

Religion, unlike any other belief system or social structure, is based on a belief in that which cannot be seen, felt, heard, touched, or otherwise detected by any normal or reliable means. It is based on ideas that have no good evidence to support them, and that by definition can’t have good evidence to support them.

And in a frustrating and exasperating paradox, when people hold beliefs we don’t have good evidence for, we have a strong tendency to defend them more vigorously, more vehemently, and in many cases more violently.

This is something Daniel Dennett pointed out in his book Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. If you see that the sky is blue, and someone else says that it’s orange, you don’t feel a particularly passionate need to defend your position… because it’s freaking obvious that you’re right. You have an easy way of resolving the dispute, and the facts are clearly in your favor. But if you think that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that your faith in his divinity is required for you to get into Heaven — and someone else insists that no, Jesus Christ is not the son of God, there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet — you don’t have any way of resolving that dispute. Neither of you can point to any good evidence showing that one of you is probably right. All you have is your personal feelings and beliefs and wishful thinking, and the teachings of authorities who don’t have anything better to back up their ideas than you do.

So — paradoxically — the less good evidence we have for a belief, and the less defensible it is, the more vigorously we defend it.

And if that indefensible belief is important to us — if it’s a central part of our philosophy, our community’s culture, our consolation in the face of hardship, our deepest personal identity — our defense of it is likely to become even more vigorous. And our need to shut down any contradictory ideas becomes even more vehement. In some cases, to the point of ostracism, bullying, and outright threats of violence.

So when religion is questioned, and the privilege it enjoys is challenged, all too often the answer is, “Shut up.”

That is exactly what the bile and vilification and threats against Ahlquist are. They are not a serious attempt to engage with her on the question of separation of church and state, or even on the question of atheism and religion. They are an attempt to shut her up. They are an attempt to terrify her into silence. And they are an attempt to terrify anyone else into silence who dares to ask questions about religion, to challenge unjust religious privilege, and to insist that the government stay the hell out of their personal religious convictions.

So those of us who care about religious freedom — including the well-established freedom to not have our government impose religious views on us — need to speak out about it. Believers, atheists… everyone. We need to speak out about it. We need to act on it. And we need to support the organizations and the people who are defending it on the front lines, in the face of willfully ignorant and hideously cruel opposition.

(A college scholarship fund is being raised for Jessica Ahlquist on the Friendly Atheist blog. Donations of all sizes are welcomed through February 29.)

Comments

  1. Makoto says

    The most amazing thing to me about this story is Jessica fighting for the law. Wow. I wish I had her guts when I was her age.

    The most depressing thing about this story is the responses I’m seeing from the “They shall know us by our love” Christians. Death threats, threats of violence, criticisms of the scholarship fund, etc. Being moral includes following the law.. which is what this young girl fought for (and correctly won). I wish I was shocked by the Christian responses.. but I’m not. I’m just depressed that humans feel free to talk about someone else that way.

    I believe she’s got a bright future and a sharp mind. Powerful stuff that I personally want to encourage in anyone with such qualities, and I’m very happy that I was able to contribute to the fund to make that happen for her.

  2. Carlie says

    If the school district’s lawyers didn’t uncategorically advise the district that they didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell, and fervently plead with them to concede the case before trial, they should be disbarred.

    The ACLU did, according to this story at Hemant’s. They were told that not only were they likely to lose, but would then have to pay the other side’s fees, and they were given eight months to think about it and hopefully back down. They did not.

  3. tyrant of skepsis says

    Very good, Greta, can’t say it often enough.

    By the way, have we actually stopped burning witches, or do we simply stopped believing that random women could be witches? I’m not sure of that as ever been stated unequivocally :)

  4. Stonyground says

    Jessica didn’t actually challenge these people to defend their Christian beliefs at all. She merely pointed out that it was illegal for the school to endorse them. Are their beliefs so fragile that without some kind of official, though illegal, endorsement they don’t stand up? Apparently the answer is yes.

    “When I take over the world I’m going to do a holocaust to all the atheists”

    Well it is nice to see Christians taking the moral high ground, just by copying that evil atheist Hitler. What? Hitler a Catholic? That can’t be right, Christians would never behave that way.

    In any case, most atheists are people who make a big thing about basing their beliefs on evidence. They can be hoisted by their own petard with laughable ease. No need for a holocaust, just provide evidence for the existence of your god and, hey presto, no more atheists, it’s that easy.

  5. Don says

    Greta, you write, “Some of it, of course, is Internet culture, and the anonymity that makes people feel comfortable saying horrible, cruel, threatening things they would probably never say in person. Some of it seems to stem from a grossly underfunded public education system, and the widespread piss-poor understanding of Civics 101 that apparently goes along with it. And some of it, of course, is just generic enforcement of conformity, and generic hostility aimed at anyone who steps outside social norms. (A tendency that’s especially prevalent in high school.)”

    You’re right, but with an eye toward high school culture, I think that another basic attitude that has inspired the attacks on Jessica is the deep contempt that adolescents tend to feel for the tattletale, the self-righteous goodie-goodie who knows the rules and has no compunction about ratting out her classmates when they pull some prank. That explains, in part, why it doesn’t matter to all the hateful teens that the judge’s decision has ample precedent in the law to support it. In fact, the judge’s strong vindication and Jessica’s being unarguably right in principle only make her position easier to condemn. She’s a rat.

  6. Secular Citizen says

    Great piece, Greta!

    Even as a secular person, I am often surprised how negative the view of non-theist citizens is in the public. It’s ironic, because a huge majority of Americans value pluralism, according to the “What it Means to be an American” study, and even a majority of respondents to an informal MSNBC poll supported the Court’s decision in this case.

    I don’t think the opposition to secular values is as widespread as is implied by the negative media coverage we get, but it can’t be denied that secular Americans have an image problem.

    I think we have a real opportunity to change the conversation and clarify the goals of the secular movement at the upcoming Reason Rally in March. The Brights Network yesterday released their video in support of Reason Rally, and I think it does a good job of running through some of the issues we face and how to address them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI7SAk2hCLU

    Jessica will be there, too, speaking! I’m looking forward to that.

  7. Shea Joy says

    I tried to send an email to R.I. State Rep Palumbo and it was rejected twice, for “banned content.” My email had no objectionable material. This is apparently a generic message for mail that Palumbo doesn’t want to see.

    Copy:

    I don’t know how you got voted to public office, but you clearly have no respect for it, or for the laws of the land. You are unfit for office. When you spoke on WPRO radio denouncing a sixteen year-old girl, Jessica Ahlquist, calling her ugly names, you were employing hate talk. If something were to happen to her, you bear MUCH of the blame.

    This is some of the response the CHILD got, with your encouragement:

    All curse words were redacted by me.

    This hateful garbage was spewed publicly on line.

    I had to remove the curse words, so that you could receive this message. Ironic, isn’t it?

    What is the matter with you? In your own view, who do you think would be the first to denounce you?

  8. Jurjen S. says

    When a public school has a banner in its auditorium beginning “OUR HEAVENLY FATHER” and ending “AMEN”… that’s a prayer.

    But in case that’s not persuasive enough, there’s also the fact it’s titled “SCHOOL PRAYER”.

  9. says

    I have followed this case and Rebecca Watson’s ‘Elevatorgate’, and it seems to me that the attackers have used much the same type of language in attacking both women.

    The attacks on Jessica perhaps came from a broader spectrum of society as Rebecca’s tribulations were more focused from a sub-set of the atheist/skeptical community (+MRAs).

    Maybe I am wrong, but I would like to see a comment from someone who was more closely involved in both.

    Don;t get me wrong, the attacks were all despicable. I’m just wondering on a comparison.

  10. Gregory says

    Rhode Island was originally founded as a haven for non-conformists by Roger Williams, a theologian whose opposition to theocracy got him exiled from Massachusetts (two steps ahead of a legal lynch mob.)

    How times have changed.

  11. says

    peicurmudgeon, you’re right in that attacks on women tend to follow misogynist lines in lieu of argument. No matter which side of politics or religion or whatever issue, misogyny trumps the actual issue. This would look very different if she were Jason instead of Jessica. It would still be hideously ugly, but it would be in a different style.

  12. says

    There is absolutely no difference between the behavior of these ‘christians’ and the behavior of the crazed terrorists they’re so worried about.

    There is absolutely no reason to tolerate any of it.

    I favor publishing the Twitter, Facebook, and email contact information of every person who’s uttered any sort of threat toward Ms. Ahlquist.

  13. Shosh says

    This is utterly appalling – and I write this as someone who grew up Jewish in a small, conservative, heavily evangelical town and can imagine all too well the misery that Ahlquist would draw. To this day, my mother, who still lives there prefers to hide the fact that we are Jewish.

    But some of it seems to have to do with the unique nature of religion.

    I’m not so persuaded that this has much to do with belief in the unseen or any sort of theological belief. It strikes me as almost 99% a group identity issue which would be equally virulent if she were accused of being unpatriotic or anti-team spirit. Based on my own experience growing up, most such “Christians” who acted like this really worship the religion of America, nationalism, and “We’re the top dogs! We’re the best!”

    Of course this can’t be entirely separated from religion, as we’re left with the issue that a) religion tends to provoke such identity markers and boundaries particularly strongly and b) it is one of the identity markers that is socially sanctioned as somehow “higher” and more “pure” than others. Still, I think any real theological statement is incidental in this context. As Don says, it is much more about in-group anger at some one “ratting out” the group or publicly rejecting its values.

  14. Math Teacher says

    YES! THIS!

    I wish I could “like” this article a million and one times. I have such a difficult time explaining to my (Christian) partner why having a school prayer (or having the school allow Gideon Bibles to be distributed, as recently happened in my district) is a tacit endorsement of religion and should not be allowed. He doesn’t see why it should upset anybody because he’s comfortably one of the majority when it comes to religion.

    Greta, you rock. For a long time I had no idea it was “okay” to be an atheist and finding freethoughtblogs (yours in particular) has been such a revelation for me. You have helped turn me into the unapologetic and vocal atheist I am today.

    And your cats are super cute.

  15. davidct says

    I’ve been meaning to join AU for some time now. This issue gave me the push I needed.

    The majority seem to think that Christianity deserves some special entitlement. Faith and belief in the christian god are taken as the norm and provoke a marked response when someone refuses to respect them. Arguments are particularly threatening since most believers know too little about their “faith” to have good answers.

    The more we can actively avoid giving respect to “faith” the better.

  16. andrea says

    Blind ignorant faith deserves no respect and adolescents are not to be given a pass for being stupid and hateful. That will only lead to them remaining stupid and hateful. As an adolescent I knew that bravery and honesty right thing, and these teenie-bigots from Rhode Island can be taught that too.

    and I’m still guessing that the school will not replace the banner with one with the god parts removed since they do indeed think that only magic Christians can have such morals.

  17. echidna says

    As Don says, it is much more about in-group anger at some one “ratting out” the group or publicly rejecting its values.

    Well, partly. Except that the “ratting out” only happened after months after Jessica notified the school that there was a problem. Certainly the rejection of values is a huge part of it. But reading the comments everywhere, one of the themes that crops up consistently is that a mere schoolgirl had no right to expect the school administration to make any changes simply because she asked. She lacked the power to effect change, and the subsequent court win prompted howls of outrage, because this girl who is too young to tell anybody what to do, and not even religious, has got her own way. Who does she think she is? When the florists refused service, comments flew that she didn’t “deserve” the flowers. The scholarship money that is waiting for her riles people further, and many people are saying she should donate that to Cranston High school, to pay for the trouble she caused. It’s a good thing that the scholarship is not directly under Jessica’s control.

    That’s not coming from a high school teen-age social dynamic, it’s a town power dynamic, which is where the Mayor’s comment “evil little thing” comes in.

  18. nemothederv says

    I think a small part of all this vitriol has to do with a group of people who categorically hate all government being reminded that “their” beloved school IS government.

    Some people can’t take hearing bad news.

  19. Hunt says

    I take a bit more of a hard line than you do. It has a lot to do with the fact that she’s a girl, and paternalistic misogyny is making a great resurgence in both Christianity and conservatism. It is no longer unusual to read vile depictions of violence against girls and women on conservative and Christian blogs all over the place, mostly with young, conservative bloggers. Sadly there are also female conservative anti-feminists right up there with the men, using the c**t word, etc. It’s all very depressing.

    Simply stated, what Ahlquist did both upsets their paradigm for how the world should operate and also confirms their fear that feminists are using the “gubmint” to foist irreligion and ungodly egalitarianism on them. It’s not all about her being a girl, but that is most definitely a large part of it.

  20. says

    Why has an entirely unsurprising court ruling — on a well-established point of law, based on one of the most fundamental rights established by our country’s Constitution, protecting everyone’s right to practice their religion without government pressure or interference — resulted in such grotesque, hateful, violently threatening rage aimed at a 16-year-old girl, simply for having the temerity to ask her public school to obey the law?

    The threats and harassment are also entirely unsurprising. The idea that Christians have moral values is a myth.

  21. NotAProphet says

    Peter G. Palumbo ought to be ashamed of himself, for a very many obvious reasons, but not least of all because he is supposed to be a representative for his country, and the eyes of the world are watching. It is a source of hilarity across the globe that a democratically elected official of a country which (justifiably) harps on so much about it’s much-vaunted constitution does not even understand one of the simplest parts of it! If only he had the good grace to resign.

    The vitriol being directed towards Jessica amounts to no less than a hate crime. If this was being directed towards another, less-tolerant, ‘minority’ which springs to mind then I have no doubt the police would be compelling service providers to reveal the identity of the subscribers so that they could face the legal ramifications of their actions.

  22. crowepps says

    The article on this issue published at Huffington Post on 1/27/12 now has an astonishing 27,569 comments as of February 7th with more still coming in.

    She has crediting her with inspiring other students as well.

    “Harrison Hopkins, a senior at Laurens County High School in South Carolina, spoke out against a prayer at his school’s graduation after talking with Ahlquist.

    A similar story comes from Louisiana, where Damon Fowler, a senior at Bastrop High School complained about prayers scheduled for his high school graduation. He asked that they be removed and school officials complied after being warned of a possible lawsuit by the ACLU.”

    http://cranston.patch.com/articles/ahlquist-inspires-two-others-to-contest-prayers-at-their-schools

  23. says

    It always enrages me when so-called “moral Christians” resort to bullying and threatening someone because she made a stand for law and order. It shows that they’re anarchists at heart, just barely restrained. The misogynists, especially the wannabe rapists, really rub salt into that wound. These are the kinds of people I imagine start riots for the sake of lulz and looting.

    I’m glad there was at least one local preacher with the courage and civility to call for non-violence. That exceeded my very low expectations. I doubt many of his followers will listen, though.

  24. says

    @Bronze Dog:
    There were at least 18 prominent Christian leaders who spoke publicly for the media in support of Ahlquist and against the vitriol, co-organized by a prominent religious organization http://news.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/2012/01/ri-religious-le-1.html.

    I suspect that they represent the majority view.

    As assiduously as most nontheists resist being branded by the most negative among us, we must also recognize our allies “across the fence” of belief divides, give credit where it’s due, and avoid making the category error by assigning to all of any group of people the attributes of any chosen subset or complement of them.

  25. says

    I still don’t get why the prayer banner is considered such a big deal by the atheist community. I understand that the constitution forbids any endorsement of a religious point of view by a publicly funded institution. But I don’t see why it should be a legal issue for a school to do that. So what if the school endorses Christianity? What is the school actually *doing* that hinders the students or faculty? What rules or policies are the students expected to follow (or activities in which they are expected to participate) that are religious in nature? What rights are being infringed upon by the banner? What can students do without the banner that they couldn’t do with it? What harm does the banner cause by its mere presence on the wall?

  26. carlosmoya says

    @anthonysaviano 31:
    So you don’t get why it’s a big deal. Right. You don’t get why OUTRIGHT VIOLATING THE MOTHERFUCKING CONSTITUTION is a big deal. You don’t understand why explicitly infringing the constitutional principle of Separation Between Religion and State contravenes Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yeah.

    Right.

    Get out of this country.

  27. hoon says

    I’m a Quaker attender and a theist but
    “When a religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself, and when it does not, and God does not take care to support it so that it’s professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, ‘this a sign, I apprehend, of it’s being a bad one”
    Benjamin Franklin

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  1. [...] who was in Pittsburgh in the fall of 2010, is one such person.   Her latest column asks why there is so much anger in Cranston, Rhode Island, directed at 16-year high school student, Jessi….  Jessica was the brave soul who pointed out to the school board that a religious banner in the [...]

  2. [...] os ateus – como impedindo estudantes ateus de faculdades de organizar clubes e abertamente assediar moralmente os ateus, e leis de blasfêmia em teocracias que colocam ateus na prisão e até os mesmo executam. [...]

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