Remember Jessica Ahlquist? She is the Rhode Island teen who successfully sued her high school to have a Christian prayer banner removed from its walls. During the course of this lawsuit and the astounding amount of media attention she attracted, this teenager became the target of vitriol and threats. But something that is most disappointing is that some businesses that operated near her home refused to provide her and her family with service -- including Twins Florist in Cranson, R.I.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the owner of this florist on the grounds that they denied them access to accommodations and violated state laws regarding discrimination. Opposing Views shared on Feb. 3, 2013 that the florist refused to deliver flowers to the teen atheist due to religious reasons.
It is illegal to refuse service to someone based on race, gender, religion or sexual orientation on a federal level so the FFRF might have the edge in this lawsuit. While business owners have the right to refuse service for many reasons, a non-belief in deities is not one of them. The owner of Twins Florist might have made an awful mistake in refusing to deliver flowers to Jessica Ahlquist, because she might as well have refused service to someone based on skin color and that is something looked down upon in the modern U.S.
Hopefully Jessica Ahlquist is faring well after winning her lawsuit and finding support among other nonbelievers. The death threats, harassment and discrimination is only proof that the religious privilege is threatened in the presence of free thinkers like her.