Teen Atheist Jessica Ahlquist Makes CNN Appearance

Jessica Ahlquist, teen atheist who had a prayer banner removed from her school, made an appearance on CNN's "Starting Point" today.


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Jessica Ahlquist, 16, appeared live on CNN and spoke about threats she has been receiving since making media headlines for playing an integral role in removing a historic prayer banner from her school. She said that she could never really get used to hearing "how bad you are".

Ahlquist also said that the death threats she received hurt her feelings and she's just now getting to a point where she can cope with it, according to Gather. She also addressed a congressman that referred to her as an "evil little thing."

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In the interview, Ahlquist said that unanswered prayers for her sick friend led to her stop believing in God.

"Not only the fact that my prayers weren't being answered, but because I was praying, I was thinking more about it and was thinking 'Do I really needs God's assistance?'," Ahlquist said. "I bet other people probably need it more than I do, more than my family does so how come He isn't helping them either."

Ahlquist said that more questions were brought to mind and in the end she decided God must not exist.

Jessica Ahlquist challenged a prayer sign that was displayed at Cranston High School West that began with "Our Heavenly Father," according to an ABC News report. Ahlquist, who grew up a Roman Catholic, informed the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union about the mural in 2010, complaining that the banner made her feel "ostracized and out of place." She later won a court case and the school was ordered to have the banner removed.

The banner featured a prayer, written by a student in 1963, which many people considered part of the school's history, according to the Huffington Post. The court's decision outraged many people in her school and community. They said the mural had been in the school since 1963 and was "historical" and "artistic."

Ahlquist is now being celebrated by atheists and is considered an icon for her actions. She even received a $40,000 donation from the American Humanist Association to help pay for college.

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