Monday, January 23, 2012

Glimpse of Gaia

You may be aware of the recent case in Rhode Island in which a teenager, Jessica Ahlquist, sued the Cranston school board for having an obvious sectarian prayer hanging in the school gym. U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux agreed that the prayer constituted a violation of the U. S. Constitution and ordered it to be taken down, after the school was offered a chance and refused to amend the language to remove references to “Our Heavenly Father”.

As a result, Jessica has been quite predictably* been the subject of threats and abuse. When the Freedom From Religion Foundation tried to send her flowers, two florists in Cranston refused to deliver the order. A third florist in a nearby town at first agreed to deliver flowers, then reneged when he became the subject of threats.

Finally, the owners of Glimpse of Gaia, in Putnam, Connecticut, 24 mile from Cranston, agreed to send the bouquet and added one from a Cranston, RI couple (not themselves, as I stated until corrected by TRiG).

As a result, there has been an outpouring of support on Glimpse of Gaia’s Facebook page, and people who want to support both the business and Jessica Ahlquist have been ordering bouquets, some to be delivered to Jessica herself and others to be delivered to local nursing homes and hospices, and in one case, the Putnam Police Department.

One of Glimpse of Gaia’s owners, Sean Condon, responded quite thoughtfully to the two critical emails he received. His response, and the less than thoughtful answers he got back, can be seen on the Glimpse of Gaia Facebook page, linked above.

I’m writing about this not because I want to drum up business for Glimpse of Gaia, but because I am enthralled by this outcome of hate and malice. As a result of two florists who outright refused to deliver flowers and one more who was pressured not to, strangers in nursing homes and hospices are receiving beautiful bouquets. A business that did the right thing is receiving more business. In this one instance, at least, love overcame hate.

With flowers.

*One wishes it were not predictable, but I’m not going to pretend we live in some alternate universe where it’s not. 


  1. From their Facebook page: 'We did not send flowers to Miss Ahlquist from ourselves. This is a misunderstanding that has been repeated by more than one source, despite our attempts to clarify. The second bouquet was sent by a Cranston couple, to show their local support. We posted a picture of the first two bouquets with the caption "Glimpse of Gaia fully supports our First Amendment and will not be bullied by those who do not. Here’s to you, Jessica Ahlquist." :) We stand by that caption 100%'


  2. Thanks, TRiG. I'll correct the misinformation above.

  3. Thanks for the correction. We didn't want the sender to think that we had taken credit for their generosity. It might interest you to know that Jessica, and some charities, continued to receive flowers well into March. It's been a pleasure to see the nastiness turned on it's head. Best - Sean