Terrific Teen Tuesday – Jessica Ahlquist vs. God

I just want to point out, that after doing my Terrific Teen Tuesday for a few weeks now, I have noticed something a little sad. I research these teens primarily through word of mouth – other people’s tweets and Facebook posts and such. But sometimes I just do a Google news search on “teen”. While I’ve found some great stories about inspirational teens this way, the search can be a little bleak. I guess that’s the nature of “news”; most news stories don’t have a happy ending. But it seems from looking at news stories about teens that the way most teens make the paper is by dying in a really stupid way, or by killing someone in an even more stupid way.

Traffic accidents are depressingly common. Fatal assaults over a girl or drugs or a snide remark made about a car are heartbreakingly real. Teen drug overdoes rarely even make the paper, unless the victim is a celebrity or a politician’s child. And suicide, the stupidest of all ways to die, and one to which the stupidity of others (bullies for example) is all too often inextricably linked, now only warrants a notice if it is particularly grisly and/or…what….ironic?

I suspect this is a problem with “news” rather than a problem with teenagers per se. But still, it’s depressing. However, I must endure. This week’s Terrific Teen  is particularly appealing to me and has become something of a darling to the atheist movement. Jessica Alquist saw this banner on display in the hall of her public school. Notice anything wrong with it?

That’s right. There’s nothing wrong with the banner. What’s wrong is that it is on display IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL IN RHODE ISLAND, USA. For those of you who haven’t heard, the USA Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. This little turn of phrase lead to the banning of prayer in public schools  in the United States, possibly the best US export since, well, sliced bread.

So, let me draw your attention back to the banner; HOW IS THIS NOT PRAYER? IT SAYS “SCHOOL PRAYER” RIGHT ON IT!

Jessica Ahlquist wondered the same thing. So in grade ten she took the school board to court. Two years later, last week in fact, she won. Predictably she has become a pariah in her community, received death and, not surprisingly rape threats (because those who love school prayer also love sexual assault apparently). Nevertheless, Jessica, for drawing attention to an issue that will just not seem to go the f*ck away, you are this week’s Terrific Teen.  From a grateful atheist, thanks.

3 thoughts on “Terrific Teen Tuesday – Jessica Ahlquist vs. God

  1. This gave me chills, but I’m relieved she is safe and won the court battle. It takes tremendous courage to call people or institutions out in the religious domain. Some people and sometimes entire communities can go crazy with treats and inhumane actions.

  2. I went to Catholic school, so I had prayer everyday (in two languages!). Canadian schools also have a picture of the queen in many classrooms, which irritates me. Actually, schools irritate me.

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