For proof of how many Americans fail to comprehend the scope of fundamental rights protected by the U.S. Constitution–not that more proof is needed–read this story about a high school student who successfully challenged the presence of a Christian prayer that has been affixed to the wall of her public school for almost 50 years.
A federal judge ruled this month that the prayer’s presence at Cranston High School West was unconstitutional, concluding that it violated the principle of government neutrality in religion.
In the weeks since, residents have crowded school board meetings to demand an appeal, Jessica has received online threats and the police have escorted her at school, and Cranston, a dense city of 80,000 just south of Providence, has throbbed with raw emotion.
State Representative Peter G. Palumbo, a Democrat from Cranston, called Jessica “an evil little thing” on a popular talk radio show. Three separate florists refused to deliver her roses sent from a national atheist group.
Based on the presence of this prayer in a public school for 49 years and the response of some of its inhabitants to Jessica Ahlquist’s assertion of a well-settled principle established by the First Amendment’s establishment clause I agree that Cranston is indeed “a dense city.” The decision’s opponents are of course entitled to voice their opinions, but one wishes they demonstrated some knowledge of establishment clause jurisprudence before excoriating her.