Saturday, April 14, 2012

Some angry Christians call for the murder of 16 year old girl over removal of religious school banner.

Courtesy of

Police in Rhode Island are investigating a threat sent to a teenager at the center of a dispute over a high school prayer banner. WJAR-TV reported that the handwritten note to Jessica Ahlquist warns that police will not watch her forever and that “we will get you.’’ The writer encourages Ahlquist, 16, to leave Rhode Island. Police in Cranston are investigating. Ahlquist, who says she is an atheist, challenged the constitutionality of a banner at Cranston High School West which contained the words “Our Heavenly Father’’ and “Amen.’’ In January, a federal judge ordered the banner removed.

Man that is a VERY frightening note to receive for anyone, much less a  sixteen year old child. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Jessica Ahlquist, and this controversy over the school banner, here is a quick snapshot of what happened from the Wikipedia page:

In July 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent a letter to the school superintendent on behalf of an unnamed parent who complained about the banner. Initially, school officials thought the banner could be modified, avoiding the prohibitive expense of a lawsuit. Ahlquist had noticed the banner in her first year in high school. After reading about the complaint, she decided to sit in on the school board meetings. She also created a Facebook page to raise support for the cause. At an August 2010 meeting of the Cranston School Committee, a subcommittee was asked to make recommendations about the disposition of the banner; Ahlquist attended the public meetings of the subcommittee in November 2010 and February 2011. At the end of the November meeting, out of safety concerns, a police escort was provided for Ahlquist and one other person who spoke in favor of the banner's removal. At a contentious meeting of the full committee, she argued the case for the removal of the banner and a similar display at Bain Middle School. The committee voted 4-3 in favor of keeping the banner in place, despite a budget deficit and the threat of an ACLU lawsuit. 

The Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU asked Ahlquist if she would serve as a plaintiff in a lawsuit. The suit was filed in April 2011. The Cranston School Committee had made defense arrangements with Joseph V. Cavanagh, Jr. and The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty which represented them without charge. 

District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux issued a decision in favor of Ahlquist on January 11, 2012. The decision was in part based on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and the United States Supreme Court's earlier rulings in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), Lynch v. Donnelly (1984), and Lee v. Weisman (1992).
A picture of the offending banner courtesy of the Friendly Atheist.

Though I have not written much about this, I have been following Jessica's situation very carefully and have been stunned at the amount of absolute rage that has been directed at this young teenager.

Some of which is evidenced by this sampling of Twitter responses, many of them sent directly to her.

Now I am aware that some of you will ask how I can be sure these are self identified Christians sending these messages, but just ask yourself who ELSE would get this upset about a religious banner being removed from a school?

Of course in the end it really doesn't matter WHO these people are, the real question is WHY do they feel it is appropriate, or even a necessity, to threaten a child simply because she questioned the legality of posting a religious prayer in a public school and the court's ruled in her favor?

Can I ask a potentially provocative question? If Christianity is founded on the love demonstrated by Jesus, who chose to die on a cross for the sins of man, then why do so many of his followers exhibit such unbridled hatred?  And what does that say about how well the message of Christ has been spread by various churches and religious groups?


  1. No nut like a religious nut. Especially the Christian Taliban. Just ask Dr. Tiller.

  2. Olivia11:41 AM

    This is just sick.
    I have always wondered why there is such hatred and irrational fear of atheists.
    I am not an atheist but I have many friends who are and I certainly respect and even understand their position and non belief.

  3. Jesse, there is no answer to that question. They are sick, hateful people who have no awareness of the reality of Jesus' message. I would pity them if they weren't such a danger to others.

  4. Anonymous11:45 AM

    Christians? My ass! Religion is being shoved up our asses and more and more folks are getting sick of it! There are becoming less and less so called 'christians' in the US and it is driving them nuts! The majority of them do not practice what they preach!

    Threatening to murder a teenager? Friggin' assholes! I side with the teenager.

  5. Anonymous11:46 AM

    America's version of the Taliban are twisted "Christians".

    Amazing isn't it how religious beliefs start most wars on earth.

  6. Anonymous11:46 AM

    Well, they're certainly not heeding Christ's admonition to "Love thine enemies." Or 'to turn the other cheek'. Some people just have no problem being mean and hateful on the slightest pretense. I hope this young lady has some serious police protection.
    M from MD

  7. Randall11:52 AM

    You can tell how deeply religious a person is
    by how deeply they hate.

    1. I disagree, you can tell how truly deeply religious a person is by their love, and concern for others.

    2. Olivia6:12 AM

      Neither case is true. Humans can and do love sincerely and deeply and show concern for others whether or not they are religious. Religion or lack of it has absolutely NOTHING to do with how much love a person has for others or how altruistic they are.
      N O T H I N G!

  8. Anonymous12:06 PM

    Religious Zealots are Sheep following a FAIRYTALE
    GOD. Their Craziness is akin to the Taliban and AL QUAEDA and garners the same kind of RADICAL following. Dominionists are the most RADICAL in their Beliefs. Like Sarah Palin saying that GOD told her to run for President. So did GOD tell Sarah's Husband to Run a PROSTITUTION RING? Did GOD tell her Daughters to have UNWED PREGNANCIES? Did GOD tell her to get her TUBES TIED AND CAUTERIZED and FAKE TRIG'S BIRTH? Did GOD tell her to GRIFT AS MUCH MONEY AS SHE CAN FROM HER SUPPORTERS?

  9. Not What You Want to Hear12:13 PM

    Gryphen: "Can I ask a potentially provocative question? If Christianity is founded on the love demonstrated by Jesus, who chose to die on a cross for the sins of man, then why do so many of his followers exhibit such unbridled hatred?"

    They aren't His followers. Not in their hearts. They would have been the first to nail Him to the cross if they'd lived back then. They're only Christians now because it's safe and respectable to be one. Jesus knew these people; they were the Pharisees, and He called them out for the hypocrites they were. They killed Him for doing so, too.

    Gryphen: "And what does that say about how well the message of Christ has been spread by various churches and religious groups?"

    The question should be, how well have mainline Protestant churches and others done in spreading the message of Christ to counterpoint the hateful fundamentalists who are hellbent on becoming as evil as the Taliban if they can one day get away with it in this country.

    And it's a difficult question to answer. I know of many churches and movements like Sojourners that are doing amazing things out of love, but they get no media coverage. None. James Dobson and his ilk have been given the entire platform of Christianity by the media.

    Also, the mainline churches, while doing good works, are too timid. Many are, anyway.

    There's going to have to be a concerted effort among a certain faction of Christian churches to demand a visible voice and platform. I cannot excuse that this hasn't happened already.

    1. Anonymous2:51 PM

      I agree with you. As I said in a comment made here a few weeks ago, Christians--the ones who are actually attempting to practice the values that Jesus preached--need to take back their religion from the religionists, as I think of them. The fundies have been whining about the "war on religion" for years, all the while eroding the boundary keeping religion and government separate.

      I foresee a backlash coming from those who are fed up with having an inflexible, anti-intellectual, misogynistic, nature-hating, and yes, violent worldview forced on them, through the interference of religions in government affairs (such as the Catholic Church and public health) and their private lives. If the "reasonable" mainline churches don't stand up to it once and for all, they might find themselves caught in the blowback against *all* religion that I believe will occur in response to the escalating and unrelenting religious extremism like the case concerning the Rhode Island school and Ms. Ahlquist.
      -Anne in CO

  10. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Those people are NOT Christians. No way does this have anything to to with Christianity. I am sick of such people co-opting the identity of people who do believe and follow the teachings of Jesus.

  11. CHURCHIANITY does not a christian make.

    there are now millions of their indoctrinated and hate-full fools who have no idea who jesus is.

  12. A. J. Billings12:21 PM

    I doubt that Grisly Granny Grifter is going to comment on this, but if she does she'll say something like
    " Now, why can't the left just leave their prejudice at home. The Christians have a perfect right under the 1st amendment to post prayers in school."

    It NEVER FUCKING OCCURS To idiots like Palin and these savage attackers that if someone wanted to post a Muslim, Buddhist, or Jewish prayer, they'd be be the first ones to scream about it.

    I guess the recent study on conservative thought process is true: many of the right wing are not open to any new ideas or concepts.

  13. Anonymous12:23 PM

    This is outrageous that a 16 yr old would be threatened and her address put online. Those people are horrible, just horrible. Until people such as Jessica start standing up for what is right, this country is going to hell in a hand basket.

    BTW, Gryphen, what are your thoughts on Shailey Tripp shutting down her blog?

  14. Beldar Zeus Conehead12:29 PM

    Gryphen, what right have you to judge these brave xtian warriors? It clearly says in the Bible:

    "Judgeth not, less ye be judgedeth"
    Barnacles 7:42

    These courageous crusaders for god's love are doing nothing but exercising their zeus-given duty to judge blasphemers and harlots. Instead of attacking them, why dont you read your Bible where Jeebus clearly states:

    "Showeth the Lord your school spirit with colorful banners of fine woven fiber set firmly upon sturdy walls."
    Episiotomy 14:12

    Hello???? Can it GET any clearer than that??? IT'S IN THE BIBLE!!! How is ANY school gonna win football games unless god knows they love Him by reading their large prayer banners? What is He, a mind reader?????

    (ok, but seriously, that's one brave young lady. Be safe, Jessica.)

    1. Anonymous4:31 PM

      'Episiotomy' - They must have missed that part of the bible in my Catholic school!

      Is that also the part that tells football players to write numbers of bible verses in the black beneath their eyes and to kneel in front of the cameras after every play?

  15. Anonymous12:32 PM

    I am so tired of religion. What is it supposed to do for us as a society that a caring, sensitive, racially inclusive, peaceful non-religious community of people can't do?


  16. Sally in MI12:43 PM

    If there were Christian pastors in her town, they would be preaching to these hateful people weekly that Jesscia is not an enemy, not someone to be threatened. She is really a hero, because she took on an entire school system, stood up for her beliefs, stood up against adults and a banner that had been there illegally for years. I feel so awful for her...maybe these people ought to read their 'prayer.' It tells them exactly how God expects them to behave. If it is so meaningful them, why are they so hateful? No one is telling them they can't pray. Heck, write the thing on a little card and pray before every class if you like. No one cares...but when you hang it up as if it's the school mantra, you are going to offend some people who are not believers. And they have the right to expect their school, under our Constitution, to be free of religion. Wonder how they'd react if she were Hindu and wanted a 6 foot Buddha in the hallway?

    1. Anonymous7:05 PM

      "If there were Christian pastors in her town, they would be preaching to these hateful people..."

      Well, clearly, these Christian pastors' preaching hasn't had much effect to date, so there's not much hope they are going to make much of a reduction in the hating. After all, it's THOSE pastors that produced the haters in the first place. (And made a very comfortable living while doing it.)

    2. Anita Winecooler9:33 PM

      Or an eight foot vagina statue in front of their school, for that matter.

  17. Anonymous1:02 PM

    Well why aren't the non whackcase, hate filled 'christians' stepping up and calling for this to stop? You say you are out there, that you are not part of this 'fringe' that is 'co-opting' christianity, and yet you don't do anything to stop the madness. Now what is THAT about?

    When you allow it to continue, you condone it with your own silence and inaction.

    1. We keep protesting, and objecting, but the press doesn't want to hear it. I'll bet if there were a demonstration on her behalf, it would be ignored by the press unless we all started shooting at each other.

  18. It seems akin to gang behavior or vigilante justice, a mob, except Christians wouldn’t claim mob-think. They would simply say their behavior was encouraged by God.

    I guess the next question is why do so many people need mob-think? I have no need for it, and neither did my father, but my mother had few original ideas, and relied on mob-think, aka religion, aka group/family behaviors.

    She wasn’t stupid academically, but perhaps given to low effort thought if she could slip by that way.

    1. Anonymous4:23 PM

      Mob-think is an accurate description for who they are. They are religionists, as someone noted above, but they are definitely not Christians.

      They are angry because of their extreme insecurity, which is grounded in a combination of hate and biblical illiteracy. They are only concerned with people who are 'not like them', and not at all concerned with what and who is not like Jesus; most of all, it is beyond their grasp that they, most of all, are completely unlike Jesus.

      Jesus was not threatened by anyone – even though everyone, by definition, was different form Him. He could be at peace in any situation because "God so loved the world".

      This concept –God's all-embracing love toward all He created – is completely lost on the religionists of today. They show by their deeds and hateful words that they clearly do not believe in creationism. If they did, they would have to admit that God loves all whom He created – and that any creationist would be stuck with that obligation as well, as part of their obedience toward God and reverence toward their Creator. What an irony: They are forcing God to use Ahlquist, an atheist, to demonstrate the bankruptcy of their proclaimed christianity.

      I am a devoted Christian, but I am very biblically literate: I know what God requires of all who claim to profess His Name. Unfortunately, the established churches in America have completely fallen down on the job: they have not even educated their own flocks as to what is required of them. That is what produces the kind of behavior we are seeing here, and explains why atheism is now the fastest-growing 'religion' in America.

    2. Anonymous6:55 PM

      "very biblically literate"

      Have you read all the original texts and observed the alterations done through the centuries by editors and translators? Are you confident you understand the ambient political situations that affected the men make the "updates"? Have you done the same research on similar texts sacred to other religions?


      Then you'll understand that "I know what God requires of all who claim to profess His Name." probably just means "whatever piece of somebody's translation that suits my needs at the moment".

  19. Anonymous1:10 PM

    Wow! Threatening a 16 yo is so Christian of them. It seems twitter is the new place to spew racist, sexist crap and to threaten people's lives.

    Regardless of the Twitter posters religious affiliation, I'm not sure how one can justify supporting a banner using the wording "Our heavenly Father" and "Amen", while wishing gang rape and death to a 16yo girl. That is just sick.

    These same sick people are the ones defending Zimmerman and saying that Trayvon deserved to die.

    These same people will cry religious persecution yet condemn and threaten someone for being an atheist. WTF

    I don;t want to be a part of any religion which brings about these types of responses. Apparently "though shall not kill" but wishing someone raped and murdered is OK. How F'ed up does someone's mind have to be to reconcile that?

    1. Anonymous6:04 PM

      Organized religions are expressly for the purpose of encouraging the kind of cognitive dissonance you describe. For example, "Love your neighbor" == "Force a 12 year-old girl to birth a rapist's baby".

      Organized religions also support skewed self-images. For example, Catholics are told it's God that decided women can not achieve the more powerful ranks like being priests, bishops, etc.

      Organized religions frequently embody the principle that it is cheapest, easiest, and most effective to breed new members and indoctrinate them in childhood. The side-effect of controlling women is just, well, let's say, icing on the cake.

  20. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Anon at 1:32PM, religions weren't set up for the likes of the little people but for the likes of the people in charge to STAY in charge. While some aspects of religious organizations do help some people, the vast majority are there to get more members, make sure none leave (or kick them out if they are a pain in the ass), and make money for the higher ups. Just look at any mega church, in any religious bent, and you will see the same set up: a few chief honchos at the top (Pope, LDS counsel), a select membership of middle managers (cardinals), some hands on management (priesthood, elders), and then the sheep who follow them. It is the same in ALL religions, even the tiny sects that pop up in strip malls all the time.

    1. Anonymous5:52 PM

      Anon at 2:22PM

      You are so right about "STAY in charge". And, isn't it interesting that mostly the people "in charge" are male.

      I am the product of a religious education designed to make me a compliant breeder, industrious church volunteer and, at all times, obedient to men that told me God had put them in charge.

      Although less violently expressed, the "conditioning" being directed at this young woman is designed to have exactly the same effect.

  21. Anonymous1:34 PM

    America does not need to go overseas to fight the Taliban: they're here.

  22. Anonymous1:35 PM

    I'm torn on this (only from an oversimplistic view.) If the sign bothered her so much, why not just make another sign and hang it along another hallway to represent those who believe as she does? Taking from one to make another feel better isn't the way to go either. Recognition not restriction.

    1. Anonymous3:06 PM

      What would her sign say? "Secularism!!"?

    2. Olivia5:03 PM

      This girl isn't asking for an atheist message to be displayed, she is asking for no message to be displayed.
      What is wrong with keeping religion in the churches? Why can't public taxpayer supported institutions be neutral, religion free zones? If people need to have religious sentiments expressed in schools, they can turn to religious schools for that. If the proponents of religious messaging in public places win, I guarantee you the fight will begin over whose religious messages take precedence. And it will be a much nastier fight than the one against non religious messaging.

  23. Anonymous1:36 PM

    And these people call themselves Christians? Fascinating.....

  24. WakeUpAmerica1:40 PM

    The hate directed at this young lady is uncalled for and downright sick. These are what I would call self-proclaimed Christians. In other words, these are people who would claim to be Christian and fighting for Christ. The truth, however, is that they are nothing of the sort. Their behavior would never be condoned or encouraged by Christ. This is what gives Christians who sincerely try to follow Christ's teachings a bad name. It's similar to Islamic terrrorists giving the Muslim religion a bad name.

    Furthermore, as a Christian, I totally support her effort to have the banner removed. It does not belong in the public schools or government offices. I also am totally for separation of church and state, and I will fight for that in any way that I can.

    1. Anonymous4:26 PM

      After all, what is so anemic about their faith, that is requires public banners, outward memorabilia, and political power in order to support it???? Seriously, can't God, and faith in Him, stand by itself, on its own power???? Why does it need help (from signs, monuments, political PACs, legislative enactments, etc)?????

    2. WakeUpAmerica7:55 PM

      Exactly. You can thank the evangelicals for that.

  25. Anonymous1:48 PM

    Good reason to support the Freedom From Religion Foundation ( or Americans United for Separation of Church and State ( Military Religious Freedom Foundation ( or some other similar organization of your choice.

  26. Anonymous2:00 PM

    I am glad we raised our daughter outside any religious organization. She is kind, thoughtful, charitable, generous, tolerant and intelligently curious.

    I doubt she would have been any of those had she been exposed to the limited bigoted dogma now being foisted upon people as Christianity.

    American Christians have lost their way. Instead of simply living their faith, they want to either impose it on everyone or they look away, unwilling to challenge those who would betray the compassion at the heart of the faith.

  27. Anonymous2:25 PM

    It's the American Taliban hard at work terrorizing innocent peaceful people who want to speak their mind.

  28. Anonymous2:39 PM

    The "so many" is the operative phrase. These are not so many, but they are some perhaps, and they couldn't be more wrong to do what they are doing. They certainly aren't Christians, as quite a few have duly pointed out. God knows it and Jesus knows it. Wonder if and when they will figure it out, however. In the meantime they are lost souls giving in to evil.

    Jessica is absolutely correct to ask for the removal of this sign from a public school. She is a brave and courageous young woman of conviction. God knows it and Jesus knows it, and they don't much worry about whether she cares about that or believes in them, even.

    Btw, hate and ignorance always get more attention in our world. God doesn't care about publicity. Our good actions and thoughts are between us and him/her/it. Same goes for our bad actions and thoughts.

    There doesn't need to be a public disavowal necessarily, though that is important and good and perhaps best for the reputation of Christianity lest some are misled - because each of us as human beings do know right from wrong, deep down.

    This shouldn't be happening not simply because it means the Christian church isn't "doing its job" and getting the authentic message out enough, it shouldn't be happening because it's wrong, morally, from any angle, religious or non-religious.

  29. Anonymous2:40 PM

    I was just at Shailey's blog and saw that Media Insider had just posted this. I thought you guys might be interested.

    Okay, Shay. All cards on the table. I'm Seogal and also Media Insider. I'm a syndicated newspaper columnist and magazine writer and longtime follower of your story, supporter of your causes, and just recently, a purchaser of your book. I had two Chicago Tribune editors champing at the bit about your story, one of them a longtime veteran of political exposes dating back to the Watergate days. Based on how you have been behaving in what frankly seems like a non copus mentis way here, I will no longer use my pull there to help you and will be warning them off your story as of Monday. I also had a newswire interested in doing a big blast about a highly positive book review I was to post tomorrow. I am deleting my review.

    You seem to think that commenters here don't want you to get a great job, provide for your family, etc. I want some of what you've been smoking this weekend :)

    Best of luck to you.

    Personally I don't know what to think of Shailey's departure but I do wish for her and her children this opportunity will give her some peace of mind financially.
    One thing I don't understand is why all the mystery?

    1. Anonymous4:29 PM

      I can't find the comments. Anyone know what happened? There is no explanation. How do we ask questions?

      Gryphen, Will you be open for questions on Monday? Thks

  30. Anonymous2:50 PM

    Obviously those who are sending these vitriolic messages have not read the posted prayer, let alone follow its precepts.


  31. Anonymous2:54 PM

    i dare one of these fuk_tard eeeevangelical wannabe taliban threaten my ass

  32. And OF COURSE one of these illiterate haters had to call Jessica "fat"...

  33. Anonymous3:44 PM

    Yes the crazy son of god and then reincarnation story that matches the pagan celebrated changes of season in the northern hemisphere have gone awry and now these people think that their particular superstitions should be the way of all people, both in the northern and southern hemispheres.

    Think about it. The christian fertility and rebirth story that is easter has no bearing in the southern hemisphere where fall is happening and things are dying. Same with xmas and the birth of the christ and the returning of the light; the southern hemisphere is heading into summer during the northern hemisphere winter solstice and the xmas season.

    This has always been my argument against christianity being a "worldwide"religion to end all religions. It is northern hemispheric based and if there was a god he'd have holidays that reflect the entire world and not just that part of the world that is north of the equator. Epic fail on so many levels.

  34. Anonymous4:09 PM

    Thank you for posting this one, Gryphen. These people are part the reason I left Christianity years ago.

    Hypocrites, yet the same people who'll say how religious and righteous they are, yet they are falsely religious and very wrongly righteous.

    Goons for Jeebus and gawd. USA tea taliban for Christian sharia and a Christian USA theocracy.

    Though which conservative Christian cult wins? Hard to predict as it'll be infighting amongst conservative Protestants to see who is left standing, in control and in power. It'll be bloody, not just to anyone non-Christian, yet to whomever is not the appropriate kind of Christian for those in power in their other brand of Christian theocracy.

  35. Anonymous4:15 PM

    What is WITH these talibangelicals? That is the most hypocritical, reprehensible, UN-CHRISTIAN-LIKE behavior imaginable. They're nothing more than a modern-day LYNCH MOB.

    This is precisely why separation of church and state is VITAL to the survival of our democracy. The Founding Fathers WARNED US about this shit.

    1. WakeUpAmerica7:53 PM

      Love "talibangelicals." That's a perfect description.

  36. It's Cranston...what do you expect?

  37. Anonymous5:42 PM

    Along with all the other problems with this "prayer" is the use of "our heavenly father". God is NOT male. Girls and young women don't need an additional constant reminder of the supposed honored status of the male half of the population.

    Consider how long the men/boys at the school would tolerate a sign starting off with "Dear flying spaghetti monster (of course you are female), teach us..."

  38. Fucking homicidal Christians. I'm sure, if I read through the comments, there will be a number of them explaining earnestly that this isn't what Christianity is about.

    Fuck that noise. I'll believe that when I see Christians marching to protect Jessica. I'm sick of reading about how they're really just nice people, and they're not doing a fucking thing to protect a kid from their coreligionists.


  39. Anonymous7:16 PM

    This is the problem with absolutes. If one's god and religion are the absolute truth to them they will not be able to allow for any other views whatsoever. Problem is life is one big grey area and some people need the security of a black and white world, therefore they try to impose their version of order on everyone else.

  40. Anonymous7:50 PM

    The thing that strikes me about the "prayer" on the banner is... without the "Our Heavenly Father" at the beginning, the message would be perfectly acceptable to most people. I believe that few people would disagree with the affirmations "to do our best, to grow mentally and morally as well as physically, to be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers. To be honest with ourselves as well as with others... to be good sports..." and to know "the value of true friendship." These are the values of almost everyone I know, and certainly part of the values imparted in my upbringing. Just remove the three words at the beginning and "Amen" at the end and there's no issue.

    We don't all need to believe in a God to agree on this. So the dispute is totally irrational, IMO. As a previous commenter said, pray if and whenever you want to, but don't post the prayer in a public place in school. Not everyone believes in God, and under the US Constitution, our public institutions (such as schools) must not espouse any particular religious belief.

    If one is secure in his/her spiritual beliefs, why on earth do they object to another person holding different beliefs? It is a completely personal matter. That is why our Constitution quite wisely separates religion from matters of government--because there is, and will never be, any "right way," insofar as religion is concerned.

    Thanks, Gryphen, for your continued examination of this issue.

    -Anne in CO

    1. Anita Winecooler9:44 PM

      I wholeheartedly agree, and I'm sure this sixteen year old girl "gets it" as well.

    2. Anonymous5:59 PM

      Thanks Annie in CO for saying so eloquently what I was trying to say in an earlier post.

  41. As a Christian, I simply do not understand this hatred aimed at this girl. Jesus of Nazareth said we should love our enemies. I don't this girl as an enemy, but those who do should be stopped right there. The girl is right. The establishment clause and subsequent rulings of the SCOTUS make it very clear she is right. These so-called Christians are wrong, wrong, wrong, and if they harm this girl or her family, I hope the courts throw the book at them.

  42. Anonymous9:08 PM

    So much for conduct that would bring credit to Cranford HS West? This is outrageous. I hope this young woman continues to have police protection until all these would-be terrorists are arrested and/or punished. It's sickening.

  43. Anita Winecooler9:53 PM

    Where's the outrage from the tax exempt Pastors, Priests, Rabbis, and Reverends? I'm sure there must be at least a few in this town and surrounding communities.

    We're talking about a sixteen year old girl who agreed to have her name on a petition before a Judge, and won the case in court. Jessica Ahlquist could be my daughter, your daughter, or the daughter of these "Christians".

    I'm an atheist, but seriously doubt these "christians" would recognize the "Christ" they model their lives after if he appeared in the flesh.

  44. I seriously doubt that someone with a tweet name of 'slickricky69' is much of a Christian.

  45. You can always find bad apples, and then you must decide whether to learn something constructive, and consider the enormous body of Christians as a widely-divergent group, or whether you let the bad apples ruin the whole bunch.

    I wonder why we see so little reportage on the good Christians, like Jim Flickinger, successful attorney, Secular Franciscan, founder of Amazon Relief, caring for some of the poorest people on earth--including lepers, like St. Francis did--serving 3,000 hot meals a week to hungry people, and consistently being ranked as one of the best charities, with 90+% of donations going directly to care for those in need.

    Think about 3,000 meals a week given to the hungry in Brazil, provided freely by volunteer Secular Franciscans. Keep that in mind when you think about what Christians do, and let it provide a little balance to the hateful story Gryphen has posted here.

    I know the reason. It's not sexy to report on Christians actually doing what Christ said. It wouldn't encourage venting on the part of people who are immobilized by the horror of child-molesting priests and the bishops who covered for them.

    It's easier to throw up our hands in disgust then to pick ourselves up and try to accomplish some good. In the meantime, try to forget the role that the institution you belittle played a major role in western civilization.

  46. Anonymous4:05 AM

    Cue other Christians yelling that these folks aren't "real" believers...

    The Church wonders why people are leaving the religion in droves, but all outsiders see is things like this. Oh, and the Republican Party trying to run our lives into the shitter for God.

  47. Anonymous9:01 AM

    Just because someone self-identifies as a Christian does not mean they represent all Christians. What's odd is how someone can behave this way in defense of Christianity, but the bible is pretty vague and some people are pretty stupid so between the two no one should be surprised that these assholes exist.

  48. Anonymous2:30 PM

    Grif, since you claim to be someone who has taken an atheist stance, I am confused at the absolute lack of attack on other fundamentalist communities, many of whom operate dangerous theocracies in different parts of my beloved America. As a progressive and committed African-American Christian, I can only assume that you're willing to hit the softest target.... the Christian community. For whatever jabs and swipes of a few madmen, the Christian community by and large isn't out to systematically ruin you nor will you have to go into hiding for exercising your free speech. That's why you can post anti-Christian posters and memes and the like on your website. You might get threats, but you won't likely lose your life and livelihood.

    This wasn't the case with American Cartoonist Molly Norris, (google her) a person I'm still waiting on someone to cover, especially one who is against all religions. Look at what's happening with Ayaan Hirsi Ali as well. It's easy to point at Christians because there usually isn't a committed and organized hit squad out to kill you for disagreeing with it. Those organizations that claim Christ and spew violence don't have the financial and organizational support of the majority of the American Christian Community. This is why the Klan and the Phelps idiots are fringe. No mainstream charity-loving church denomination is taking up offerings to help them spread satanism.

    I'm wondering when the danger of Mitt Romney is going to be front and center 24/7 on the blog. It seems to me Utah is a theocracy and I don't want that for America.

    I disagree with many people in terms of my faith. But Jesus did not force himself on ANYONE. Many people of faith are just as I am; squarely against Theocracy in ANY form and any faith, be it hasidic community regulations (google Yitzchok Fischer), orthodox "christian" fundamentalism in legislation, sharia dictates in local communities (I mean you Dearborn, MI) or "accepted" cult-imposed rules and dictates in communities. (Hello LA)

    In my own state a few years ago, over 40 politicians and several orthodox rabbis were rounded up by the Feds in a corruption sting. One of the rabbis was accused of selling kidneys. Am I to believe he is representative of all Rabbi? Of course not.

    Are there self-identified "Christians" furthering the cause of satan and evil? Of course. But the crazy doesn't stop in one faith. I'm just curious as to why the others haven't been explored more on this site. If fundamentalism in America is wrong, why is it only wrong wrapped in the Bible?

    1. Anonymous6:01 PM

      Although I can't speak for Mr. Gryphen, I can speak to this matter. It's Christianity that is the predominant religion that drives the "moral code" in the United States. It serves as the standard bearer for what is right and wrong in our country. No other religion comes close to having that much influence over our political discourse.

    2. Anonymous8:53 PM

      Yep. Christianity is the largest religion in the world and in the US (in terms of number of members). Christianity--specifically the conservative evangelical brand--has infiltrated our government in the last 30+ years (since Reagan's election and the influx of evangelicals into positions of power). We are now at a point where someone like Rick Santorum could be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. The pendulum has swung too far toward theocracy and needs to swing back to secularism in our government. As our Founding Fathers intended.

      At this point in time, there's no real danger that this nation could become a Jewish or Muslim or Mormon theocracy. There is a real threat that our nation--and I mean our government, our laws--being taken over by fundamentalist Christianity. Thus the focus on the activities of the extreme Christian religionists.
      -Anne in CO

  49. Anonymous5:53 PM

    No, I'm saying what a lot of other posters are agreeing to: Outside our "Our Heavenly Father" (or however it's worded), why not change the title to make it more universally appealing. That, to me, is the only line -- with the exception of Amen at the bottom -- that makes it "religious". Everything else is basic common decency towards one another.

  50. Olivia8:58 AM

    Anonymous Apr 15, 2012 07:01 PM
    "Although I can't speak for Mr. Gryphen, I can speak to this matter. It's Christianity that is the predominant religion that drives the "moral code" in the United States. It serves as the standard bearer for what is right and wrong in our country. No other religion comes close to having that much influence over our political discourse."

    Isn't it very odd then, that followers of this "standard bearer" and most influential religion would consider themselves victims of persecution in the very country over which they have supreme religious influence?


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