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Jessica Ahlquist, Atheist Student In Prayer Banner Fight, Gets $40,000 Scholarship Fund

Jessica Ahlquist

02/18/12 03:31 PM ET  AP

CRANSTON, R.I. -- A national association that says there's no proof for the existence of God is managing a scholarship fund set up for a teenage atheist at the center of a dispute over a prayer banner at a Rhode Island school.

The American Humanist Association says 16-year-old Jessica Ahlquist was targeted with online threats after she challenged the constitutionality of the display at Cranston High School West. It says she stood up against her critics "with class and style."

A federal judge last month ordered the banner removed. A school committee on Thursday decided not to appeal.

Blogger Hemant Mehta started a campaign at the Friendly Atheist website to raise money for Ahlquist.

The Friendly Atheist says the fund has brought in more than $40,000. The fundraiser runs through the end of February.

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Filed by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush  |