Peter G. Palumbo Needs to Get Some Emails (and Voted Out of Office)

The contents of this post are the opinions of JT Eberhard, not the Secular Student Alliance.

Up until recently a Rhode Island high school had a prayer hanging in a government building.  When they were asked to take it down the administrators lied about the prayer repeatedly.  While it was being hammered out in court, students at the school, as well as a frothing pack of Jesus-lovers harassed a 16 year-old girl the entire time.  After a judge affirmed that the lying administrators were breaking the law, those students and the  other Jesus-lovers doubled their efforts, many of them threatened the well-being of the 16 year-old girl implicitly or directly.

It should be noted that all the girl did was ask the lying administrators to stop breaking the law and, when they refused, she told the truth under oath (which the administrators did not).

Sadly, asking a politician to appreciate honesty is like asking a thief to appreciate surveillance.  Peter G. Palumbo, the Democrat in the RI House from the Cranston district, has no rebukes for the Jesus-loving liars, bullies, or thugs.  He has nothing negative to say about the people who felt they were above the Constitution and lied to subvert it.  He did, however, have something to say about Jessica.  Palumbo said, sarcastically, that she is “An evil little thing.”  That may have bee said sarcastically (there is debate over whether or not that line was sarcastic, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt), but the line “I think she’s being coerced by evil people” was most assuredly not.  She is not being coerced, and her cause is not evil.

He said this of the girl who sought to do right to the best of her abilities and understanding, agreeably to the Constitution, and laws of the United States.  The latter half of that comes from the United States oath of office.  It is a pity, though not a surprise, that Jessica is the one who feels abiding by that oath is not “evil”.

Palumbo’s email address is rep-palumbo@rilin.state.ri.us.   His office phone number is  (401) 785-2882.  Spread the word and inundate him.  Our leaders should respect the constitution, not snipe at those who have been been confirmed to have fought in its defense.  Palumbo has just sided with dishonesty and bullies.  We should have higher standards for our leaders, but evil men with Jesus in their hearts and a populace of the same keep these kinds of monsters in power, and they keep noble women like Jessica standing between the monsters and the Constitution those monsters are sworn to uphold.

In a moral world, this man’s career would end with this.  Let’s continue to pursue a moral world.

  • http://www.danafredsti.com Dana

    Done! Thanks for posting this, JT.

  • http://www.miketheinfidel.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    I e-mailed:

    Dear Rep. Palumbo,

    Thank you so much for speaking out about Jessica Ahlquist. Thank you for rightly putting your faith and tradition above the Constitution. Thank you for having the courage to stand up to a 16-year-old girl and call her and her family evil. Thank you for taking the easy road and sniping from the sidelines. And most of all, thank you for making it obvious who your constituents should be voting for.

    Sincerely,
    xxxx

    • http://www.danafredsti.com Dana

      Mike, what an awesome reply! I like yours better than mine…

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM.

    I have just sent the following email to Palumbo:

    Dear Representative Palumbo,

    When I joined the U.S. Navy I took an oath to “support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” When you became a member of the Rhode Island legislature you took a similar oath. So why are you trying to pretend the First Amendment doesn’t apply to the School Prayer banner which was properly and legally removed from the Cranston West High School? I think you need to reread the First Amendment and think about it really, really hard. Because if you cannot support the First Amendment, then you will be breaking your oath to support and protect the Constitution. In that case, you need to rethink whether you are fit to be a legislator.

    Also how can you have the unmitigated gall to call Jessica Ahlquist evil? She was stopping some people from doing something illegal. How is that evil?

    Sincerely,
    Real Name

    • Jason CT

      Well said.

  • Anonymous

    This is taken out of context, and isn’t fair. To be clear, he’s a douche, and I would be all for adding him to the unemployment figures. However, this is what really went down in the snotty, smug, sarcastic opening to the interview.

    JD: “In the studio with us, representative Peter Palumbo. Good morning Representative Palumbo”
    PP: “Good morning John”
    JD: “Sooo, proud” (sarcastically)
    PP: “Sooo, proud” (sarcastically)
    JD: “Oh, what she’s been through!” (sarcastically)
    PP: “What an evil little thing, poor thing” (Because of the sarcastic back-and-forth, I think he’s sarcastically referring to her hardships. This is also the tenor of the rest of the conversation)
    JD: *laugh*
    (back to serious)
    PP: “And it’s not her fault. She’s being trained to be like that”
    JD: “You think she’s an evil little thing?”
    PP: “Well, I think she’s being coerced by evil people. I don’t think she’s evil, but I think the people that…”
    JD: “a pawn”
    PP: “Yea, I think she’s a pawn, absolutely, and I think it’s a sorry state actually.”
    (it continues with a lot of sarcasm, belittling what she’s been through, then they read the prayer)

    In THE VERY NEXT SENTENCE, he says that he doesn’t think she is evil. Again, they’re both giant douche-bags, but he did NOT caller an “evil little thing”, and this article needs to be amended.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      Ben,

      You’re right, the first line was sarcastic. The subsequent line clearly was not, so the post stands.

      It has been amended to reflect that.

      • Ben Zalisko

        I agree. Thanks JT

    • joeshmo

      Source?

      I also notice how you did not post that “very next sentence” either.

  • Ben Zalisko

    Sorry, I forgot to sign my name to the last post.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/ Ophelia Benson

    Ben Zalisko – nuh uh – Palumbo said sneeringly “what an evil little thing,” DePetro said “you think she’s evil?” and Palumbo quickly tried to fix the gaffe – “wull I think she’s being coerced.” Palumbo said it.

    An adult, an elected representative, called a high school girl evil because she won a court case.

    • Ben Zalisko

      He said “What an evil little thing, poor thing” In the context of them talking about what she’s gone through. If he was referring to Jessica, why would he have followed it with “poor thing” in the same breath? He also didn’t volunteer a clarification, he responded to John’s question. John either wasn’t sure what he meant or wanted to give him an opportunity to clarify.

      The larger point is this. There is waay, waaaaay too much low hanging fruit with respect to the indiscriminate vitriol being hurled at Jessica. This includes our public representatives. Let’s not get it muddled by throwing accusations and quotes around unless they are rock solid. I really don’t like being put in a position to defend this guy. C’mon guys, we’re supposed to be good skeptics!

      • http://www.facebook.com/jsalleng jeremysalleng

        Actually i think your stretching here. The “poor thing” part of the sentence could also have been sarcasm. Is there audio for this? Because obviously the person he was talking to did NOT understand and assumed he was being serious when he called her an “evil little thing”. Hence the call for clarification.

      • Steersman

        He said “What an evil little thing, poor thing” In the context of them talking about what she’s gone through. If he was referring to Jessica, why would he have followed it with “poor thing” in the same breath?

        Maybe, he was just like the “true” politician who, when he isn’t kissing babies is taking away their lollypops, was just keeping his options open and he only belatedly realized that his statement had very bad “optics”. Like, I think, Mitt Romney who said recently something about hanging Obama which he then quickly corrected to something about hanging him with the consequences of some policy.

        And, in any case, how is it evil – the word he used to characterize other parties to the process – to be upholding the Constitution and recent clear cases about prayer in school? Looks to me like the sheep he should be hung for even if he evades the charge for the lamb. Seems like some remarkable obtuseness at best. Reminds me of a recent comment I saw in the Huff Post article on the topic wherein some

        … exceptionaay backward counties in my state decided to thumb their political noses at the Supreme Court rulings and post the Judeo-Christian ten commandments in their court houses. At the present time each county is several hundred thousand dollars in debt as their lost cause resulted in being charged the court costs and legal fees of the opposing ACLU lawyers. They have no means of paying this debt without raising taxes considerably, declaring bankruptcy with all its attendant problems or just ignore the debt for the time and allow the considerable interest to continue to accumulate. These county judges were advised not to continue with this, but their “faith” and that of their constituents gave them the impetus to do [so]. The moral of this story…..-ignorance and religion can be very costly….

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Here’s my e-mail:

    Subject: Standing up for the constitution is not “an evil little thing”

    I’m disappointed. I would expect some of the things you’ve said about Jessica Ahlquist to come from a Republican, not a Democrat. It’s the other side that’s supposed to disrespect separation of church and state, in order to cater to the whims of an increasingly unhinged so-called “Christian” right. I’d expect Rick Perry or Michelle Bachmann or Newt Gingrich to refer to a 16-year old girl as an “evil little thing” for standing against what has been known since the 1960s (i.e. “Engel v. Vitale”) to be a violation of the Constitution. From a Democrat, I would hope for much better behavior.

    • Steersman

      … the whims of an increasingly unhinged so-called “Christian” right

      Exactly right: “increasingly unhinged”. Reminds me of the scene from the movie Inherit the Wind where Spencer Tracy’s character – the lawyer Henry Drummond – savaged and caused to come unglued, unhinged, the creationist – Matthew Brady – on the witness stand for his fatuous attempts to defend the Bible against Darwin.

      Seems to me that it is that religious right – fascists all – which has sown the wind with their feudal and barbaric attempts at the fascism of theocracy; one hopes that the resulting whirlwind – which seems building to hurricane force – will do as much to discredit them and their ilk as the Scopes trial did to creationism.

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  • John Eberhard

    Piece of my mind sent. Favorite phrase was, “You are shamed by the courage and patriotism of a 16 year girl. As a politician, it is hardly surprising all you care about is what most want, instead of what the Constitution you swore to uphold requires.”

  • Debbie

    Thanks for the suggestion JT. Here’s my email.

    Dear Rep. Palumbo:

    Had you been at any of the Cranston School Meetings regarding the Cranston High School West SCHOOL PRAYER, you would have known that 2 local Rabbis, along with the Executive Director of the RI Council of Churches stated that the said SCHOOL PRAYER was religious in nature, and that it doesn’t belong in a PUBLIC school.

    The issue has nothing to do with anyone’s religious beliefs, it has EVERYTHING to do with a violation of our Constitution.

    The ACLU’s letter to the School Committee requested early on that they amend the SCHOOL PRAYER so it doesn’t contain any reference to a deity. Many of the first meetings on this subject, members of the School Committee agreed with the sentiments of the local clergy – even Mr. Lombardi who said that the SCHOOL PRAYER “is arguably religious”. The City of Cranston’s own solicitor Mr. Cascione said he thought this would be un-winnable case for the City of Cranston.

    The City of Cranston along with the School Committee decided to fight the law…and the law won. And now, you wish to resort to name calling – saying that 16 year old Jessica Ahlquist is “An evil little thing”. I am appalled at your lack of professionalism! Have you never been told that IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY, THEN DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL? Don’t you think as an elected leader in my community, you should act with dignity? And don’t you think that this kind of behavior (name calling) is what you are teaching your kids? Children are not born to hate – children learn what they live.

    The City of Cranston, and the Cranston School Committee decided to fight the law – and the law won. Mr. Palumbo, by hearing you spew such hate/hurtful sentiments, I understand you to be saying that you do not have faith in our legal system. Our legal system works!

    One more thing you should be made aware, that 16 year old Jessica Ahlquist did not determine that the CHRISTIAN SCHOOL PRAYER is in direct violation of our Constitution’s First Amendment. She did have an a good idea that it was, and that’s why the ACLU on her behalf asked to have it amended or taken down. Jessica did not make the laws of our Constitution, she just expects (as I do) that they be followed.

    In this case, 16 year old Jessica Ahlquist is the messenger. And as they say…don’t shoot the messenger here. If you don’t like the Judge Lagueux’s ruling fine, but take it up with the Judge. Work in a professional manner to make changes in the laws/rulings you don’t like – DO NOT RESORT TO NAME CALLING! You are a grown-up correct?

    I’m embarrassed to say I live in Cranston. Your behavior is unacceptable.

    Debbie

    • arthuride

      The students who attacked Ms. Ahlquist over the internet display distinct psychosis of those who demean in quest of illusionary power (Fast, Nathanael J.; Halevy, Nir Halevy; and Galinsky, Adam D. Galinsky (2011). “The Destructive Nature of Power without Status”, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, p. 4 f), and are a threat to themselves and others. They are attempting to boost their own feelings of inferiority (Bushman, B. J., & Baumeister, B. F. (1998). Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and direct and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, (75) 219–229) by attacking–a form of herd psychology (Crosby, F. (1976). A model of egoistical relative deprivation. Psychological Review, (83)85–113) that has dire results if not checked and the subjects (RI Rep. Peter G. Palumbo and the students at Cranston) given appropriate psychiatric counseling. The fact that AJ St. Angelo called for the death of Ms. Ahlquist has taken this from the mire of bulling to the nadir of proposed assassination–neither which is tolerated in a healthy environment.

      Bullying is responsible for one out of every seven suicides today. Most of the suicides are committed by people under the age of 19. Interviews show that the one source of intolerance leading to suicide is religion and the churches that mock the rights of the individual. Michele Bachmann’s congressional district in Minnesota has experienced a plethora or epidemic of suicides, and many are tainted by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod association that Ms. Bachmann belonged to, before running for the preidency. Rhode Island is heavily Roman Catholic and that particular religion carries a heavy burden of encouraging suicides while hiding pedophiles within the sacerdotal ranks, as I have noted in numerous articles. To “drown” someone in “holy water” is medieval at best–a torture that the Inquisition used lavishly from 450 – 1590 to exact obedience and control thought. The incarnation of “Satan” is given the orb to carry along with a pitchfork to rule by injustice so a few will prosper and the many suffer.

      As the ancient Greeks noted, not until people turn away from all gods and ignore religion and those who use it to enrich themselves, the torture of theology will cost freedom and civil rights. Palumbo was not joking when you listen clinically to his intonation and word choice. He is a threat to the very liberty on which Rhode Island was founded.

      I am Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide. I do not hide behind the mist of being “anonymous” as I do not tolerate bullying as is happening to Jessica Ahlquist in Rhode Island and the insensitivity and ignorance of Representative Palumbo and the church he hides behind. Bullying is a crime against justice, mercy and sanity. Those who bully others who do not share their beliefs are psychopaths (Journal of The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, March 2011, No 80; with threats addressed May 2005, No. 65; cp. Stambor, Zak, “Bullying stems from fear, apathy,” Journal of the American Psychological Association July 2006, Vol. 37, No. 7; ref. Vol. 59, No. 1, pages 101-123). Today, bullying online (the internet) is not only common but a prime force leading to suicide.

  • Frank Bellamy

    Here’s what I sent:

    Dear Mr. Palumbo,

    I have been informed that you called Jessica Ahlquist, the plaintiff in the recent court case regarding the prayer banner at Cranston High School West, “an evil little thing.” I understand that you believe the prayer banner should have remained up, and I respect your view, although I do disagree with it. I do not, however, respect the way that you and many of your fellow christians have treated Jessica. Have you ever met her? I have had the privilege of meeting her in person twice in the last year. I have found her to be remarkably intelligent, articulate, compassionate, and courageous. There is no doubt in my mind that she freely chose to participate in the lawsuit because she honestly believed that it was the right thing to do. And even none of those things were the case, the way that you and many of your fellow christians have treated her would still be reprehensible. In the days since the ruling, there has been a great deal of name calling directed at Jessica, as well as several death threats. An elected official should set an example for his fellow citizens. He should show that while we may disagree about many things, we can still recognize the humanity of our adversaries and treat each other with respect. Instead, you have degraded yourself and your office by resorting to name calling and by suggesting without evidence that her participation in the lawsuit was coerced by some unspecified force rather than her free choice based on her honest convictions. This is truly disappointing.


    Frank Bellamy

    • J. J. Ramsey

      Good letter. Firm and fair, without looking rabid.

      As a side matter (not directly in response to Frank Bellamy):

      One catch about Palumbo being voted out of office: Who would replace him? If it could be another Democrat, great, but usually unseating a Democrat means a Republican would take his place, and I have no confidence that a Republican would be less of a devil than Palumbo.

      • http://darkmattereffect.tumblr.com Dark Matter

        I’m hoping hard for a decent Democrat to take him on in the next primary. I doubt it’ll happen, but since I don’t live in R.I., it’s the best I can do.

  • Anon

    Here’s my email:

    Subject: Be proud of yourself

    Text:
    Congratulations! You, Mr. Palumbo, have successfully displayed everything that is wrong with this nation with your recent comments about Jessica Ahlquist.

    If you must be reminded, you called 16-year old Jessica an “evil little thing” and accused her of “being coerced by evil people” because of her resolve to uphold the secular values America was founded on. You should be ashamed of yourself, putting your own agenda and own religious views over the Constitution of the United States. It was not your place to issue an ad-hominem attack against a minor you disagree with, and it certainly isn’t your place to be an overly religious representative of a state in a secular nation.

    I hope you lose your next election.

  • Dean Pierson

    Done

  • http://darkmattereffect.tumblr.com Dark Matter

    I don’t usually send these e-mails, and I doubt it’ll do much good in this case, but why the hell not?

    (Apologies for the many run-ons. I use too many parenthetical comments and I didn’t feel like re-writing it four times. I think it’s mostly coherent and I don’t really expect him to understand most of it anyway.)

    Dear Rep. Palumbo:

    I recently listened to your poisonous remarks about Jessica Ahlquist, the Rhode Island high schooler who requested that her publicly funded high school abide by laws governing the separate of church and state and remove an overtly Christian prayer from its gymnasium. As I’m sure you are aware, her perfectly lawful request was upheld by a federal judge.

    However much you might disagree with her position, it is one grounded in law. “Our Heavenly Father” is unambiguously Christian. You said on air that it could be used by and was representative of any faith; that is not accurate, as it does not represent polytheists, deists, or theists who conceive of a female god. It is not even a phrase commonly used in other Abrahamic religions. It is a phrase used in Christian literature, by Christians, addressed to Christians. And even if it were a generalized statement, one that applied to every faith, there is still the fact that it is not representative of people who do not believe in any higher power. Atheists are a minority group, but as I am sure you are aware, the desires of a majority do not, and should not, overrule the rights of a minority group. In this case, Jessica has the right to go to a school – a place she is legally required to be in every day – that is free of religious messaging. The existence of a banner like that subtly undermines the worth of non-Christian students in the eyes of their teachers and peers by enforcing a very particular worldview, and it is illegal.

    It is absolutely reprehensible for a state representative to make such vicious remarks, some of them threatening (agreeing, for example, when it is suggested that a truant officer be involved in her current absence from school, one triggered by the threats of “good Christians” like yourself) about anyone, especially a minor, who is merely doing what you should be doing – asking a public institution to abide by the Constitution. Unfortunately, I am not a resident in your district and cannot vote for your opponent in the next election. Rest assured, however, that while plenty of “moral” people are threatening Jessica Ahlquist, and it may seem expedient to be on their side, more will be appalled by your behavior. I fervently hope that in the next election, humanity and compassion will win out over narrow-minded adherence to dogma and bad traditions.

    You are joining a mob that is calling for the blood, in some cases literally, of a very young woman who did nothing more than ask that the law be upheld. It’s disgusting, and you should be ashamed of yourself as a public representative and as a human being. Thanks for the reminder that Democrats can be just as smug, puerile and vicious as Republicans.

    Sincerely,

    Realname

  • Midnight Rambler

    Jesus Hogfucking Christ. I haven’t seen this much stupid outrage over something so trivial since the Incident Which Shall Not Be Named.

    JJ – note the names of the people going after Ahlquist. A lot of people in RI are conservative Catholics, descended from Italian immigrants, and this attitude crosses party lines. And yeah, I’m one too (though from MA), so this kind of bullshit especially pisses me off.

    • J. J. Ramsey

      Fair enough. The difference, though, is that the attitude is pretty common even among Republicans outside of RI, even characteristic of them, while with the Dems, such attitudes aren’t reinforced party-wide. That would indicate that it’s probably marginally easier to nudge a conservative Catholic Democrat into a more reasonable position than it would be to nudge a similarly conservative Catholic Republican.

      • Bob C

        JJ, zip it. you are making this about you and your political beliefs. you said your part, leave the page for someone else.

        good god man!

    • Cyranothe2nd

      I haven’t seen this much stupid outrage over something so trivial since the Incident Which Shall Not Be Named.

      And this makes Palumbo’s statements okay…how, exactly

      Hmmm, guess I just think obeying the Oath of Office and the Constitution aren’t stupid or trivial. Different strokes, I guess…

      • J. J. Ramsey

        In one sense, though, it is trivial. It should have been trivial to take down the school prayer banner without all this fighting in the courts. especially since the legal precedents against such a thing have long been set. The school should have said, “Oh, yeah, you got a point,” and been done with it. Instead, it dug in its heels and created a controversy, leading to a mess that led a lot of nominal Christians to be utter hypocrites and say some pretty hateful things.

        • Usernames are stupid

          The sad part is that they didn’t even have to take it down.

          All they had to do was remove the parts that were religious. Most of the banner would’ve remained intact.

  • Meaghan

    My letter:

    Rep. Palumbo,

    I am writing, not as one of your constituents, but as a citizen under the Constitution. I am a history teacher for middle school children, and I am responsible for teaching them about the rule of law as written by our forefathers many years ago. The document that was written has allowed for many people in the United States to have many freedoms, including religious freedom. One common misconception regarding this freedom is that this is simply freedom of religion. It is also, when so desired, freedom FROM religion.

    Your constituent, Jessica Ahlquist, recently won a court case regarding her freedom from religion. The United States government and those operating as members of the government are restricted from endorsing one religion over another. In having a banner hanging in a school that is explicitly Christian, that school chose to endorse the Christian religion. This act is illegal, and the school recognized that fact in settling the case. Miss Ahlquist was extremely brave to stand up for what is right, not what is popular.

    Miss Ahlquist has been taking a remarkable amount of abuse for this action. As a 16 year old girl, she has been dealing with letters sent to her house telling her she is immoral, death threats online, threats from classmates, and threats of rape and dismemberment. Regardless of your personal stance on religion, this is unacceptable. However, instead of supporting the Constitutional and the law of the land, you called her “an evil little thing” who has been “coerced by evil people”. I would like to assume you were being sarcastic when you said this, but it is totally unacceptable. For an adult to call a child names is bullying. You have proven yourself with these comments to be a bully who is not worthy of being an elected official in the United States. You swore an oath when you accepted that office that you would uphold the law of the land, and you have not done so. If I did live in the great state of Rhode Island, I would be vigorously protesting at the capital for your resignation. However, since I am not one of your constituents, all I can do is ask that you read up on the case and the reasons for the settlement, and then apologize to this young woman who you have insulted in such a manner. This apology should be public and should include a call to those others who have been threatening Miss Ahlquist to quit this horrendous behavior.

  • http://www.thecaudallure.com Pete

    Email sent! Nice post mate!

  • Pingback: Palumbo hates on Jessica Ahlquist, email the bastard! « The Caudal Lure

  • Tom Lamora

    I happen to support Jessica but “evil men with Jesus in their hearts and a populace of the same keep these kinds of monsters in power” is a bit over the top! People need to stop attributing these antics to Christians. This kind of ranting accomplishes nothing!

    • Rory

      Who exactly do you think is having a fucking conniption over this, exactly? The Mormons? The Buddhists, maybe? And what word would YOU use to describe people who suggest a 16 year old should be beaten up (and far worse)?

      • http://www.jafafahots.com Jafafa Hots

        It’s communists. And pro bowlers.

        It’s well known that pro bowlers and communists like to post prayers in public schools. Not the religious. Never the religious.

        In fact I’m pretty certain that the entire bible is an elaborate hoax designed by lumberjacks to wrongfully incriminate Christians.

        • julian

          Pro bowlers?! I knew it!

          And to think they laughed at me.

          • sqlrob

            Of course it’s the pro bowlers.

            No one fucks with the Jesus.

      • Tom Lamora

        My point was obviously not stated clearly enough. The writer is attacking “Jesus lovers” rather than the extremists who are threatening Jessica, which is quite like attacking “whites” rather than “white racists” or “muslims” rather than “muslim extremists”. He has a valid point regarding Representative Palumbo, which only gets diminished by his apparent Christophobia.

        • MikeMa

          Claiming christophobia would be a possibility if the real christians spoke in Jessica’s defense. They haven’t. Guilt and complicity by silence.

          • dubliner

            Thata a slippery slope. How many times have we heard right wingers damning all Muslims with the claim that they are all extremists because none are condemning the etremists? The truth is most people just get on with their lives and these things pass over their heads and when they do ‘tut, tut’ over their coreligionists behaviour nobody pays any attention anyway since it arouses no emotion and sells no newspapers.

    • Cyranothe2nd

      Agreed. It’s not just men.

    • Bob C

      it is catholics, who else do you think wants this bs up there?

  • Rory

    Always happy to pile on a prize jackass like this:

    Representative Palumbo,

    A point of clarification for you, since you appear to be confused on this issue: it is not evil to expect that an organ of the government, such as a public high school, adhere to the principles elucidated in the Constitution, as Jessica Ahlquist did. Being willing to stand in opposition to this violation of civil liberties was eminently courageous and principled. Evil, on the other hand, is a word that might be used to describe people who lie in court to protect their personal religious privileges, and who then torment a teenager who dares to defy them, as so many of your Christian constituents have.

    Hopefully you will remember this in the future and so avoid acting like another Christian bully who ignores the Constitution and harasses little girls. I’m sure the voters will appreciate it.

    Sincerely,
    Rory

  • articulett

    Sent mine.

    Representative Palumbo needs to understand that he represents ALL his constituents– not just those who share his faith.

  • penn

    Dear Representative Palumbo,

    I recently read your remarks about Jessica Ahlquist and I am frankly disgusted that someone with such little respect and or understanding of the U.S. constitution is a state representative. If you have a problem with the removal of the prayer banner illegally hanging in Cranston High School West you should take it up with Judge Lagueux or the current and former supreme court justices whose precedents he followed or the writers of the constitution for wanting to protect our religious freedom. The banner was clearly illegal, and you should not attack a 16 year old who had the courage to correctly call it illegal and to stand up to the proceeding threats and harassment from people like you who claim to be followers of the “Prince of Peace”. Someone with so little respect for the rule of law and his constituents has no business holding elected office. You should apologize and resign immediately.

  • Ryan

    Email sent!

    Hang in there Jessica! You’ve got the internet at your back now.

  • http://justdfacsmaam.wordpress.com MarkNS

    Sent this:

    Sir,

    I am disgusted that you referred to Jessica Ahlquist as an “evil little thing”. She stood up for the Constitution of the United States, a document which you, apparently, hold in contempt. Individual freedom and equality are the very foundational values of the United States republic and the fact that you do not share them makes you, sir, un-American. Beyond that, your public denigration of a courageous teenage girl makes YOU an evil little thing.

  • Jeremy Tarricino

    Im sad to say the way in which this was written has poor form and has ever bit of the fanatic intolerant idealism as those so vehemently apposed in representation here. To the very notion of “evil jesus-lovers”is as much of a broad based bigotry as “dumb ass niggers” or “retarded gays” or any of the “finer” ideals contrast-able to those of Neo-Nazism
    Poor form, poor decorum thus persuading me to no action but rather a reaction of pity toward you.

    Tarricino

    • sqlrob

      When “jesus lovers” make a threat against a 16 year old girl for taking down a banner, yeah, they’re evil. deal.

    • Daniel

      Jeremy:

      I’d say that nearly anyone who believes that Jesus is God, and therefore supports the God of the Old Testament deserves to be called an “evil jesus-lover”. Also your examples of “dumb ass niggers” and “retarded gays” don’t make any sense, as there are no legitimate connections to attack said groups. Christianity, on the other hand, clearly supports the atrocities of the Old Testament God.
      Also, if you’re going to pull a Godwin, try to ensure that your argument actually makes sense.

      • http://www.miketheinfidel.com/ MikeTheInfidel

        “Christianity, on the other hand, clearly supports the atrocities of the Old Testament God.”

        If you don’t like being painted with broad strokes, don’t do it yourself. Most Christians in America see the OT as a book of mythology that teaches various vague moral lessons, not actual facts that require defense.

        • Daniel

          Yet Jesus said that he hadn’t come to abolish the law. You’d think that if he was truly an all powerful loving God, then he’d have mentioned that the OT wasn’t all Ok. By not condemning it he was essentially supporting it. So if you support Jesus then you essentially support the OT, even if you want to claim that it’s a book of myth.
          Also, (apart from Catholics) many US Christians do consider the Bible to be inerrant. Simply including the OT as part of one’s “Holy Scriptures” when it contains such vile passages is just outright disgusting, even if some try to pass it off as mythology.

        • Cyranothe2nd

          Really? Because the Southern Baptist synod is the second largest in the US, and they don’t believe that. Neither do evangelicals, which comprise 26% of Christians in the US. Nor do Mormons, or Chruch of God, which are the other top 5 churches. In fact, the only one in the top 5 that *do* are Catholics, and they have their own problems.

          I wouldn’t say that ~most~ xians in the US are Biblical literalists in every sense, but I would contend that ~most~ DO NOT believe that the OT is just a book of stories.

          [And frankly, the fact that more than 40% of people in the US do not believe in evolution should clue you in to the fact that a lot of people take the bible very. seriously.]

        • sqlrob

          Funny, the OT is what said there was going to be a messiah.

  • http://Www.humanistsri.com Steve Ahlquist

    I found more disturbing the snide, sexist comment about Jessica being a pawn, and a star, so she’s a “pawn star.” This, by the way, with a Rhode Island accent, is indistinguishable from porn star. This was an attempt to trivialize, sexuality, and slut shame a sixteen year old girl for standing up for the Constitution. They chuckled like jackasses over that remark, and they did this in part to bully Jessica, contributing to the pervasive, poisonous atmosphere that suggested that abusing the atheist girl was okay. Look up radio host John DePetro on Wikipedia and you’ll see that he is beyond the human ability to feel shame. But if there is a shred of human decency left in Rep. Palumbo he will publicly apologize and step down from his public office.

  • bo

    Mine letter

    Dear Rep Palumbo

    Regarding to your statement to Jessica Ahlquist. It is a shame that you would call her evil. In that regard, you have stick up for the people who have bully her and the school administration that had broken the law. All she did to point what is wrong, and what is offensive to her belief as well as mine. We, sir, live in a free country where all citizens have the right of freedom of religion. Your statement ‘An evil little thing’ only makes me think that you might be ‘evil’ one. The one who stood for bully who have said things like:

    “shes not human shes garbage”

    “I think everyone should just fight this girl”

    “I’ll drop anchor on her face”

    “Let’s all jump that girl who did the banner”

    “When I take over the world I’m going to do a holacaust to all the atheists”

    “i cant wait to hear about you getting curb stomped”

    “everyone is going to beat you up prob”

    “what a little bitch lol I wanna snuff her”

    You, sir, only emphasize hatred and bigotry instead of tolerance and peace. You, sir, does not stand up for the law or the constitution. You, sir, should be ashamed to be respresentive when you do not believe in our own basic rights.

    Thank you for rightly putting your faith and tradition above the Constitution. Thank you for having the courage to stand up to a 16-year-old girl and call her and her family evil. Thank you for taking the easy road and sniping from the sidelines. And most of all, thank you for making it obvious who your constituents should be voting for.

    I will leave off with the statement said by Thomas Jefferson

    “Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.” — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 10, 1787

    Your Truly,

    Bo Kim

  • http://www.ipcpress.com Darrel Ray

    Just emailed this to him:
    Dear Rep. Palumbo:
    I must disagree with your characterization of Jessica Alquist. She has displayed bravery far greater than her tormentors and those who call themselves Christian, including yourself. Had you read your own bible, you would see that the behavior of the many who have threatened her is certainly not supported by anything Jesus said. Your characterization of her as “an evil little thing” is not becoming of an official who took an oath to defend the constitution. This kind of display has been found to be illegal and unconstitutional many times, well before it went up. And you and the School officials know it.
    Learn your own constitution and how to defend it. Also learn what courage looks like. I dare say you as a Christian would not face hundreds of angry people for your beliefs as courageously as she has. Do as Jesus said and treat her as you would like to be treated. Love your enemy, turn the other cheek. Those particular bits of advice did not come with any strings attached. That is the true test of a Christian, not how much you can pick on someone who actually tells the truth and supports our constitution.

    Dr. Darrel Ray

  • Derrik Pates

    Upon seeing this, I decided I should add my voice. Hopefully I didn’t get too overboard. :)

    Subject: Your disappointing statement re: Jessica Ahlquist

    Dear Mr. Palumbo:

    I, and many others, have heard about the recent court decision in favor of Jessica Ahlquist and the American Civil Liberties Union. I’ve also heard about the frankly disgusting, horrific, and downright shameful response from many so-called “Christians” on the Internet. I was however, further disappointed and appalled to hear your opinion. That you in public, seriously referred to her as “an evil little thing” and “a pawn”, is amazing in its ignorance. She was righting a wrong – a public school, no matter what state in this Union, is not to support or endorse any religious preference. The fact that someone who is, I’m quite sure, not only sworn (on a Bible – which presumably as a Christian yourself, I would hope would mean something to you) to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, but the Constitution of your own state, which has similar language regarding separation of matters of Church and State. The prayer on the wall of Cranston West High School was un-Constitutional, and that you would have such a response is absolutely unbecoming.

    If you dislike the decision, perhaps you should have instead taken it up with the administration of Cranston West, who’ve succeeded in wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in an ill-considered venture to defend something so clearly un-Constitutional that the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council of Churches agreed it had no business in a public school. Do not spend your valuable time repudiating a 16-year old girl who saw a wrong and chose to right it.

    While I am not one of your constituents, I’m quite sure the residents of your state will take notice as well. Hopefully they will take the appropriate action in the voting booth this November.

    Regards,


    [myself]

    • Kevin Armes

      Here, here!

      • Earthling

        “Hear, hear”.

  • Julia

    I sent him an email earlier today:

    I sincerely hope that by now you are being overwhelmingly flooded with messages regarding your nasty comment. If you must succumb to calling a 16 year old girl an ‘evil little thing’ after she did the right thing, then I urge you to step down and find a different career path- I was going recommend you work at the food chain ‘subway’, but then I figured that they would fire you after your endless rants to customers that they are ‘evil little things’ for not wanting cheese on their sandwich. You are a grown man and to stoop to a level of a bullying 6th grader is disgusting. You owe this young lady, Rhode Island, America, and the world a sincere apology for your appalling comment.

  • Drek

    Not the most formal response, but I sent him:

    “You have clearly shown that your religion comes above your morality, and I don’t understand how a grown man can live with himself after calling a 16-year old girl (whom I might add, is a very brave and open-minded individual) evil. If you’re magical sky wizard does exist (not bloody likely), and there is a heaven, I would be very surprised to meet you there.”

  • Marsh626

    Did they really have a prayer in that school?

    Motherfuckers. I can’t believe the shit these Jesus Freaks try to pull these days.

    These Christian pieces of shit should be sent to the fucking gulags and worked to death for their crimes against secular humanity.

    • Cyranothe2nd

      Methinks you forgot the /poe tag.

    • articulett

      @Marsh626

      Christians are not entitled to special privileges at public schools; much to their chagrin, they must obey the same laws as everyone else.

    • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda–Happy Darwin’s Birthday!

      Death-wish fantasies are inappropriate.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/VeritasKnight VeritasKnight

    I want to respond to this, but I’m not even an American.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/VeritasKnight VeritasKnight
      • Heather

        Your letter is extremely well written. You understand United States history and government better than 90% of US citizens. Most Christians arbitrarily decide that the Founding Fathers were all Christians who only wanted Christian ideals for the country.

  • Kahn

    I think there is something seriously wrong when people are afraid to admit they have a prayer hanging on the wall. No, I really think that’s a disgusting state of affairs. We hang all manner of other poetry on the walls of our schools, our offices, our places of habit. This has degenerated from a separation clause into a bloody witch hunt.

    This decades-long campaign has even managed to create such unsavory reactions as what happened here. Regardless of “sides” in these debates, it is clear our national unity is threatened in a very visceral way. A compromise that does not force our people into hiding their thoughts must be agreed upon, or the “bubble” of tolerance that has been building will pop.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/VeritasKnight VeritasKnight

      It’s been 40 years since Lemon v. Kurtzman said that shit like this prayer mural isn’t legal. It’s not a witch hunt – it’s the fucking law.

      You can put up poems all you want – as long as they don’t glorify God for the purpose of glorifying God. You can talk about religion all you want from a historical, mythological, sociological, and philosophical context, as long as it’s not being presented as a preference.

      Hanging a banner that says a prayer is showing a preference. The banner failed the Lemon test on all three prongs. That’s the difference between a poem and a prayer: one breaks the motherfucking law of the land. The highest law, too, the goddamned Constitution.

    • Jurjen S.

      People in the sense of private citizens have nothing to be afraid of; they can hang any religion-related thing on their privately owned walls that they want. In this instance, the only people who felt “afraid to admit they have a prayer hanging on the wall” were representatives of a government agency which is explicitly prohibited by the supreme law of the land from having a prayer hanging on the wall, in much the same way that a fence should afraid to admit he has a back room full of stolen goods.

    • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda–Happy Darwin’s Birthday!

      This was not a person hanging a prayer on the wall of their office. This was an arm of the city government sponsoring an expression of sectarian religion in a public school, forcing students to look at it and telling them that Christianity and religion are normal and other religions and non-religion are not. The School Committee reaction to the suggestion to modify the School Prayer to make it legal emphasized their religious motivation and proved that it is illegal. Take your false indignation elsewhere: schools do not have freedom of religious expression. That is for people.

  • http://THESKEPTICARENA.COM NEO

    Sent following:

    I don’t think Jesus would approve of you
    calling a girl ‘evil’ just because
    she exercised her first amendment rights.
    Apparently, Christian judges agreed with her …
    and not with you.
    So by your logic – they must be evil too?
    Why didn’t you have the courage to call them evil?

    As a government representative,
    aren’t you supposed to be upholding our constitution
    rather than insulting young girls,
    and proving to everyone
    that even she understands how our government works
    better than you do?

    I only wish you had the guts to reply,
    but we both know that you don’t.
    You obviously specialize in bullying adolescent girls.

    neo

  • Kevin Lyda

    My advice to him: Be a leader of your community, not a follower of a mob.

  • DukeLeto

    Gorbachev called; he wants his port-wine stain back.

  • Kevin Armes

    Dear Mr Palumbo

    Did you call Jessica Ahlquist ‘an evil little thing’ and do you not think this insult demonstrates that you are simply not fit for the purpose of holding public office? Do you feel it is right for a young student, whose complaint about religious propaganda being displayed in her school has been legally upheld, should have been subjected to the intimidation, harassment and name-calling by religious fanatics? Do you not feel that your position as an elected representative makes you morally and legally obliged to publicly censor those who have besmirched the name of a young lady who simply wished the school to uphold the constitution? Do you not feel that you should apologise for your own misguided and offensive comments, or resign immediately and spend more time following the example of your imaginary friend in the sky?

    I look forward to your response.

  • iaoth

    I kept it short and sweet:

    Subject: “The Constitution”

    Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a funny-looking piece of
    paper in the adventure heist film “National Treasure”.

    • Jurjen S.

      Zing!

  • Spencer

    Mine:

    Subject: Defending the Constitution is not “evil”

    Dear Rep. Palumbo,

    By now it is well-known that you recently derided Jessica Ahlquist, the brave sixteen-year-old girl who stood up for the constitutionally-enshrined separation of church and state, an “evil little thing,” and continued on to say that she was being “coerced by evil people”.

    May I remind you that your duty as Rhode Island State Representative is in part to uphold the Constitution of the United States, which clearly states that the government shall have no business supporting any faith or group of faiths (a classification, I might add, that does not include the neutrality of silence–saying nothing regarding religion is far different than supporting nonreligion). What’s more, Ms. Ahlquist is currently, quite literally, receiving threats to her safety because she stood stronger for the Constitution and equality of all citizens than you have, yet your snide, sarcastic words only lend more fire to the mob of bullies promoting hatred, inequality, and divisiveness.

    You should be ashamed of yourself and your words. If you have any respect for the Constitution, principles of equality, or even the bravery exhibited by a young woman defending democratic ideals, you would immediately and fully apologize for calling Ms. Ahlquist and those around her “evil”.

    I await your apology with bated breath.


    -[Real Name]

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003164475597 sarahvenhartly

    The station where Palumbo made the horrible statement, 630WPRO, is also running a poll at http://630wpro.com/default.asp. It is on the right side of the page, about halfway down and it seems like it could use some help, as well.

    Do you support the Judge’s decision to remove the Cranston Prayer Banner?

    Yes 63%
    No 37%

    • MikeMa

      Up to 88% Yes as of this post.

      • Richard

        91% Wooo! Lets hammer that baby up to 99.999%

  • Brenen

    Dear Mr. Palumbo

    Defending the Constitution is in no way an “evil” act.  If you insist to defend those who lie under oath and harass a sixteen year old girl, then please step down from your position as you have clearly shown you are not ready for the responsibility.

  • Rick Kivari

    It’s interesting how the Christians in this story have such an aversion to truth. How very Christ-like it is to lie, threaten, and harass a young woman who only wants to not have her rights, as granted in the US Constitution, not infringed upon?

  • Lambert

    I send this to Palumbo and the Cranston Herald.

    So you think * that it is evil for a citizen of you very own state to stand up to bigots and for the constitution of the United States do you? And you have the gall to call yourself a ‘democrat’? I guess that has to mean that you yourself do not in fact support and believe in the constitution: the body of law on which our country is founded, and who’s essential principle is that the mob will not rule; that democracy is not about the majority getting its way without regard for the rights of the minority.

    Jessica Ahlqiuist would appear to be the only decent, respectful human being in you constituency as evidenced by the despicable utterances (or be be more honest about it, threats) that are being made against her on line and in you so called community. Your response to your constituents’ ire is simply to join in in the “let’s tear up the constitution” party and sit there on the radio dishing out heavy gobs of sarcasm and calling a teenager “an evil little thing”. Did you never swear an oath to uphold the constitution? Are you only interested in you seat in government, but not in the least interested in protecting the laws that made this country what it is? You do not deserve to be elected when you can be so cruel and indifferent to the rights of all the pepole in this country. This is not a theocracy, and the day that it becomes one will a disaster for the country and the world. You should be ashamed yourself and your fellow christian bigots. You could even learn something from the last line in the prayer you are so determined to defend (like christinans need any defence): “Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West”. What credit does it bring you to be a mean bigoted child bully Mr. Palumbo?

    Sincerely,

  • Max

    E-mail sent.

  • paulabryder

    Interesting. Posts to Palumbo’s FB wall are deleted immediately. What a chickenshit he is.

    • Derrik Pates

      Ah, of course, the old “ignore it and it will go away” gambit. Never failed yet…

  • highdudgeonaz

    Emailed to the good congresscritter just moments ago:

    “I am writing to register my utter disgust at your cowardly and grossly inappropriate comments regarding the Jessica Ahlquist case.

    “For one, I would expect a legislator to understand that the First Amendment does not offer blanket protection to all religious professions of faith, particularly those that are foisted upon the taxpayers, and at the taxpayers’ expense. Whether or not you agree with her views, you ought to be able to show some modicum of respect for the rule of law and court decisions, even those you do not agree with. Every secularist (atheist, Christian, or otherwise) has had to do the same; you would do well to show the same courtesy.

    “For another, I would expect any ethical adult to be able to express disagreement or disappointment without resorting to juvenile name-calling, particularly toward a teenager. That’s just despicable, particularly given the level of vitriolic name-calling and violent rhetoric she has had to endure the past few days, due in no small part to small-minded adults like yourself, who encourage this kind of barbaric behavior from the general public.

    “As a political figure, you have a responsibility to look out for the welfare of all of your constituents, even those with whom you disagree, and you have failed utterly in this responsibility with regard to Ms. Ahlquist. At the very least, you owe her an apology, both public and private. Better yet, provide a public show of support for her example of participating in our democratic system by changing an unjust law legally, without resorting to criminal or violent activity.”

  • http://souravchakraborty.co.nr/ Sourav Chakraborty

    I am not an American, but I mailed him stating my displeasure.

  • Ed Horeth

    I sent the following

    Dear Peter,

    You have committed an incredibly immoral act. How could you be any more irresponsible. Your just as big a bully as the wonderful Christians who want to break the law. I would suggest that you educate yourself on the secular/atheist movement going on. I’m sure you will find that the individuals involved in it are of higher morals than your so called Christians. And while you’re at it, why don’t brush up on the Constitution your supposed to be upholding. A person of your status should be saying things to protect his constituents, not adding to the immoral feeding frenzy. Please take a good hard look at yourself and make a decision based upon what’s right. That’s all we atheists want. Decisions made on common sense and evidence.

    Best Regards,

    Ed Horeth

  • pyrobryan

    My email

    Representative Palumbo,

    It is a sad day when an elected official calls a 16 year old girl “an evil little thing” because she asked her government to uphold the law and told the truth while others lied. To then disparage her as a pawn and belittle the threats of violence that people have made against her is inexcusable. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    This is a public school and therefore cannot show preference to one religion over another or religion over non-religion. This prayer isn’t, as you described, a prayer for all religions. Muslims do not call Allah “father”. Wiccans (generally) pay equal respect to male and female deities to achieve balance. I could go on, but I would only be further obfuscating the point that prayer doesn’t belong in public school in any official form.

    I am not a resident of Rhode Island, but if I were, you would definitely not be getting my vote in any elections.

    Sincerely,

  • http://reddit.com Nick

    Dear Rep. Palumbo,

    I am a Rhode Islander from East Providence, and although I may not be a Cranston resident whom you directly represent, as a rep. for my state I feel you have a responsibility to hear my complaint. I also have a large number of friends and family members from Cranston, whom I like to think value my opinion and views on many issues, and I will surely be sharing this story with them. So please take the time to read this, it might do you some good.

    Recently it was brought to my attention that a group of school administrators lied to the judiciary repeatedly regarding a prayer that was hanging in their school which they had been instructed to remove. A student at that school protested to the administrators to stop lying to our government and obey the law and when they failed to do so (for which they should be reprimanded) she told the truth under oath.

    Before I delve into this issue, I do sincerely hope you are aware of the little bit of text in our Constitution which provides for the separation of Church and State, and are equally aware that a public school funded by taxpayer money would fall into the category of “the State” while a religious prayer being displayed inside this school would fall into the category of “Church.”

    That said, being born and raised in RI, I have become accustomed to the ignorance of many in our little state, and so I am not so shocked and appalled (although I ought to be) by the dishonest actions of that schools administrators. Rather, it is your reaction to this situation that truly sickens me.

    If you have forgotten your response it read like this: “I think she’s being coerced by evil people.”

    I have a number of objections to this, but lets start with the example you are setting.

    Rather than condemning the lying school administrators who not only disobeyed a court order to remove the prayer, but at a more fundamental level operated their school in a manner that is at odds with the document that our very nation is founded upon, you chose to belittle this students decision to stand up for what she believes in. By doing this you send a message to all those who claim to support the constitution (but only to the extent that it serves their own needs and beliefs and after which trample over this secularly sacred document), that this type of behavior is acceptable. A conclusion that I wholeheartedly oppose.

    Rather than object to the group of religious zealots who harassed this student for her beliefs (remember of course that Roger Williams founded our state on the idea of religious tolerance, and forcing a religious view on someone is exactly why he broke away from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the first place), you condemned this girls beliefs as evil. Do you think that this kind of reaction provides a safe learning environment for this student? Are we not to hold our elected representatives responsible for the functioning of our public school system?

    Ignoring for the moment your verbal persecution of an individuals freedom of religion as evil, what irks me is that you define a United States citizens belief and defense of the US and State Constitution as evil? After all, she wasn’t arguing to replace the banner with a Richard Dawkins quote, just arguing that the schools administrators respect the separation of church and state. If we are not to believe in the Constitution because it is evil, then why should I pay taxes to the state of Rhode Island? Why should I obey the rule of law set out by that document? I certainly would not wish to support evil, if thats what you think the Constitution stands for.

    You, sir, are elected to not only represent the views of your constituents, but also to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America in ALL instances. No excuses.

    Your blatant disregard of the dangers posed by this situation, compounded by your dismal and misguided reaction to this students actions, has completely sapped my faith in your abilities as an elected official of our state.

    You owe this student a direct apology, in public or private, it matters not. You owe that schools administrators a stern tongue lashing You owe our state an apology for dishonoring all of us, and this must be public. And if the Constitution were personified, you would owe that document an apology as well.

    I will be sending this email as well as the story which alerted me to this injustice to many others in our state, in hopes that we can put an end to religious bigotry.

    If you do not see yourself as a bigot, I apologize for any name calling, but take a moment and seriously consider the implications of your remarks.

    Sincerely & Disapprovingly,

    Nicholas

  • skepchris

    I’ve lurked around FTB since it launched, but this is the first incentive I’ve had to post. I just wanted to bump the tally of letters sent to this “representative of the people” by one. And also get my public support out there. Jessica’s a damned patriot. Those that have been harassing and threatening her don’t seem to know the meaning of the word.

    JT: thanks for keeping us up to date. This is the second time I’ve witnessed the community come together to build a support network around a young atheist, and it’s heavily contributed to my decision to become more active. I know the movement has its conflicts, but damn can you guys be awesome.

  • http://egnorance.blogspot.com/ Mike Egnor

    Dear Rep. Palumbo,

    Thank you so much for speaking out about Jessica Ahlquist.

    I strongly support your statement, and I share your dismay at the unconstitutional denial of the right to free exercise of religion inherent in the judge’s decision.

    We face censorship and anti-Christian bigotry, and we need legislators who have to courage to speak up for freedom.

    I will contribute to your campaign, and will encourage my readers and friends to do so as well.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Egnor, M.D.

    • Michaelyn

      anti-Christian bigotry? That’s cute.

    • Dan Hay

      Yes Mike, I’m sure you and the other 76% of america who are christians feel persecuted. If only you had some presidential candidates who are hardworking christians willing to let their faith influence their decisions… well besides, y’know, all of them.

    • Jeremy Shaffer

      I strongly support your statement, and I share your dismay at the unconstitutional denial of the right to free exercise of religion inherent in the judge’s decision.

      You mean there has to be a prayer banner hanging in a Rhode Island high school in order for you to be able to exercise your religion?

    • Kevin Armes

      I’m not from the USA and couldn’t help wondering what the initials ‘M.D.’ represent after your name. Is the first word ‘Moronic’?

      • Aquaria

        And the second ‘Douchbag’?

    • Rory

      Aw shucks, somebody went and spilled ‘stupid’ in the comments section.

    • http://THESKEPTICARENA.COM NEO

      “Dear Rep. Palumbo,

      Thank you so much for speaking out about Jessica Ahlquist. I strongly support your statement, and I share your dismay at the unconstitutional denial of the right to free exercise of religion inherent in the judge’s decision.”

      Egg, stopping Christians from forcing their beliefs upon others is no more unconstitutional than when we freed slaves from the bible belt, and stopped you people from burning witches and killing homosexuals. You seem to think that “free exercise” means that you can kill, enslave, and discriminate against whomever your ancient holy book tells you to. Newsflash egg – our modern laws have overwritten your 10 commandments and most of your bible. Ghost worshippers, like you, are disappearing faster than donuts at a policeman’s ball. Atheism is exploding worldwide, and unlike you people, we don’t have to threaten them with eternal torture to get them to join.

      Enjoy it while it lasts egg.
      **********
      “We face censorship and anti-Christian bigotry, and we need legislators who have to courage to speak up for freedom.”

      Egg, censorship? Maybe you’ve been spending too much time with your head up other people’s asses doing colonoscopies. Take a break and read this:
      Http://www.newser.com/story/137653/fined-singer-bible-written-by-drunk-stoners.html

      Egg, as a Christian you couldn’t even begin know the meaning of censorship – but you do know the meaning of bigotry, don’t you egg? Christianity and bigotry are as inseparable as priests and young boys. Oh, i’m sorry egg, i didn’t mean to offend. I certainly wouldn’t want to be accused of restricting their exercise of freedom of religion.

      One other thing egg, if legislators were required to have qualifications, as are judges, then there might be a better chance of having legislators with the courage to speak up for freedom, instead of asshats like Palumbo who grandstand for masses of ignorant ghost worshippers.
      **********
      “I will contribute to your campaign, and will encourage my readers and friends to do so as well.”

      Great news egg. The more money that we can drain from the mentally crippled, the less money that will be available for all your campaigns of hate and discrimination.
      **********
      “Sincerely, Michael Egnor, M.D.”

      Yours in Christ, neo, “I’m just the cook”

      (By the way egg, if you would like to continue this, we can take it outside.
      By that I mean, come to my web site at “http://theskepticarena.com” and click on “contact” and I’ll be happy to shred any other misconceptions you may have about reality).

    • Seamus Ruah

      Medicated Dipshit?

  • T. Zeeh

    I sent this.
    Sub: Thank You
    Body: It is really a shame that this girl can get away with this atrocity. If only the youth of this country looked more towards the bible for their sources of reason and morals, as we did in the old days. Her whole case would have been shut down if they would just site the verse of 1 Timothy 2:12 from the bible. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. I mean amen, right? Who cares if she was upholding the constitution? Its just a piece of paper! Just because John Adams wrote in article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” SO WHAT? What did John Adams do for this country anyway? Nothing! Well I suppose you could consider him a founding father and the second president of the United States, but that’s about it. So I would just like to say to you and your constituents, Thank You. Thank you for fighting the good fight and making the great christian religion a priority over our shitty country that employs you in public office. Have a great day and GOD BLESS!

  • Art Vandelay

    Screw it…I’ll play…

    Dear Mr. Palumbo,

    With all of the heat that this 16 year old girl has taken for the last two years for simply opposing something that so obviously should have never been there in the first place, your cowardly attempt to reenforce that hatred is despicable and is more becoming of a child (but not a rational child…a child that was raised as a frothing bigot). With your blatant disregard for the Constitution of the USA, you should not only apologize but should resign immediately. There are no Christian foundations that this country was built on no matter how bad you want to believe it. Yet, it is you and your people that continue to pass laws that reflect nothing less than a theocracy. There are 13 states in this country that are exempt form having their day cares pass state mandated safety rules because they call themselves Christian. This has resulted in the unnecessary deaths of 2 children. A law was just passed in Michigan that indemnifies anyone of homosexual bullying…an act that often ends in suicide…as long as they can justify that bullying with their religious beliefs. We allow an institution that has paid out 3 billion dollars to settle court cases for the rape and torture of children all over the world to collect that funding at the expense of tax payers. We allow charlatans and frauds in every county in this nation to get rich the tax-free way at the expense of hard-working honest Americans. This isn’t about your fundamental misunderstanding of Atheism or the sick idea that you have to believe in the redeeming powers of some vile child sacrifice to be a good person. You are not the majority. Most moderate Christians and people of other beliefs know that you’re full of shit. We see what you’re trying to do and if you think vilifying a 16 year old girl that cares more about her country than you ever could…you will not get away with it. The correct response to seeing people get excited over a victory as obvious as this is to feel shame…not to get defensive. I understand that your vision of an ideal America is one where everyone just concedes to ideological bullying because you were led to believe that “Faith” somehow translates to power in a secular world. It does not and for the sake of our country…I hope it never does. I’ve imagined your America, Mr. Palumbo and your America? Your America can kiss my heathen ass!

  • Elizabeth Schmidt

    My contribution:

    Representative Peter G. Palumbo,

    I listened to your radio interview on the John De Petro show and was stunned not only by your lack of knowledge about the Ahlquist case in particular, but also of any understanding of the history of Church/State court cases in general. You really should read the court decision in question (http://news.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/2012/01/11/ahlquist_decision_011112.pdf ) and perhaps do a bit of research into the history/timeline of a case before going on air and making false and misleading statements. Your remarks about Jessica Ahlquist (saying that she is being coerced by evil people) are not only untrue, but are offensive to the entire secular community (the fastest growing minority group in America, now around 15% of the population, something for a public figure like yourself to consider). As an elected official you have a responsibility to represent all of your constituents, and to set a good example for your fellow citizens. Demonizing this secular family is shameful. Ms. Ahlquist is a brave, articulate young woman who should be commended for putting her life under public scrutiny in order to defend her Constitutional rights (in turn protecting everyone, religious and nonreligious alike).

    Bottom line is – the school was breaking the law and the court recognized that fact. Your misguided support for the defense in this case is known as ‘Christian Privilege’ and is a good reason for your constituents to vote you out of office the next time you are up for re-election.

    Elizabeth A. Schmidt
    Akron, OH

    Christian privilege is the overarching system of advantages bestowed on Christians. It is the institutionalization of a Christian norm or standard that establishes and perpetuates the notion that all people are or should be Christian. The privileging of Christians and Christianity excludes the needs, concerns, religious cultural practices, and life experiences of people who are not Christian. At times overt and at other times subtle, Christian privilege is oppression by purpose and design, as well as by neglect, omission, erasure, and distortion (Blumenfeld, 2006).[1]

    • Reginald Selkirk

      and was stunned … also of any understanding of the history of Church/State court cases in general.

      A good refresher course on the separation of church and state would probably include a chapter about Roger Williams. Williams was booted out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony for religious & political differences with the powers that were. So he started up his own colony to implement his ideas on religious tolerance and separation of church and state. That colony, Providence Plantation, would eventually become the state of Rhode Island.

  • benjdm

    Mr. Palumbo:

    Your attacks on Jessica Ahlquist for upholding the U.S. Constitution’s first amendment – one of your jobs – are despicable. If you’re not going to support the U.S. Constitution, please resign your office.

    Sincerely,
    Me

  • Pingback: In support of Jessica Ahlquist « Cubik's Rube

  • http://www.oc1dean.blogspot.com dean r

    I’m thinking the emails will not really do much good. The representative needs to be publicly embarrassed and that would be best encouraged by writing physical letters to the editor of the local papers.

  • http://www.wbsm.com Ken Pittman

    The immaturity and vast insecurity offered by the atheists in this internet venue reinforce my belief that Christianity is the enemy of evil itself. Not only do the atheists show no tolerance for the religious, we can see a bankruptcy of constitutional honesty in your ranks.

    When constructing the nation, the Founders agreed to at least acknowledge a higher power, “the great legislator of the universe”, a “creator”. The Constitution and more so, the Declaration of Independence makes clear that this nation observes a higher authority over mankind.

    The Preamble of The Constitution states: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    In order to secure “the Blessings of Liberty”, how do secularists plan to do this? One cannot manufacture blessings. you can’t grow them. From the foundation of this country, the fathers wrote of moral behavior and reverence for God in order for any Blessings to reach them. An inconvenient truth for some but a truth nonetheless.

    In fact our “unalienable rights” come from our creator according to Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. We, as a people, based our independence on the belief that the Creator, not government, grants us the liberties as human beings. If we deny this, then we should apologize to the throne of England and hand back our sovereignty.

    Quotes of the founding fathers:

    George Washington:

    “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”
    –The Writings of Washington, pp. 342-343.

    John Adams
    2nd U.S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence

    “Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”
    –Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9.

    “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
    –Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

    “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”
    –Adams wrote this in a letter to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776.

    Thomas Jefferson
    3rd U.S. President, Drafter and Signer of the Declaration of Independence

    “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event.”
    –Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237.

    “I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”
    –The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, p. 385.

    John Hancock
    1st Signer of the Declaration of Independence

    “Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.”
    –History of the United States of America, Vol. II, p. 229.

    Benjamin Franklin
    Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Unites States Constitution

    “Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped.

    That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.

    As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see;

    But I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as probably it has, of making his doctrines more respected and more observed; especially as I do not perceive, that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any peculiar marks of his displeasure.”
    –Benjamin Franklin wrote this in a letter to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale University on March 9, 1790.

    The banner in question begs the “Father” to bless the reader, help them to do more for others and for the students of that school to do enough to be recognized as a positive in the community. Where is this endorsing a denomination of faith?

    Perhaps it is possible that those of you who resist, in fact hate Christianity are nothing more but stumbling blocks without souls to test those who do hear the calling. I don’t pretend to know why you can’t hear God or why you ignore his presence but your constitutional heresy and pure unapologetic intolerance will be and should be met with push-back here.

    Ken Pittman
    AM 1420 WBSM
    New Bedford, MA

    • articulett

      I don’t hate Christianity– I just (gasp) expect Christians to obey the same laws that everyone else has to obey. I find it hilarious that they imagine this to be persecution.

    • http://THESKEPTICARENA.COM NEO

      COMMENT BY KEN PITTMAN ABOUT JESSICA AHLQUIST’S VICTORY
      (Ken’s comments appear in normal font followed by my replies in all caps – to make clear who is speaking)

      The immaturity and vast insecurity offered by the atheists in this internet venue reinforce my belief that Christianity is the enemy of evil itself.

      KEN, THAT IS CALLED CONFIRMATION BIAS:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

      CONFIRMATION BIAS IS A HALLMARK OF THE IRRATIONAL MIND.

      Not only do the atheists show no tolerance for the religious,

      KEN, WE SHOW TOLERANCE EVERY TIME WE WALK BY A GHOST WORSHIPPER WITHOUT BREAKING INTO LAUGHTER.

      we can see a bankruptcy of constitutional honesty in your ranks.

      KEN, THAT IS CALLED PROJECTION:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

      YOU ARE SIMPLY ACCUSING ATHEISTS OF WHAT CHRISTIANS ARE GUILTY OF; AND KEN … IT DIDN’T WORK BRO.

      When constructing the nation, the Founders agreed to at least acknowledge a higher power, “the great legislator of the universe”, a “creator”.

      KEN, THE WORD “CREATOR” APPEARS IN THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE MORE THAN A DECADE BEFORE THE CONSTITUTION BECAME THE BASIS FOR U.S. LAW. FUNNY THING ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION KEN, THE FOUNDING FATHERS WERE HAVING SO MUCH FUN WRITING IT, THEY COMPLETELY FORGOT TO MENTION YOUR INVISIBLE GHOST. DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT, TRY GOOGLING IT YOURSELF, KEN. HERE’S THE LINK:
      http://www.usconstitution.net

      KEN, YOU CAN TYPE IN THE WORDS GOD, JESUS, OR CHRISTIAN, UNTIL YOUR FINGERS TURN BLUE, BUT YOUR SEARCH WILL COME UP EMPTY … EVERY TIME.

      The Constitution and more so, the Declaration of Independence makes clear that this nation observes a higher authority over mankind.

      KEN, OUR COUNTRY IS NOT GOVERNED BY THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE – IT IS GOVERNED BY THE CONSTITUTION. SO WHERE IN THE CONSTITUTION ARE YOU CLAIMING REFERENCE TO A HIGHER AUTHORITY?

      The Preamble of The Constitution states: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

      KEN, YOU SEEMED TO HAVE MISSED THE PART AT THE BEGINNING ABOUT “WE THE PEOPLE.”

      In order to secure “the Blessings of Liberty”, how do secularists plan to do this?

      KEN, BY PREVENTING GHOST WORSHIPPERS LIKE YOU FROM STRIPPING US OF THAT LIBERTY.

      One cannot manufacture blessings. you can’t grow them.

      KEN, EXACTLY HOW ARE YOU DEFINING “BLESSINGS?”
      I TOOK THIS DEFINITION FROM DICTIONARY.COM:
      1. the act or words of a person who blesses.
      2. a special favor, mercy, or benefit: the blessings of liberty.
      3. a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.
      4. the invoking of God’s favor upon a person.
      5. praise; devotion; worship, especially grace said before a meal.

      KEN, ACCORDING TO #2 THE BLESSINGS OF LIBERTY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH CASPER. WHAT DICTIONARY ARE YOU USING?

      From the foundation of this country, the fathers wrote of moral behavior and reverence for God in order for any Blessings to reach them.

      WELL KEN, IT LOOKS LIKE THEY WERE WRONG. BLESSINGS HAVE REACHED ALL AMERICANS, EVEN THOSE WHO DON’T SHARE YOUR CHILDISH BELIEF IN THE SUPERNATURAL.

      An inconvenient truth for some but a truth nonetheless.

      KEN – BECAUSE YOU SAY SO?

      In fact our “unalienable rights” come from our creator according to Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

      KEN, THAT WAS IN THE DAYS WHEN EVERYONE BELIEVED IN A CREATOR. IN THE 21ST CENTURY, THAT BELIEF IS STILL DOMINANT AMONG THE MASSES, BUT IS A MINORITY OPINION AMONG SCIENTISTS. KEN, DO YOU SEE WHICH WAY THE TREND IS HEADING? THE MORE KNOWLEDGE HUMANITY GAINS … THE SMALLER YOUR GOD BECOMES.

      We, as a people, based our independence on the belief that the Creator, not government, grants us the liberties as human beings.

      KEN, EVERY LIBERTY YOU HAVE BEEN GRANTED WAS GIVEN TO YOU BY MAN-MADE LAWS. THE LAWS GIVEN BY YOUR INVISIBLE GHOST WERE COMPLETELY IGNORED WHEN THE FOUNDING FATHERS WROTE THE CONSTITUTION. THE FACT THAT MOST OF THEM BELIEVED IN A CREATOR HAS NO BEARING ON THE RIGHTS GRANTED TO US BY LAW.

      If we deny this, then we should apologize to the throne of England and hand back our sovereignty.

      BRILLIANT KEN, ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.

      Quotes of the founding fathers:

      KEN, I DELETED THIS SECTION. NO, NOT BECAUSE IT SUPPORTS YOUR POSITION, BUT BECAUSE THEIR PERSONAL BELIEFS WERE NOT REFLECTED IN OUR CONSTITUTION, AND ARE THEREFORE IRRELEVANT.

      The banner in question begs the “Father” to bless the reader, help them to do more for others and for the students of that school to do enough to be recognized as a positive in the community. Where is this endorsing a denomination of faith?

      KEN, WHY DON’T YOU ASK THE JUDGES WHO WROTE THE OPINION?
      HERE’S THE LINK:
      http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/files/2012/01/ahlquist_decision_011112.pdf

      THAT ANSWERS YOUR QUESTION KEN, BUT WE BOTH ALREADY KNOW THAT YOU WILL NOT ACCEPT IT BECAUSE IT DIDN’T TURN OUT THE WAY YOU HAD HOPED IT WOULD.

      Perhaps it is possible that those of you who resist, in fact hate Christianity are nothing more but stumbling blocks without souls to test those who do hear the calling.

      KEN, THAT SOUNDS A LOT BETTER THAN ADMITTING THAT YOU, AND MILLIONS LIKE YOU, ARE MINDLESS ZOMBIES WHO WORSHIP A BRUTAL, INVISIBLE MONSTER WHO THREATENS TO TORTURE BILLIONS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE FOR THE TERRIBLE CRIME OF REFUSING TO WORSHIP HIM.

      AND KEN “HEAR THE CALLING?” SO YOU’RE HEARING THE VOICES AGAIN?

      I don’t pretend to know why you can’t hear God or why you ignore his presence

      WHY NOT KEN, ISN’T PRETENDING WHAT YOUR ENTIRE BELIEF SYSTEM IS BASED ON?

      OUR BELIEFS ARE BASED ON PROVABLE SCIENTIFIC FACT.

      IF YOUR SHY LITTLE SPOOKY EVER DECIDES TO REVEAL HIMSELF INSTEAD OF ONLY APPEARING TO DELUSIONAL TWITS, THEN WE MIGHT RECONSIDER.

      but your constitutional heresy and pure unapologetic intolerance will be and should be met with push-back here.

      KEN, THAT WAS YET ANOTHER PERFECT EXAMPLE OF PROJECTION. GO BACK TO THE LINK I PROVIDED FOR YOU EARLIER.

      DUDE, YOU ARE THROWING ROCKS … AT A MIRROR.

      neo

    • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda–Happy Darwin’s Birthday!

      Ken, let me state this in small words so that you can understand:

      A school does not have the right to pray. It can not make boys and girls pray. It can not put a prayer on the wall for boys and girls to read.

      A boy or girl has the right to go to school and not read prayers nor a sign that says, “There is no God.” That is the law.

      The school put up a prayer on a sign. That is against the law.

      A girl asked them to take it down. They said no. They went to court. The judge looked at all the other law cases and saw that the girl was right. The court ruled that the girl was brave and right and the sign must come down.

      The school does not have the right to pray. The boys and girls still have the right to pray. That is the law of the land.

      You should want schools and people who like to pray to obey the law, as those who do not like to pray do.

      There, does that help?

  • Jeremy Shaffer

    The immaturity and vast insecurity offered by the atheists in this internet venue reinforce my belief that Christianity is the enemy of evil itself. Not only do the atheists show no tolerance for the religious, we can see a bankruptcy of constitutional honesty in your ranks.

    I’m sure you really had doubts about Christianity’s status as an “enemy of evil” beforehand, just as I’m sure you really gave it any more thought after this event. If comments left on various social media and websites by swaths of Christians illustrating little more than Constitutional and legal ignorance and vile hate leave you with any impression that your religion is an “enemy of evil” or a bastion of religious tolerance, then your judgment on the matter cannot be based on anything resembling fact. That or your religion has a pretty skewed idea of what constitutes evil and religious tolerance.

    When constructing the nation, the Founders agreed to at least acknowledge a higher power, “the great legislator of the universe”, a “creator”. The Constitution and more so, the Declaration of Independence makes clear that this nation observes a higher authority over mankind.

    Maybe they did agree to that but we know that they agreed to let some states keep slaves. I’ll give you benefit of the doubt that you do not advocate going back to that. As such, I leave it to you to explain why we should respect a claimed agreement to “acknowledge a higher power” but not an agreement that state’s can keep slavery legal.

    You follow this with a long list of (ostensibly) stated personal beliefs of various Founders but fail to show how any of it actually has anything to do with the founding of the nation. Just because a person has a belief that pertains to their selves doesn’t mean that they want to impose it onto everyone else through force of law.

    You do give us this though:

    The Preamble of The Constitution states: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    In order to secure “the Blessings of Liberty”, how do secularists plan to do this? One cannot manufacture blessings. you can’t grow them. From the foundation of this country, the fathers wrote of moral behavior and reverence for God in order for any Blessings to reach them. An inconvenient truth for some but a truth nonetheless.

    The very portion of the Preamble that you quote states explicitly that “We the People” do all of that, including securing “the Blessings of Liberty”. If your assertions had a modicum of validity your quote would be quite different.

    But you wonder how secularists secure “the Blessings of Liberty”? Simply put exactly as Jessica Alquist has done: by standing up for what is right and not giving into the mob tactics utilized by those that work against notions of tolerance and liberty. Our rights and liberties are not forfeit just because a majority disagrees. Further, no Christian’s right of religious freedom has been harmed by this action or any of those similar in the past.

    The banner in question begs the “Father” to bless the reader, help them to do more for others and for the students of that school to do enough to be recognized as a positive in the community. Where is this endorsing a denomination of faith?

    The fact that Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, pagans and so forth are unlikely begin a prayer with “Heavenly Father” while Christianity would makes it a Christian prayer, thus making it an endorsement of a particular religion. Even beyond that it being a prayer makes it unconstitutional as that is an endorsement of religion or belief over no religion or non- belief. The school could have removed the “Heavenly Father” and “Amen” portions to make it a secular message (and not necessarily a bad one at that) but the school and board pushed the religious aspect. So are you by the way.

    Perhaps it is possible that those of you who resist, in fact hate Christianity are nothing more but stumbling blocks without souls to test those who do hear the calling. I don’t pretend to know why you can’t hear God or why you ignore his presence but your constitutional heresy and pure unapologetic intolerance will be and should be met with push-back here.

    You’re just simply adorable. It couldn’t be that maybe secularists are right or anything. No we’re just accessories to your personal journey through life. I guess that make it easier for you to reinforce beliefs that you already had and were never in danger of being changed by new information. You are a very model of maturity and security.

  • http://wpgragreview.blogspot.com The Analyst

    Peter Palumbo is a grade A douche bag. And, don’t let the political affiliation fool you, he’s very much from the reactionary wing of the Democratic Party (he’s supported Arizona style immigration laws, for instance). Even though I’m a Canadian, I can’t help but feel shamed by this guy’s actions – he’s a disgrace to humanity.

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  • Jose Alves

    Here’s my e-mail… Not as kind as many others, but why be kind to this guy? Thanks for the thread.

    Representative Palumbo:
    I, too, am an Atheist and know that there is NO GOD! I will not engage in discussions with you about the evils that religion has caused in the evolution of science and humankind, how it has killed and continues to kill millions of people, or how it inspires hate, bigotry, racism, slavery, intolerance, and fascism; or how it provides a refuge, solace and comfort to the greatest criminals in history. You can figure that out yourself if you care TO READ and become more enlightened. However, I have to express my dismay about what you said in regards to a young teenager who does not share your (ignorant) religious ideas. You, Sir, ARE AN IMBECILE, and you should not be a Representative if you don’t understand the US Constitution. Nobody is asking you to not believe in whatever ghosts it is that you believe, but you have an obligation to uphold the rights of every citizen, including Atheists. How would you react if an Atheist had posted a sign in the school saying that THERE IS NO GOD? You, Sir, should be arrested and charged for assaulting the moral character of young Jessica and for public humiliation of a young woman who has far more brains than you will ever have. Apologize to the young lady (and then go read whatever poorly written sci-fi religious novel it is that you believe in).
    Respectfully,
    Atheist Jose Alves

    • Andrea

      Just because the Catholic church and other Christian church goers quite often know nothing about what they preach and some quite often do more harm than good; does not make a sweet prayer written by a child many years ago offensive. This request for removal was ignorant and childish. This prayer had nothing offensive in it, to remove it hurt many people who believe in a god; just because you don’t believe does not give you the right to take it away from others, it was not asking for anyone to believe, or was it saying anything bad about non believers.
      There are many ignorant religious people throughout the world and many ignorant non religious people also. It is not fair to punish all of them because some are ignorant fools. This was ignorant to remove this sweet sentiment written by a child 49 years ago that was not in any way offensive to enlightened non ignorant atheists. The only reason this could have been a violation of her constitutional rights was if she or others had been forced to read it or it was read aloud or copies distributed of the prayer. She had a choice to look the other way she did not have to read it nor did anyone else.Please stop rewarding this girl for what she did, all she did was prove her intolerance for her fellow human beings as well as her ignorance. The school offered to remove the only part of the prayer that had anything to do with religion and it was still refused; they tried to make her and others more comfortable even though it went against what they believed. This girl has no tolerance at all and no respect for others. The only wrong doing was how people treated her after she shared her beliefs, but this is HIgh School it should have been expected. Perhaps if she had been more tolerant of their beliefs they would have been more tolerant of hers.

      • Forbidden Snowflake

        This was ignorant to remove this sweet sentiment written by a child 49 years ago that was not in any way offensive to enlightened non ignorant atheists.

        This gambit, which can also be expressed as “‘nice’ atheists quietly demure to abuses of majority power, and if they protest, they have proven they’re not ‘nice’ and should be ignored or harrassed”, is unenlightened to the point of being hateful.

        You show ignorance about everything: the facts of the case (see Jeremy’s reply to your comment), what the law has to say about it, and how the things you say are tropes used to silence protest. You even stoop to victim-blaming in the last paragraph.
        You’ve shown yourself quite guilty of the ignorance and intolerance you try to pin on others.

      • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda–Happy Darwin’s Birthday!

        So we’re getting uppity, are we? “Nice atheists don’t want any rights!”

        You assume that your sweet expression of Christian privilege is harmless. I guess you missed the letter from an educational psychologist explaining how making God responsible for their morals was harmful to the development of adolescents into independent adults. And the letter from a Jewish student explaining how Christian privilege at Cranston in the 1960s fuelled bullying and ostracism.

        I guess perhaps obeying the Constitution and being religiously neutral is a good idea for schools after all.

      • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda–Happy Darwin’s Birthday!

        I missed this lie the first time around:

        The school offered to remove the only part of the prayer that had anything to do with religion and it was still refused; they tried to make her and others more comfortable even though it went against what they believed. This girl has no tolerance at all and no respect for others.

        I don’t know who’s been lying to you but please read the judge’s ruling on the case. Ms. Ahlquist and the ACLU suggested modifying the banner and in fact waited eight months for the school to respond before the school board decided to go to litigation, instead. This is not a matter of opinion, it is part of the history of how the case came to court.

  • Jeremy Shaffer

    Just because the Catholic church and other Christian church goers quite often know nothing about what they preach and some quite often do more harm than good; does not make a sweet prayer written by a child many years ago offensive.

    Whether it was offensive or not is irrelevant. It was unconstitutional and did not belong in a public (read: government) school.

    This request for removal was ignorant and childish.

    Good to know that trying to have the Constitution upheld is ignorant and childish in your opinion.

    This prayer had nothing offensive in it, to remove it hurt many people who believe in a god; just because you don’t believe does not give you the right to take it away from others, it was not asking for anyone to believe, or was it saying anything bad about non believers.

    Again, whether it was offensive or not is irrelevant. It was unconstitutional. You say lack of belief does not bestow the right to take it away but you fail to realize that belief, even if shared by a majority, did not bestow the right to put it there in the first place.

    Further, if the message of the prayer was so great, then the school and those now complaining and making threats missed an excellent opportunity. An initial proposed settlement was that the banner remain but with the religious content removed. The fundamental message would have stayed but in a manner that would not have made non- Christians feel like outsiders or second- class citizens. However, they had to “take a stand for God” and made it inevitable that it would be removed completely.

    Ultimately believers such as you feel a loss because you decided that the trimmings of religion were more important than anything else. Ultimately you decided that it was more important that your god be given credit than accept the concepts expressed on their own merits.

    There are many ignorant religious people throughout the world and many ignorant non religious people also. It is not fair to punish all of them because some are ignorant fools. This was ignorant to remove this sweet sentiment written by a child 49 years ago that was not in any way offensive to enlightened non ignorant atheists.

    Could you try to pack a little more condescension in there next time? The only ignorance being expressed here is your’s regarding the Constitution.

    Again, if the prayer was so awesome the school could have taken the opportunity to keep it when it was given. Sure they would have lost the god- talk but was that what was really important about it? Going by their action I suppose it was to them so they acted with the same level of arrogance that you display here. See where it got them?

    The only reason this could have been a violation of her constitutional rights was if she or others had been forced to read it or it was read aloud or copies distributed of the prayer.

    That would have been one way it would have been a violation and, if that had been the case, it would’ve been an even greater violation than the one that did take place. You have forgotten or ignored or failed to recognize that it was a public high school. That means it was govenrment instution and thus amounted to a governmental endorsment of religion in general and a particular religion in specific. That is a violation of the First Amendment.

    She had a choice to look the other way she did not have to read it nor did anyone else.

    True. Also true is that decades ago blacks had the choice to just sit at the back of the bus. Just because there is a way to accommodate a violation of the Constitution does not mean that it should be tolerated.

    Please stop rewarding this girl for what she did, all she did was prove her intolerance for her fellow human beings as well as her ignorance.

    No. All she did was prove her willingness and courage to stand up for not just her rights but also the rights of others, including yours. Again, the only one displaying intolerance and ignorance here is you.

    The school offered to remove the only part of the prayer that had anything to do with religion and it was still refused; they tried to make her and others more comfortable even though it went against what they believed. This girl has no tolerance at all and no respect for others.

    You have that backwards. That settlement was proposed by Ahlquist and the ACLU to the school, not the other way around. The school and the school board refused it.

    The only wrong doing was how people treated her after she shared her beliefs, but this is HIgh School it should have been expected. Perhaps if she had been more tolerant of their beliefs they would have been more tolerant of hers.

    The wrong doing started several decades ago when the banner was first hung up but the manner in which she has been treated here is a far worse a wrong. You are right that this should have been expected, and Ahlquist did expect it to some degree. However, you’re worng on why it should have been excepted. The reason why it was predicted was because this how those in Ahlquist’s position are always treated when they make a stand to right these wrongs.

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