A 16-year-old high school student in Rhode Island has become a hero to those who believe in the separation of church and state for winning a challenge against a religious banner at her school. However those who stand on the religious right are no fan of Jessica Ahlquist, who describes herself as an atheist, and she has been beseiged by nasty comments and threats over her stance.
Opposing Views has been reporting on this story since the beginning, and we decided to take a look at our Facebook page to see what you are saying about it. Here is a sample:
Art Werstler: We live in a society full of different thoughts & beliefs. why is it because this godless person doesn't believe in God others should not be allowed to. There are many. things I don't agree with, so I don't participate. But for those who don't believe in God they feel it necessary to stop others from their right to believe. She stirred the pot, be ready to eat the results .....
Cindy Sole of Pomona, CA: WOW! I am a Christian and believe that our first amendment rights do not stop at the school-house doors. With that being said, it truly saddens me to see my "so called" fellow Christians acting like a bunch of hate-mongers toward another human being!... Mistreating and hating this girl isn't going to "win" her over to Christ. It will only push her, and any other atheist, farther away from Jesus.
James Cramer of Union, NJ: while i certainly dont agree w threats of violence or anything along those lines, she knew damn well that this is a very touchy subject and that taking it on,would bring the firestorm that it has..she had to kno that her stance would have brought alot of attention, anger,etc.
Letha Brooks of Fallon, NV: I don't agree with violence either but because of people like this girl...We can't say "Merry Christmas" to people without worrying about offending them, we can't openly show our faith in God without people calling shenanigans on us or people saying that Religion "brainwashes" people.
Curtis Michael: to a certain extent she appears to be right but then she is offending other peoples right to religious expression. Me i dont really get atheists... They are quick to forget that they need to respect peoples belif of religious expression instead of being cowards in most cases and hiding behind the bill of rights
Molly Poole of Wichita, KS: Curtis: Other *people* have the right to religious expression. The *government* does NOT have the right to religious expression of any kind unless it is expressing equally on behalf of every single religion in the world. This school is a government run institution, and as such it has to follow the same rules that the government has to...and that's why this prayer was a violation.
Tracey Chambers of Lebanon, Illinois: To the poor, persecuted religious I ask this - If the banner had been a Muslim prayer or a Satanic prayer, would you still be telling her to mind her own business and "it's just a banner"? No, you would not. That makes you hypocrites. Your religion is not the only one. You are not special. You do not have a monopoly on faith. You do not get to say your religion is better than all others and should be left alone.