Haven’t they learned yet that a poll can’t rescue you from the ungodly internet?

The same station that ran the interview with Peter Palumbo calling Jessica Ahlquist an “evil little thing” and has also called her a “trained seal”* is now trying to salvage some vindication from the ugly affair with an internet poll. It isn’t working. JT and Twitter and Reddit have been pounding on it for a while, but I think we can take a moment to splatter it a little more.

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

Yes 91%
No 9%

*The person who made that comment was the author of the prayer…who, ironically, also claimed that at her age Ahlquist could not possibly be mature enough at 15 to have independently opposed the prayer. He wrote it when he was a 7th grader, about 13 years old.


  1. marko says

    You’re never to immature to praise Jebus. In fact, probably the more immature the better.

  2. StevoR says

    Voted :

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

    Yes – 94%
    No – 6%

    Hmm .. Looks like this one has already been pharyngulated.

  3. Serendipitydawg (Physicists are such a pain sometimes) says

    From <a href="http://630wpro.com/Article.asp?id=2371409&spid=41530&quot;)http://630wpro.com/Article.asp?id=2371409&spid=41530

    Back in 1959, Cranston West seventh grader David Bradley was asked to author a prayer to be recited in place of the Lord’s prayer by all classes to start the day. Students recited the prayer daily until 1962. That’s when the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed all prayer in public schools.

    At which point they should have removed the banner.

    Poll at 93% now.

  4. davidct says

    If the banner had been a saying from the Qau’ran no Pharyngulation would have been would have been needed. Majority bigotry would have been sufficient.

  5. Larry says


    A 15 y/o is too young to oppose the prayer, but a 7th grader is old enough to write it?

    Ah, the wonders of the fundie mind!

  6. Trebuchet says

    Now 95%.

    Slightly off topic, but the top headline on the station’s site is a whooping cough outbreak. Thanks a bunch, anti-vaxers. How many kids will kill in this one?

  7. Jeremy Shaffer says

    *The person who made that comment [that Ahlquist was a “trained seal”] was the author of the prayer…who, ironically, also claimed that at her age Ahlquist could not possibly be mature enough at 15 to have independently opposed the prayer. He wrote it when he was a 7th grader, about 13 years old.

    It’s just like the standard that a nonbeliever must spend an inordinate amount of effort to study the bible or other scripture in depth and then some in order to able to honestly reject it, and even that would probably not be enough, but the believer need never to crack the damn thing open much less read a single word of it to accept it as 110% true.

  8. says

    I’s sure all those grade-school kids that Focus On The Family trotted out during the football game Saturday understood all the implications of the human sacrifice outlined in John 3:16.

  9. jackrawlinson says

    Anyone who has been following what Ahlquist has to say about this, and the general way she has handled the heat, is in no doubt that she is easily mature enough to have done it without any help or incitement.

  10. Heliantus says

    96% Yes

    also claimed that at her age Ahlquist could not possibly be mature enough at 15 to have independently opposed the prayer

    Ah, the old “she doesn’t really have an opinion, she is just being manipulated by [insert favored lobby name here]”.

    Tentatively quoting French writer Corneille, in “Le Cid”:
    “To well-born souls, valor doesn’t wait for the number of years.”

  11. Serendipitydawg (Physicists are such a pain sometimes) says


    Is this losing something in translation? I know the phrase, but can’t see how it’s applicable to this particular judge?

    I don’t get the reference literally but take it to be a denigration of the judge based solely on the outcome… he was obviously wrong to rule against the banner.


  12. Serendipitydawg (Physicists are such a pain sometimes) says

    Having read the Pffft, I can see that what it is and given

    Cracker Jack includes a small “mystery” novelty item referred to as a “prize” in each box.

    I definitely take it as a denigration based purely on the prejudice of the banner’s originator.

  13. scott says

    But, she’s a “self proclaimed atheist”, so we all know she’s really just “in a phase” or doing her evil father’s bidding.

    I really hate that smarmy little phrase. They never call themselves “self proclaimed Christians”.

  14. Emrysmyrddin says

    Serendipitydawg – yeah, I knew the origin of the phrase; we’ve got essentially the same thing over here (bad driver: ‘Did they get their license out of a cereal packet?!’) but there’s usually a reason to imply that the person in question is specifically and dangerously underqualified for the job at hand. It seems, for Mr. Bradley, that just making a decision that he doesn’t agree with is indeed enough to imply that the Judge is unfit for judicial duty… *eyeroll*

  15. Aquaria says

    Is this losing something in translation? I know the phrase, but can’t see how it’s applicable to this particular judge?

    Since “cracker jack” means excellent or good, fine, that sort of thing, I think they’re trying to be sarcastic or “witty”.

    I’m sure the conservatards are howling with laughter at the remark, being the low-brow dumbasses they are.

    What a bunch of whiny-ass titty-babies.

  16. procyon says

    Maybe he could rewrite his prayer to be a tad more inclusive and up to date. The same message could be sent without the religious gibberish, and perhaps instead of imploring god to “make us good” to, instead, look inside ourselves to “be good”. Personally I think they know what is going to happen when they trot out their religion in the public domain, and do it just so they can overreact when they get their hands slapped.

  17. cjmitchell says

    When I was 16, I stopped saying the pledge of allegience, then I stopped putting my hand over my left lung, and then I stopped standing up altogether. I did it partially in protest to the “under god” clause, but also because I’d lost a lot of faith over how 9/11 had been handled. (This would have been 2002-2003.)

    My chemistry teacher, whom I have decided is probably the Best Teacher Ever, pointedly made no comment about it. By the end of the year a couple other students were sitting down, too. More surprisingly? Not one person ever gave me a hard time about it, even though I sat near the front of the class and everyone could see me.

    Passive resistence: it works. Thanks, MLKJr.

  18. cag says

    The believers cannot accept that there are people who do not buy into the bullshit think differently than them, so they feel justified in their condemnation of any opposing opinion. They see outsiders as less than them, so they can be cruel and condemning without, in their minds, breaking any commandments. This is my opinion, not based on any studies.

  19. Serendipitydawg (Physicists are such a pain sometimes) says


    From the article:

    “It’s a shame that some judge with an appointment out of a Cracker Jack box can make a ruling like that,” said Bradley.

    I think that pretty much fits with Emrysmyrddin’s ‘Did they get their license out of a cereal packet?!’ interpretation; whatever, the remark was definitely sour grapes at having 50 years of privilege challenged and overturned in court.

  20. says

    What a coward Peter Palumbo is. He calls a 15 year old girl names for filing a lawsuit. But he is apparently too chicken to call the judge names.

    It was the judge that removed the banner! (Actually, it was the 1st Amendment that removed the banner.)

    But Rep Palumbo won’t call the judge names, nor will he call the founding fathers names. But a 15 year old girl? That he can attack.

    Clearly a coward.

  21. peterh says

    ” ‘A 15 y/o is too young to oppose the prayer, but a 7th grader is old enough to write it?’

    Ah, the wonders of the fundie mind!”

    “Mind”? I claim foul!

  22. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    Since “cracker jack” means excellent or good, fine, that sort of thing, I think they’re trying to be sarcastic or “witty”.

    I somehow doubt that. I think it’s more likely that the headline writer simply doesn’t know that the adjective “crackerjack” (usually written as one word) has a positive connotation.

  23. carolw says

    The news site is also reporting that one of the students from Jessica’s school who was threatening her online is being punished. It sounds like s/he is only getting detention, but at least it’s some sort of punishment.

  24. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    In the US Navy “crackerjacks” are the blue sailor suits with the bib in the back.

  25. Ichthyic says

    crackerjack DOES, but “…out of a Cracker Jack Box” most certainly does not.

    the latter phrase is familiar to those of us who grew up with the cheap paper and plastic toys that were often packaged along with the carmelized popcorn of the Cracker Jack brand.


    btw, I often find these religious nutbaggers railing on the ACLU and freedom in general to be a great opportunity to “educate” them about the fact that the ACLU defends THEIR rights too:


    so, when these fuckers claim that the ACLU wants to “kill God”, I just provide that link as response.

  26. Ichthyic says

    A 15 y/o is too young to oppose the prayer, but a 7th grader is old enough to write it?
    I call bullshit!

    No, really, he has a point:

    what takes more brains:

    -spewing forth a rephrasing of something you learned in sunday school?
    -taking action on something based on an interpretation of an amendment of the constitution.

    It took an order of magnitude more smarts for Jenny to do what she did than it took what’s his name to write a silly prayer.

    what’s really sad though, is that this level of intelligence is not at all unheard of in teens. It’s again just what’s his name’s own ignorance that he chooses to project.

    but then, that’s what all the fuss is about:

    there are WAY too many ignorant-privileged Americans who project too much.

  27. says

    Christians have a lot of problems. They’re stupid. They’re assholes. They have an irrational fear of science. Their religious fantasies are ridiculous. They brainwash innocent children. They attack science education and threaten biology teachers.

    What really bugs me is they refuse to respect our Establishment Clause, and apparently they’re too stupid to understand it. I wrote the following comment at http://630wpro.com/Article.asp?id=2371899

    The Establishment Clause is the first clause of the first sentence of the first amendment to our constitution. The first ten amendments were written by America’s founding fathers and it’s called the Bill of Rights.

    Thomas Jefferson, the author of America’s Declaration of Independence and our third president, called the Establishment Clause (Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion) our wall of separation between church and state.

    The Establishment Clause must be respected by our federal government, and thanks to the Incorporation doctrine of the 14th Amendment the Establishment Clause must also be respected by our state and local governments, and our public schools.

    The Establishment Clause is simple, easy to understand, and extremely important. It means keep religious bullshit and our government completely separate. This one clause of our constitution is the only thing that keeps America’s Christian idiots from making this country a theocracy like Iran

    Christians don’t respect our wall of separation between church and state because they’re stupid, too stupid to understand anything, not even something as simple as Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.

    There is a very small minority of Christians who get it. They understand why keeping religious idiocy completely separate from our government is in everyone’s best interest.


  28. says

    I remember when I was in high school, there were murmurs about mandatory bible reading classes. All on my own, I made a commitment if such classes happened, I would skip every one of them in protest, figuring that an honor roll student doing so would attract attention.

    This history teachers taught me too well. ;)

  29. peterh says

    “Yes” in that poll is now 99%. In another discussion, a poster asked if I were aware that the poll in question had been pharyngulated; I responded that while IDjits are stupid, they’re not so stupid that they can’t figure out multiple voting. Perhaps they are indeed that stupid.

  30. crowepps says

    An excerpt from the text of the decision in ENGEL v. VITALE, 370 U.S. 421, which ruled prayer in public schools impermissible in 1962:

    “By the time of the adoption of the Constitution, our history shows that there was a widespread awareness among many Americans of the dangers of a union of Church and State. These people knew, some of them from bitter personal experience, that one of the greatest dangers to the freedom of the individual to worship in his own way lay in the Government’s placing its official stamp of approval upon one particular kind of prayer or one particular form of religious services. They knew the anguish, hardship and bitter strife that could come when zealous religious groups struggled with one another to obtain the Government’s stamp of approval from each King, Queen, or Protector that came to temporary power. The Constitution was intended to avert a part of this danger by leaving the government of this country in the hands of the people rather than in the hands of any monarch. But this safeguard was not enough. Our Founders were no more willing to let the content of their prayers and their privilege of praying whenever they pleased be influenced by the ballot box than they were to let these vital matters of personal conscience depend upon the succession of monarchs. The First Amendment was added to the Constitution to stand as a guarantee that neither the power nor the prestige of the Federal Government would be used to control, support or influence the kinds of prayer the American people can say – [370 U.S. 421, 430] that the people’s religious must not be subjected to the pressures of government for change each time a new political administration is elected to office. Under that Amendment’s prohibition against governmental establishment of religion, as reinforced by the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, government in this country, be it state or federal, is without power to prescribe by law any particular form of prayer which is to be used as an official prayer in carrying on any program of governmentally sponsored religious activity.”


    50 years ago, and we’re *still* litigating the same issue?

  31. Thomas says

    If you look at the site’s past poll results, you’ll see 42% of their viewers oppose breastfeeding in public.

  32. steveride says

    “trained seal”

    Hm, that could be……….but it would have to be Navy SEAL because she sure has kicked the butts of all-comers has she not?

  33. says

    There’s another fatuous poll up, running about 62/31 against rationality at the moment. Apparently some florists in Cranston, sore about their legal loss,(or worried about losing Christian custom) have taken to denying service to those who wish to send roses to Jessica. They are being sued by FFRF, but in the meantime the poll asks whether businesses should have a right to serve who they like: see