The People of Cranston, Rhode Island Still Hold a Grudge Against Jessica Ahlquist

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses how Jessica Ahlquist wasn’t invited to the unveiling of her (former) high school’s new mural after her lawsuit brought down the old one:

You can read more details about the story here and here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Edward Sadzewicz

    Wonderful thoughts Mr. Mehta.

  • Keijo Karvinen

    Yes, internet is destroying religion. And you are doing a wonderfull job in this good fight. Thank you, you are a hero for all mankind.
    Leaving organised superstition behind will be the greatest advancement humanity has ever made.

  • Gunner Miller

    Adults acting as children is a common reaction to losing.

    • A3Kr0n

      Adults acting like children shouldn’t be in a position of authority either.

      • Librepensadora

        Yes, but how do we get John Boehner’s constituents to turn him out of office a year from now?

        • wmdkitty


        • John Schwytzer

          First, as an Ohioan I would like to apologize for our politicians.

          I’ve been trying to get my fiancée to run against Boehner, but she doesn’t want to. She said she doesn’t know enough about politics. I told her I’d tell her what to do, but she’s still not interested.

        • UWIR

          The drawback with democracy is that even idiots are allowed to have elected officials representing their views.

  • squinney

    These are not chritians that hate. They just THINK they are christian.

    • DavidMHart

      You have heard of the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy, right? You do not get to decide unilaterally who does and doesn’t count as a Christian. There are far too many groups of Christians trying to claim that right for us to be able to let just one group get away with it.

      The only sensible thing is to say that anyone who identifies as a Christian should be presumed to be one, unless some extremely compelling evidence (such as, say, evidence that they’re lying or otherwise a closeted non-believer) is presented to the contrary.

    • islandbrewer
    • phantomreader42

      squinney, Would you be so kind as to post a picture of your certificate, signed personally by almighty god in eternally burning letters, that appoints you and you alone as the sole arbiter of what constitutes a true chrsitian? Until you do, shut the fuck up with the No True Scotsman bullshit.

    • RobMcCune

      Only squinney know who is truly christian and who is not, right now his list is very long but if you start listing off truths about christianity it will shrink to about 1.

    • RobertoTheChi

      Ahhhhh…the No True Scotsman Fallacy. Now why didn’t I think of that?

    • TheG

      Do you realize that there are a great many Christians who are convinced that YOU merely THINK you are a Christian?
      The problem with using faulty, mean spirited, obfuscating reasoning is that there is always someone lining up to do the same to you.

  • Dan Baisden

    I think freedom of religion may have been originally designed to protect religion from government interference. Its subsequent benefit of protecting government from religious interference just seems to rub many religious people the wrong way.

    • randomfactor

      Freedom has a way of pissing off bigots.

    • phantomreader42

      I think the people who came up with Separation of Church and State knew perfectly well that the most frequent cause of government interference with religion IS religious interference in government.

    • abb3w

      The idea largely seems to have originated with Roger Williams of Rhode Island — and formerly of Massachusetts, due to his remarkedly unpleasant encounter with the pronounced lack of such protection of religion from government there.

      He clearly considers the wall going both directions, speaking in The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience Discussed against not only “the persecuted state” where (Christian) religious conscience is oppressed, but also “the state apostate” where civil magistrates (particularly emphasizing the Roman papacy) make pretense at leadership in matters of religion. While I am not aware if he ever says so explicitly, it would seem a small step to consider a civil magistrate presuming to lead a civil assembly in prayer as an example encompassed within “enforced uniformities in worship” that results in “millions of souls forced to hypocrisy and ruin eternal”.

      Contrariwise, he might indeed consider the notion of a ban on opening civil ceremonies by group prayer to be surprising. Nohow, it seems unlikely he would find such a rule in conflict with his principles on insuring the wide liberty of individual religious conscience.

    • RobMcCune

      Seeing as it was made to deal with the problem of state churches, I don’t think the people who came up with it made much of distinction.

  • Jorge Pérez de Lara

    Freedom of religion is fine… as long as it is MY religion we are talking about.

  • Matthew Baker

    Someone 30 years from now is going to be in a huff over the mere mention of this event. Its amazing how long the sting of a slighting or perceived slighting can last.
    Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s name still causes reactions 50 years after the fact.

  • Maggie Winnike

    Someone needs to open a movie theater or something in Cranston, it’s obvious they don’t have enough to do there.

  • duke_of_omnium

    Well, if they weren’t moral cowards and intellectual bankrupts, they wouldn’t – couldn’t – be Christians in the first place.

  • John Secular Smith

    I’m glad the old banner is gone, and the new banner seems fine…but why would Cranston invite her to the unveiling? Did they invite other high school students from other schools? She doesn’t go there anymore, right?

    Honestly, I don’t know how you’d call this holding a grudge. Is there something I’m missing?

    • wmdkitty

      Uh, the fact that it was an intentional snub, and the whole fucking town has it in for her…

      • peacekeeper

        It is actually factually wrong to say this is the city of Cranston holding a grudge. The tweets are from lowlifes that troll the internet, and most of the town has moved on…and some have even shown positive feedback to her.

      • John Secular Smith

        Well, thanks for begging the question, but WHY do you think it is an intentional snub?