Per Fox News, The Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU, is filing a lawsuit on behalf of Jessica Ahlquist who is protesting the use of a prayer banner at Cranston West High School. Looking at the video of the banner, there’s no mistaking its religious content. The teenager would be within her rights as this is a public school that is supposed to demonstrate a separation of church and state. If other students we’re wearing this prayer on their T-shirts, there’d be no issue. The display of the banner by the school shows an endorsement, even if it was meant to be harmless.
You can debate whether Jessica was put up to the lawsuit by surrounding adults, but she appears to be articulate in what she believes.
The Fox News video, for whatever reason, inserted a question about whether Jessica celebrates Christmas? Not sure how that relates to the issue at hand, nor the broader issue of “In God We Trust” on money unless the Fox story editor needed filler material or they’re trying to make Jessica look like a hypocrite for celebrating Christmas. I suppose possibly it is because Christmas in public schools is a hot button issue too–it’s just so far away from the holiday season to even make sense to bring it up. As said numerous times on this site, Christmas is what you want it to be as it is a combination of pagan traditions, modern traditions and Christian worship and symbolism. Jesus was not conveniently born on December 25th (he would have froze his little ass off in that stable), the date was chosen to taken over the pagan celebrations. Some scholars suggest he was born in the fall.
“The public hearings that I have attended have added to that feeling– that my views and beliefs don’t count, or have less value than those of the Christian majority,” Ahlquist said on Monday. This is from AllHeadlineNews.com and is one of the reasons why I say this isn’t just a teen following orders. Teens don’t like to be the outcasts and by doing this Jessica is going to get a lot of attention and criticism from her fellow students and anyone watching the video across the United States. Whenever god is forcibly removed from school (imagine him being dragged out by security) things can get a little nasty.
“The ACLU should avoid these silly little squabbles and move on to other more important issues where civil liberties are really threatened.” This from Bishop Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence who wants to keep the banner up. If it is such a silly thing, Bishop, then ask the school to take it down. It’s going to cost them more money to keep it up. Bishop Tobin doesn’t see the offense in “Dear Heavenly Father” and “Amen” as he wonders if also anyone is offended by “In God We Trust” on money (maybe that’s why Fox News mentioned it?). “In God We Trust” was a reaction out of fear of communism in the fifties and it has to be the most anti-sacred thing you can do to honor your god. Just imagine what people use money to buy and God has now been exploited for porn, drugs, violent video games and books by Richard Dawkins.
Optimistically speaking, it’s nice to see a young atheist teenager sticking up for her rights. At the very least, her classmates will get an opposing viewpoint that maybe will make them think through their own beliefs.