Let Obama know about Jessica Ahlquist

The White House is accepting nominations for the Citizen’s Medal.

The 2012 Citizens Medal will recognize U.S. citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service outside of their regular jobs, including individuals:

Who have a demonstrated commitment to service in their own community or in communities farther from home. Someone who has engaged in activities that have had an impact in their local community, on a community or communities elsewhere in the United States or on fellow citizens living or stationed around the world.

Who have helped their country or their fellow citizens through one or more extraordinary acts. Individuals who have demonstrated notable skill and grace, selflessly placed themselves in harm’s way, taken unusual risks or steps to protect others, made extraordinary efforts to further a national goal, or otherwise conducted themselves admirably when faced with unusually challenging circumstances. 

I can think of a certain young lady from Rhode Island who defended the Constitution against people who felt they were above it who fits the bill.

Make this happen.

Thanks to Dan J for this.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Obama? That two-faced sell-out sumbitch will probably give his medal to the despicable florists of Cranston, RI.

  • Pteryxx

    Further criteria from the nomination site:

    Whose service relates to a long-term or persistent problem. Individuals who have made efforts to combat stubbornly persistent problems that impact entire communities, for example those who have taken innovative steps to address hunger, homelessness, the dropout crisis, lack of access to health care, and other issues that plague too many Americans.

    Whose service has had a sustained impact on others’ lives and provided inspiration for others to serve. The ideal nominee for a Citizens Medal is a person whose work has had a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of others.

    I think those both fit, as there are many examples of harassment of non-Christian individuals going back many years, and such individuals comprise at least 15% of the US population; and second, I seem to recall many comments and letters thanking Jessica for giving them the courage to come out as atheist and to support similar efforts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=611844223 Balstrome

    god I hope Jessica gets the award. Just so that we can see the theists show the jesus love.

  • unbound

    It would be very interesting to have a large number of votes go for Jessica. I don’t think Obama would be willing to give it to her, but there could be some fun dancing around the issue if he gets pressed on it later.

  • http://skepticalimerick.blogspot.com/ Rich Stage

    My nomination for for her:

    Explain why your nominee should receive the Citizens Medal based on the criteria outlined here:

    Ms. Ahlquist stood up and defended the Constitution of the United States against nearly her entire community. In the face of hate and even threats of bodily harm, she stayed strong, exhibiting the strength of character and fortitude of spirit that has made this country strong.

    Describe the impact that your nominee’s service has had on individuals and/or communities:

    Ms. Ahlquist has shown us all that, no matter our age or background, we can protect the freedoms that are afforded everyone. She also showed that strength of conviction in the face of adversity and hate is something that we are all capable of, and something to which we should all aspire.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/ Martin Wagner

    I’ve just put out the word on The Atheist Experience Facebook page to nominate Jess. We should try to get 50,000 nominations for her!

  • Blair

    Hell, Obama himself thinks he is above the Constitution…he doesn’t give a shit about someone defending it.

    • cswella

      How so?

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthonysaviano anthonysaviano

    I still don’t get why the prayer banner is considered such a big deal by the atheist community. I understand that the constitution forbids any endorsement of a religious point of view by a publicly funded institution. But I don’t see why it should be a legal issue for a school to do that. So what if the school endorses Christianity? What is the school actually *doing* that hinders the students or faculty? What rules or policies are the students expected to follow (or activities in which they are expected to participate) that are religious in nature? What rights are being infringed upon by the banner? What can students do without the banner that they couldn’t do with it? What harm does the banner cause by its mere presence on the wall?

  • http://www.dexterityunlimited.com/ Dan J

    When I received the email from the White House announcing this, Jessica was the first person that came to my mind. She’s an extremely courageous young woman, and I think she deserves the recognition for the great service she’s done in protecting and promoting our Constitutional rights. Thanks so much for helping to get the word out, JT.

  • crimm323

    if she had got the school to take down a banner of a jewish or muslim or any other religion it would be considered a hate crime but since its not since its a christian and thats makes it ok

    • crimm323

      its not like she cure cancer or hell the comman cold. She got a banner took down…wow thats all it takes if I took down a atheist banner none of you would say the things you are saying about this girl about me even if me and other people were offened by it. If I did that you would be grabbing pitchforks and torches….if you dont want to be a christian that fine but why mess with something you don’t believe…if your an atheist then why mess with something that you think doesn’t exists in the first place I mean seems like a lot of work to fight something that you think is not real right?

      • http://www.dexterityunlimited.com/ Dan J

        If you expressed even the slightest understanding of the situation, I would write a lengthier reply. Instead, you appear to have not the slightest clue about the event in question.

        Do us all a favor, crimm323: Stay in school. Learn more about spelling and grammar so that you can communicate your ideas more effectively. Learn about critical thinking. Learn about the US Constitution and the separation clause of the First Amendment before making statements that highlight your almost complete ignorance of the subject.

        • crimm323

          I understand the separation of church and state but I think there has to be someone who deserves then some girl who got a banner took down

          • http://www.dexterityunlimited.com/ Dan J

            You say you understand the 1st Amendment, yet you give no evidence that you do, or that you understand anything about this particular case.

            Jessica stood up to her peers and her (some now “former”) friends for what was right. She stood up against decades of an institutionalized violation of our 1st Amendment. Her life and safety were threatened, as were those of her family. She has been ostracized and singled out by the hatred of those who profess their religious love, all because she decided to take a stand against being bullied by religious zealots.

            If that doesn’t deserve a little recognition, then I don’t know what does.

            Come on, Andrew; you’re going to have to do a lot better than that. You’re going to have to read and comprehend a lot more about a subject like this if you want to be taken seriously.

  • crimm323

    look I am not saying she or her family should be threatened.No need to be threatened She had to know that what she was planning on doing was going to make people angry. I dont thing that banner was hurting anyone since its was there for like 50 years and its a shame that if you only take 3 words off the banner she would not have a problem…she had a problem with the banner because atheist. I know most of yall might be and thats fine whatever but I feel if it was a christian girl who got the banner took down that yes it was for the constitution, but based on her website most of the things she said were mocking christians maybe if her website did have “that” kind of a attitude. Based on some of the things I have seen on her website makes be think that it didn’t matter that it was at a school (which by the way she never noticed untill someone pointed it out to her. Yet me ask a question if it was a christian girl taking down a atheist banner would you still want to give her a medal? Also what about the people at school who might be offened by her getting that took down do they not matter?

    • http://www.dexterityunlimited.com/ Dan J

      I hate to have to rehash these same ideas all the time, but nothing else will suffice, it seems:

      I dont thing that banner was hurting anyone since its was there for like 50 years and its a shame that if you only take 3 words off the banner she would not have a problem…she had a problem with the banner because atheist.

      It wasn’t “hurting” anyone. It was simply violating our Constitution. She had a problem with the banner violating her right not to be presented with the government or its agent (the school) shoving a particular religion into everyone’s face each and every day in a setting where it is clearly (through many Supreme Court decisions) not allowed.

      …I feel if it was a christian girl who got the banner took down that yes it was for the constitution, but based on her website most of the things she said were mocking christians maybe if her website did have “that” kind of a attitude.

      So if a Christian does it, it’s for the right reason, but if an atheist does it, it’s because of… what, exactly? What is “that” kind of attitude, Andrew?

      Also what about the people at school who might be offened by her getting that took down do they not matter?

      No one in our country has a Constitutional right to never be offended. What we do have is a Constitutional prohibition against our government proselytizing, particularly in a situation where there is a captive audience. Why do those offended people hate our Constitution so much, Andrew?

      What happened was that someone prevailed against their peers and their community in a fight about what is right and just. The people who tried to keep the banner up were fighting against everyone’s Constitutional rights, and they lost, as they should have.

      • crimm323

        It wasn’t “hurting” anyone. It was simply violating our Constitution. She had a problem with the banner violating her right not to be presented with the government or its agent (the school) shoving a particular religion into everyone’s face each and every day in a setting where it is clearly (through many Supreme Court decisions) not allowed.

        ir was not being shoved it people’s face its not like the teachers were make the student look at it or anything. Also she has stated that she never notice it banner untill someone pointed out that the banner exist in the first place.

        So if a Christian does it, it’s for the right reason, but if an atheist does it, it’s because of… what, exactly? What is “that” kind of attitude, Andrew?

        at least if it was a christian it would be a person who at least belives in god or jesus. as far as her attutude on her websites she call christians petty and child-like

        Every if she was a christian girl who took down the banner I still do think she needs to be giving a medal there has to me another person in the us who has done more

        you doo realize that she doing all this her sueing the school for a banner that the school ending up haveing to spend almost 20,000 dollars..her being the resson of partially destorying the schools budget..oh yeah she really need a medal for that


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