Let’s get one thing straight, nobody honestly thought the banner at Cranston High was secular. The tip off for anybody without a severed head are the words “Our heavenly father” and “Amen”.
And the residents of Cranston knew it. Take this excerpt from the judge’s decision.
One citizen, who spoke after Plaintiff, suggested that, “If people want to be Atheist, it’s their choice and they can go to hell if they want.” At the end of the meeting, Plaintiff and her companion, who had also spoken out against the Prayer Mural, were escorted from the meeting by the police because of concerns for their safety.
At the February meeting, Plaintiff spoke again. Two speakers who followed Plaintiff suggested that she be charged with a hate crime. Although members of the subcommittee urged speakers to address their remarks to the committee, many of the speakers looked directly at Plaintiff when it was their turn to speak. Almost all of the speakers referenced their personal religious beliefs. For example, one speaker stated:
Jesus said, if you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father. Not ashamed, please pass this on. I do believe this. People forget that we were born under God Almighty. If it wasn’t for God Almighty we wouldn’t be here. It’s just like I keep saying to everybody else and everything there is, “You can have your fun here on earth but on Judgment Day you’re going to be standing before God Almighty and you’re going to say…you know he’s going to say…” I don’t
know what he’s going to say but all I know is that you’re going to be happy to see Him face to face.
The school was even offered a compromise by the ACLU where the banner could stay minus the religious language. The school refused, and by now that ship has already sailed. Clearly, it was the religious language, not the wholesome message of the banner, that was important to them.
So one of two things happened here. Either the banner committee realized from the outset that the case could not be won if argued honestly and decided to take a chance at lying, using taxpayer dollars for teen education as collateral, or they thought the case was winnable until they spoke with legal counsel who told them they could lie and have a chance, tell the truth and lose, or just abide by the law and not go to trial. If the latter is the case, we all know what choice they made.
Comparatively, all Jessica ever did was stand up and tell the truth, always at the expense of harassment from people supporting the liars (while simultaneously touting their moral superiority). If you have to lie to win, you’re probably not the good guys, and your position will not reduce to molecules of integrity. Faith in Jesus is obviously a very poor way of getting people to appreciate truth.
You also lose all right to play martyr when somebody calls you on your bullshit.
The officials who decided to fight this lied. That lie cost the city of Cranston. What but religion could convince anybody that the dishonest officials were not the immoral ones and that the bad guy was the girl who told nothing but the truth?