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.
The Rapture might have occurred last night and I just missed the signs. Maybe Matt Albers’ fastball went to heaven, which would explain how he gave up six runs to the Cubs to break the Red Sox’ seven-game winning streak. So I checked the news this morning to be sure. We’re still here. What do the Rapturists do now? Beg for their jobs back? Repossess their former possessions? Stop listening to charlatans?
Make My Bed? But You Say the World’s Ending in today’s NY Times reports on those deluded souls who believe tomorrow, Saturday May 21, is Judgment Day, “when they expect to be absorbed into heaven in a process known as the rapture. Nonbelievers, they hold, will be left behind to perish along with the world over the next five months.” Silly, because these believers will wake up Sunday morning saying the date was miscalculated or some other nonsensical excuse for the non-occurrence of their ludicrous belief. Sad, because they mistreat families and friends who reside in the real world. The Times quotes the 16-year old non-believing daughter of Rapturists: “My mom has told me directly that I’m not going to get into heaven. At first it was really upsetting, but it’s what she honestly believes.” Her 14-year old brother said “I don’t really have any motivation to try to figure out what I want to do anymore, because my main support line, my parents, don’t care.” Their mother said “I have mixed feelings. I’m very excited about the Lord’s return, but I’m fearful that my children might get left behind. But you have to accept God’s will.”
Family-values Christianity at work.
Tea Party darling Christine O’Donnell debates; she does not know that the U.S. Constitution provides for the separation of church and state. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Om-oDWSPtM&feature=related The Tea Party’s name insults the Founding Fathers. (Thanks for the link, MP–although watching the video makes one despair for the future.)
“America LOVES GUNS and GAS!” If you purchase a Ford or GM car or truck this month from Max Motors in Butler, MO the dealer will throw in either a card for $250 in gas or a handgun. The dealership’s owner recommends the pocket-sized Kel-Tec .380 pistol. Most purchasers are opting for the handgun. The owner credits the promotion to Barack Obama’s remarks about people clinging to their guns and their Bibles: “I found that quite offensive. We all go to church on Sunday and we all carry guns.”
Must be a tough church. (Thanks to Z!)