How brave is Jessica Ahlquist? She sued the Cranston, RI school district to have a prayer removed from her public school’s auditorium wall.
It’s an heroic story, via the New York Times, but like most such stories, it has dark aspects. For a hint, take a look at the Times link headline: Rhode Island City Enraged Over School Prayer Lawsuit – NYTimes.com.
The prayer had been hanging in that public school for 40 years until Jessica, baptized a Catholic but now a declared atheist (you must read why she became an atheist; it’s so intelligent), filed her lawsuit. Forty years of a public school ignoring the U.S. Constitution. What does this say about the quality of education in Rhode Island?
Now, wouldn’t you’d think that the school district, responsible for educating kids in, among other things, the foundations of our country such as the Bill of Rights, once notified would say, “Oh gosh, gee — thanks for telling us, and you’re so right, it’s coming down now”?
No. They fought it. And the poster still hangs in the auditorium, albeit under a tarp.
But maybe the ugliest aspect of this story is how the fine citizens of Cranston have reacted to Jessica’s lawsuit. Peter Palumbo, a state senator, called this 16-year-old girl “an evil little thing” on a local radio show. That comment, incidentally, was one of the least horrid, least stupid things that people said about this lawsuit and Jessica.
Also in yesterday Times was this, about another, although unnamed, brave middle-school kid. This article, which I copied in its entirety, was buried in a small Times “summary” section. Is the Times afraid that if it publishes two similar stories pointing up the defiant dumbness of religion that it, the Times itself, will be assaulted for godlessness over the next decade?
South Carolina: Schools Agree to Halt Prayers.
A school district that was sued for holding a prayer rally at a school assembly and prayers at official events has agreed to end its promotion of religion. A federal judge on Thursday made final a consent decree in which the Chesterfield County schools admitted to violating the separation of church and state. Under the decree, school officials may not encourage prayers at events or allow endorsement of religion in the classroom. The suit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a middle-school student who objected to the evangelical assembly and other Christian activities at school.
So let us all applaud Jessica, a braver plaintiff than pretty much anyone I know. And it is now times for all of us to speak loudly against religion — and, yes, I mean all religion and all forms of religion — which, everywhere in the world today have been bullying, threatening and terrorizing those of us who reject it.
Especially those of us who are woman.