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Jan 13 2012

They just won’t let it lie…and it’s another poll

Jessica Ahlquist won her court battle to have a prayer recognized as a prayer, but it looks like some people are itching to appeal the decision — they say that all that is holding them back is a lack of money. Hey, how about a lack of reasonable grounds to stand on?

Another poll whimpers in protest. Another poll is being ground into the dirt with the right answer.

Do you agree with the court’s decision?

Yes, the banner was unconstitutional. 80%

No, they shouldn’t have to take it down. 20%


Oh, and take a look at what the gentle, moderate, liberal Christians are saying.

72 comments

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  1. 1
    Rey Fox

    FFS. It’s an ugly banner anyway.

  2. 2
    'Tis Himself

    Now, the school and the city are trying to decide if they want to take the time and money to challenge the removal order.

    The Cranston school committee is expected to decide on Tuesday whether or not to appeal the federal judge’s ruling.

    They’re cutting gifted student classes and even (gasp) sports but they’re willing to waste money to promote religion.

  3. 3
    chigau (違う)

    I think I already voted in that one.

  4. 4
    Peter Cranny

    85% / 14% when I just voted.

    I hope votes from UK are allowed….

  5. 5
    slignot

    I suppose they just haven’t wasted enough taxpayer funds in battling just enforcement of the U.S. Constitution, and need to squander more their education budget.

  6. 6
    magistramarla

    The poll has been properly pharyngulated.
    Keep ‘em coming, PZ!

  7. 7
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    I hope votes from UK are allowed….

    Gee, it was going to be a totally legitimate, scientific poll and then you showed up.

  8. 8
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    The Cranston school committee is expected to decide on Tuesday whether or not to appeal the federal judge’s ruling.

    They don’t have a prayer.

  9. 9
    chigau (違う)

    Ohoh.
    Did I desciencify it by vothing from Canuckistan?

  10. 10
    'Tis Himself

    Did I desciencify it by vothing from Canuckistan?

    Not as long as Harper remains Maximum Leader™.

  11. 11
    TV200

    The poll was at around 50/50 when I answered JT’s call to the poll. I’m very glad it’s going well.

  12. 12
    frankb

    The yes vote is now at 89%. Way to go. If they waste money on an appeal, it’s the kids education that will suffer. How sad.

  13. 13
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Hey, how about a lack of reasonable grounds to stand on?

    “Who needs grounds to stand on when you’re doing the will of one who walked on water?”

    Too bad the fundofucks usually aren’t that clever; at least they’d be entertaining.

  14. 14
    ariamezzo

    The way they see it, they aren’t wasting money on court battles that could otherwise go to education, they’re investing money in a project to help students by instilling wholesome Christian values into them. They fail to comprehend law and good sense. They are our average local government officials.

  15. 15
    a3kr0n

    Ahhhh…. Friday night with Pharyngula, Pharyngula approved links, poll bashing, and minion comments. Life is good.

  16. 16
    Lynna, OM

    One of the worst comments from the kind, gentle Christians claimed that Jessica Ahlquist is “not even human.”

    That’s how it starts. First you strip the other tribe of their humanity …

  17. 17
  18. 18
  19. 19
    craigore

    Those comments remind of a Coctopus vid on youtube. In short, fuck these people.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    petejohn

    Those tweets/FB statuses should be shocking, but they are not for me anymore. Something about joining the tribe of Christianity seems to sap up all the compassion and respect out of people. Maybe it’s the fact that Christians believe they are to be saved and that others choose not to be saved, and are therefore not worthy of respect. I don’t really know and I don’t think it would be that simple, but regardless this kind of attitude is precisely why we godless need to be very loud, very strident, and very clear. Seriously, if the religious would practice their faith in their own home and/or in church and run charities that didn’t also push Jeebus on people, I’d have no problem with them. But they don’t and never will. It’s much easier to act like complete jackasses and act shocked and hurt when called on it.

  22. 22
    Inaji

    Oh, and take a look at what the gentle, moderate, liberal Christians are saying.

    Stupid, bitch, stupid bitch, skunk, psycho bitch, not human, garbage, bitch, hate her, hate her, hate her, we should beat the shit out of her x 10, insane bitch, jump her!, punch her in the face, rot in hell, go to hell, burn in hell, bitch, holocaust all atheists, punch her in the face, bitch, curb stomp the fucking cunt, your address has been posted online, scumbag, god’s gonna fuck with your ass, little bitch, snuff her, stick that bitch, drown that atheist in holy water, Satan’s going to rape her, and some idiot who thinks atheists believe they’ll become a tree after they die, so…chop her down, make paper out of her and print a bible on her!

    Wow. So much for that whole God is Love business.

  23. 23
    raven

    Something about joining the tribe of Christianity seems to sap up all the compassion and respect out of people.

    It’s simpler than that.

    Fundie xianity is based on pure hate.

    No hate = no fundie-ism.

    This was known a century ago. Even the brighter among the fundies know it. Their hates are ever multiplying and this is deliberate.

    It’s just human tribalism. Xians didn’t even invent hate as a motivator and organizing principle. A lot of political movements use it too.

  24. 24
    raven

    Wow. So much for that whole God is Love business.

    The modern god of love has been on the skids for a long time and barely exists anymore.

    The fundies have resurrected the OT Sky Monster.

  25. 25
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    More of that sophisticated theology that just eludes me.

  26. 26
    raven

    Mencken Evangelical Christianity, as everyone knows, is founded upon hate, as the Christianity of Christ was founded upon love.

    I’m not joking or using hyperbole here. Mencken noticed that fundie-ism is based on hate a century ago.

    Bishop JS Spong talks about it a lot in his books. He claims 16 death threats from other xians. PZ is ahead of that by a long ways.

    What is odd, the brighter among the fundies know this. They use hate deliberately. Mixed in with fear, lies, hypcrisy, and ignorance of course, the usual recipe for social conflicts.

    The hate theory is highly predictive which means it is almost certainly correct.

  27. 27
    autumn

    Well, at least there’s progress of a kind: the Christians have moved beyond fatwah-envy right into the mass-issuing of violent fatwahs.
    I guess it’s good that the moderate Christians are flocking to her side to stand against the. . . Oh, wait. . .

    (crickets)

  28. 28
    peterh

    Both polls are heavily tipped in favor of the law.

  29. 29
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    I guess we can’t feel too superior, since if she had been critical of atheists, the backlash would have been just as virulent and misogynistic. The only difference would be that they wouldn’t be threatening her with Hell or gleefully crowing about Satan raping her.

  30. 30
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    @me

    I guess we can’t feel too superior, since if she had been critical of atheists

    Or even put up a picture of herself holding a good book…

  31. 31
    billyjoe

    Now at 94%

  32. 32
    'Tis Himself

    95%. The poll has been successfully pharynguliated.

  33. 33
    johns

    Fox News is nearly there.

    99 vs 87

    http://nation.foxnews.com/prayer/2012/01/12/federal-judge-says-prayer-banner-must-be-removed

    The comments are great. Since its Fox News I cannot tell whether its trolls or real people.

  34. 34
    ordeneus

    Holy crap, those comments are freaking amazing. I forget living up here in Soviet Canuckistan just how brave one has to be sometimes to be an atheist in crapholes like this.

  35. 35
    anuran

    I’m not surprised that Zombie Jew on a Stick’s fan club acted this way. That’s Christian Love and Charity in action.

  36. 36
    matthewhowery

    Hey PZ, Hemet just set up a fundraiser for Jessica. It would be great if you could link and post it!

  37. 37
    Jafafa Hots

    Fox News is nearly there.

    99 vs 87

    http://nation.foxnews.com/prayer/2012/01/12/federal-judge-says-prayer-banner-must-be-removed

    When I tried your link I discovered that my security software treats Fox News’ website as malware.

  38. 38
    jimpalfreyman

    For a bit of a laugh watch this facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/KeepPrayeratCranstonWest/ You can almost see the froth coming out of their mouths and hitting your keyboard.

  39. 39
    Trickster Goddess

    OT, but still on the topic of polls: here’s a poll that thankfully doesn’t need phyrangulating (yet):

    Should transgender people be required to use the bathroom of their birth gender?

    11% Say yes (143 votes)

    88% Say no (1150 votes)

    This is attached to a story of a Tennessee politician who has introduced a bill to require transgender people to use the fitting room or washroom congruent with the gender on their birth certificate.

    Quoth the bill’s sponsor in an eight minute video interview:

    “I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there — I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there — I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry.”

  40. 40
    capnxtreme

    Damn, I thought all those hateful xian Twitters were bad. Then I read the comments on the blog itself, and my brain almost exploded. I had to navigate away from it before further damage was done.

    I find apologia to be one of the most disturbing aspects of religion. Hateful Twitters are one thing, the nature of a Twitter message almost guarantees that not a lot of thought goes into it (not that I’m defending these deplorable fuckwits). But when presumably sincere people start posting nonsense like “these can’t possibly be real Christians” or claiming that it’s the people who are at fault and not the religion, I just can’t bear it. Talk about dangerously missing the point! You can’t simply dismiss this sort of thing.

  41. 41
    tkreacher

    Over the past few years when it comes to this country I’ve gone from general social disinterest to indignation to urge to rise up and do something to, finally, over the past few months, utter disgust and the inclination to just wipe my hands of the whole fucking thing.

    I can’t stand. how religious. this country is.

    And all this religiosity entails.

    The current GOP field with it’s fascist, theocratic, authoritarian, fear-mongering, corporate pandering, lying fuckwittery – and the incredible amount of idiots who support it – have just tipped me past the point of giving a fuck.

    The ignorance and bigotry and tribalism and superstitious belief and anti-intellectualism is just overwhelming.

    Why aren’t there mandatory classes on critical thinking, logic, reason, and epistemology for every student throughout middle and high school? What is the argument against this? How could one argue against such a thing without directly revealing that such education will put a major strain on one’s delusional beliefs?

    Meh. Never mind me, I’m rambling and annoyed.

    heh.

  42. 42
    Aquaria

    Why aren’t there mandatory classes on critical thinking, logic, reason, and epistemology for every student throughout middle and high school?

    Because then the kids come home and question everything the parents are saying and they can’t have that.

    What is the argument against this?

    Wah! I can’t control my property (read: children)!

    How could one argue against such a thing without directly revealing that such education will put a major strain on one’s delusional beliefs?

    “Wah! My children aren’t being mindless robot slaves to my authoritah!”

    Seriously. Parents raise a huge stink about the critical thinking classes making their kids think and challenge everything the parents blather about (and since it’s America a lot of them blather a lot of fucking stupid 24/7).

    Several people here have been teachers, or have spouses who were teachers. who tried to instill even the most basic critical thinking in the children they teach, and the parents go fucking gonzo, every single time.

    Their arguments always boil down to screeching about losing control of their kids and their kids not “respecting” them properly.

    Every.

    Single.

    Time.

  43. 43
    raven

    Over the past few years when it comes to this country I’ve gone from general social disinterest to indignation to urge to rise up and do something to, finally, over the past few months, utter disgust and the inclination to just wipe my hands of the whole fucking thing.

    Yeah, I know the feeling. Five or ten years ago I was an apolitical, apathetic xian.

    My survival instincts woke up and woke me up.

    ..Nearly one-third of middle class suffer downward mobility

    By Tami Luhby | CNNMoney.com – Thu, Jan 12, 2012 12:30 PM EST
    ……..
    Nearly one third of Americans who were raised in the middle class dropped down the economic ladder as adults — and that’s before the Great Recession hit.

    “Being raised in the middle class is not a guarantee that you’ll have that same status as an adult,” said Erin Currier, project manager at Pew’s Economic Mobility Project. “With all the economic turmoil in the past four years, there’s good reason to think that downward mobility is more severe.”

    We are rapidly getting poorer. The kids especially are getting hit hard. All the stats say that. The fed is predicting a recovery from the great recession by 2018. Recently some economists said it would be more like 2020.

    One more Bush clone Tea Party president and it is over with. I’m just going to get a few more cats and a lot more white wine and watch the movie, Soviet Empire Collapse part 2. All civilizations end and the great majority of them commit suicide. I can’t stand in the way of 310 million lemmings.

  44. 44
    raven

    Why aren’t there mandatory classes on critical thinking, logic, reason, and epistemology for every student throughout middle and high school?

    I had one hour of that in HS. One of the young teachers got ticked off about how the media handled reporting the war in Viet Nam after one his former students got killed over there at age 18.

    Best hour I ever spent in HS and I remember it exactly to this day.

    The parents always go berserk when they find out. If you can’t lie to and brainwash your kids, why have them?

  45. 45
    tkreacher

    Aquaria,

    I figured those were the circumstances.

    I can’t imagine being a teacher and having to deal with that. I’d end up fired or my head would ah-slpode.

  46. 46
    Inaji

    Aquaria:

    Several people here have been teachers, or have spouses who were teachers. who tried to instill even the most basic critical thinking in the children they teach, and the parents go fucking gonzo, every single time.

    Yep. It was a while back, on Sciblogs when PZ posted about the ‘teach creationism’ nonsense somewhere (maybe Texas, maybe not, I don’t remember), but a bunch of responses by parents were also posted and one stuck with me: “I don’t send my child to school to think!”

    Some days, it’s hard not to lose hope.

  47. 47
    stonyground

    Back to the original story. Why is this difficult? Putting up posters with prayers on them in US schools is illegal. This is a poster with a prayer on it, therefore it is illegal. Even the pretending that a piece that starts with “Heavenly Father” and ends with “Amen” isn’t a prayer is so transparently false that any idiot could see through it. Knowing all that, how did the stupid thing get put up in the first place?

    I think that the highly abusive nature of the Christians’ reaction proves that they know all this but are unable to admit it.

  48. 48
    Aquaria

    What’s sad, TK, is that by the time most people get any exposure to critical thinking, as adults, it’s too damned late.

    I took a critical thinking class in college a few years back, and I was stunned that people couldn’t get the simplest concepts of what the professor was discussing. They couldn’t get what the logical fallacies were about; you should have seen some of their presentations about a random ten of them–just shocking in how clueless they were.

    The damage gets done early. Some people never get a handle on it, really, if they don’t get a firm enough foundation in it when they’re young.

  49. 49
    Aquaria

    Even the pretending that a piece that starts with “Heavenly Father” and ends with “Amen” isn’t a prayer is so transparently false that any idiot could see through it. Knowing all that, how did the stupid thing get put up in the first place?

    How would they know, when they’ve let themselves be convinced that it’s not religious to vomit “In God We Trust” all over their money, and the dumbass Supreme Court said it wasn’t, either?

    So of course “Our Heavenly Father” and “Amen” totes aren’t religious, either, if outright naming their genocidal scumbag deity on our money isn’t religious. Q.E fucking moron. D.

  50. 50
    Inaji

    stonyground:

    Even the pretending that a piece that starts with “Heavenly Father” and ends with “Amen” isn’t a prayer is so transparently false that any idiot could see through it. Knowing all that, how did the stupid thing get put up in the first place?

    Because (in the U.S.) religion is the norm.

    Of course every one is a Christian! How could it possibly be otherwise? This is a Christian nation! That atheist better shut up, she’s lucky we tolerate her satanist ass!

    And so on. For most Christians, it’s simply unacceptable that someone not buy into the fairytale, let alone have the fucking nerve to speak up about it.

  51. 51
    tkreacher

    Aquaria #48

    Oh definitely. I remember a logic class in college where the simplest concepts seemed to baffle a lot of the students to a shocking degree.

    I recall early on in the class answering a set of logic problems on the board, I mean real basic “is the conclusion true, false, or unknown” type questions, and some of the students turned around and looked at me like Einstein and Hawking had conceived a child together and shat him out in the back of the class.

    It was not flattering – it was horrifying. These were “gimmie” questions. Just introductory stuff.

    It was clear they not only hadn’t had any traffic with basic logic or critical thought in any formal way, but hadn’t even had the opportunity to develop these skills in a natural just-think-things-through-a-little-bit way.

    How do we educate the pre-college youth of our country when teachers aren’t allowed to teach them to think? What is to be done?

    Oh, I know.

    Move to New Zealand or somewhere. :D

  52. 52
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Latest figures :

    *****
    Do you agree with the court’s decision?

    Yes, the banner was unconstitutional = 95%
    No, they shouldn’t have to take it down = 4%

    Judge: School prayer banner must go

    *****

    I think it’s time for a victory song :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBeT4ptY9sY

    Substitute words :

    I fought for prayer but the law won!

    Taking down banners in classroom 1
    I fought for prayer but the law won!
    I fought for prayer but the law won!

    Wanted prayers to push religion dumb
    I fought for prayer but the law won!
    I fought for prayer but the law won!

    Junked the constititution but that was wrong
    I fought for prayer but the law won!
    I fought for prayer but the law won!

    Tea party nuts race is done.
    I fought for prayer but the law won!
    I fought for prayer but the law won!

  53. 53
    billygutter01

    OHFUCKOHFUKEWE’RESCREWEDBEYONDALLHOPEOFREDEMPTIONJEEUBUSSAVEUSFROMTHEEVILINFIDELS!!!

    Shit. Really?

    There are times when I dare to hope that we may be, ever so slowly, creeping away from the brink of theocratic bullying. I’m self-aware enough to chastise myself when I get too optimistic, and sensible enough to moderate myself in moments of pessimism.

    But in this case, I’m baffled; should I take succor in the fact that this blatantly unconstitutional nonsense was struck down, or should I steadfastly stoke the raging indignation that rises in my throat upon reading the comments from the god-botherering majority?

    It’s a triple beam that seems impossible to balance.

    Hand wringing does nothing. Rage doesn’t satisfy. Hell, even the satisfaction of a positive outcome doesn’t “satisfy”.

    I dunno.

    Maybe I’m just tired and cranky.

    Ugh.

    Let’s talk tomorrow…

  54. 54
    Random Mutant

    Move to New Zealand or somewhere

    I don’t care if anyone moves to NZ or not but I’m STILL waiting for PZ to come and do a speaking tour here.

    As is Ichthyic and more than a few others, I am sure.

    PZ, pretty please with cherries on? Or any cephalopod of your choice?

    (Of course, it goes without saying that the beer in NZ is superior to any others you may have sampled in your travels! Artesian water, choice Motueka hops, barley from the Canterbury plains. Nothing finer!)

  55. 55
    stonyground

    The odd thing about this ‘we are a Christian nation’ stuff is that for the US it simply isn’t true. In the case of England on the other hand, it is true, We have an official Church of England and the Queen is the head of state and of the Church. However, we tend to be a bunch of heathens, most of the problems that we have because of Christianity are due to Privilages that the Church has that are left over from the time of Henry the Eighth.

    The accusation that Jessica is a Satanist are funny. Satan is part of the Christian pantheon, people who don’t believe in God, Angels, Jesus and the BVM don’t tend to believe in Satan either.

  56. 56
    Aquaria

    It was not flattering – it was horrifying. These were “gimmie” questions. Just introductory stuff.

    I just had to explain to a nitwit that calling Rick Santorum a frothy mix of lube and fecal matter isn’t ad hominem, that it would have been ad hominem if Dan Savage had said “Rick Santorum is a frothy mix of lube and fecal matter THUS what he has to say about gay marriage is wrong.”

    People are so fucking stupid that they can’t get that ad hominem != insult.

  57. 57
    XXIst Century (now on Daylight Time) Vole

    raven (#43) wrote:

    All civilizations end and the great majority of them commit suicide. I can’t stand in the way of 310 million lemmings.

    May I borrow that for my next T-shirt?

  58. 58
    tkreacher

    Aquaria,

    I. Feel. Your. Pain.

    Sista/brothas from a different motha.

  59. 59
    Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    Except lemmings don’t commit suicide.

  60. 60
    colluvial

    The fact that the school officials don’t edit the banner and rehang it without the overt and gratuitous references to a god is, all by itself, demonstration of the fact that its purpose is religious indoctrination. There’s nothing wrong with any of the goals stated except that the banner assumes they’re only achievable by a religious slave.

  61. 61
    Matt Penfold

    The fact that the school officials don’t edit the banner and rehang it without the overt and gratuitous references to a god is, all by itself, demonstration of the fact that its purpose is religious indoctrination. There’s nothing wrong with any of the goals stated except that the banner assumes they’re only achievable by a religious slave.

    The judge spent quite a bit of his ruling making the point that the fact they did not remove the religious references is evidence they intended the poster to have a religious message, and thus he dismissed their claims it could be viewed as secular.

  62. 62
    sarahvenhartly

    Ugh. Another Rhode Island poll at http://630wpro.com/default.asp, right side, halfway down the page.

    Do you support the Judge’s decision to remove the Cranston Prayer Banner?

    Yes
    46%
    No
    54%

  63. 63
    humanape

    There are Christians who agree our wall of separation between church and state is in everyone’s best interest but those Christians are rare. Most Christians have no problem with forcing all public school students to pray to the dead Jeebus.

    The nasty comments didn’t surprise me. I always knew Christians are assholes.

  64. 64
    Part-Time Insomniac

    I can attest to the fact that middle school students do not get much teaching in how to think critically, much less how to use logic. I always say to Mom, “They have brains, but the problem is they don’t know how to use them.” Having a mind of your own is no problem – in fact, for even a kindergartener, it could prove useful – but as far as I can tell, no one FUCKING TEACHES THEM HOW TO USE IT WISELY, OR EVEN WANTS TO!

    The end result is a pack of mouthy kids who are too crippled to do much else than bleat “Can’t you just give me the answers?” after whining about not being allowed to use a calculator (other than for checking that the answers are correct), and then turn around and squeal that you’re being mean for calling them on some shenanigan that’s either disruptive to the class or could easily have led to someone getting seriously hurt. These are the same ones who will complain about straining one brain cell to think about a simple answer to a science question, and will act horrified if you don’t bother with stuff like Jersey Shore or whatever other “Let’s act like drunk knuckleheads and beat each other to a pulp over dumb shit” show is currently the cool thing to watch. I’m willing to bet they’re also the same ones who try to cover their asses by saying, “hey I was just kidding when I said that, I swear.”

    Oh and I guess it’s fine and dandy for your kids to answer the teachers back, but the parents? Hell no! Fucking double standards…

  65. 65
    Kim

    What I don’t get is that these are teenagers. Aren’t they meant to be rebelling against their parents? Aren’t they embarrassed that they are so enthusiastically trying to enforce the status quo? Especially when it’s quite obvious they *aren’t* the nice kids.

  66. 66
    Randomfactor

    Been reading some of the local-media comments and was delighted to find one that said appealing the verdict would be a bad idea since the online poll he’d seen had been running like 95 percent in favor of the judge’s ruling.

  67. 67
    Randomfactor

    I know it’s a tradition to mock cats and all on this day of the week, but perhaps PZ won’t mind a rare exception:

    http://www.asktazi.com/2012/01/extra-edition-prayer-banner-in-school.html

  68. 68
    Pteryxx

    Ugh. Another Rhode Island poll at http://630wpro.com/default.asp, right side, halfway down the page.

    Do you support the Judge’s decision to remove the Cranston Prayer Banner?

    Yes
    52%
    No
    48%

  69. 69
    RFW

    @ Random Mutant, #54:

    The proper bait to lure p-zeds out of their lairs and into your clutches, there to force them to disgorge their ill-gotten knowledge, would consist of a tank of hungry cephalopods into which plump kittehs are lowered one by one to become cephalopodistical lunches.

    [My own kittehs are glaring at me for even thinking up such a scenario.]

  70. 70
    ricardodivali having sniffles over stiffles

    I find it hard to take these people seriously when they share the same views as a guy who likes to post naked and puts XXX at the end of everything. (Carys, about 20 posts down)

  71. 71
    scottplumer

    Yeah, those were some pretty nasty things people said, but is anyone really surprised? It’s pretty typical Christian love.

  72. 72
    Christoph Burschka

    There are moderate Christians who do denounce this vitriol. That doesn’t cancel it out, but it should not be overlooked. There are ordinary, non-frothing people on the other side: http://www.reddit.com/r/Christianity/comments/ofui5/an_open_letter_to_jessica_ahlquist_from/

    The first few comments on Hemant Mehta’s post (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/01/13/a-fundraiser-for-jessica-ahlquist/) also inspire some hope.

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