The New York Times is reporting on the controversy in Cranston, Rhode Island, over the display of a school prayer which has hung on the wall of the Cranston West High School auditorium since 1963, when a seventh grader wrote it as a sort of moral guide and that year’s graduating class presented it as a gift. It was a year after a landmark Supreme Court ruling barring organized prayer in public schools.
Jessica Ahlquist, now 16, a student at Cranston West who says she stopped believing in God at age 10, considers the prayer to be an affront. "It seemed like it was saying, every time I saw it, 'You don’t belong here.'" Apparently, her notions of rights and tolerance don't include tolerating the public display of anything that disagrees with her atheism, even the religious expression of the majority of people in her high school and her town.
The whole point of inclusivity, diversity, and tolerance is that we respect and make room for other people's perspectives, even when they differ from our own. Apparently these values are lost on Jessica Ahlquist, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the American Humanist Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union when it comes to their campaign to eliminate the public expression of religious belief.
Jessica, is no mere "victim" but a determined activist with a website and a Facebook page devoted to her campaign to stamp out freedom of religious expression at Cranston West.
Here is the prayer Jessica and her backers sued to eliminate:
Our Heavenly Father,
Grant us each day the desire 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.
Help us to be good sports and to smile when we lose as
well as when we win. Teach us the value of true
friendship. Help us always to conduct ourselves
so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.
Yeah, that's really poisonous stuff. Many thanks to Jessica, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and the American Civil Liberties Union for helping us eradicate such subversive and dangerous ideas from our public schools.