That Christian compassion

Jessica Ahlquist may have won her legal battle to remove an unconstitutional prayer banner from her public school, but that doesn’t mean she can finally resume her everyday life. No, now she’s receiving horrible comments from fellow classmates, community members, and other angry Christians who are very, very offended that their religion no longer has the special status to be forced upon others. There’s the general anti-atheist remarks:

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

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

“Jessica Ahlquist may have won her case, but she’s going straight to hell. #Godovereverything”

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

And worse, the threats:

“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!”

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

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

“Nothing bad better happen tomorrow #justsaying #fridaythe13th”

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

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

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

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

“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”

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

“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”

“lol I wanna stick that bitch lol”

“nail her to a cross”

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

The full list can be found here. It doesn’t include the comment where someone posted her home address with a wink and a nudge.

I feel ill after typing these up. These threats are made toward a 16 year old girl because she dared to stand up for her constitutional right to not have the government endorsing a religion. What’s worse, much of the bile is coming from her very own classmates. Not only does this make the threats toward Jessica very real, but it just depresses me. How are teenagers so full of violence and hatred?

Oh right. Religious brainwashing by their families and communities. Yeah, about that idea that spirituality develops character…

Jessica, if you’re reading this – you have our support. We are here for you. You’ve been so brave through this whole ordeal, and you don’t deserve the treatment you’re getting. But know that you have won the battle as well as the war. Because while you’ve gained the respect of thousands and shown yourself to be a smart, humble, brave, and genuine individual, your classmates sit stagnant in their small mindedness. While you will rise to the top, their hatred and ignorance will keep them at the bottom. If they’re not jealous, they should be.

Thank you for making these sacrifices so future students won’t have to.

Feel free to leave a message of support for Jessica here, and please consider contributing to her college scholarship fund.

And if anyone ever tries to claim that atheists face no discrimination in the US, please show them these threats.


  1. says

    Do.Not.Comprehend. I’m especially worried about people targeting her sister, from what she’s said on Twitter. What is wrong with people?

  2. says

    The cretins making those vile comments should be ashamed of themselves. I hope Jessica is able to ignore them and go on being an incredible young woman who inspires us all.

  3. Diane says

    Are we going to need an “It gets better” campaign for atheists, too? What’s especially aggravating is that this isn’t really an atheism issue but a Constitution issue. It would be really really nice if some religious folks came out and acknowledged that her cause was right and the school was wrong and that they support and defend her. Where are those people?!

  4. Nerdista says

    I’d like to say it’s unbelievable but I’m not really surprised. It is depressing and difficult to understand. So much vitriol in the name of god. Sad.

  5. greg says

    All the threats are in direct contradiction with the sprit of the banner they’re angry about being taken down. That’s the part that is the most bizarre to me. They’re effectively saying “Let us keep up our religious banner about love and kindness… or we’ll kill you”

  6. bpmurray says

    What on earth is happening to the US? The response to this sounds more like what one might expect in Pakistan, rather than the country that would like to consider itself the moral compass of the planet. I’m in Ireland & used to think that we were priest-ridden (unfortunately in multiple ways), but the US has descended into a morass of Perry/Bachman/Palin religion-motivated bigotry and intolerance. This case has unfortunate similarities to the Danish Mohammed cartoons, except the target this time is a 16-year-old kid!

  7. says

    I totally support the idea of an “it gets better” campaign for atheists, but I think we first need evidence that adult atheists get treated better than kids and teens. :(

    Jessica, I’m so sorry about what you’re going through. I hope you know that there are tons of us all around the country (and dare I say the world) who are immensely proud of you and support you in all you’ve done here.

  8. says

    It saddens me beyond words that anyone should have to face this sort of hatred, especially for merely doing what is right.

    Jessica you have my full support. In a country that is fast descending into a third world theocracy, people like you are vital. You are the reason sane people around the globe retain hope for Americans. Keep up the good work.

    Sydney, Australia

  9. says

    Jessica, if you are reading this you have my full support as well. What you did was very brave, and very much needed in your community.

    I never realized that bullying was considered a foundation of strong moral character.

  10. says

    If I give in to the urge to sound off on them as torridly as they sounded off on her, I will have lost the advantage of being on the Side of Good.

  11. ewan says

    Or she could just give it up as a bad job – there are whole other continents to live on that aren’t quite so jam packed with total nutjobs.

  12. Joe says

    Why aren’t you posting the names of the people posting these comments? Get them over to 4chan or someone else who might actually do something about these ignorant fuckwads.

  13. Walt Yarbrough says

    Holy crap.. I assumed this was Bible belt, but this is driving distance from me.

    Crazy. Jessica, thumbs up – wish I could tell you that directly.

  14. says

    I saw Jessica speak at the SSA conference, and she was a real, humble human; I’m glad she’s won her suite. Now, for the threats. These are the attitudes of young people who have been taught they’re very way of life is being threatened. I remember, when I was still a Christian growing up, we were taught that everyone not a Christian was repressing us. It’s a crazy doctrine, but it’s very common among the Protestants in the US. The people making these comments are (mostly) young; it doesn’t make them right, but it doesn’t mean they can never, ever change. In exposing this bigotry, I feel uncomfortable with Jen and others saying these people will always be wrong, will always be close minded. They’re wrong now, and the threats are terrible, but turning this into us-verse-them-forever type conversation doesn’t do anything to create open minded people.

  15. Eddie Van Helsing says

    It’s too bad the idiots who bully Ms. Ahlquist are too ignorant to realize that there are no gods because I killed them all.

  16. says

    The more I read about cases such as this the more I realize that many Americans seem not to care about their constitution at all. It only seems to matter when they might be able to use it to get their way, but any sort of general principals that one might get from it are unimportant and they certainly do not cover people you do not like.

  17. andcap says

    Dear Jessica: I don’t know you, but I’m proud to know that there are teens out there like you who have the courage of their convictions. I am so sorry that you have to deal with viciousness and ignorance like the examples here. My best wishes to you and your family.

  18. Moribund Cadaver says

    The United States has been off the rails for a long, long time with regards to religion, but half of the country never saw it coming.

    Crazy threads woven into American style Jesus Fetishism Christianity have well and truly indoctrinated several generations already.

    Now that America’s sense of self and place in the world has been well and truly shaken, people are behaving as people do when threatened: they fall back on whatever panic protocols they’ve been educated with. In the case of people from backgrounds that don’t promote critical thinking, and indoctrinate them with a warped view of their place in the world, their panic protocols are ugly and dangerous.

    There’s a species of Christian in the US who is every bit the equal of any stereotype of an Islamic fanatic… believing they are an loyal angel of their God, while simultaneously sectioning their mind and moral compass off, in order to allow justfication for complete empathetic rejection of people designated to be not one of their kind. They will praise God, praise Jesus, and praise “love” with one hand, while holding a gun to the head of anyone their version of dogma says is the enemy, with the other hand.

    Their brand of “Christianity” is the same strain that’s been brewing in hayseed, hillbilly ignorance for generations. You’ve heard about it, without recognizing its point of origin, every time you read another story about an upstanding Christian man who espoused brothership and love is arrested for beating his wife and children to death in righteous fury.

    These were the warning signs, that many turned away from in horror and pretended were an aberration. Lone madmen… impossible to explain or understand. Sadly, they’re all too explainable.

    Now the virus has gone mainstream. From triple-jawed redneck politicians to crowds of angry, insular, farmbelt folk… to scary leaders of movements that outright promote hate and prejudice that will sit across the table on live television from the very people they slander and say that they’re agents of evil with the glazed look of calm madness and complete detachment in their eyes.

    The show’s just getting started folks.

  19. MichaelD says

    Don’t you just feel that highly praised christian love flowing off through you. Loving the sinner while hating the sin. Turning the other cheek in the face of this assault on their beliefs.

    I tell ya it sure feels warm…. or maybe that’s the torches.

  20. misslilievans says

    I’m a Christian myself, and I don’t see how what Jessica did was wrong. It is within the fabric of this country that nobody should be discriminated against due to their religion, and separation of church and state exists for this reason. Is it a public school? Then one religion should not be touted over any other. The end.

    To all those “Christians” who say she is going to hell, or are thinking or planning hateful things, it is not your place to judge this girl. If God has a problem with it, he’ll take it up with her personally, eventually. Turn the other cheek and show some compassion and understanding for a girl who doesn’t want Christianity shoved down her throat any more than you would want an Islamic, Jewish, Hindu (and so on and so forth) prayer displayed in your/your child’s school.

  21. peterh says

    Good thing the banner is down. It’s abundantly clear none of those attacking Ms. Ahlquist had any intentions of following its precepts anyway. The longer these IDjits carry on, the more they shot themselves in the foot – both feet – and show themselves to be delusional into the bargain. A clearer example never existed of why a theocracy in this country would be a disaster beyond imagining.

  22. otrame says

    Jessica, I am so proud of you. Please hang in there. The kids who are writing such awful things are reacting to how their parents have reacted. It’s likely that there are quite a few who think the hate is wrong, but are too afraid to say so out loud, and you can understand why. Many of the kids sending the awful messages will come to understand just how wrong they are for treating you like this. Of those, some will try to bury the memory of this hateful behavior, but a few will use the shame of it to fuel their own campaigns to lessen the effects of toxic religion.

    You have done a good thing here. Of course “no good deed goes unpunished” so you have some bad months ahead of you, but eventually you’ll get to college and out into the real world. Your courage and strength will take you far.

  23. Buffy says

    It’s amazing how vicious the “moral” and “loving” Christians become when their unearned, undeserved privilege is challenged.

  24. says

    Yeah, I think you hit on it. The conservative backlash in America is due to the fact that America’s place in the world has been shaken. Monotheism is about one god, one way of life being correct, and modern Christianity has added the idea that this way of life is under attack, even though it’s not. This has created a backlash against secularism that is unsustainable for the population. America is becoming a land of ‘regional’ nations. You see this in the increased battles among the state legislatures. Without a strong national government, the states will do what they want, and this is why you see such radicalism at the state and local level. Jessica’s case is just another example of this backlash in local politics that has the nasty addition of the fetishisation of the Constitution and ignorance about the founding of America.

  25. Christine McQueen says

    Right here is one Christian who thinks Jessica was right and those attacking her are wrong. This 61 year old simply does not understand how so many Christians have missed the most important parts of Christ’s teachings – leave all judgments up to God, treat others how you wish to be treated, and love your neighbors as yourself. And by ‘neighbors’ He meant EVERYONE.

  26. David says

    If you really want some horrific comments, you should see the type of things posted by atheists (And by “atheist”, I mean liberal NewAge religious fanatics, since that is actually what they are) under any yahoo article that even mentions the word Catholicism. You see, liberals have an immense amount of seething, blind, monkey-like hatred for Catholics. This is mainly because the liberal NewAge belief system says that their bigotries are righteous and justified and therefore they are heavily encouraged rather than appropriately shunned. Anyway, get over yourselves and just embrace the fact that you are card carrying members of the most fanatical religion on Earth.

  27. ruthshaver says

    Here’s another Christian who is thankful for Jessica and all who have her courage to stand up to ignorant bullies. I have to keep reminding my congregation that we MUST be on the side of separation of church and state else someday the fact that we are supportive, open, and welcoming of a wide range of religious belief and ideas will make us a target, too. I find it morally repugnant and spiritually draining to know that people who profess to believe in God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit can still, in this day and age, believe that hatred and violence is an acceptable response to things they fear. My brother, who has lost his faith, calls these folks the Christian Taliban. I’m not so sure anymore that he’s wrong, sadly, and I am, as an ordained female minister in a liberal denomination, just as much a target as he already is.

  28. says

    Dog forbid something should ever happen to this brave girl. With all of these damning comments from clueless bible thumpers, there should be enough evidence to show just how hateful and bigoted they can be. It would be in their best interest at this point that no harm comes to this brave and courageous young girl or it will be a wound to the christian faith that will spill out more atheists.

  29. Lyzz says

    Jessica, you rock! If you’re reading this article and the comments, know you have support! You’re so brave and you’re loved by people who don’t even know you, and yes, we’re atheists. Wasn’t there a scripture in the bible that said “love thy neighbor”? Well it looks like the above x-tians are not doing much loving….

  30. says

    Really David? (January 13, 2012 at 7:23 PM)

    Wow. Talk about denial. What we said wasn’t so bad because what some of you said before was worse. That’s some ‘logic’ you’ve got there. Threats of violence, abuse and intimidation against a 16 yo girl is reprehensible. From anyone. Least of all people who profess to be ‘christian’. There is no excuse and offering up a limp ‘but you did worse’ defence is despicable. Lastly Atheism is not a religion, to be a religion you have to worship a ‘deity’ or ‘god’. Atheists believe in many things, but a supernatural god is not one of them.

  31. Reason4Kenya says

    As a person that has encountered a lot of vitriol on my account of lack of a moronic superstition, Jessica inspires the hell out of me.
    The hate being directed at her cannot possibly be justified. And this affirms something I have said quite too often: that in religion, oppression refers to the denial of a special status. Stay strong, Jessica.
    Nairobi, Kenya.

  32. says


    Please take heart. Most people in the world do not want to accept the reality that you have embraced. By the act of accepting this for yourself you have shown a greater courage than most. By the act of expressing this openly to the rest of the world you have shown greater courage than most throughout history.

    You have chosen a path of reason and real understanding. A path that leads to true adulthood. They have chosen paths of emotion and superstition. Their fears drive them to lash out at anything not encompassed by their narrow universes. While the way people express their fear and non-understanding may not change, bear in mind that it IS fear. They are as children, and allowances must be made. One does not hate a child for being childish, that is their nature until they grow.

    Know that you are not alone. There are others who, like you, have openly expressed to the world that they will not submit to those who would keep us blind and immature. We are not many, but by the courage of our convictions we are mighty.

    You have my complete respect and admiration.

  33. BCskeptic says

    The religious right and their cancerous effect on the minds of young people in the U.S. is even more volatile than I could ever have imagined, sitting up here and watching from the north. It is bloody scary.

    They need to give their fucking heads a collective shake. To target this brave young woman in this vitriolic manner is morally unconscionable and disgusting. Shame on you you dumb fucks.

    Jessica, if you read this, you are on the side of truth, justice, and freedom. You have my full support. You are a hero. Don’t forget that!

  34. dbdeg says

    I read through all those comments, and they’ve literally made me slightly nauseous. I thought Christians were supposed to believe in good will towards one’s fellow (hu)man and “love thy neighbor” and all that jazz. And a very good portion of Christians may believe in that. But not these parasites. The only thing they’re proving is that having religious faith does not automatically mean being more compassionate, nor does lack of faith make someone inherently hateful. I wouldn’t dream of stooping to the level of these so-called “Christians” who would rather threaten someone with violence than open their minds just a tiny bit, but I do hope that their hate is not contagious. Even more than that, though, I hope that these ignorant few are just a very vocal minority, and that in spite of their claims that “everybody hates her,” that she has a handful of supportive friends at home who have more faith in her than her enemies have in some God who apparently loves only them. My wish for Jessica is that she remain strong, that she refuse to back down, and that she remember that she is loved and supported by more people than she knows.

  35. Jon Lski says

    Way to go Jessica! There are a lot more free thinkers out there than you may know at this time. Peer pressure is a horrible thing and you are setting a fine example in doing what is right. The school system and those “Christians” should be ashamed. It’s too bad that sooo many children suffer the indoctrinated brainwashing their churches insist on inflicting upon kids before they are old enough to think logically and rationally. It addles their minds and leads them to lash out at anybody who does anything to contradict or point out the illogic of their faith.

  36. thewordofme says

    Ahh, the lovely caring compassionate Christians are out in force it seems.

    They are only doing what their religion teaches them to do. They show the same compassion to a child that their God shows to those who do not ‘adore’ him.

    The Christian religion is not unlike the Islamic one in that they both seek world domination for their God and to disavow him in any way is sacrilege and blasphemy. The Christians have mostly secular governments so they are not allowed to kill their detractors anymore, whereas the Muslims usually have the government behind them if they kill ‘infidels.’

    The Biblical God and the Judeo-Christian, Islamic religions terrible inventions that should be thoroughly debunked and ridiculed…they are truly evil…and they teach their followers to be the same.

  37. Julia says


    The kind of vicious, mindless hatred being spewed so forcefully from those comments, most especially the *personal threats against a 16-year-old-girl* by people who purportedly believe in a God who promotes love, peace, kindness and understanding, is abhorrent under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

    Whether or not people claiming to be Atheists have said terrible things against Catholicism on other websites has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with this. At all. End of story. Using that as some sort of “yeah, well, this is peanuts compared to that” excuse is weak, and ultimately only displays the “We’re never wrong” mentality that is the root of what is so broken about this particular brand of “Christianity.”

    I abhor hatred spewed against Christians by other religions just as much as hatred spewed by Christians against others.

    The point is, this is not a finger-pointing exercise. “They were worse,” and “they did it first” don’t matter here. This kind of hatred and violent outpouring is wrong. Period. There is no condoning it, and no justifying it.

  38. Bethany says

    Jessica, you are so brave to face this at such a young age. It is so sad that your classmates would react so poorly to you standing up for something guaranteed you in the constitution. It’s not like this is a groundbreaking, unprecedented case. Hopefully one day these “Christians” will understand the true meaning of Christianity. The two greatest commandments: Love thy God with all your heart and soul and love thy neighbor as thyself. Perhaps they’ve forgotten, but perhaps one day, when the negative attention is focused on them, they will remember. Stay strong dear. We are with you!

  39. Paul Sayen says

    It is appalling that immigrants are required to know more about our constitution and how this country came to be than those born and educated in this country. It is shameful that Canadian schools teach more about our constitution and how this country came to be so that its citizens know more than those born and educated in this country. Have any of these religious zealots ever heard of “separation of church and state”? There are states in this formerly “great union” who have omitted science from their curriculum. They teach the bible in their classrooms as the end-all-be-all text explaining how we came to be. It is embarassing. It is frightening. The Church of England (that this country escaped from) has nothing on modern day “christianity”. And, now the right wing repub-corporation-licans are actually supporting a re-write of the bible to remove so-called “liberal” texts and verbiage from it. Brainwashing at it’s finest. Man will be man’s own undoing.

  40. Azkyroth says

    Because if people who do horrible, hateful things that cause harm ever suffer any consequences for it that’ll mean we’re no better than they are. Or some shit like that. >.>

  41. Azkyroth says

    (I was, of course, replying to:

    Why aren’t you posting the names of the people posting these comments?


  42. Stan Brooks says

    It seems that there should be a law against making such threats online, and if not it is obvious that one is needed, though how much good that would do is questionable. I am impressed by Jessica’s bravery in the face of so much hatred, but it saddens me that this is the world that we live in. I wish I could do more than say I have the greatest respect for her and fervently hope that no harm comes to her or her family. What vile creatures so many of the so-called religious are.

  43. Utakata, yes that pink pigtailed Gnome says

    College scholarship fund?

    …I think she needs to air lifted to a safer country first. :(

  44. Andre says

    This is not what christian faith is about! I am a born again believer in Jesus Christ and i stand by this brave young lady Jessica 100%. The remarks by so called “defenders of faith” go completely contrary to the faith revealed in the Bible. Even if the constitution did say that the church and state should be united, i as a christian would still oppose such union and so would anyone else who knows anything about the word of God. People that suggest any unity between the state and the church do not understand either of the two. The evil remarks are not a true representation of christian faith but nothing more than a dangerous and mislead traditional religionism. I do not care if there’s a prayer in public schools or “in God we trust” on our money, as a matter of fact i will support their removal and a believer in Christ that follows His Word should not be offended by it at all. May the Lord have mercy on those blind ones claiming that they defend the faith and may He bless and protect this young corageous lady.

  45. Azkyroth says

    It seems that there should be a law against making such threats online

    There is; threatening people with violence is illegal in the general case.

    and if not it is obvious that one is needed, though how much good that would do is questionable.

    Not much; in situations like this, enforcement is generally on a “dragged into it kicking and screaming” basis.

  46. DaveyGTi says

    Jessica, you have my full support, I’m not from the US but it scares the hell out of me what is going on across the pond, it’s so good to see that there are still people who will stand up for what they believe and what is right.

  47. MCJB says

    Hmmm yeah… Legally speaking she has a pretty strong case for assault. which is the threat of violence. And from what I saw on the website there was an incident where evidently her address was leaked onto the web. Just makes me wish I lived up there to give her support somehow.

  48. says

    Well said. I don’t think I have ever heard an atheist threaten harm to those tith different beliefs, let alone for that reason. What he’s bleating about is their loss of un deserverved privilege.

  49. docslacker says

    Thank you Jessica, you are one of the people that make the U.S. great: those willing to stand up for the rights of all, to defend the Constitution, to do what’s right.

  50. linda callender says

    I’m not from the US either (England) but I’d like to offer you my full support. It is people like you that change things for the better, Sadly people like you are often victimised for your bravery!

  51. becky wagner says

    A true and real christian DOES NOT CAST STONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOBODY lives in a glass house!

  52. Atheist4Life says

    Why be surprised? This is what “the good book” teaches them – Love me as your god,or I’ll make you burn in hell!!
    With all that begatting, smiting, stoning, bigotry, and drowning, who has time for love and compassion?

  53. says

    Regardless of the fact that they are consistently given preferential treatment, Christians feels threatened by anything that chips away at their power base. It must be taken into account that the creation of god was, in the beginning, an attempt to free humans from fear of the unknown by giving a blanket label to the things that caused these fears. Anything so based on the disguising of fear rather than it’s conquest(as rational human beings later chose to do) is doomed to require a constant need to reinforce that created barrier, behind which their fear is still as great as it ever was. To be understood, they must be seen as what they are, frightened children. A frightened child will not react with reason, but lash out against that which threatens to “open the closet door and let the monster out.” The need is to educate these children so they can see that the “monster in the closet” is, in fact, nonexistent in today’s world because we can now explain the things which were unknown when the god defense was created. To paraphrase their own text, Forgive them friends, for they know not what they do.

  54. Kaja Malouf says

    I hope she has protection from these vile people. I think she is a hero. I once thought I was Christian but I find I have a much higher moral character since I woke up. The sinister minds that are threatening Jessica just drive it home for me.

  55. Tina Erwin says

    We all have the right to stand up for what we believe, and no one has the right to make you step down and ignore your own feelings for the sake of theirs. Just try to keep in mind, as in ANY group, there will always be idiots and worthless losers. I know Christians who would be horrified by all of this. I’m a Pagan myself, but even my Christian Boyfriend accepts how I feel and does not make me feel like less for it. Also Hun, keep in mind, Teenagers can be very, very cruel. A lot of them haven’t had enough experiences in life yet to be able to empathize with your point and view yet(and some will never mature that far). Do what YOU feel is right, in the end the only person you have to answer for is yourself. If that doesn’t help, just pray that the fleas of a thousand camels infest their crotches. Always makes me feel better when someone is being cruel to my 13 yr old Daughter.

  56. Jessica says

    Well said. I am also a. Christian who believes strongly in the separation of Church and State. This young woman did nothing wrong and I’m appalled at the responses and threats she’s receiving. The people responding this way should probably be examining their own lives and if they embody Christ’s teachings rather than attacking a 16 year old who is just exercising her constitutional rights.

    To this other Jessica, I’m so sorry these people are attacking and threatening you. You did nothing wrong. You stood up for your constitutional rights (and mine) and I want to thank you for it. Peace

  57. carolw says


    I’m so proud of you for standing up for what is right. The backlash is awful, but you are obviously a strong, intelligent young woman with a great support system, and you will make it. Focus on graduation, and getting the hell out of town! That’s what I did when I was in high school, and it kept me from going nuts when the hicks got me down. I wish I’d been half a brave as you to speak up and change what was wrong with the system. We’re all rooting for you. You’re going to go out into the world and continue to make it better. You go, girl!

    Austin, TX

  58. Steve Wilson says

    Those are the kind of ass-hats who give Christianity a bad name. Jesus Christ would have wanted nothing to do with that kind of person. The values they vomit out have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity – they’re TERRORIST values! They certainly believe in no God *I* believe in.

  59. Josh says

    So, maybe a good Christian lesson is in order. All those wee stones there, all those hateful remarks and threats of violence, copy, take them to the police, get the IP’s and find out who posted them (I get a feeling most won’t need a good IP hunt, they probably signed the damn things). Then, restraining orders, harassment charges, and criminal charges for the worst case scenarios. Lets see how many of those doting, loving children of the greater god can get into a college when they have to explain on their application why they were charged with harassment of a sixteen year old girl.
    She stood up for what is right by the law, and now it is the law’s turn to stand up for what is right for her.

  60. says

    I would like to thank the Christians who came here and defended Jessica. She is certainly in need of support for what she is going through.

    Anyone who writes comments such as those addressed to her is despicable. Period.

    However, it is not merely a Christian, or other religious based response. From my reading, without context, it would be difficult to differentiate the attacks on Jessica from the attacks on women atheist bloggers from last year.

    It doesn’t matter if they are MRAs, or Christians, or ultra-femninists, or Muslims, or atheists, or whatever. We need to blame them because they are fucking despicable people.

    What is the connection? It appears to be people of privledge having that status challenged in such a way that their positioin is indefensible. In their minds, the only recourse is to lash out.

  61. Jean says

    Jessica, Thank you for being a good citizen and standing up for your rights. I am so sad that your classmates, and so many people in this country, are so filled with hate. I fear for you and want to protect you. You have my love and support.

  62. Katrina says

    So don’t sound off about them. But leave a post supporting HER and her strength of character and will. She’s an inspiration of what a kid can DO if she sticks to her guns. She was in the right and the school was wrong.

  63. says

    “And if anyone ever tries to claim that atheists face no discrimination in the US, please show them these threats.”


    Granted, so far, the most vile behavior has been on the internet, but I hope Massimo is paying attention.

  64. says

    The It Gets Better campaign doesn’t say that once you reach a certain age you no longer encounter discrimination. The point is that you may have a chance to get out of your tiny little teen existence into the broader world where you encounter other people who are like you or more accepting of you, and you grow into self-confidence to deal with the assholes that would keep you down. It can work the same way with any minority group.

    I think that *we* are the It Gets Better campaign. Every one of us who speaks up when an injustice is done in the name of religion, every blogger, every person who writes a letter to the editor, every person who comes out to their friends and family as being an atheist. Those of us who support the right to be an atheist, a supporter of those who choose not to believe, and those who support keeping church and state separate – every time we raise our voices we are showing other atheists and non-believers that it’s going to be alright, that there are others out here who think the way they do, and that together we can make this country a more inclusive, secular place to be.

  65. Svlad Cjelli says

    When a madman struggles with you for a gun, letting go and running away won’t save you.

  66. Clark says

    Cheers to Jessica for standing up for what *she* believes in, and jeers to those who violate their own principles in behaviors, as well as violating the laws of our nation.

  67. Ashley says

    As a Christian I am appalled that some many people claiming to be followers of Christ would verbally attack and threaten this young girl. Under the constitution there is a separation of church and state, she had (and will always have) the right to remove that banner from her school. There are far too many people who use Jesus Christ as their reason to spread their own hatred and attack others. As many others have said before, the God that I know is about forgiving others and showing his love to the world. Jessica, I am so sorry for your suffering at the hands of these cruel people. You are a courageous young girl, know that your have support, even though we may have very different beliefs.

  68. Eric RoM says

    Threading fail. Threading never worked on PZ’s blog, so I wonder if it’s a toggle setting in the FTB software.

  69. says


    That’s a 16 year old girl they’re threatening. Over an issue that’s not up for debate.

    Where’s the love? She only reminded the system that it’s secular, why hate her for it? Oh…right…something something Jebus.

  70. Graham says

    “Compassionate” Christians: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means

  71. Drakk says

    Has she or her family sought police protection for the home?

    I’m not joking. Better safe than sorry, right?

  72. says

    Jessica Ahlquist just might be the most courageous young woman of the decade. She deserves our support for doing something we should all do every single day: insist on the Constitution being applied evenly to all. It shouldn’t take an act of courage to do so, however in the face of the Constitution being co-opted by the Christian right, unfortunately, it’s necessary.

    Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind – even if your voice shakes.
    – Maggie Kuhn

  73. Joe Gemsy says

    You do not need the Bible to justify love, but no better tool has been invented to justify hate.

    -Richard A. Weatherwax

    I find it extremely interesting how much hatred and ill will is coming from a group that claims to love thy neighbor.

  74. Melissa says

    The title to this rediculous report is above all wrong. Its not just “so called” christians saying these things, its reg ppl too. and im glad she is getting commented on and harrassed. shes a child that knows nothing about waht rights are. she dont even know who SHE is yet. and for adults to think shes right…. you are pathetic. the true christians are not sending ugly threats or comments, they are praying for her and the mess she caused and all in all GOD will deal with her, not our problem to solve.

  75. says

    ” im glad she is getting commented on and harrassed.”

    “shes a child”

    So, you support a “child” being “harrassed” because you don’t agree with her views?

    You could have just saved the pixels by merely posting “I am a cruel waste of skin with no understanding of how secular governments are supposed to work.”

  76. Kate Kelley says

    Oh Jessica, I am so very sorry that you are suffering such abuse for doing the right thing. I’m a church-goer and long-time teacher, and I completely support you. Thank you for protecting the rights of every student in your school. You are an inspiration! Stay strong, dear girl.

  77. arty says

    All you people are idiots and this girl should just sit down and shut the F up. I agree fully with the threats.

    If she is old enough to stand up for something then she can surely take on everything else.

  78. JW says

    oh melissa – have you read your post back?

    do you not understand equal rights? where is the equality in a school having only a christian prayer? how is that fair to atheists, muslims, agnostics, buddhists or followers of zeus.

    equality. fairness.

    these are things you clearly dont know – and your inciting of violence just proves what a vile individual you are.

    shame on you.

  79. killertapir says

    Well aren’t you just fucking adorable?

    For the record anyone that supports actual threats against a teenage girl (or anyone for that matter) for having opinions is a pretty awful person. No excuses

  80. says


    “im glad she is getting commented on and harrassed.”

    “this girl should just sit down and shut the F up. I agree fully with the threats.”

    Ew ew ew ew ew.

  81. Danboy87 says

    Quotes from banner that was taken down:

    “To be kind and helpful to our classmates”

    “To smile when we lose as well as when we win.”

    and most of all

    “Help us all conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.

    They obviously cared about that banner a lot. I don’t think that they ever read it.

  82. Rebecca says

    Melissa, you call her a “child” yet you are glad she is getting harassed? And then you say that “true” Christians are not threatening her, even though you are obviously glad that “fake” Christians are?

    So are you a “true” Christian, if you are happy about this? And with the endorsement of what you deem to be entirely acceptable “child” harassment, are you a parent yourself?

    Way to prove everyone’s point about how vicious religion can make people. You are disgusting, the hate campaign that you promote is disgusting, and Jessica Alquist is a far more intelligent and reasonable person than you could ever aspire to be. I wonder if you actually ever sit and critically examine what you think and what you are saying, and why.

  83. Meyli says

    Jessica, you DO have tons of support, and I’m disgusted by the threats you’ve faced.
    You also have friends just down the road at URI!

  84. Susan says

    Taylor Crocker – or, TayCrocks – has ALREADY deleted her Twitter account. But you have (or, rather, she has) inspired me to go looking for others who need a little “talking to”…

  85. Cory Albrecht (@Bytor) says

    Susan @ #108: Just make that when you do that “talking to” you behave better than they did and don’t fall to their level.

  86. Max says

    Melissa, when calling someone else a child it would behoove you to make sure your reasoning and grammar exceed that of the person you are criticizing. Not that we don’t appreciate the irony.

  87. Jades says

    How christian of all those haters…per usual it is the the ones who call themselves christians that are spreading all the hate.

  88. arty says

    Atheists what a waste of space.

    Bunch of complainers, all this political correctness is a bunch of crap. If you dont like something get over it, dont make a huge deal about it like this. This is ridiculous. Just some winy little girl looking for some attention.

    For the record I am not Christian but still don’t see this as being right. So good luck with “christians are spreading the hate”

  89. Max says

    Just to be clear. You’re complaining about us complaining about a bunch of people complaining about another complaint. Dense like granite.

  90. LaPlace says

    It might be an interesting political demonstration ploy to write some of these quotes on large signs with the addition of “I am a Christian and I approved this sign”. Having a screen capture as proof.

    We can then add ourselves to Republican/Tea Party/Democrat rallies in the summer.

  91. says

    If you dont like something get over it, dont make a huge deal about it like this.

    Yeah, if we think about the right way, you may have a point. I mean, all disenfranchised groups got their rights by just setting on their asses and waiting for them to be just handed over. Yup, blacks just “got over” wanting civil rights, women just “got over” the desire to vote, GLBT folks just “got over” the right to get married, and it all worked out, right? If Jessica wanted her public school to actually abide by the First Amendment, she should have just “gotten over it” too, right?

    …man, how are you able to breathe with your head shoved that far up your own ass?

  92. says

    arty has probably never had to fight for anything, he (or she) has most likely had every right and privilege just handed to him (her).
    He (She) will change his (her) mind as soon as someone infringes on his (her) rights.
    Suddenly, stepping up and speaking out will be the only right thing to do. And maybe, just maybe, someday he’ll (she’ll) even mature a little and understand that while standing up for your own rights is important, standing up for others is actually admirable.

  93. arty says

    Damn straight Im privileged.

    There has to be a line as to standing up for what you believe in and just plain stupidity. Fighting for a banner is just plain stupid.

    Enough Said.

  94. says

    @Travis #22: There are a lot of people who thump the Constitution (often the ones who crow about originalism and the Founding Fathers) but haven’t actually read it, and don’t understand how it works (particularly the role of the courts in interpreting it, and the role of court decisions as an outgrowth of the living document). It’s rather similar to the Bible, in that regard.

  95. Azkyroth says

    If you dont like something get over it

    After you, sir.

    Also, it’s “don’t”, with an apostrophe. And there really needs to be a comma after “something.”

  96. Azkyroth says

    If we’re going to have the fucking “Reply To” button can someone please kick someone in the ass to make it start working again? :/

  97. says


    There has to be a line as to standing up for what you believe in and just plain stupidity. Fighting for a banner is just plain stupid.

    Fighting for the banner is stupid, but you “fully agree with the threats” issued by those fighting for the banner?

    I think the stupidity is apparent to all, Arty.

    To all the Christians who have spoken up in this thread in support of Jessica and against the violent and hateful comments spewed by others, thank you. We often wonder where the moderates and liberals are when this kind of vileness is on display, and it’s nice to see that they do exist.

    That being said, I hope you’re all dropping by Ms. Ahlquist’s Twitter feed or Facebook page or otherwise contacting her to register your support. There’s certainly a chance that she’ll read this thread and see your supportive comments, but the haters are taking it directly to the source. It’s only fair that the supporters–especially the supporters who decry the words and actions of their fellow Christians in this debacle, who want to demonstrate that there are Christians who believe in the principles on which the United States was founded–do the same.

  98. Jerry Thompson says

    So some random kid gives a big f*** you to her school city community families tradition and religions and her ass gets slapped for it. Suck it up and deal. She knew what she was getting in to and if she isn’t spending the same time and effort to replace the banner literally or figuratively in that community then she’s just as bad. I’m born an American and if I want to drop to my knees in a court house public school post office and worship my boyfriend’s dick a tree or a dude with a white beard on a cloud, I have the right to do it and if I do it I’ll take what I get like a man and deal.

  99. says

    Wow. As a Christian (don’t stone me) I’m shocked at what people will say then add the name of Jesus too.

    I really don’t think the Jesus they claim would say these things. In fact, according to what I see in the Bible, He would be more likely to be her friend than theirs.

  100. Johnh says

    The responses of the subhumans supporting the unconstitutional endorsement of the Christian/Catholic religion in a state-run institution are the very reason I had to leave behind any thoughts of engaging in organized religion. They are NOT Christian. They lie to themselves and others, and only hope for earthly recognition and aggrandization, not salvation. As I see it, Ms. Ahlquist’s moral compass is more to right than anyone speaking against her. And, speaking in a historic perspective, they had better recognize that any illegal and/or immoral action they take against her will result in much, much more than just legal consequences.

  101. JulietsButterfly says

    Jessica-As a Christian, I can only hope that these classmates of yours go back to Christ and stop attacking you with threats. You were right to stand up for yourself and have the outright display of Christianity in a public school removed. If you read this, I wish you the best of luck and I want you to stay firm in your convictions. No one should force any religion upon another. I wish I could say the real world post-high school will be better, but I won’t make any promises. I will work to do what I can to make the world a better place for atheists and all non-Christians.

  102. says

    @Jerry Thompson:

    I’m born an American and if I want to drop to my knees in a court house public school post office and worship my boyfriend’s dick a tree or a dude with a white beard on a cloud, I have the right to do it and if I do it I’ll take what I get like a man and deal.

    Yes, absolutely! You have that right, and no one’s taking it away from you (although if it were disruptive to the classroom environment or court proceedings, you might be removed or asked to do it elsewhere).

    What you absolutely do not have the right to do is, acting as an agent of the government, require other people to pray in a public place or show preferential treatment for one religion over another, or religion over non-religion. This is what the school was doing with that banner. They did not have the right to do it. It was illegal. It was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of that nation you were born in. And Jessica was right to stand up and fight it.

    I’m glad that real men, born in this country and others, decided to “take it like a man” and fight for their ideals to establish this country–and its separation of church and state. Had your attitude of “suck it up and deal” prevailed in 1776, we’d all still be British citizens.

  103. says

    Conservative Christian and churchgoer who is standing with Jessica on this one. I’m ashamed of what my fellow “Christians” are saying.

  104. Azkyroth says

    Had your attitude of “suck it up and deal” prevailed in 1776, we’d all still be British subjects.


    We have this really toxic “anti-‘whining'” attitude in America that equates wanting change with being weak. I’d be interested to see more people take that on directly.

  105. Max says

    Fighting for a banner is just plain stupid? Ok, so why are the Christians raising such a stink? This blade cuts both ways.

  106. karmakin says

    Yup. The honest truth is that the reaction really shows why this sort of thing is truly necessary, I think. It’s the privilege and the need for social/cultural domination that needs to be fought tooth and nail. It means that signs like this are NOT intended to be harmless, positive messages. They’re intended to be exclusive and divisive.

  107. says

    She has my support too. Though I don’t know what one more name does, nevertheless, better than one less name. I can post about this in the forum (see link in my name) I go to, to spread the word a bit more, but that’s really it. Hopefully all this is being preserved in case the law has to get involved.

    God damn, those people are tools. Beyond that, I really have no idea what to say except to salute that brave girl.

  108. Daniel (Athiest) says

    This girl is CUTE !! she is all aces in my book. and I believe she should take her newfound fame and put it to use by posing for playboy as soon as she is eighteen. I mean what will it really hurt? no religion equals no bad in the eyes of a god or higher power. so make some money with that sweet lil non spiritual maney maker you girls have. get some money sweetfeet!! you are cute and should consider a life in porn.. many in america. and many athiests LOVE porn too.. so please.. consider it.

  109. Laurel says

    “It would be really really nice if some religious folks came out and acknowledged that her cause was right and the school was wrong and that they support and defend her. Where are those people?!”

    I’m one of those “religious” folks, and I’m right here. Her cause is right and the school was wrong, and the people terrorizing her are hateful and evil and they make me sick to my stomach.

    Jessica; I support you and your actions, applaud your courage, and am heartsick at how you and others who fight for our country’s separation of church and state are mistreated. I wish you comfort, healing, strength, and all good things.

  110. says

    I call shenanigans. ‘Daniel (Atheist)’ is no atheist and is a fairly poor impression of a strawatheist. I’m guessing he is a Christian and that he is bearing false witness in defiance of his own religion.

  111. says

    All you people are idiots and this girl should just sit down and shut the F up. I agree fully with the threats.

    If she is old enough to stand up for something then she can surely take on everything else.

    Arty, you are an enabler and supporter of terrorists. You are no friend of liberty.

    What a toad you are.

  112. Matt Penfold says

    What data exists on the purchase of pornography broken down by US States suggests that there is an inverse correlation between the religiosity of a state, and the sale of porn. For some reason Utah tops the list of consumers of porn.

  113. ewan says

    That would be an ordinary correlation then, wouldn’t it? An inverse one would be the exact opposite of that.

  114. QUA1L says

    #teamjesus needs to learn the proper use of “your” and “you’re”. You unedcated small-minded fuck. #teamgrammar

  115. C says

    Those idiots seem to read their scriptures selectively. Didn’t Jesus say, “Love thy neighbor” and “Love thy enemy?” In the Parable of the Sower, he said that not all people would be receptive to his message.

    I’m Jewish, I’ll believe in the Messiah when the Resurrection comes. Until then, well…

  116. Bernadette says

    This makes me sick to my stomach! It takes a truely terrible person to say these things about someone else. I hope they learn that hate isn’t the answer. Keep spreading the love!!

  117. Theresa says

    So they want to bully her into “submission” to their “god”

    It is such a pity that they would take any of the messages from their book saying this is alright…

  118. what says

    the christian nonResponse is typical. same kinda crap they pull when their priests, leaders, or others molest or commit other bs. when an atheist commits a crime and i read it on a post, i’ll commentary. he prolly committed the crime NOT because he’s an atheist, but for some other reason. when a priest sodomizes a child(ren), he prolly got into priesthood so that he can. the silent pope/bishop is complicit.

  119. carlie says

    I may have missed it, but has any group set up a support/college fund for Jessica yet? Because i’d contribute to that in a heartbeat.

  120. anonymous says

    It’s 2012; I don’t understand how it is that people still think it’s appropriate to behave this way. :/

  121. owenmarshall says

    I’m so sorry to read that people are treating a girl like this. If someone were to do that to my daughter, I would be furious! I am glad that she was strong enough to stand up for what she believes and that she won the fight in court. I hope that she realizes that although there are many people who are treating her poorly, that there are also many who respect her.

  122. Jeffrey says

    Agreed Anon. I am in disagreement with Ms. Ahlquist, in that I don’t understand she can be offended by someone else’s statement of faith. I would not be offended by Jen’s or Ms. Ahlquist’s statement of their faith that there is not god (and yes, I believe Atheism is a form of religion). I get annoyed by someone telling me, “Jeffrey, you will burn in hell for being…..”. The funny thing is, the only place that ever happened to me was in Los Angeles. In Oklahoma, nothing of the sort from the residents. All of that is way of preface to my hypothesis than anyone of any religion or lack thereof, who threatens someone who doesn’t believe as they do, is minorly evil, on the way to being sub-human, and doesn’t quite understand the faith they profess or the country that allows the freedom of and from worship.

  123. Me says

    I see this as an abuse of the court system in America. The courts have also overstepped their boundaries in deciding on religion. Frankly, the US constitution says that Congress may pass no laws on religion. It says nothing about the rights of the people, regardless if they work for the government, to practice their religion. Therefore, this should not be against the constitution.

    On the other hand, if they interpret it to be against they constitution by expanding on it, than they themselves have no power to decide the case. The courts are a part of the 3 arms of government, therefore having no rights to decide on religious matters. Either way, the courts have either misinterpreted the constitution or have overstepped their own bounds and are violating the constitution.

    I believe that the both the liberals and conservatives are abusing the legal system to try and shove their beliefs down the throats of other people. As an agnostic, I am amused by the atheist who criticize the religious for trying to “force” their beliefs on them via a banner. How is using the legal system to suppress the beliefs of other people in lieu of your own belief system any different? Forcing atheism down the throats of other via the legal system is, in my opinion, far worse than a banner which sits there passively. You have actively gone out of your way to assault the rights of somebody to practice their religion. The lack of tolerance on the part of atheists is absolutely amusing.

    Last but not least, I believe that this power should belong to the people. The people should decide through votes at the school board, not in the courtrooms or in Congress. This power does not belong to the government. It should belong to the people in that community. We do believe in democratic system, right?

    PS. I am not likely to come back here to this blog. Too lazy. Lol

  124. says

    Jeffrey: It’s not about offensiveness. It’s about government endorsement of religion. It’s about a community openly flouting the law and flagrantly defying the Constitution. The banner was an illegal endorsement of religion. What’s “offensive” is that an institution of learning would be so ignorant of the most basic laws of the nation.

  125. Randomfactor says

    FFRF has a local billboard up, with Jessica at the photo-op:

    (Taking bets on how long until someone demands it be taken down as a violation of the First Amendment. Or, alternatively, until someone splashes paint over it. Maybe Jessica should just have spray-painted the banner instead of going the legal route? /sarcasm/)

  126. says

    @Me: A few things, where you’re very much in the wrong.

    1. “It says nothing about the rights of the people, regardless if they work for the government, to practice their religion. Therefore, this should not be against the constitution.”

    The First Amendment specifically prohibits Congress from passing any law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Fourteenth Amendment extends that prohibition to the States. Court decisions throughout history (including perhaps most relevantly in Abington School District v. Schempp) that this entails government neutrality on religion, showing no preferential treatment for one religion over another, or for religion over nonreligion.

    This court case had absolutely nothing to do with individuals practicing their religion. Teachers and staff at Cranston can still pray, still wear Crucifix necklaces or Stars of David, can still meet with students for FEA meetings, and so forth. What they, and what the school as an agent of the government, cannot do is, in their capacity as government agents, endorse religion. That is clearly and obviously a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

    2. “On the other hand, if they interpret it to be against they constitution by expanding on it, than they themselves have no power to decide the case. The courts are a part of the 3 arms of government, therefore having no rights to decide on religious matters.”

    This is not a “religious matter.” This is a matter of Constitutional Law. The court is the branch of the US Government tasked with interpreting the law and the Constitution. That is its entire job.

    3. “Either way, the courts have either misinterpreted the constitution or have overstepped their own bounds and are violating the constitution.”

    This is ridiculous, and your understanding of how the American government is set up wouldn’t pass an 8th Grade Civics test.

    4. “Forcing atheism down the throats of other via the legal system is, in my opinion, far worse than a banner which sits there passively.”

    There is no forcing of atheism anywhere here. There is a forcing of secularism, which is the official stance of the United States government on any matters of religion.

    5. “As an agnostic,” etc.


    6. “Last but not least, I believe that this power should belong to the people. The people should decide through votes at the school board, not in the courtrooms or in Congress.”

    Ignorant people like you are precisely the reason that the “people” have delegated this task to the Court system, to people who actually have knowledge of the Constitution and the history of relevant case law.

    7. “This power does not belong to the government. It should belong to the people in that community. We do believe in democratic system, right?”

    No, we believe in a democratic republic, where communities of varying sizes elect representatives to promote their interests. For instance, you said above that “the people should decide through votes at the school board.” The school board is an example of representative government, where the people of a school district elect representatives from the district to represent their wishes and make decisions about education on behalf of the entire district.

    In essence, you have said that you don’t think the power should belong to the government; instead, it should belong to the government.

    If this is the sort of knowledge that people are leaving high school with, then perhaps the schools should spend more time, money, and energy teaching Civics and less time fighting to display unconstitutional religious endorsements.

  127. Waltz707 says

    I wish there were more christians like you :)
    Unfortunately, these people are going to represent christians of the world.

  128. Azkyroth says

    When “someone else” is a private citizen, their statement of faith is perfectly fine. When “someone else” is an agency, of a government that is intended to represent the people – ALL of them – that it serves, and in particular which has coercive authority over a captive audience, it’s a problem.

    I mean, what’s even slightly hard about this?

  129. says

    1) Displaying a goddamned* prayer banner in a public school is unconstitutional.

    2) Any adult who defends a goddamned* prayer banner being displayed in a public school should lose their right to vote because they are constitutionally illiterate imbeciles.

    3) This is not about a goddamned* prayer banner anymore than burning the flag is about the goddamned* flag. It’s about the Constitution of the United States of America.

    4) The parents of any minors who’ve directed threats at Jessica, her friends and family, should be charged with encouraging violence. It’s their, and their goddamned* churches’ family fucking values that are to blame here. Any adults that have threatened Jessica, her friends and family, should be indicted for inciting violence. Maybe on conspiracy charges as well, they came up with the hateful ideas in weekly group meetings, sometimes known as worship services.

    5) Just because the goddamned* prayer banner hung in the school for over 30 years without being challenged doesn’t mean it’s grandfathered in.

    6) I’m fucking sick and tired of some goddamned* members of the Christian religious right thinking they hold a monopoly on the truth, and that their morality should be legally enforced. They’re worse than the Taliban.

    7) I’m seriously fucking pissed about this. I rarely use profanity. I save it for goddamned* assholes that deserve it.

    8) Jessica Ahlquist is a true American hero.

    * Yeah, so I’m an goddamned* Atheist; fucking get over it.

  130. Molly says

    Hey everyone, I am a Christian and as a Christian I want to apologize for all the threats and seemingly hatred toward Jessica. In the Bible, Jesus talked about Love and showing love toward everyone our neighbors, friends and our enemies. The way everyone in those postings and others I’m sure is certainly not in the spirit of love. I will be going now but I just wanted to post that. Have a great day.

  131. says

    “Athiest” actually sounds like a superlative.

    e.g. Daniel is more Athie than anyone else in the world.

    Where “Athie” means:

    Athie adj. brainless, dazed, deficient, dense, dim, doltish, dopey, dull, dumb, foolish, futile, gullible, half-baked, half-witted, idiotic, ill-advised, imbecilic, inane, indiscreet, insensate, irrelevant, laughable, ludicrous, meaningless, mindless, moronic, naive, nonsensical, obtuse, out to lunch, pointless, puerile, rash, senseless, shortsighted, simple, simpleminded, slow, sluggish, stolid, stupefied, thick, thick-headed, trivial, unintelligent, unthinking and witless.

  132. Carlie says

    Tom – thanks, I should have seen that! It’s depressing how many people in the comments are saying she deserves no support – I think they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager, and have no idea what it would be like to be a teenager getting threats of violence from all over the internet.

  133. says

    While your use of ‘cretin’ might be frowned on, it is interesting that the etymology of the word is (according to the OED):
    ‘< French crétin (in Encycl. 1754), < Swiss patois crestin , creitin < Latin Christiānum'

  134. witless chum says

    Jessica Alquist is very cool.

    It’s nice to read some Christians showing up to say they support this.

    As with most things, it’d be nice if people would read some history. The concept of a separation of church and state in this country was pushed by an alliance of free thinkers and secularists (like Thomas Jefferson, who wrote Virginia’s religious freedom statute) and the then-smaller protestant denominations from which many of our modern Baptists and Methodists descend. In the early U.S. several states had established churches and the Baptists didn’t much care for subsidizing the Anglicans with their tax dollars and they feared having their ability to practice their religion as they saw fit taken away.

    If we allowed religion officially in the government again, Christian denominations would commence to squabbling over whose version of the Ten Commandments went up on the wall and such. Then, we’d get to hear two different bunches of people yelling threats in Jesus’ name.

  135. Anri says

    To all of the Christians opposing the comments:

    If you honestly believe that this young woman deserves to be tortured horribly for all eternity by the most loving being in the universe, why would a few threats of getting slapped around bother you at all?

    If you really truly do believe in hell, why would threatened assault even register?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but according to your perfect book, this girl rightfully deserves the worst fate possible, just for the repulsive crime of being human, yes? Once you’ve accepted that, why be bothered by the fact that people are threatening to bash her head in? Maybe it’s just god kicking things off a little early for her. What’s a few decades compared to eternity?

    In other words, why would you condemn the posters as being cruel and horrible representatives of your faith, when the perfect object of your faith plans vastly worse for this person, for far longer, and without respite?
    Hurting people isn’t bad – it can’t be – your god does it all the time.

  136. Azkyroth says

    It’s not the inappropriate sexual comments that make it obvious he’s a poseur, it’s the stilted, self-conscious lampshade hanging about how supposedly there’s no right and wrong, which is additionally an extreme minority view among atheists if not an outright dead unicorn – and wouldn’t need that much attention called to it if it wasn’t.

  137. drdave says

    Nah, typical religious exceptionalism. Islam – respect us…or we’ll kill you. Same thing.

  138. drdave says

    #84 Ashley

    The bible is so full of contradictions, both the old and new testament, that you can quote mine it for any view you want. Jesus is Love. Jesus brings the Sword.

  139. drdave says


    Thank you for confirming our suspicion that christianity is as bigoted and violent as islam.

  140. drdave says


    Well said: “Fighting for a banner is just plain stupid.”

    So why are you fighting to keep the banner?

    Are you…..?

  141. Doink says

    Have to disagree that their ignorance and hatred will keep them at the bottom. The united states has a tendency to elect ignorance and hatred to office.

  142. davebellend says

    wow… tempted to actually begin believing in god in the hope that it wont let me have to cross swords with the majority of you lot. so much petty flatulence. and i hope this message makes those with a semicolon wedged up their arse really squirm :)

  143. Chris says

    Look, the US was colonized in part by Christian religious zealots who were sooo extreme they were shunned by their countrymen ( Unreasoning Christian religious extremism is as much a part of our history ( as new governments are a part of French history.

    This is not new, and it’s only surprising to those who willfully ignore history.

    With that said, kudos to anyone who takes a stand against this. She helped the school do The Right Thing, and deserves our thanks for it.

  144. Chris says

    Of course. The most fanatical religion in the world. Please check all that apply to atheism:
    *Children go on missions across the world to evangelize belief
    *Hordes of European warriors flooded across the ocean to crusade on its behalf in the 1200s
    *Zealots in the early 21st century strap bombs to themselves in suicide missions

    …the list goes on.

    The mark of a true atheist is that he simply doesn’t care what you believe as long as you leave him alone.

  145. Chris says

    Jessica, great job. I hope you realize that the backlash you’ve experienced shows exactly how shallow these beliefs run.

    It helps me sleep at night to realize that in my experience, people that make a huge deal about something usually know they’re wrong (e.g. Ted Haggard Maybe that will comfort you as well.

    Good luck.

  146. KG says

    You’re an ignorant idiot, David. Atheism has nothing whatever to do with “New Age” woo-woo. Nor are atheists necessarily liberals: some are, some aren’t, because not believing in your silly fairy tales does not imply anything much about the role of government, the virtues of different economic systems, or the best way to tackle crime.

  147. KG says


    You’re not only a vile bigot, you’re an illiterate ignoramus; but I don’t think the second of these excuses the first.

  148. KG says

    You may not be a Christian, but you are most certainly a bigot, as your whining about “all this political correctness” makes clear.

  149. KG says

    I’d bet a large amount that your assumption that arty approves of equal rights for black and LGBT people is false.

  150. KG says

    A brave girl of 16 stands up for her constitutional rights, get death threats for it, and you think it’s her fault? You were quite evidently born a piece of shit, and have gone downhill from there on.

  151. KG says

    Speaking as a British citizen, I join with you unreservedly in celebrating the fact that you all are not.

  152. Joshua says

    In case any of you don’t know, this is what the banner said.

    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
    Help us always to conduct ourselves
    so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West

    How is that so offensive? Other than the words “heavenly father” and “amen” there’s nothing religious about it. If you take that out it’s simply a list of moral guidelines for the students to emulate. Ironically, some of the students that supported the banner disgustingly contradicted the message on the banner with their hateful threats. But the fact remains, all the school did was hang up a banner. They weren’t starting an inquisition to fish out the athiests and burn them at the stake.

    One of America’s most cherished documents begins with the words,
    “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another,and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”

    Should we take the Declaration of Independence out of schools because it mentions god?

    There are extremists on both sides of the spectrum. Athiests who are too easily offended by the mention of god, and religious nuts who want to send anyone who dosen’t agree with them to hell. I say, “Shame on you all! Christians and athiests alike”.

  153. says

    I support her and am horrified by these “Christian” comments…and I do not believe Jesus would have ever said anything like these. Jesus was about love.

  154. says

    I am a Christian leader and educator, and although I will have an opposite worldview from you and most of your readers, I just want to say, I, along with you, Ms. McCreight, “feel ill” (extremely ill) after reading these horrific comments. I am so grieved. To be honest, I am offended more at these responses than the ruling!
    I have to point out the greatest irony of all this; which is that these malicious posts of students objecting to having the prayer removed demonstrate that the prayer itself, which called on the “Heavenly Father” to help them “grow morally [and] be kind to our classmates,” seems to have meant nothing to them; having little to no effect in their lives. What, really, are they fighting for? Did they ever really pray it, or just once meditate through it? What’s the point in fighting for something that is obviously quite meaningless to you?
    I just want you to know how far afield such hate-speech falls from our core beliefs which call on us to be “speaking the truth in love.” In short, while these young people may feel justified in standing for their beliefs, part of those very beliefs demands that they do so “in love.” Your sarcastic post is aptly titled; we deserved that.
    I apologize on behalf of these youth, and the church. This is an outpouring that demonstrates my failure as a Christian educator to teach my students that how they speak truth is just as important as that they speak truth. I want to thank you for this post. It has alerted me to a serious educational void in the church. I have begun addressing it by posting this blog which I invite you to read. I know you will not agree with me, but if you read this, you will see some biblical instruction directed especially toward Christian youth that, if heeded, will keep this from ever happening again.

    Will Honeycutt

  155. Joshua says

    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

    Excerpt from George Washington’s farewell address to the nation

  156. John Phillips, FCD says

    Joshua, the school was offered as a compromse to replace the explicitly religious words with a secular version and they refused, hence the court case. It is not about getting offended, though many xians of the kind Jessica is having to put up with do offend me, but it is about your constitution. Or do you only believe in following the Constitution when it pleases you. I find it ironic, as well as rather pitiful, that so many ‘furriners’ appear to know the US Constitution better than so many USians obviously do.

    By the way, that is a really fine example of morality being displayed by those xians at her school and town, don’t you think. What were you quoting from Washington again, as it obviously can’t be true going by the reactions of thoe ‘good’ Cranston xians. If I were you Joshua, I would stop digging as you’re only getting in deeper.

  157. says

    The very sad thing is that Christians will later come out stating that the reason for violence in schools is that religion has been completely removed from the public sector.

    Forget the fact that people are abusing a young girl based on that exact religious teaching, no matter how misguided you can claim they are, the simple fact remains that in asking to remove a banner she is now a target for religious extremists.

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