By Blair Scott
Activism is important. American Atheists encourages everyone to become an activist and do something about those who would destroy the wall of separation between church and state and do whatever they can to impose theocracy upon all of us (religious and non-religious). Activism can be rewarding and you are serving to uphold the Constitution and the idea of enlightenment set forth by our Founding Fathers.
However, being an activist does not come without its risks. Just ask Jessica Alhquist from Rhode Island. Jessica sued her high school to have a prayer banner removed from the walls. A few days ago the courts agreed with Jessica and ordered the banner removed immediately.
Obviously proponents of the separation of church and state (religious and non-religious) see Jessica as a hero who did what needed to be done to ensure that the Constitution was upheld and that religious beliefs were not imposed by the government upon any students at her school.
Unfortunately, the theocrats see things differently and have reacted with hatred, harassment and threats. Jessica’s Twitter account was lambasted with threatening and hateful tweets. American Atheists was notified and we put out a call for help on our Facebook page that resulted in tweets of support greatly outnumbering the hateful and threatening tweets. We want to thank everyone that used the hash tag #ThankYouJessica yesterday and supporting an amazing high school activist.
Supporters captured screen shots of the threats and hateful tweets to Jessica. American Atheist members Robert & Mary Posey captured a lot of them and included them on their blog JesusFetusFajitaFishsticks.
Zachary Bos, Massachusetts State Director for American Atheists, contacted the principal of the school where the banner is and where Jessica is now going to school as well as the local police. Steve Alhquist, Jessica’s father, let Zachary know that the members of the school board are taking these threats very seriously and that the Cranston Police are investigating every threat against Jessica.
Do not let them get you down Jessica! You are right and they are wrong. They are proving to everyone why religious beliefs are dangerous. Even the most “innocent” religious person can become motivated to violence when they feel that their beliefs are threatened. Keep your chin up and hold your head high because you did the right thing and defended the Constitution and protected all the students: even the ones who are ignorantly attacking you.
We are including some examples from the Posey’s Web Page below. It should be noted that many of these tweets came from minors. JesusFetusFajitaFishsticks elected to not hide the names of those who were brave enough to make threats in public and we agree completely with that policy. If you are brave enough to make a threat in public then you are brave enough to have your name associated with it and to accept the consequences of doing so. The Cranston Police are aware of all of these threats.