All court decisions should be second-guessed with an online poll

The decision that the prayer plastered on the wall of Jessica Ahlquist’s high school was, in fact, a religious prayer to a divine being, is now getting challenged in the most important venue of all — a newspaper’s online poll. The vote is currently split between people who can see the obvious, that that thing is a prayer, and the dumb and dishonest, who want to pretend that a “prayer” to a “heavenly father” is a secular document.

Which side are you on?

Did Judge Lagueux get it right in ordering the Cranston West prayer banner be removed?

Yes: 49.4%

No: 49.1%

Not sure: 1.5%


  1. lordshipmayhem says

    Already pretty thoroughly Pharyngulated, although even more sanity would be nice.

    71.8% for more separation of church and state
    25.4% for less separation of church and state
    2.8% for “I’m not sure”

  2. lordshipmayhem says

    Did Judge Lagueux get it right in ordering the Cranston West prayer banner be removed? (556 votes)
    Yes: 63.7% (354)
    No: 35.4% (197)
    Not sure: 0.9% (5)

  3. thinice says

    The “Pharyngula Effect” is kicking in: the poll now is 63% saying yes, the judge made the corrrect decision! (1pm, Pacific Time).

  4. says

    I had to allow JavaScript before the polls would show. There were two when I clicked, the one PZ mentions and one asking if Rhode Island should have “more” or “less” separation of church and state.

  5. penningtrap says

    Still a lot of people saying it was a wrong decision and they should have left this “predominantly secular” text where it was.

    So … does this mean that any place that recites these and similar texts are also predominantly secular and their tax exempt status can be revoked?

  6. flipmignon says

    Since the words “God”, “Jesus” et al. composed less than 100% of the content of the letter, then it’s secular!

    That would make most of the church services, hymns, and sermons non-secular, too!

  7. flipmignon says

    There’s something weird going on in the “little Rascals” post below this. I click on the comment, and it says, “No Comments”, followed by 42 comments. And then when I try to post, I get the message that comments are closed.

    So, below is my comment on the news item that a certain Bishop Fernandez thinks that UNESCO intends to turn the world 50% gay.

    This must be projection. It must be. There is no other explanation for the faulty premises, the twisted logic, and the insane conclusion. Bishop Fernandez, I conclude, has been thinking about nothing but cock for the last forty years or so. So sad that he is obsessed with the thing that he denies himself.

    I feel sorry for him, I really do. I imagine his thought processes must go something like this:

    FERNANDEZ: (Cock, cock, cock, hairy root, stiffies) Good morning.

    ASSISTANT: Good morning, Bishop, what would you like for breakfast?

    FERNANDEZ: (Sausage, wieners, tube steak . . . NO! I cannot reveal myself!) Some fruit and yogurt please.

    ASSISTANT: Here you are, sir, a bowl of stirred yogurt, with your bananas and mangosteens on the side, for you to peel.

    FERNANDEZ: (Gazes at the mangosteens and thinks, they look like balls, hairy, hairy balls, oh, I’d love to roll them around in my mouth . . NO! Pick up the banana. Stop caressing it! He’s looking at you!) Thank you, I love some fruit in the morning. (My God, that yogurt looks like . . . cum! Lord, why do you tempt me so!)

    ASSISTANT: Bishop, you knocked your mangosteens on the floor. Let me pick them up. (The assistant bends from the waist down; he pants are drawn tight over his young, firm buttocks. The Bishop’s eyes caress the tempting hemispheres of sinful flesh.)

    FERNANDEZ: I think I have the theme of my new sermon!

    ASSISTANT: That excites me, sir. Oh! That banana just seemed to pop right out of your hand! Let me clean it up. (Bends over again.)

    FERNANDEZ: (Oh Lord, it cannot be you tempting me, surely you would not put your loyal servant through such pain! It must be . . . UNESCO. That’s it, UNESCO! United Nations Educators for Sucking Cock Orally! It’s been there all the time, right in front of me!) Bishop Fernandez pats his assistant’s buttocks fondly as the young man straightens up.

    FERNANDEZ: You may go now.

    ASSISTANT: Don’t you want some clean fruit? All that I gave you has fallen on the floor!

    FERNANDEZ: No, it is not necessary. I will make do with the yogurt. (Tempting! Foul dairy!) I have my sermon to write, and I must do so while the passion is upon me.

    ASSISTANT: As you wish, sir.

  8. robro says

    Yep, 80% to 20% when I voted a minute ago. Whadda’ya know…the judge was right all along.

  9. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Wow, that was some swift pharyngulation there! Over 80% when I voted just now.

  10. Gregory Greenwood says

    Brownian @ 9 and Irene Delse @ 16;

    I just checked what is being said over there, and it is absolutely horrifying – invocations to their deity to punish Ahlquist, threats of violence – honestly, what is wrong with these people? Even if they are so ignorant of the principle of the serparation of church and state that they think the decision was in error, how does threatening a school pupil help the situation?

  11. Rey Fox says

    The girl is being harassed by theist pieces of shit on Twitter.

    You can tell them by their love.

  12. Gregory Greenwood says

    Irene Delse @ 16;

    Death threats to a school aged child…

    Fundies – still keepin’ it classy, I see.

  13. Gregory Greenwood says

    Rey Fox @ 20;

    You can tell them by their love.

    Someone should create an internet law that the more often and vociferously a religious grouping claims that their religion is one of ‘peace’ or ‘love’, the greater the likelihood that a significant subset of its adherents will respond to any criticism with either violence or threats of violence.

  14. says

    Did anyone else notice the weird poll a bit further down?

    Do you think R.I. needs more or less separation between church and state? (7,233 votes)
    * More
    * Less
    * I’m not sure

    WTF? I don’t even understand the question. How do you answer that?

  15. says

    In Sussex County, Delaware, they’re actually arguing that the Lord’s Prayer is not Christian in an effort to keep up a 40+ year tradition of opening council meetings with it.

    (Though she doesn’t live there, Sussex is also the mystical wellspring from whence Christine O’Donnell derives her eldritch powers.)

  16. says

    Aha! Someone earlier posted that R.I. means “Rhode Island”. Sorry, slow brain from Down Under. Here R.I. in a school context means “Religious Instruction” which makes the question nonsensical.

  17. truthspeaker says

    I, too, am getting the “Comments on this topic are closed” message on the “Little Rascals” post.

    Regarding this post – this is in Rhode Island. Rhode Island. Have they forgotten who founded their state and why?

  18. Randomfactor says

    Forgive them, truthspeaker. They’re the products of the Rhode Island school systems.

  19. says

    The newspaper article showed a full picture of the prayer mural. This is the first time I have seen it in full. The banner at the top showing a winged lamp over mountains and a book, (I assume the Bible) looks suspiciously like it is a symbol for a particular Christian sect. In which case the school is not just promoting religion it is promoting a particular Christian sect.

    However that symbol also has a non-Christian origin. It closely resembles the symbol for Ahura-Mazda, the ancient Persian sky god whose followers worshipped fire. So all those fundies opposed to removal of the prayer should really be joining Jessica to complain about the school promoting pagan fire-worship.

  20. Active Margin says

    I was worried the judge got it wrong until I saw the results of the poll. What a relief!

  21. Randomfactor says

    According to Hemant, that activist judge was appointed by the godless heathen Reagan.

  22. eclectabotanics says

    Pharyngulating a poll is one of my favorite internet games. Thanks for another good one, PZ!

  23. drxym says

    I really don’t see why a vote is even required. It was a clear cut case. School slapped a christian prayer on the wall. School is in violation of federal laws. School was slapped and ordered to remove it.

    The vote should really be “Does the school principal deserve to be removed from his office for wasting tax payer money in such a wanton manner?”. And the answer should be yes.

  24. says


    Holy shit…those messages actually scare me for her…

    What would jesus do indeed. Did she already transfer schools for real? What a bunch of idiotic people…sigh

  25. says

    There is another one today at that could use some help. It is on the right side about halfway down. No counts, but the percentages are:

    Daily Poll

    Do you agree with the court’s decision?
    Yes, the banner was unconstitutional.
    No, they shouldn’t have to take it down.

  26. says

    WPRI looks much better. Thanks!

    Do you agree with the court’s decision?

    Yes, the banner was unconstitutional. 79%

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

  27. greensageb says

    I wonder how many of those people have actually READ the judge’s ruling. I hope that they do continue the legal struggle with donated funds–I have no problem watching intolerant, ignorant people throw their money down a hole.