Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Payday for Jessica

From the L.A. Times:

Jessica Ahlquist (smiling, center) with supporters during
school committee meeting in Cranford, Rhode Island
By Rene Lynch

February 22, 2012, 11:41 a.m.
A Rhode Island teen is learning that it pays to deny the existence of God: Prominent atheists plan to present Jessica Ahlquist with a scholarship of at least $44,000 -- and possibly more.
It seems they were impressed with the way Ahlquist, 16, handled herself amid a roiling controversy that began in July 2010, when she complained about a prayer banner hanging in the auditorium at Cranston High School West that referred to "Our Heavenly Father."
School authorities brushed off her complaint, saying the banner was artistic and historic, as it had been hanging there for decades. Ahlquist later joined the American Civil Liberties Union in a suit alleging that the banner made her feel "ostracized and out of place."
After much legal wrangling, a court ruled that the banner needed to be removed -- and an uproar ensued.
The controversy helped Ahlquist, an atheist, collect thousands of friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter.
But it also sparked outrage on behalf of many others who embraced the banner and wanted the school district to stand firm. A state legislator called Ahlquist an "evil little thing." There were death threats. The financially strapped school district spent tens of thousands on legal fees. And recall threats were lodged against the school board.
Those school board jobs are still in jeopardy; the district voted last week to end the appeals process to save money.
Blogger Hemant Mehta who writes the Friendly Atheist started a campaign to raise scholarship money for Ahlquist, and the American Humanist Assn. is also helping to oversee the fund-raising effort, which runs through the end of the month.
"The way she has handled herself throughout this whole ordeal is admirable far beyond anything most people would expect from a high school student," Mehta wrote.
So far, the fund has raised $44,000 for Ahlquist. Mehta and the association say she earned the scholarship by standing up to critics "with class and style."

Note the execrable tactic of atheists playing to the vanity of a 16 year-old schoolgirl to use her as a pawn in their lawsuit.

The battle we face against the unconstitutional cleansing of free religious expression from civic life is not merely against foes who hate our faith. It is a battle against foes who lack rudimentary ethics-- in this case, they use a schoolchild to censor her Christian friends and neighbors and to expropriate a large legal settlement from her school district as a warning to others who would speak of God in civic life.

They hide behind children, enticing them to lie in court-- Jessica obviously was not harmed in any way by the prayer mural-- and they use her as a pawn to enforce civic atheism.

An uncommonly clear example of political atheism. 

28 comments:

  1. what about this 14 years old girl?

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/14-year-old-homeschooled-girl-receives-death-threats-for-defending-marriage

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    1. Horrible.
      This is so typical of the polarized hysteria surrounding this insane debate.

      Delete
  2. I’m looking forward to giving Jessica a big round of applause when I see her at the Reason Rally on the National Mall March 24th.

    -KW

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    1. Is that supposed to get my ass out?

      J.Q.

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  3. But they don't have an ideology or agenda.....

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  4. It is a battle against foes who lack rudimentary ethics

    Hey, atheists are just as moral* as Christians!


    *Lying, adultery, mass murder, and using schoolchildren to censor their Christian friends and neighbors and to expropriate large legal settlements from impoverished school districts don't count as immoral.

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  5. in this case, they use a schoolchild to censor her Christian friends and neighbors and to expropriate a large legal settlement from her school district as a warning to others who would speak of God in civic life.

    Exactly what person was censored? The government has no right to free expression, and has no First Amendment rights. So what person was censored here? You have consistently dodged this question with your pearl clutching outrage, and your inability to answer it is fairly telling.

    The "legal settlement" that is being obtained is the statutorily mandated cost-shifting. No damages were awarded to anyone. What is being awarded are the legal costs of the victor, which is the result of a statute that the elected representatives in Congress enacted just for this purpose. You cannot complain that this is somehow being imposed by unelected judges. The school board could have avoided this cost had they followed the advice of their own lawyers and followed the law.

    But like you, the school board decided to shriek and moan and ignore established law. And now they will pay the legal costs that everyone who was paying attention to this case knew they would end up paying even before it went to trial. This was not a difficult case. The school board's loss was entirely predictable. The school board having to pay the victor's legal fees due to their ill-considered choice to flout the law was entirely predictable.

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    1. In addition to upending case law that perverts the Constitution, we need to pass the Public Expression of Religion Act in both houses of Congress and have a president sign it into law.

      Delete
    2. You do realize that you cannot overturn a Supreme Court ruling on the Constitution by statute, don't you?

      Delete
  6. Anyone who knows a bit about Christian eschatology understands that atheistic liberalism will rule the world prior to the coming of Christ.

    Does the word antechrist ring a bell?

    It probably won't happen in my lifetime but it's coming.

    Thank you atheists!

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    1. It probably won't happen in my lifetime but it's coming.

      You misspelled "It will never happen because it is a fairy tale".

      Delete
    2. Fairy tale?
      No.
      That's gay marriage. You're confused again.

      The Anti Christ is a Christian prophecy, or 'mythology' if you like. I know it must be hard for someone who thinks of science as banal tautology to envision any sort of prophetic or revelatory insights.
      You may, however, be able to relate it to your promissory materialism. 'Predictions' as the prophets of materialism call them.
      Once you have that down, you'll get the idea.


      BTW Pépé is a Bilingual French speaker (Francophone), and his written English is excellent.
      How's your French, Anon?

      Delete
    3. @Pepe
      "Anyone who knows a bit about Christian eschatology understands that atheistic liberalism will rule the world prior to the coming of Christ."

      If you guys really believe that, then why fight it? This is what you've been waiting for, right? Christ is coming! But first, the atheists will rule the world. So if you see that happening soon, then why go to all the trouble of bitching about atheists?

      Loosen up...let it happen..

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    4. That's what I'm doing and I even thank you atheists! What more do you want?

      For your benefit, here (or hear) the word of God:

      I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
      Matthew 16:18

      QED.

      Delete
    5. "That's gay marriage. You're confused again."

      Gay marriage is a reality. Maryland is passing a law on that very issue right now. Through the legislature, despite Egnor's constant assertions that the "gay agenda" can't be enacted that way.

      "I know it must be hard for someone who thinks of science as banal tautology to envision any sort of prophetic or revelatory insights."

      I expect them to be as accurate as all the other prophetic and revelatory insights. as in, not accurate at all.

      By the way, why aren't you Mormon? Joseph Smith had prophetic and revelatory insights and the leader of their faith is recognized as a prophet. You seem to put great store in prophecy, so why have you not signed up to join a group that has a prophet on hand?

      Delete
  7. Let’s not lose sight of what we’re talking about here. You (Christians) were not allowed to hang a banner in a school auditorium. Boohoohoo, too bad, not everyone can hang banners in the school auditorium.

    This is a trivial matter of settled law, but conservatives know there has been an ideological shift to the right on the Supreme Court and see that by making this an issue they might get a sympathetic hearing and use the judiciary to establish new law. So the trivial becomes an existential threat, and cheerleaders like Dr. Egnor pull out the Nazis and the holocaust and eugenics and the killing fields, because they didn’t get to hand their banner in the auditorium.

    Conservatives are the most consistently scared shitless people in America today.

    -KW

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    1. Of course right wing religious conservatives are scared shitless. As Pépé demonstrates, they fantasize that their "loving" God will show up and begin a reign of terror on the world.

      Delete
  8. @anon:

    [Exactly what person was censored? The government has no right to free expression, and has no First Amendment rights. So what person was censored here? You have consistently dodged this question with your pearl clutching outrage, and your inability to answer it is fairly telling.]

    The people of Cranston were censored. "The government" is an abstraction and as such has no First Amendment rights.

    The people do have First Amendment rights, not only individually, but collectively. It is not only unconstitutional, for example, for a judge to order an individual not to express a political opinion, it is also unconstitutional for a judge to order the people collectively not to express an opinion. A judge may not say "John Smith may not express support for healthcare legislation", and a judge also may not say "voters in Maryland may not express support for healthcare legislation". People individually have First Amendment rights, and people collectively have First Amendment rights. Congress shall make no law abridging the right to freedom of speech-- abridging the right of many to speak is no less unconstitutional than abridging the right of one to speak.

    The prayer mural is the free expression of the people of Cranston, expressed collectively via school board elections and school board policy.

    A judge violates the First Amendment by preventing that free expression, no less by violating free expression of many people collectively than be violating free expression individually.

    Government censorship violates the First Amendment. Jerk.

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  9. "The prayer mural is the free expression of the people of Cranston, expressed collectively via school board elections and school board policy."

    Nope, sorry, your analysis is completely and wholly vacuous. The prayer mural is the responsibility of the school board, an arm of government. As a creature of the government, the school board has no first amendment rights. It is not the expression of the people of Cranston. No person in Cranston could put up the banner, and no person in Cranston could take it down. Only the school board could do that, and the school board is not an individual with rights.

    Distinctions matter. And the government is not an individual, and does not inherit the rights of the voters who vote for it. Your inane legal "reasoning" is why you and your ilk consistently lose these sorts of issues.

    No one was censored. Your pearl clutching hysterics notwithstanding. And the more you wail and gnash your teeth while making ridiculously stupid arguments about how someone has been censored, the more it will become apparent to the people as a whole that your arguments are empty and meritless. So keep whining. You're the best advertisement against your position that one could hope for.

    "Government censorship violates the First Amendment."

    The government cannot be censored because the government has no first amendment rights. You really need to read up on your Constitutional law one of these days: rights accrue to the individual. Not the collective. That's why you have to have a specific plaintiff that has been injured to bring a suit.

    Jerk.

    I've been called a jerk by one of the most idiotic asshole morons to grace the internet. Oh no!

    Of course, I could call you what you are, and what you will continue to be as long as you consistently fail to understand how the Constitution works, and how it will continue to work for the foreseeable future: a loser on the losing side, who will continue to be on the losing side. And also a loser whose ideas will be tossed on the trash heap of history.

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  10. @anon:

    [As a creature of the government, the school board has no first amendment rights. It is not the expression of the people of Cranston.]

    In representative democracy, the school board is the representative of the people of Cranston. That's the whole point of representative democracy. The people express their rights, in part, through their elected representatives.

    [No person in Cranston could put up the banner, and no person in Cranston could take it down. Only the school board could do that, and the school board is not an individual with rights.]

    The school board acts as delegates of the people in the district. Democracy.

    [Distinctions matter. And the government is not an individual, and does not inherit the rights of the voters who vote for it.]

    Oh. So it would be constitutional for a judge to order that a legislature not express a certain viewpoint (eg support for Obama's policies) even though individuals could do so? Isn't that a dictatorship?

    [Your inane legal "reasoning" is why you and your ilk consistently lose these sorts of issues.]

    The vast majority of Americans agree with me. That's why you never advocate VOTING on these issues. Why do you only use courts, never legislatures, to enact your censorship?

    [No one was censored.]

    How Orwellian.

    [Your pearl clutching hysterics notwithstanding. And the more you wail and gnash your teeth while making ridiculously stupid arguments about how someone has been censored, the more it will become apparent to the people as a whole that your arguments are empty and meritless. So keep whining. You're the best advertisement against your position that one could hope for.]

    Fine. If I'm wrong, you should have no problem getting your school prayer censorship law passed in the Congress. Odd that you never try.

    "Government censorship violates the First Amendment."

    [The government cannot be censored because the government has no first amendment rights. You really need to read up on your Constitutional law one of these days: rights accrue to the individual. Not the collective. That's why you have to have a specific plaintiff that has been injured to bring a suit.]

    Ever heard of a class-action suit?

    [I've been called a jerk by one of the most idiotic asshole morons to grace the internet.]

    I used the term "jerk" because it's a family blog. It wasn't the word I was thinking of.

    "Oh no! Of course, I could call you what you are, and what you will continue to be as long as you consistently fail to understand how the Constitution works, and how it will continue to work for the foreseeable future: a loser on the losing side, who will continue to be on the losing side. And also a loser whose ideas will be tossed on the trash heap of history."

    Your censorship has nothing to do with the Constitution. You're an anti-Christian bigot, doing what bigots do.

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    1. "In representative democracy, the school board is the representative of the people of Cranston. That's the whole point of representative democracy. The people express their rights, in part, through their elected representatives."

      That is why they are government. Say it slowly: the school board is government. Government has no rights.

      "The school board acts as delegates of the people in the district. Democracy."

      Government. No individual rights. That's the point.

      "Oh. So it would be constitutional for a judge to order that a legislature not express a certain viewpoint (eg support for Obama's policies) even though individuals could do so? Isn't that a dictatorship?"

      Your argument is incoherent.

      "The vast majority of Americans agree with me. That's why you never advocate VOTING on these issues. Why do you only use courts, never legislatures, to enact your censorship?"

      Actually, they don't agree with you. That is why, for example, Congress maintains the fee-shifting rules in cases like these. And why things like the Blunt amendment don't pass the legislature.

      And more to the point: it isn't a question of voting. It is a question of rights, and when those arise it is not subject to a majority vote. The protected rights in the Constitution are there specifically to prevent the will of the majority from prevailing.

      "Fine. If I'm wrong, you should have no problem getting your school prayer censorship law passed in the Congress. Odd that you never try."

      It has been the current interpretation of the Constitution for more than sixty years. And I notice that you haven't been able to muster support for a Constitutional amendment to change that. An amendment prohibiting flag-burning garnered more support than your position on the Establishment clause.

      "Ever heard of a class-action suit?"

      Yes. You have to have specific plaintiffs to bring those. or maybe you didn't know that?

      "Your censorship has nothing to do with the Constitution. You're an anti-Christian bigot, doing what bigots do."

      The only anti-Christian bigot here is you. Because your "arguments" will do more to harm the cause of Christianity than a dedicated army of atheists could ever do.

      Delete
  11. "Conservatives are the most consistently scared shitless people in America today."

    If that is the case, why is it, I wonder they make up the vast majority of the fighting forces of your nation? Where is the horde of agnostic or atheist secularists in uniform. Haviing served alongside the Rangers and Marines I have met a lot of VERY brave and very astute American Christians. There were also Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims... but not a SINGLE atheist.
    I am sure there must be one or two out there, but why do they differ so much from their group. Why are they the exception and not the rule?
    Why is that? Maybe something to do with being 'scared shitless' of death? Selfishness? Or just a lack of moral and physical strengths that result from the nihilist core of their belief system(s).

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    1. There are more self identified atheists in the U.S. military than Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims. After Christians and “no religious preference” atheists are the largest group.

      Unfortunately the military discriminates against atheists, denying them promotion, recommending additional training for atheists who fail the Army spiritual fitness test, and sending them to the back of the line when it comes to the many important non-religious functions and services preformed by the Chaplain corps. Conservative evangelicals make up 66% of the Chaplain population but only 19% general population. The pressure on soldiers to conform to a spiritual culture dominated by evangelicals has been well documented.

      Now that Gays can serve openly, the next big cultural battle in the military will be mainstream acceptance of atheists.

      -KW

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  12. Here you go: Vindication!

    Some judges ARE on the side of religion, folks!

    http://news.yahoo.com/penn-judge-muslims-allowed-attack-people-insulting-mohammad-210000330.html

    All joking aside, this judge should be forced to step down. THIS is a clear violation of the 1st amendment. In case anyone was asking...

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    1. It seems to me a clear-cut case of idiocy on the part of the plaintiff. An obvious attempt at provocation. Here that would be known as 'incitement'. The Muslim kid could have called the police.

      The kid got what he was looking for: An ass kicking.
      'Doufus' is a little tame. But at LEAST he was gutsy enough to target a religion that WILL fight (literally) back. If he could just get his brains in control of his testicles, he might just graduate.
      Hope he foots the bill for the court case etc.

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    2. Great Crusader, Can I look forward to your support when I beat up a Christian for insulting Atheists?

      -KW

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