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Atheists Raise $44K for Teen Prayer Foe

'Evil little thing' Jessica Ahlquist awarded scholarship
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2012 1:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Rhode Island teen Jessica Ahlquist's fight against a school prayer banner didn't win her many friends in her strongly Catholic hometown—but it has won her a hefty college fund. Prominent atheists, who praise the 16-year-old for standing up to critics "with class and style," are raising funds for a scholarship, and now have $44,000, reports the Los Angeles Times.

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Ahlquist, who says she has been an atheist since she was 10, received threats after complaining about the banner, and was labeled an "evil little thing" by a state lawmaker—an insult that has gone on T-shirts being sold to raise money for her scholarship fund. Her school district spent tens of thousands of dollars fighting to keep the banner in place, but voted last week to save money by ending the appeals process. (Read more Jessica Ahlquist stories.)

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