Cranston School Will Not Appeal Ruling To Take Down Prayer Banner

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

CRANSTON, R.I. (CBS) – A huge crowd packed Cranston High School West, angry over a ruling which forced the city to take down a prayer banner that’s been up in the school for decades.

A federal judge already ruled the prayer banner has to be taken down, but in the end, it came down to a battle between faith and money.

Early on it looked like Thursday night’s public hearing was going to go the way of those before it: A rabid shout fest.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports

The crowd was heavily in favor of appealing a federal court’s decision ordering the school district to remove the prayer mural with religious wording.

The banner was a gift from the class of 1964.

It begins with, “Our Heavenly Father…” and asks students to be good scholars and community leaders.

The school argued that the banner was part of the history of the school.

But once the argument was framed in economic terms, even pro-banner speakers changed their tune.

School officials estimated that an appeal to the 1st Circuit Court in Boston and maybe eventually the Supreme Court could cost the city up to $500,000.

After two hours of public hearings, the Cranston School Committee voted 5-2 against an appeal.

Quietly in the back row the whole time sat Jessica Ahlquist, the 16-year-old high school junior who first challenged the banner’s constitutionality. Ahlquist has been the target of online threats and was briefly escorted by police while at school.

“I’m really pleased with the decision,” Ahlquist said after the vote. “It’s obviously the decision I wanted the School Committee to make and I’m thrilled.”

Comments

One Comment

  1. Jeremy says:

    How dare she want this country to follow it’s own rules and guidelines! How evil, right? Riiiiiight.

    1. Gabe says:

      The Constitution only says that:

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

      I wonder how this means that a school has to take down banners with religious symbols on it, which the majority of that community supports just because one person, or a group of people don’t agree.

      Does the majority have to suffer to accommodate the few? For those who say that religion should be practiced in the privacy of your own home, church or out of the public eye, is in fact trying to overturn the Constitutional amendment. For in order to make it legal to only practice your faith in those areas, is to pass laws that are “prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

      No one says that an Atheist can’t practice their non faith in public, because this is a free society and everyone has the right to free speech. If you were to take this into its extreme, we would have to do away with that entire amendment and no one would be able to say anything in public at all, because any expression will be seen as some sort of belief, and therefore a separation of church and state, and intolerable. Or are Atheists only happy with suppressing the rights of freedom of expression of others who do not share their own belief system?

      I am against the suppression of Atheist speech, just as much as I am against the suppression of any other religious or non religious organization and I am a Christian. But as an American, we should all be allowed to profess and express our beliefs as we choose, within reason.

      If a community wants to express their common held tradition and belief, they should be allowed to without congress or any other government dictating that they can’t. This is a free country. If you do not share the common belief of that community, you don’t have to. And if you can’t stand it that everyone else doesn’t share your beliefs, you are welcome to move to a place that does share your views. But who gives you the right to force others to stop expressing their own system of beliefs, or traditions, just because it makes you uncomfortable? Doesn’t sound like freedom of anything if you ask me.

    2. tsalnew says:

      Gabe – would you objective if instead of removing the subject banner one were added that said “There is No God”

    3. Kim Janes says:

      Gabe, this isn’t “a community” expressing a commonly held belief–it’s the government, which is why it’s wrong. The school (a government institution) cannot display a religious banner, which is tantamount to raising one religion above all others.

      Taking it down doesn’t violate anyone’s religious liberty–people are free to practice their religion in public or in private as long as their actions don’t infringe on the rights of others. The students are still allowed to pray in school if they want, but the school is NOT allowed to lead the prayer. That is the distinction that those who disagree with the original ruling don’t understand.

      It’s baffling to me that people seem to think that violations of the Constitution are OK as long as the majority of people are in agreement with the violation. The Constitution doesn’t exist to protect the majority of people from the minority–marshall law would take care of that. The Constitution exists to protect the rights and freedoms of EVERYONE, including those of minority opinions, beliefs, race, gender, gender identity, etc.

      When something that is OK for one religion (i.e. the display of a banner in school) wouldn’t be OK for any other religion, it’s discriminatory. That’s why the establishment clause exists.

    4. Willow says:

      Kim James….Great explanation!

  2. minh says:

    Despicable? Depends on your point of view. Courageous? Absolutely. Religious messages in public institutions serving all walks of life are just anachronistic.

    1. gramps says:

      Is religion divisive?

      Bet your ‘ash’ it is!

      Which is why it should be kept private & those inclined to do so, go where you wish on Saturday & Sunday……The my god is better than yours, especially those on a ‘magic carpet ride, has been & will prove to be the downfall of the ‘Planet’!

      gramps

      1. tsalnew says:

        gramps with all due respect – religion is not divisive – the divisiveness is created by man all on his own.

      2. Willow says:

        And, so is politics as well as many other things.

    2. montana824 says:

      The next thing we’ll see are Catholic idols in the school hallways. We’ll have to kneel before going into the cafeteria. What nonsense.

    3. Seriously says:

      It didn’t come down to money, it came down to it costing money to try to ignore the constitution, …let’s be honest here.

  3. cincinatheist.blogspot.com says:

    This despicable little atheist fought to protect your freedom of religion. You should really be less of a sore loser like the Cranston prayer banner says.

    1. P says:

      No she didn’t,in this case the majority lost. I don’t want her Godless little hands fighting for me. I never met a 16 year old atheist I liked.

      1. Jesus says:

        Wow. What ignorance.

        America is a constitutional democracy, a government under law in which coalition and majority rule is balanced by minority and individual rights.

        Get educated, dope.

      2. andy says:

        Jesus: America is constitutional republic. You described a republic.

  4. villefort says:

    you mean brave human being

    1. P says:

      No,I mean despicable little atheist. No atheists in foxholes,wait til life deals her a foxhole.

    2. Jean says:

      Funny, I’ve been dealt a LOT of foxholes in my life, and I’m just as strong an atheist, if not stronger, for those experiences. Most atheists can say the same.

      I also know many atheists who were in literal foxholes- in WWII, Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Some didn’t start as atheists, but became atheist in those foxholes.

  5. freedomfromreligion says:

    Thank You for keeping it real Jessica Ahlquist !!!

  6. TUCO72 says:

    Just another sign of what this country is becoming with POS President.

    1. Jesus says:

      You talking about George Washington?

      Those were the guys who got that whole US Constitution and Bill of Rights thing started. Go figure.

      1. Snuggie says:

        Yes, they were. However they based the constitution on Christainity! Read it and see for yourself. I believe we need to get back to our roots….

  7. Doc says:

    I will be praying for her … that one day she sees the light and accepts Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior. Both he and our Lady have helped me out on many occasions. One only needs to have faith.

    1. gramps says:

      “I’d rather be lucky….than good”

      Better than ‘fairy tales’!

      gramps

    2. Jesus says:

      Learn in school. Pray in church. Simple.

      1. Snuggie says:

        Oh no, learn in school, and prayer about everythin and everywhere

    3. Dave_D says:

      Pray for her all you want. But, please, do it quietly.

      At least you are better than a lot of the cowards who were threatening her. Imagine that, threatening a sixteen year old girl. I wonder what your Lady would say about that.

    4. freethought says:

      Nothing fails like prayer. -Annie Laurie Gaylor

      1. Willow says:

        I beg to differ. :)

      2. Almir says:

        Please Gifted Music School Spring Gala Benefit ConcertLocation: Libby Gardner Hall on the University of Utah Campus7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, 2011Tickets and more information: 801-686-8838

  8. Mark says:

    First of all, calling Jessica Ahlquist a “brave human being” is a bit ridiculous I mean it wasnt like she was Rosa Parks or anything like that. Secondly, I don’t really know what the contents that were on the Prayer Banner so I mean this could be just over a little thing that has gotten overblown (like the “under God in the Pledge of Allegiance) or if it was justifiable for its removal which I agree with if the contents meaning is religous heavy. Church and State should be kept seperately but if its something little like…. ‘May the road guide you to happiness”…or something of that nature I mean who cares.

    1. freethought says:

      “One nation, Indivisible” unites.

      “Under God” divides. Get it?

      That’s probably the reason that “Under God” was not in the original Pledge of allegiance. (Or E. Pluribus Unum was our national motto.) How would you like it if someone distorted your bible? Oh wait, wahtever am I saying???

  9. Jesus says:

    Religion OUT of schools and into the CHURCH!

    Duh.
    Why is it so hard for Republicans to understand that?

    1. Willow says:

      Last I knew, Jesus and His followers were the church. A building is only the place some people go to worship, but people (believers) are the church. If you are going to use His name, please be sure your facts are correct.

    2. P says:

      Do you go to atheists meetings? I know of 2 and they’re both despicable as I suspect you are. This country gets better and better,doesn’t it?

  10. massman says:

    Intelligence 1, Religion 0. Awesome job by Ms. Ahlquist and the ACLU. Keep religion out of schools.

  11. Dave_D says:

    Good for her!

    Sounds like she paid attention in her civics classes.

  12. Charles says:

    Beautiful. Jessica Ahlquist, your heart make be young, but it has exhibited strength beyond its years that we should all draw inspiration from. Congratulations for standing up for what’s right and what’s fair.

    I respect you, and I’m a Catholic. I do not want my tax dollars or any municipal property I own a share of to be used to force feed my religion to anyone else, or to force meet anyone else’s religion to me! You’ve brought a victory for us all!

    1. Snuggie says:

      Well, she hasnt brought victory to me in anyway. She has brought shame to me. To say she dosent believe in GOD! He is the very reason you can even go on television and say that. UGH!

  13. Joe says:

    If religion is so great, then why have most religious institutions felt the need to persecute those who refuse to be converted?

    I wonder if all the Christians out there who are angry, would have been okay with this banner if it was of an Islamic-theme?

    Hypocrisy is trash.

    Great to see this young lady has liberated Cranston HIgh School of the menacing tax free enterprise that is Christianity.

    1. Snuggie says:

      The aclu isn’t a religious institution.

  14. gramps says:

    21 comments:

    Jessica: 15

    Religion: 6

  15. Tom says:

    Why do we have public schools in the first place? Oh that’s right, I forgot, Thomas Jefferson started them so that kids could learn to read the Bible. Or has that part of U.S. history been conveniently “revised” by Progressives too?

    1. Dave_D says:

      Where did you learn that Tom? Or did you just make it up? On the chance that you learned that somewhere, let me assure you that it is complete bollocks.

      1. tsalnew says:

        I was wondering the same thing

    2. freethought says:

      You need to learn your history from somewhere besides the pulpit. Open a real book for once.

    3. massman says:

      Did you read that in the Bible or something? How ludicrous.

  16. BFM says:

    The ones defending this girl whay have you not go after Obama’s Muslin Holiday stamp?

    1. jp says:

      spell check is your friend, so is education, try at least one

  17. Damian says:

    Only those who have blemishes on their Conscience can be so vicious against
    what is Good, Moral, and Just.
    I have seen Communism with my own eyes, and thanks to people like this brat
    we are coming to the same system, and it is not pretty .
    Remember the phrase : when they came for the Jews, I did not speak as I was not a Jew, when they came for …
    You can add the rest

  18. Tom says:

    From Benjamin Franklin’s speech to Congress on June 28, 1787: “In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.-Our prayers, Sir, were heard, & they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance?”

    1. tsalnew says:

      Benjamin Franklin was a freemason. God and politics were never discussed or mentioned in a masonic temple. His strong belief that God should be kept out of any form of assembly – along with other founding fathers who were freemasons – kept church and state separate.

  19. dan says:

    this is her 15 mins. of fame!!!!!

  20. dan says:

    sorry..i did not say andy worhol said that in case anyone was wondering

  21. The Batman says:

    Let me start by saying that I am a born again Christian which means that I believe in the God of the Bible and His role as Creator of the universe and everything in it. Also in His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of the world and in His Holy Spirit which indwells believers and helps to guide their lives. That being said, I have to say that I agree that this young lady has shown that she has the courage of her convictions and is willing to publicly defend her beliefs (or lack of belief, depending on your point of view). Most people today hide behind the anonimity of the internet to spew intolerance, hatred, insults and just plain rude behavior all under the guise of expressing an opinion. Do I agree with her? Absolutely not! Will I defend her right to continue believing as she does and expressing her views about it? Most definitely!

    But what it really boils down to is that these are just words on a plaque. If your belief in God is held in your heart then this plaque being removed becomes a non-issue. All of the name calling and insults on both sides of this discussion continues to prove the point that people hide behind the “wall” of the internet in order to vent the anger and hatred that already exists in their soul.

    1. tsalnew says:

      Nicely said Batman!

    2. Snuggie says:

      I diissagree. I also am a born again Christian. How can we be about our fathers buisness if we dont stand for his name. Be like david who stood before the Giant! I think the school shoud take this issue further, go down fighting!

  22. tsalnew says:

    I don’t believe it is really important that she won or lost or that the banner was taken down

    On the bigger picture, what did she learn? She learned not to accept what another believes. She learned not to try to understand what another person’s point of view is or to accept that we are all different.

    I have a friend who will not let her children so much as say the word Christmas. They can’t even sing Jingle Bells (nothing to do with Christmas and everything to do with winter) because it is somehow gong to hurt them. At one point the children were reading an American Girl story. When they reached the point where the Swedish girl in the story was celebrating St. Lucia, they literally froze as if it were a horrible thing for them to read about. St. Lucia of course is not even a religious holiday. It is Sweden’s festival of light celebrating the longest night of the year. These kids already know fear of another belief.

    And someone above mentioned religious institutions closing their walls against other beliefs and I agree. Although please understand that all who are religious (perhaps spiritual is a better word) do not need to be inside a religious structure. One really has little to do with the other.

    I honestly believe that shutting out everyone and everything different than we are as individuals has moved this world to the place it is in. It really has nothing to do with religion and has everything to do with lack of tolerance. If you read some of the comments here, that is very clear.

    In that regard, I feel as if Ahlquist lost something very valuable – we all did.

  23. Jim_M says:

    do the people that always bring up the “they came for the xxxx….” ever actually listen to it? I think it should go, “They came for the people with no god and I said nothing for I had a god. They came for the people who didn’t worship Yaweh and I said nothing because he was my god. They came for the Catholics but I said nothing because I was protestant. Then they came for me because I wasn’t in the sect they wanted and there was no one left to save me”

  24. Tom says:

    If you’re not a liberal at 20 then you don’t have a heart.
    If you’re not a conservative at 40 then you don’t have a brain.
    – Winston Churchill

    1. tsalnew says:

      You are proving my point here :)

  25. JJ says:

    Hey, at least she is breaking the stereo types. Some girls seeking attention party too much, date “bad boys”, or become strippers. Way to go Jessica!

    1. Dave_D says:

      Are those “the” stereotypes? Or just yours?

      1. JJ says:

        In my experience, stereotypes are based some on real experiences, be it an unfair bias or not. I am just tired of certain individuals in this country getting offended by things that are not meant to offend. I understand the separation of church and state. I have no quams with upholding that freedom. However I find it unfortunate that this one student felt “excluded” by this passage. It was put up long before she existed and was not intended to hurt anyone but was obviously meant to uplift all students. I hope the school district looks into replacing it, first removing the “offending” (to some) reference to God and Amen. I think the original sentiment is beautiful, and more students these days need to be reminded of the positive message that was written. (respect, do your best, be a good role model, etc)

  26. William Gregory Barr says:

    I often wonder what all those Christian families who with the Governments support sent their sons to War in this country and in the world to protect peoples rights would say today when they see a beautiful young girl saying they have to take God out of their public lives. I know exactly what they would say, JESUS WEPT. For those of you who haven’t sat down just out of curiosity or for snickers, giggles and grins as its called today and read some of what is in the King James Version of the Bible, particularly the New Testament, that says in the end days that the Christians will be persecuted over and over for their beliefs, would think what you are doing has already been foretold. Those Christians are saddened inside as you do what you do, but on the other hand they are rejoicing as you are only reaffirming what they already knew was coming as it was written over 1,700 years ago by Jewish converts. If I were someone of any faith I would truly want to back Christians who are the most compassionate, the most accepting and the first to step forward when it comes to helping others in need or those less fortunate, Not to say that Christianity isn’t full or atrocities committed in the name of God, as is ALL religion, but as it is told religion is of Man and therefore flawed. Even when they came to take Jesus away and one of the disciples cut the ear off of a guard and Jesus restored his ear, he was saying do not hate that which seeks to destroy me but love them and boost them up for it is not them that do this they know not what they do, its is he who seeks to destroy me working through them. We could all try to be Understanding of the religion that the forefathers of this country founded our Constitution and their lives on, when you say these things and take God out of our public lives you are spitting on this country and those who made it possible for any of us to be here and have the right to believe as we choose or not choose. BUT then that wouldn’t be in keeping with what the Hebrew profits of the old Jewish faith and religion say IS COMING. I’m not going to hate on this Child for it is not she who is causing the destruction of this country, but he who is working through her and stands behind her snickering, that’s who the Christians are mad at and that they are suppose to continue to be accepting of everyone else when no one is willing to be accepting of their views In a country that was based on Christian Jewish beliefs and faith. when you alleviate God entirely from our public lives what is going to be there to replace it? hatred, immorality, killing? Think about it, we say taking ones life is unjust and immoral , so what, its just a law right, what’s law based upon justice and morality, that’s what God is, take God out and you end up with ANARCHY. To that end as say Presidents of past and present and I quote “GOD BLESS AMERICA” at least, until you succeed in alleviating that from our Public lives!!!!

    1. The Batman says:

      William,

      Well said. The enemy and his minions, as always, are always lurking, hidden from sight, seeking those whom they may devour. May the Lord continue to Bless you.

    2. dowdy says:

      You can have all the religion you want in your public lives. You just can’t post it on the walls of our public (government owned and operated) buildings.

      1. eric says:

        That’s funny it is all over our public money, written into our courts and laws, etc. If you don’t like it go to the country of your own beliefs, but don’t deny the majority from the community who pay for those government owned and operated buildings their rights to expression of speech.

    3. tsalnew says:

      I am having a lot of problems understanding some of your comments. First, do you believe that only Christians have died defending this country? I’m inclined to think there were people of all religions or nonreligions because that is exactly what this country is made up of.

      Also, what was the religion of our forefathers? Our forefathers were a combination of deists and atheists and whatever else. And they very specifically did not found this country on any religious belief. In fact, they were adamant that it be the one and only country that did not have any religion involved in its government. I’m hoping you are not going back to the Pilgrims who were among the most intolerant group.

      And how are Christians are the most compassionate? You mean the same ones who have threatened this girls life? Do you mean the same ones who believed a person who was not Catholic would go to hell? Do you mean the same ones who burned witches? Or perhaps the ones who celebrated their religious holidays and festivals in public schools to the exclusion of all other religions. It’s comments like yours that make me totally understand why thee is so much anger when it comes to religion. Why the King James Bible? It happens to be the Bible I have in my home but if you want to suggest reading a Bible, perhaps go to the original which of course is used in any college Bible study class. If one “understanding, compassionate” Christian had stood up and suggested the banner be left and beside it every other religion place its banner – including one saying there is no god – then we can talk about understanding and compassion.

      What you believe is wonderful. There may be parallels in what you and I believe but there are differences also. But Mr. Bar what I believe is equally as wonderful as what you believe. And what every other person believes is equally wonderful. FOR THAT INDIVIDUAL.

      1. montana824 says:

        The definition of “Christian compassion.” Keeping everyone on the European continent DUMB for 1,500 years. Organzing thousands of pogroms throughout Europe to eradicate those you refused to believe in a man-god. Organizing the Crusades to eradicate Islam which helps us to understand the Islamic maniacal behavior today. How about the succession of Inquisitions using every torture device known to man, in order to convert Jews. The Holocaust aided and abetted by the Vatican, specifically Pope Pius XII. Catholicism? The most vicious religion known to man.

  27. Willow says:

    What I don’t understand is if everyone is so confident in their convictions and beliefs, how can a banner of any kind upset you? They’re only words, if you don’t agree with them, ignore them. So what if it was an Islamic themed one. It doesn’t make me a Muslim just because it’s hanging there. How about using our freedoms to be kind and tolerant to one another for a change. I look at it this way, if I’m right in what I believe, then I have everything to gain and praise God. If I die and there’s nothing afterward, what have I lost?

    1. Glen says:

      So the banner should mean nothing one way or the other. It’s just a thing. A symbol. A true Christian knows it’s what you do and how you act that makes the difference, not how many banners or plaques you display, or how big your church is or how much noise you make about how Christian you are.

      1. Willow says:

        I don’t understand what you’re saying. The banner only means something to the people who hold the belief it is directed at. If it isn’t what I believe, how can it harm me? We can ignore it. Obviously, this young lady couldn’t, and has taken it upon herself to inflict her own views on everyone else. It could have been appealed, but in my honest opinion, they did the right thing by not having to deal with the cost to bring it to court, and most importantly, God doesn’t need any of us to fight His battles. No one can change what is in a person’s heart.

    2. Snuggie says:

      I would say the same thing about any banner that wasn’t christian! This is America, It’s our roots. Not Islamic , or Bubbhist, or etc.

  28. 1stackmack says:

    l speak for all atheists.this girl needs to shut her mouth..l’m atheist ,but l believe in the freedom of religion.ln this country you believe in whatever or whom ever you want.l also keep my atheism to my self cause l know most or the country believes in something.

    1. Willow says:

      Love your honesty 1stack. We could all learn a lesson from you.

    2. freethought says:

      Well, you’re about the poorest example of an atheist I have heard so far. You are more like a “sit on the fence, agnostic apologist”. Are you sure you aren’t a closeted mormon? They love to lie about what they believe!

      1. 1stackmack says:

        sorry free.. but l just believe in any god,or devine intervention.again thats me.and l pushed report comment by mistake.

      2. 1stackmack says:

        l should have put don’t believe in god, or devine intervention in the last line.

      3. Willow says:

        freethought, how about everyone elses freedom to think, without the name calling…please. I can say I honestlyI know about what you refer to as “sitting on the fence,” myself. There was a time that I thought I had lost my faith or never had it in the first place. Some people think for themselves and search out the truths they can live with, while others continue in the faith of their fathers. 1stack has been very honest with where his beliefs lie and respects the beliefs of others. What is your problem?

      4. tsalnew says:

        freethought you are a perfect example of why people who are in the minority in this country have to scream loudly as this girl did to be heard and accepted.

      5. freethought says:

        Willow, exactly! There was a time when religion ruled the world. It was called the DARK AGES.

        Do you think the word “agnostic” is offensive to an atheist?

      6. firemanmark says:

        Another Occupy attitude.You want atheism? Go somewhere else.This is not about State vs.Religion.It’s about one persons opinion overruling the majority.The end is near and especially closer if all the Libs re-elect that idiot Obama with his treasonous cabinet.

      7. freethought says:

        Fireman Mark, didn’t you learn in civics class that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were designed for the protection of the individual…not the majority. There are plenty of countries that are based on the will of the majority. Perhaps you would feel more comfortable there?

    3. freethought says:

      You keep your atheism to yourself because you either are not sure of your convictions or afraid of what coming out could do to your job, friends and family. I know, I have been through all of it. But I am now proud of my (lack of) belief and wouldn’t go back in the closet for the world.

      1. Willow says:

        I think you came out of your closet because you were afraid of the dark.

  29. andy says:

    I believe people here arent asking the right questions. The problem isnt whether religion should or should not be expressed in school. The bigger question is whether compulsory education run by the state in a virtual monopoly fashion, provides a foundation for a cohesive society. As we can clearly see, it does not. The biggest issue comes from being forced to pay for a service you may disagree with, doubly so if you child is being taught values you disagree with (either religious or lack there of). The easiest solution, and one that maximizes the preservation of the rights of all involved, it to remove the state from the equation. In the current system, the rights of the minority will always be trampled upon. Do not rejoice in the trampling of anyone’s rights, this mentality is the breeding ground of tyranny.

  30. Willow says:

    When I was a child in school, I remember beginning the day with the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag, and a moment of silence. Then, we went about our normal routine of the day and there was no big fuss about “rights” or religion. I think I grew up pretty well adjusted and able to make my way in society without being traumatized by any of these things. So, I just don’t understand the big fuss over these last decades about removing anything to do with God from our country. Why is there no fuss when every president ends a speech with God bless America? I’m sure that must be offending someone. Do people stay awake at night thinking about things that might be infringing on their rights? We also have the right to remain silent, too bad many of us don’t have the capacity. I would have to include myself in that.

    1. freethought says:

      Yeah, include yourself!

      1. Willow says:

        What are you so afraid of? If someone doesn’t want to believe in God, that’s their right. If I do, then that’s my right. Is that too much to understand or am I oversimplifying here?

      2. Willow says:

        :)))))))

      3. freethought says:

        I’d be the last person to disallow someone to believe as they wish. It just has no place in public eduation or in governmental meetings. Why is that so difficult for you sheep to latch on to?

      4. The Batman says:

        freethought

        Is it possible for you to engage in a debate in a rational and reasonable manner without lashing out and insulting those who attempt to do so?

      5. Willow says:

        Freethought, the banner was outside the school on the building. It had nothing to do with what was being taught in the classroom, at least the article doesn’t state that. If it had been hanging in the class and was found to be offensive to others, then remove it. It wasn’t in the classroom.

    2. freethought says:

      Right back at ya, Batman. Or should I say BaaaaMan?

      1. Willow says:

        freethought, many here happen to think that your opinion is just as valid as anyone elses. Me included. I happen to know Batman very well and he wasn’t lashing out at you, but making an attempt to continue these conversations in a respectful manner, and hoping you would do the same. Everyone’s voice has a right to be heard, but I don’t think disrespect should be tolerated by anyone.

      2. The Batman says:

        And you continue to prove my point.

    3. freethought says:

      Perhaps a Star of David on the front of the school would be allright? A crucifix? Star and Crescent? Give in to one foolish religion, then you have to be fair to all of them. Isn’t that the American way?

      1. tsalnew says:

        no freethought – we should simply do it your way – isn’t that what you are saying –

        yes there should be all of those and any other symbols anywhere and everywhere -including any symbol you choose to represent non-belief

        Free thought is exactly what should be allowed but what you have criticized at every point on this topic. And you are certainly proving Batman’s point well with your lack of not only tolerance but respect. Nice.

  31. freethought says:

    You can stick your prayer banner WHEREVER you like as long as it is not on government property. Is that too much to ask???

    1. rjg says:

      First of all, this particular banner has been up for many, many years. Why is it so wrong now and not back when it was put up??? If she wanted to take it to court, let HER pay the $500,000 court fee to get it down. Maybe she would change her mind. Why can’t we, as a society, respect each other and view things a little differently, such as accepting each other’s beliefs, which, by the way, is one of many freedoms that made this country great. It’ doesn’t bother me that she’s an Athiest, but it DOES bother me that in a democratic form of government where the majority is supposed to rule, how one person can change this. Isn’t it ironic that both the House and Supreme Court open with a Convocation. You can read about it at http://www.mindspring.com/~careyb/rf_invc.html and http://chaplain.house.gov/ Hmmmmmmmmm !!!

    2. freethought says:

      I guess that the same could have been said about slvery. We accepted it for many years, so why all the fuss, Mr. Lincoln? Couldn’t we just accept slavery as historical and tell those that don’t agree to just mind their own business and look the other way if they are offended?

      PS. The constitution protects the rights of the INDIVIDUAL. What is so difficult for a smart person like yourself to understand?

    3. freethought says:

      And as for respecting other’s beliefs, what does the Jewish student think of this? The Muslim? The Buddhist? America is more than a bunch of Christians. In fact, you only make up about 60% of us. Is it fair that the other 40% is not represented?

    4. jp says:

      to rjg, slavery was around for many, many years too, does that make it right?

    5. Jean says:

      rjg, it WAS wrong back then, just as much as now, It just took this long for someone to find the courage to stand up for what is right, for the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which was written, according to the founding fathers, “to protect the minorities from the tyranny of the majority.”

  32. krrc says:

    The message on the plaque is inspirational. The only line that is religious is the opener which contains the words heavenly father. In the end the only people this is hurting is any one of the kids that actually read the sign to get an emotional lift or guidance to do do right thing. I can’t blame the young girl she is too young and naive to truly know what she has accomplished doing. I think the school system could have found a middle ground and maybe left the plaque up without the opening line and changing school prayer to school creed or motto or something.

    1. freethought says:

      What next, “The Ten Suggestions” or “The Lord’s Poem”

      1. krrc says:

        read the plaque

      2. Willow says:

        That would be a waste of time since the Ten Commandments haven’t done so well.

      3. gramps says:

        The Ten Commandments did quite good:

        Budget:
        $13,282,712 (estimated)

        Gross:
        $80,000,000

        Nice return!

        gramps

  33. eric says:

    What is next lets ban the currency that states “IN GOD WE TRUST” or better yet lets deny the Acton, Ma family who are suing to prevent the pledge of allegance in that communities classrooms the money they are suing for because it says “in god we trust” This is disgraceful. It violates free speech! Are churches going to have to remove their signs on their properties? A person may not like the literature of a faith, but that does not give them the right to remove our right to read it or believe it for that matter. This is socialism attacking the rights of people who believe in GOD. If the majority approve of it, it should not be removed, take a vote like you do with everything else in your community and the minority spectacle. I am surprised the school system does not seek assistance from christians throughout the state. Everyone wimpers when they hear legal fees. So you are going to subject your childs rights to believe in God, and the freedom to express that belief to save a few bucks. Yes the Economy is not good, but the States of Rhode Island and Massachusetts should stand up against bigotted people who doe not like something. This is so hypocritical, if this was done to a class or type of people we would not hear the end of it. We need christian lawyers to put a stop to this violation of our freedoms.

  34. Right to Believe says:

    Ok young lady, you proved you don’t believe in God and are offended by works of Faith. Only in America can one person sue and win for an atheistic cause. Now, I’ve heard that you want your $163,000 legal fees paid by the tax payers. Just to play “Nancy Grace” for a moment and say “I wonder how much her lawyer is paying her” It was your lawsuit, your principles that were offended. Suck it up pay your own legal fees” or at least get your fellow atheist to Pay your bill. The courts should not get involved, isn’t that a violation of ” separation of State”

    1. freethought says:

      Not only are we atheists helping with Jessica’s lawsuit, but we are giving her a substantial college scholarship. Way to go you “evil little thing”. Now we all want to be “evil little things” as well.

      No one forced Cranston to spend 170,000.00 to fight the constitution, anyway..

      1. Right to Believe says:

        I’m glad to know that she didn’t do this on Principles,. Now I get to play “Nancy Grace” again and say that ” she did it for her own personal Gain” She was recruited by the “Atheist” to be their ” Face on the Case” just like animal rights groups use panda Cubs, and puppies. After all, its better than burning a CROSS on the lawn.
        I read today that they are asking the courts to pay the Legal Fees.

      2. freethought says:

        Her winnings amounted to $25.00. She did it all on principle. Her scholarship had nothing to do with her motivation. Perhaps we could talk about the motivation of the people that trashed her, called her “evil little thing” and refused to give her service in places of business. You christians make religion a little hard to swallow.

      3. Willow says:

        Oh, so this girl went to all Christian owned businesses then, right? And they all refused to serve her, right? I just want to make sure my facts are all straight. Shame on them then.

      4. freethought says:

        You can educate yourself to all of the facts, Willow. Christian businesses refused to take orders for flowers to be sent to her upon the decision in her favor by the Supreme Court defending the Constitution. Was that their right in a free country? YES!!! Was it Jessica’s right to fight the banner? YES.

        Right will out, most definately.

  35. Alan says:

    Our Father, who art in heaven,
    hallowed be thy name.
    Thy Kingdom come,
    thy will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven
    Give us this day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.
    Amen

    1. gramps says:

      Structured Religions with the exception of ‘Islam’ are wonderful outlets for people who fear death, constantly need their hands held or were never taught right from wrong….

      When people thank ‘God’ for winning some trophy, or winning a big game, it turns my stomach, does that mean he/she dislikes the other players/team?…pure ‘DRIVLE’!

      gramps

    2. freethought says:

      Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what god you are.

    3. Right to Believe says:

      Way to go, alan,

    4. tsalnew says:

      Alan – the Lords Prayer is actually a great example of how you simply see what you want to see and don’t dwell on the words. Some religions do not say the last line. I use the word debts and debtors and I do not say Amen. To me it doesn’t matter what words anyone uses. I read your post substituting the words I prefer for the ones you prefer. In the end – it all means the same thing. And if you choose not to say it………..then what is the harm. As long as there are are choices for all.

  36. massman says:

    Nicely said freethought. We have made so many advancements as humans. Religion is a roadblock towards progress. We only have to look at the latest fight concerning birth control by contraception. An invention imperative to our existence, being fought by religion. With there being absolutely no evidence of the existence of a god, or even Jesus for that matter, why the tireless crusade for this belief system? Why follow something contrived by the human mind, which can never be contradicted because it is based on faith, not fact? Jessica Ahlquist is a pioneer for free thinking.

    1. freethought says:

      And the people in Cranston that have attacked her should be considered subordinates to patriotism.

      1. Stanley11 says:

        Funny that your name is freethought even though you’ve belittled everyone in here that doesn’t think like you. Spoken like a true liberal. I’d be willing to bet you spent a few months in a tent recently waiting for the government to hand you someone else’s money.

      2. freethought says:

        I only belittle those that don’t think for themselves and then respond with bigotry. This girl is a hero of human rights and personal freedoms. If that is what you are against, what are you doing in this, of all, nations?

      3. Willow says:

        Sorry, I must have missed reading where she was attacked. Can you tell me where to find that? I don’t agree with anyone being attacked no matter what they believe.

      4. Stanley11 says:

        No, you’ve belittled everyone in here that has had a belief for God. You’re a hero of hypocrisy.

      5. Tsalnew says:

        Hayyyyyyy Stanley. Stop with the liberal stuff.

    2. Willow says:

      Massman, with all due respect, you can’t “see” the wind, but you can certainly witness the power of it. The same goes with the power of God as far as believers are concerned. I have never seen God, but I’ve seen the power thereof.

      1. freethought says:

        I have never seen a fart, either, but I can tell that there is one without seeing it. Is that the point you are getting at? Good argument…NOT!!!

      2. Willow says:

        Yes, it is, so it does prove that a fart exists, doesn’t it?

      3. freethought says:

        I don’t know. I have never smelled your god.

    3. tsalnew says:

      massman – you are also proving my point. You are putting your beliefs above all others and not tolerating those different from yours. Isn’t that what you are accusing religion of doing?

    4. Willow says:

      And, what advances as humans might that be? Just curious.

    5. tsalnew says:

      massman – contraception is being fought by men. I think you have religion or spiritualism mixed up with man. It’s like saying religion causes wars. Men cause wars in the name of religion. ANd if it were not religion, it would be something else. And again – why would you want to contradict what I believe. I sure as heck dont contradict what you believe. I don’t have all of the answers – and nor do you. In the end we have to believe what we want and not what anyone tells us. It’s as simple as that.

  37. Right to Believe says:

    I’m glad to know that she didn’t do this on Principles,. Now I get to play “Nancy Grace” again and say that ” she did it for her own personal Gain” She was recruited by the “Atheist” to be their ” Face on the Case” just like animal rights groups use panda Cubs, and puppies. After all, its better than burning a CROSS on the lawn.
    I read today that they are asking the courts to pay the Legal Fees.

  38. HL says:

    This person is a wicked aethist. She is only 16 – she can’t even vote yet, still she can bring down the courts to remove one banner from school. She isn’t grown up yet, but she is ruling your town. The next thing she will want is for the US to change all the money that it has “In God We Trust” on it, and say something else. It is time to wake up, when bad things happen, you don’t have the right to ask God, Why, because he will say you have taken me out of your governments, your homes, and your schools. Aethism is out – Christianity is in and should be practiced in all public and private places that the majority of the people would want it in.

    1. massman says:

      How old is your “god” HL?

      1. HL says:

        In the beginning… How old is yours?
        PS She should pay for her own legal fees – or you can help her pay for them.

    2. freethought says:

      Our money used to say E. Pluribus Unum. Which means roughly “from many, one” But religion loves to alienate and polarise. I guess that is YOUR idea of a free America for all?

      P.S. Religion is dying, look at the numbers. Our children are starting to think for themselves and future generations will conclude that a belief in something without any proof is ancient thinking at best.

      1. Willow says:

        If that’s the case, then why do topics such as this one usually have the largest number of comments? I think God is alive and well in many American hearts today, and will continue to be long after His name may be against the law to speak.

      2. tsalnew says:

        freethought – most of your poss confuse me. Perhaps church attendance is dwindling but you seem to believe that is an indication of something. You do not have to be in a church to be religious. I’d rather not be since the church and its religion is generally man-made. I’d rather believe what is in my heart and not what anyone tells me should be in my heart.

  39. justsayin' says:

    “The moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. . . All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”
    Noah Webster

    I guess Jessica needs to get on a mission to remove all dictionaries from her school as well. Poor Jessica is just aother product of 40 years of NEA revisionist history and state controlled mind. Too bad she has never learned to think for herself…because her thinking and actions are clearly in lock-step with the proaganda she has been feed for 16 years.
    A waste of young potential who is sadly unaware that, with her very actions, is working against her own freedom.

    1. freethought says:

      justsyin’ not much! How do you figure that protecting freedoms will work against her?

      Get your god out of my government.

      1. justsayin' says:

        Freethought..for only yourself and noone else?…It’s OUR government and I don’t have the power to remove God from it. The 1st Amendment isn’t about God…it is about religion. The Founding Fathers certainly didn’t believe they had power over Divine Providence, but they were firmly against the establishment of a state religion. The banner in the school did not establish a religion in the school anymore than the presence of Jessica & the now lack of the banner
        establishes atheism. Remove a banner from the school…sure go ahead. Big Deal. It does nothing but remove a banner and make people like Jessica feel good. But it sure doesn’t help us all get along does it? What ever happened to tolerance?

      2. tsalnew says:

        wow justsayin’ I know you and I have disagreed before but it seems we are among the few using the same word here……………..tolerance. Nicely said!

      3. Willow says:

        just sayin, nicely said indeed.

    2. freethought says:

      She was brought up a “believer” but became an atheist at age ten. Do you think we are born believing in a god? NO. We are all atheists until someone drives religion into our brains. Did you just fall into believing without help or coercion? I highly doubt it. Why is it okay to protect a strictly christian banner against all that believe otherwise? Because you are a majority? Because you feel that god is on your side? Why doesn’t any other religion get to place their biased beliefs next to yours? As I said before, if you think that is what America is all about, then you need to do some research.

  40. Comic Relief says:

    Do Aetheists object to Amen Corner at the Masters/Augusta National?

    1. tsalnew says:

      not if they stand to win the Green Jacket!

      1. Willow says:

        You’ve got that right!

    2. Stanley11 says:

      Well done tsal!

      P.S. That was me…..LOL

      1. Tsalnew says:

        Hahahaha. Hi Stanley. Where you been. bZ seems to have cleared up the posting problem. Come on back to Keller. BTW had I not answered that way it might have been grounds for divorce. My husband has been hosting masters parties long before they were popular and he’s been counting down for first week in April for months. Maybe 10

  41. tsalnew says:

    Good grief if there were ever proof that no one has any tolerance for something other than what they believe, it is alive and well in this blog. Christians announcing they are the majority and therefore should rule. Atheists wanting to be allowed to not believe but in the same breath tearing down a person who believes differently than they do. Telling people to leave a country that is based on freedom and different beliefs because they believe other than the way you do. And an underlying sense that some are trying really hard to convince others that their way is the right way. There is no right way and there is no wrong way. It’s a personal belief, folks. But it’s when we try to force others that we see the push back from people like this young lady.

    What our forefathers were hoping for – and boy have we let them down – is called TOLERANCE

    Tolerance: the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

    Was this girl tolerant? Not at all. But was there a reason???? There are too many posts here and I may have missed it. Has anyone said it would have been fine for her to hang a banner than said “There is no god”? Until we allow all beliefs – ALL – this will happen repeatedly and for very good reason.

    1. Willow says:

      Well said, Tsalnew

  42. Matt says:

    Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing…
    Schools are funded and controlled by the state, not federal government; in fact, all preambles to all 50 state constitutions give reference to God.
    Sort of changes the conversation i think.

  43. Willow says:

    If we’ve learned anything from this conversation today is that if we are to remain a strong nation, we must do it as a people, not as an idividual, and that means allowing the same freedoms to others as we expect for ourselves. I’ve said it often and will again, if America fails, we all fail. We should be working together to uphold our freedoms instead of attempting to tear them down, one group and a time.

    1. tsalnew says:

      nicely said Willow – and absolutely correct

  44. Don says:

    Another example, which occurs once in awhile, of cowardice on the part of misinformed civil leaders backing down to loud threats for alleged civil rights. Too bad that a requesr to our Creator for students to live righteously amidst a troubled society scares some ‘hero wannabees’? Another opportunity missed for strong leaders to exercise their wisdom–teaching moment lost here.

  45. freethought says:

    Tolerance? I have had fifty five years of tolerance for the believers, and their proselytising, and their hell, damnation and brimstone, and their pious, better than thou attitudes, and their forces upon law and society. You want tolerance. Tolerate all those people that believe differently than you. I have had to put up with tolerating you and I rarely get tolerated by your ilk. Maybe it’s time someone told YOU to go to he77?

    1. Willow says:

      Clearly you have a problem with believers. Not one person on this blog has condemned you for not believing in God. If you feel persecuted, it’s in your own mind, and you do it unto yourself. If an atheist doesn’t believe in God, then they most likely don’t believe in heaven. So, how can one possibly tell anyone to go to hell if, like heaven, it doesn’t exist?

      1. Willow says:

        freethought, this has been a very emotional conversation, on both sides of the issue. If I’ve disrespected you in any way, I apologize as it was not my intent, nor was it to force my belief in God onto you. It is just my hope that we can all get along in spite of our differences, and for the sake of a more tolerant society. I will leave you with that thought, and wish you a great weekend. :)

      2. freethought says:

        Yes, and Willow, I am hoping as you go about in your daily life you can start to recognise the many incidents of your beliefs being shoved in our faces. You have billboards. You have your fish symbols. You have your Jesus stickers. You have signs on businesses telling of what faith you believe in. You have religious programming on television. You have christian music radio stations. You have stores that sell religious items. You have whole sections in newspapers dedicated to religion. You have advertisements in yellow pages and tons of webpages preching your word. You have marquees in front of your meeting houses with messages against non-believers and slogans of how people will surely go to hell. You have christian music festiivals and huge gatherings to spread your beliefs.

        So, forgive us if we just want to keep religion out of government. Is there no place that you just won’t go?

      3. Willow says:

        freethought, again, these are things and places you can choose to go or not to go, to read or not to read. There are many, many things I see every day that break my heart and in my belief, of the devil, but I’ve learned to be tolerant and hold my own belief sacred. I don’t go to places that are against my moral or Godly beliefs, or watch shows that I think are degrading, and I read only the books that uplift me or bring me enjoyment. We all have those choices and should continue to have them. I’m sorry your are so angry. I’ve know many people who call themselves Christian who are some of the most hurtful people I know. Calling oneself a Christian, certainly doesn’t make you one. I’m sorry if you’ve been hurt, but that’s why I don’t put my faith in people. They’re human and can let you down, but God has never let me down.

      4. Willow says:

        freethought, I truly understand what you are saying, and I agree that we have all those things that you’ve stated, but there are just as many things that aren’t Christian as well. No one is forcing you to go to that concert, or listen to that radio station, or watch that program, or read anything about religion. That is what’s great about America. I truly wish we could sit down over a cup of coffee and find some middle ground on which to agree. Or over a beer, I like Sam Adams lite. I’m not a goody two shoes who thinks I’m the only one with the answers and that the rest of the world is wrong. I see nasty bumper stickers on cars in front of me all the time. So what, they don’t force me to do anything I don’t want to do. I’m trying to understand you and I hope you are doing the same to me.

      5. freethought says:

        No respect? I’ll argue that one for sure. I respect, let’s see, Richard Dawkins, Annie Laurie Gaylor, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Lance Armstrong, William Buffet, Bill Gates, Ron Reagan, Ricky Gervais, Bill Maher, Penn Jillette, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Radcliffe, Janeane Garofolo, Katherine Hepburn, Samuel Clements, Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan and oh, so many other respected atheists as well. I also respect those of the religious persuasion that see the need for separation of church and state. Can you say the same?

      6. Tsalnew says:

        Notfdee. You seem to respect only those who agree with you. Good luck with that. The saddest part of all is you don’t even see that you are every bit as bad as the religious folks you call intolerant. It’s your way or no way.

    2. tsalnew says:

      freethought – perhaps you could go back to any one of my posts and tell me where I did not say EVERYONE’S BELIEF is equally important and as valid. I’m older than Methuselah and have spent my entire life believing that we all have the right to believe what we want to believe. The reason I believe it is because from a very young age I recognized that was not the case in this country where religion is concerned.

      If you believe that doing the exact same thing to others that you say has been done to you you your entire life, in my opinion you are no better than the religions you denounce. BTW you are free to tell me to go to you know where because I don’t believe it exists ;)

      1. tsalnew says:

        I should add that I’ve found that people who attend church regularly can be the most intolerant people in this country. I’m NOT saying all but I sure know lot. I’m not sure what they think religion is but it’s nothing I want to believe in.

      2. freethought says:

        I’m not saying that you don’t have a right to believe what you want…or show that belief anywhere you want…as long as it doesn’t interfere with the workings of government or public property. I won’t scream “there is no god” in a government building, please don’t try to prove there is one in a government building? Is that okay?

        To me, that is tolerance.

      3. tsalnew says:

        I’m not saying the banner should stay or shouldn’t stay

        But please tell me how it interfered with the working of anything?

        I’m trying really hard to understand what you are saying.

        Is a public school a government building. I checked the definition of government building and it didn’t fit. Maybe you have a better definition.

      4. freethought says:

        Not a government building? Who pays for the construction, the utilities, the upkeep? Who pays for the education, the materials, the teachers? As soon as you can show me where religion is responsible for public education then I will let you put whatever prayer yopu want. But as long as TAXPAYER”S DOLLARS are paying for this, I’d say put your prayer banners where it will do the most good: in the churches where those that need prayer can have it.

      5. tsalnew says:

        freenothing – I asked you a question. I never said a school was not a govt building. It was a polite question – do you understand the concept of polite??? You came back with a cryptic remark. BTW see my post below about Jefferson when it came to the University of VA. He’s the one everyone credits with separation of church and state when it comes to schools – remember.

        I do not think you have faced a lack of tolerance in your life. You have faced a lack of respect because you respect no one. Perhaps this banner should fly over your residence.

        “Respect begets respect, suspicion begets suspicion, hate begets hate, and love begets love.” – Unknown

        Good night and I do hope you can somewhere find what tolerance really means.

  46. justsayin' says:

    Actually, at 62, I’m still in the process of discernment myself ..and like C.S. Lewis believed… most people with or without faith always will be. However, I am blessed to be well educated enough, well read enough, well traveled enough and have surround myself with a diversity of people in my life ( & yes, free thinkers too) to know that if we don’t all start to get back to a place of “live & let live” & honest tolerance & true “COEXISTING” , we will all lose.
    I am calmly exiting this conversation now, but am thankful knowing I live in a country where it can still be done. Happy debating.

    1. freethought says:

      …and you feel the same way toward your muslim brothers and sisters? Well, I am proud of you.

      1. Willow says:

        This is getting a little frustrating so I will calmly exit also. I will forever consider myself blessed to live in a nation where I can voice my views and not be persecuted for it. I also hold dear that others should be able to do the same.

        Night all!

      2. tsalnew says:

        I feel the exact same way about my Muslim brothers. You don’t want to get into that discussion with me because the lack of tolerance for Muslims is simply the newest stage in America’s overall lack of tolerance.

        Is there any other insult you’d like to toss out there or have you used them all up. freetought. Others are trying to have a respectful conversation with you. You are sorely lacking any respect for others.

      3. freethought says:

        I suggest that you read the first comment. Is this that “tolerance” thing you are talking about?

    2. Willow says:

      Wow, well said, just saying. Happy weekend to you! :)

    3. tsalnew says:

      justsayin’ – well we are not only on the exact same page here but we are the same page. Sorry, didn’t mean to call you older than Methuselah – I’m really not either but on days like today I sure feel it :) Have a nice weekend!

      1. tsalnew says:

        that second page was supposed to be age —— and mine is showing :)

    4. Sylwia says:

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  47. Tsalnew says:

    Did you know when Jefferson set up the university of Virginia he encouraged all the separate sects to have preachers of their own,

    On that note it’s Friday night. What a Wonderful world is playing on pandora and I wish you all a wonderful presidents weekend. Don’t forget to honor John Adams. I have no tolerance for the fact he has been overlooked and perhaps was the greatest of all :)

    1. freethought says:

      The] best principles [of our republic] secure to all its citizens a perfect equality of rights.
      — Thomas Jefferson, Reply to the Citizens of Wilmington, 1809. ME 16:336

      It is surely time for men to think for themselves, and to throw off the authority of names so artificially magnified.
      — Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, August 4, 1820

      1. Tsalnew says:

        Not free. Did you actually read the first quote. Do you understand equality for ALL citizens. Not ones who believe only as freethought does. That’s you BTW. Because you are so far from that you belong on another planet. Sooooooo interesting that the one you credit with separation had each religious sect have its own leader in the PUBLIC college he began. Or are you ignoring that because it doesn’t fit into your view

  48. montana824 says:

    Religion and education do NOT mix except in a parochial achool. Religion and politics DON’T mix, ever. This has always been a secular nation and the freedom of religion or the freedom of atheism or agnosticism do NOT belong in our public schools. Does anybody really think that God has nothing better to do than to watch over public schools? Gentile, Jew, Islamist or whatever–keep your damned voodoo out of our public schools.

  49. Sherri says:

    I saw this article on the news this morning and wondered what kind of comments it would elicit. This young lady seemed quite smug and satisfied with herself. So by removing the banner we are bending towards one person’s beliefs but what about those students that hold religion dear? Seems to be the minority rules in this case. 15 mins of fame was correct. The banner should just go back up and this youngster need not look at it if she finds it offensive. We all have to exist together and what is good for one may not necessarily be good for another. Cooperation is key!

    1. freethought says:

      Use your brain. Think about what bigoted remarks you have made. Do you really think all of the other students are good church going christians. Hell, I know better than that and I grew up in UTAH!!!

      You learn to cooperate. We have done it long enough.

    2. Tsalnew says:

      Sherri then why didn’t one person suggest putting up a banner that exemplified all beliefs and non beliefs. That is cooperation

  50. Beacon says:

    JOHN QUINCY ADAMS (6th US President) – “My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the gospel of Christ…”

    GEORGE MASON (Father of the bill of rights)- “My soul I resign into the hands of my Almighty Creator. Whose tender mercies are all over His works, humbly hoping from His unbounded mercy and benevolence through the merits of my blessed Savior, a remission of my sins.”

    GEORGE WASHINGTON told a gathering of Native Americans, “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.”

    He also stated “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

    1. Tsalnew says:

      Beacon really? You are pointing out the founding fathers forcing their beliefs on others. And I don’t get your point other than to support removal of tha banner Our founding fathers may have beleived in God – some of them – but they did not want it to have any part in government. As was the case in a Masonic temple as I have said you did not discuss religion. As far as I can see your intent is to prove your belief is right. And that is what created this mess.

  51. Beacon says:

    JOHN ADAMS (2nd US President) “The Bible is the best book in the world.” Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their own law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited…what a utopia; what a paradise this region would be!”

    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN desired to start a colony in OHIO with the Rev. GEORGE WHITEFIELD to “facilitate the introduction of pure religion among the heathen” in order to show the Native Americans “a better sample of Christians than they commonly see in our Indian traders.”

    PATRICK HENRY “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

  52. Beacon says:

    An attack on such a banner is an attack on American history and heritage. This nation wants a god-less society but does not realize it will reap the consequences of such a society.

    Look at the statistics concerning adolescent morality since 1962. Not familiar with what happened in 1962? That is when God was expelled from the public school system.

    That banner contained such great, inspiring words from a young man who wished the best for his school and fellow students. I wonder what is next… Changing the history books, monuments and quotations by our founding fathers. God had everything do with our country becoming the great country it was and those men knew it! Do you?

  53. Tsalnew says:

    Beacon The nation wants a society where every belief or no belief is given EQUAL recognition. It is that simple.

  54. FSP says:

    Praying in school was allowed when the constitution was written, in order to interpret exactly what they meant when it was written is to look at was was happening when it was written. Not too difficult.

  55. TheWiredJournal says:

    Well I’ll be dammed… I’ve read through all the documents, the federalist papers, the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Independence, and others, just to name a few, and I can not find the words separation of church and state in any of them, thus by the letter of the law the courts ruling to remove the banner I feel is an illegal and unconstitutional ruling, not to mention it had no business (under the letter of the law) even hearing the case

  56. guardian angel says:

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