Home Pop Culture Atheist awards teenager $40 000 scholarship because she stood up to school.

Atheist awards teenager $40 000 scholarship because she stood up to school.

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Cranston High School West student Jessica Ahlquist, 16, left, arrives at U.S. District Court, in Providence, R.I., with her attorney Lynette Labinger, right. Ahlquist.
Cranston High School West student Jessica Ahlquist, 16, left, arrives at U.S. District Court, in Providence, R.I., with her attorney Lynette Labinger. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

All Jessica Ahlquist wanted was for her school to stop mixing religion with her state education.

Here’s an interesting story of a teenager so incensed about her school’s insistence that they keep a prayer mural up she ended up going from a reviled student (especially after she sued her school,) to $40 000 richer after a scholarship fund was started by a blogger sympathetic to her cause, as well as finally being free of the prayer mural after a court ruled in her favor.

Of course it wasn’t always smooth sailing. When Jessica Ahlquist questioned why the school was forcing the prayer mural on the students that’s when the school started harassing her and tried to get her to back down (yes students should always do what their teachers tell them…) and that’s not even mentioning the state representative Peter Palumbo who called her ‘an evil thing,’ during a local radio interview,

Of course what’s even more amazing is why she was even subjected to this ridicule in the first place when you consider as Ahlquist pointed out in her blog the following:

Roger Williams founded Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in 1636 as a state of religious freedom. He had been banished from Massachusetts due to his religious beliefs and he wanted to establish a place where everyone was equal, regardless of their faith (or lack thereof).

So what is it about schools and local politicians insisting on mixing education and religion but more importantly what is about authoritative figures breathing down student’s necks when they choose to exercise their judicial right to make sure their rights are protected? Thank God (pun intended) that people like Ms Ahlquist are around to make sure our liberties are protected and to call out the bullshit that we are so often subjected to.

As for the blogger Hemant Mehta who ended up getting Ms Ahlquist on her hands on $40 000- he runs an atheist blog, called the Friendly Atheist, so you kind of have to figure he was certainly committed to Ms Ahlquist’s cause. The school for its part has declined to appeal the court’s ruling.

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