Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thank God no one will have to read that horrible prayer anymore

I found out tonight about the story of Jessica Ahlquist, a busybody high schooler in Rhode Island who decided to impose her atheist beliefs on her fellow students at Cranston High School West.

For years, Cranston High had a banner hanging in the school that featured a prayer that students were free to look at (or not). After I read what was written on that banner, I guess it's a good thing that Jessica decided to wage her personal jihad on this banner and save her fellow students from its evil and corrupting influence. Witness now the text of the prayer that offended young Jessica so much that she convinced a U.S. District Judge into ordering it removed. You might want to tell your kids to leave the room if you plan on reading it out loud:

Our Heavenly Father,

Grant us each day the desire to do our best. To grow mentally and morally, as well as physically. To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers. To be honest with ourselves, as well as with others. Help us to be good sports, and smile when we lose, as well as when we win. Teach us the value of true friendship. Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.


Whew! Thank God that Jessica came along when she did. Who knows what kind of violence and mayhem that prayer might have caused her fellow students to commit.

On second thought, don't thank God for anything - Jessica might get offended.

This whole sad situation reminds me of one of my favorite verses from the Bible (Isaiah 5:20), which more and more shows Isaiah for the prophet he was:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

Woe unto you Jessica Ahlquist. You have declared this good and beautiful prayer to be evil, and even worse, you convinced a federal judge (Reagan appointee, unfortunately) into shoving your beliefs down everyone else's throats by having the prayer banner removed.

And our country continues to circle the drain.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson


Coach Brown said...

So are you pro-Constitution or not because this case is pretty clear. And to say that a student standing up for her First Amendment rights is "evil" is humorous. She might be an immature little brat but she's an immature little brat that correctly interprets that the school can't condone the Christian faith with a prayer.

Question. If the school is above it all and honestly teaches values supporting the Constitution, why not just remove "Our Heavenly Father" and "Amen"?

Anonymous said...

I fail to see what part of that prayer is Christian. It is religious. The last time I checked the Constitution, it prohibited CONGRESS from "establishing" a state religion or "prohibiting" the free exercise of it. A banner in a school does not establish, but the removal of it does prohibit. Circling, circling, circling...

W.R. Chandler said...

Sorry Coach, but you have downed the anti-religious Kool-Aid. It was never the intent of the Founders to remove religion from local government - religious neutrality was meant only for the federal level.

This wasn't an issue until around 1963. Somehow our states and localities got along just fine with prayer and religion in our schools.

Coach Brown said...

It was ok because it wasn't challenged. Cultures change and wrongs are righted.

I was never religious, there I've stayed with the regular, radioactive red Kool-Aid. But as someone that has enormous respect for the Constitution, I'll happily follow the judicial decision that supports the good of the people over the good of a religion.

A religious banner from the school condones faith. Again, simply remove "heavenly father" and "Amen".

Chanman said...

It's rather dangerous to put your faith into Supreme Court decisions. We should have learned our lessons from Dred Scott, Plessy, Filburn, and Miranda that depending on the Judicial Branch as the final word can be potentially destructive. The Judicial Branch was not meant to be the final word on the constitutionality of a law. Read the writings of Thomas Jefferson where he posits that John Marshall seriously overstepped his bounds with Marbury v. Madison.

Rather than judicial decisions, which attempt to rewrite the Constitution, I put my faith in the writings of the people who wrote the Constitution in the first place. If you want to put a state issue like prayer in schools into the hands of the federal government, then I await the Amendment to the Constitution that would make it so.

You cannot separate the good of the people from the good of religion. To quote Ben Franklin (not one of our more religious Founding Fathers, mind you), "If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it!"

Anonymous said...

So, the state promoting a partcicular religious view is fine with you? Fair enough.

And if you dont know what part is Christian, ask the people who spoke up at school board meetings. They will tell you how Christian it was

Chanman said...

2nd Anonymous,
If by "state," you mean the federal government, then no. If by state, you mean Rhode Island (or my beloved California), then yes.

The Founders left the promotion, endorsement, and establishment of official religious denominations up the individual states and communities. The First Amendment states that the federal government was not to establish an official national religious denomination.

Read the writings of our Founders, and you will find plenty of quotes in their writings where they had no problem opining that the Christian religion should be held above all others in this country. After all, our laws, our culture, and our morality is/was based on the teachings of Christianity.

I'm not sure what you mean by your reference to a school board meeting, but if you are saying that Christianity is flawed by the transgressions of a few individuals, then your argument falls on its face right out of the gate.

Coach Brown said...

First of all let's dump this idea that modern society focuses on what the Framers of the Constitution intended. It's a lame attempt to protect integrity that didn't exist. Using that logic we would keep slavery and not allow women to vote, along with jailing people that spoke out against the government.

The 14th Amendment clearly enables the Federal government to protect its citizens from state laws that are unjust, like the laws you are promoting that clearly go against the Constitution. Using your logic, California should just ignore the Constitution whenever we feel like the "original intention" is broken. Actually, maybe not. The Framers of the Constitution and subsequent Presidents regularly ignored the Constitution. Maybe we could too.
Law is never intended to remain stagnant because society never stagnant and evolves.

And you need to recheck what Christianity meant to the Framers, especially Mr. Jefferson from the State of Virginia. I would argue that he'd view today's attitude of moral arrogance to be extremely off-putting. His concept of God was not one that would force the moral high ground on individual liberties. I would argue that he felt like God protected those liberties from those that assumed tyrannical control of what society deemed as "values".

W.R. Chandler said...

Coach, you're giving me the tried and true talking points, but they are all tired out.

The problem with modern society is that we *have* dumped the original intent of our founders. Now, there is dumping it through judicial fiat or legislative laziness, and there is changing it through the amendment process. I have no problem with getting rid of slavery and guaranteeing women the right to vote because that was done by the Constitutional Amendment process. Saying I want slavery and disenfranchisement of women is a cheap rhetorical trick that seems to always be pulled out in a discussion like this. I am disappointed you did not rise above it. As for the 14th Amendment, it was narrow in scope in that it was intended to address the issue of the newly freed slaves. The Supreme Court stuck to that narrow scope for several decades after its ratification, but began to expand that scope during the progressive era of the early 1900s (Shocker!)

And then, like clockwork, the argument turns to Thomas Jefferson, who is always misquoted and misconstrued to fit your needs. It is true that Thomas Jefferson refused, as President of the U.S., to issue calls for prayer and fasting. But as Governor of Virginia, he had no problem issuing those same proclamations. By the way, Thomas Jefferson believed that states should ignore the Constitution when the feds strayed from original intent. After all, Jefferson wrote the Kentucky Resolution in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. In that resolution, Kentucky declared that it would not abide by Adams' attempts to silence his critics.

This near century-long meme of our Founders being these atheist/deists who wanted to erase all vestiges of religiosity from public life is more and more being shown for the fraud that it is.