1 Feb 2013

Flower vendors refuse business to atheist teenager

There’s a war over roses in Rhode Island (USA), where a slew of flower shops allegedly refused to deliver a bouquet to a 16-year-old atheist who had fought to have a prayer banner removed from her high school.

The skirmish began when the girl’s school, Cranston West High School, hung a banner titled “School Prayer.” The banner’s text appealed to “Our Heavenly Father”--text that clearly violates the 1962 Supreme Court decision that prohibits mandatory religious prayer in public schools.

Flower vendor

The 16-year-old student Jessica Ahlquist, who identifies as an atheist, fought to have the school banner removed--a court battle she won earlier in January.

But the victory party was cut short over discrimination by--of all people--the city’s flower vendors. When the group Freedom for Religion Foundation, a national organization that fights to keep the separation of Church and State, tried to send Ahlquist a congratulatory bouquet, no less than four local flower vendors refused to fill the order.

More on Alternet