Jessica Ahlquist is a high school student and atheist who volunteered to act as plaintiff in a case against her high school, which for several years has hung a school prayer on a banner in its gym. I’ve written about her before, and from the public’s perspective, her case has been quiet for a while now.
Good news today from Rhode Island: Jessica and the ACLU have won their case, and U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lagueux issued a decision in the case against the prayer banner, ordering it to be removed!
The story linked above has a nice little poll in it:
Do you agree with the court order for the prayer mural at Cranston West be removed?
- Yes – 261 (84%)
- No – 48 (15%)
I’m amazed to see the numbers like that, considering how strongly opposed most of Jessica’s town was to her actions. Then again, this is the internet, so I doubt it’s just local folks voting. Disregard the madness in the comments on that story; three cheers for the First Amendment! Go show Jessica some love on Facebook.
I can’t believe I missed these great bits from the judge:
Lagueux states that “no amount of debate can make the School Prayer anything other than a prayer, and a Christian one at that.”
“The Prayer concludes with the indisputably religious closing: ‘Amen;’ a Hebrew word used by Jews, Christians and Muslims to conclude prayers. In between, the Prayer espouses values of honesty, kindness, friendship and sportsmanship. While these goals are commendable, the reliance on God’s intervention as the way to achieve those goals is not consistent with a secular purpose.”