Last year, teenage atheist Jessica Ahlquist, a student at Cranston High School West in Rhode Island, did not like a banner that has hung in her school for decades with seemingly no ill effects on students.
Ahlquist claimed that the content of the banner was “offensive to non-Christians and that it violated her civil rights.”
As an aside, how is being offended a legal issue when it comes to religious content? What about the people who were offended because the teen atheist got her way and the banner was removed?
A government school in Rhode Island that acknowledges God does not violate any civil right since the Preamble to Rhode Island’s Constitution state’s the following:
“We, the people of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and to transmit the same, unimpaired, to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution of government.”
Then there’s the capital city of Rhode Island — Providence. Roger Williams “named the area in honor of ‘God’s merciful Providence’ which he believed was responsible for revealing such a haven for him and his followers to settle.”
The judge who ruled in the case was equally misinformed since nothing in the banner established a church or a religion, and no one was forced to believe in God or pray the prayer. The five justices who ruled in favor of the young atheist’s complaint took an oath that required them to affirm “So help me God” as mandated by the Rhode Island Constitution (Art. 1, sec. 3).
Here’s the content of the prayer. Please avert the eyes of your children from what you are about to read since it could damage their lives. I’ve given you fair warning:
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.
I know. It’s shocking that such a statement was seen by students at Cranston High School West for so many years.
Who was the winner? The ACLU. The banner was removed in March of 2012 and the school and city officials agreed “to pay $150,000 in legal fees to the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union.” The ACLU was actually quite generous. It reduced its original bill from $173,000.
This is how many of these cases are won. It’s the legal fees that stack up and having to pay organizations like the ACLU if you lose the case. Most taxpayers don’t want to see hundreds of thousands of dollars going to legal fees, so schools and municipalities capitulate.
Part of the new banner states the following:
Foster an atmosphere of good will and respect
Affirm our efforts to conduct ourselves with honor
What is the basis of “good will and respect”? Our evolved parentage didn’t use good will, respect, and honor when they killed and fed on other evolved entities of their own species. There was no “Heavenly Father” to say that such acts were morally wrong.
So what is the basis of morality? If there is no God, then what is there that determines what’s good and evil? How can evolved electrically charged meat bags lumbering through time and space make any ultimate declaration about morality?
Teenage atheist Jessica Ahlquist and the five justices that ruled in her favor are living off of borrowed moral capital that one day will be depleted. When it comes to justify some basis for morality, the moral account will be empty.