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Five go mad in Arizona with a bill denying students graduation if they refuse to take a God oath

JUST when you thought the upper slopes of Mount Insanity had been reached by New Mexico’s Cathrynn Brown with her “hold onto the foetus for evidence” bill, five Republican legislators are proposing a bill that would prevent students from graduating if they fail to take the following oath:

I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose or evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; so help me God.

Rep. Sonny Borrelli is one of five sponsors of the bill

Rep. Sonny Borrelli is one of five sponsors of the bill

Sponsored by Republican state Representatives Bob Thorpe, Sonny Borrelli, Carl Seel, T J Shope, and Steve Smith, not only would the bill require public high school students to swear the oath, but:

Before a pupil is allowed to graduate from a public high school in this state, the principal or head teacher of the school shall verify in writing that the pupil has recited the oath.

They are sponsoring House Bill 2467 in the Legislature. If passed, it would make the loyalty oath a prerequisite for graduation from any public high school in Arizona starting with the 2013-14 school year.

The Phoenix Business Journal’s Mike Sunnucks say that:

Arizona has developed a penchant for political stances that spark legal and policy battles that sometimes hurt the state’s image among Hispanics, young people, tourists and businesses.

And he points out that the wording sounds somewhat similar to oaths of office taken by members of Congress and the US president, and that some states have required public employees, including school teachers, to take or sign similar oaths.

From an economic development and tourism perspective, if the issue somehow takes off, it could write another unflattering chapter in Arizona’s book.

He added that Jehovah’s witnesses, some Muslims and pacifist Quakers have in the past challenged loyalty oaths imposed by the federal government and other agencies, saying they conflict with their beliefs and religious professions. Similarly, some Arizona students could challenge the proposed high school oath as a violation of their religious liberties and freedom of expression.

Kevin Bondelli, on his blog, writes:

Taking for granted how unnecessary such an oath is, let’s just look at how ridiculous it is on a technical level.

First, graduating high school is not the same thing as voluntarily accepting the responsibility of a public office or admission to the legal bar. A high school diploma is, with extremely few exceptions, required to have a chance to live above the poverty level. It is the culmination of an education that up until that point was compulsory. That makes the ‘that I take this obligation freely’ line of the oath dishonest at best.

Saying that the school district will deny granting a diploma to a student who has completed all of the requirements for that diploma unless they swear an oath is both somewhat extortionary and antithetical to an oath freely given.

Second, this is an oath that would be required for public high school students. I am fairly certain requiring a public high school student to swear an oath to God to graduate would violate the First Amendment of the Constitution that they are trying to force these students to swear to support and defend. This paradoxically means that in order to actually support and defend the Constitution, you have to refuse to take this oath to support and defend the Constitution.

As a graduate of a public high school in Arizona, I find this bill appalling. Just add this to the massive list of embarrassments Arizona Republicans have inflicted on the state.

Hat tip: Pete H & John C

 

 

31 Responses to “Five go mad in Arizona with a bill denying students graduation if they refuse to take a God oath”

  1. Har Davids says:

    “I take this obligation freely” is a part they’ll have to remove from this oath, I think. And why an oath at all? Makes me wonder why some of these rednecks have been scared of the Red menace? I’m sure that in some Communist countries you had to toe the party-line 24/7 to gain entrance to higher education, certain jobs etc. Way to go, Arizona. I’ve visited the US a couple of times, but this the kind of development that’ll keep me away from your shores.

  2. Buffy says:

    Arizona is already known for its batshit insane legislation. This is par for the course for them. That state is chock full of crazy.

  3. RabbitOnAStick says:

    Is this the USA or North Korea?

    Only the most hopelessly enslaved are those who believe they are free.

    This also means all people of any religious fantasy.

  4. David Anderson says:

    For all you creationist who bang on about “missing links”, observe the evidence before you.

  5. Presumably they think Jesus was wrong when he said Christians must not swear oaths – in the Bible on which they swear oaths. (Matthew 5:34)

    Hypocrisy at it’s finest.

  6. Marky Mark says:

    (Second, this is an oath that would be required for public high school students. I am fairly certain requiring a public high school student to swear an oath to God to graduate would violate the First Amendment of the Constitution that they are trying to force these students to swear to support and defend. This paradoxically means that in order to actually support and defend the Constitution, you have to refuse to take this oath to support and defend the Constitution.)

    Not according to the Christian re-writers of history.

  7. Normand says:

    And back in the good old USA, in a Catholic hospital when money is involved a fetus is no longer a human being. Go figure.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/26/us/colorado-fetus-lawsuit/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

  8. [...] via Five go mad in Arizona with a bill denying students graduation if they refuse to take a God oath. [...]

  9. Dave I says:

    It seems a bit rude to make all kids recite the oath, especially if they are not US citizens. I guess Arizona is doing its bit for xenophobia yet again.

  10. Lurker111 says:

    Is Arizona importing water from Kansas?

  11. David says:

    Political pandering is all that is going on here. The author of this bill knows it has no chance of passsing, but it certainly helps towards achieving his goal of being reelected. The right wing fundies love this kind of thing, and when it is rejected they can all cry they are being persecuted for their beliefs.

  12. Angela_K says:

    I now know what the Arizona desert is – a desert of intelligence. There is nothing that the religious loons won’t try to corrupt, this being another example.

    Fortunately, in England we do not have this nonsense when graduating from School/College/University, just shake hands with the person who gives you your certificates, job done.

  13. barriejohn says:

    The worrying thing to me is that these people manage to get elected!

  14. [...] Five go mad in Arizona with a bill denying students graduation if they refuse to take a God oath [...]

  15. Trevor Blake says:

    A foreign family living legally and temporarily in Arizona might include a teen graduating from an Arizona high school. This oath would be somewhere on the spectrum of silly to treason for them to make.

    Political appeals to religion are never lofty. These politicians could, say, take a vow of poverty to demonstrate their faith. Instead they take a vow of bluster. It’s a race to the bottom every time.

  16. stokebruernehuman says:

    Absolutely unbelievable. Why can’t religious halfwit bigots keep their noses out of normal peoples lives. This is why religion is the MAJOR threat to world peace. The USA is going down the pan. Man on the Moon to Has Beens in less than 50 years. This is what religion does.

  17. Broga says:

    Religion is sinking the USA by the day. Fundamentalist christians don’t do sincerity. All they want is to hear you forced to say the words. The USA is sick and getting sicker with the toxin of religion. Sad, because there are so many Americans I know and like. Some of them are atheists when they visit me but are forced to avoid the persecution of their families, by pretending to be christians back home.

    On a visit last year one of them told me how he detested having to “volunteer” to park the cars for church services. “If I didn’t my kids would immediately be excluded and bullied and I would be a pariah.” So much for “love your neighbour.” He lives in small town America in a community proud of its family values and social cohesion. The divorce rate he tells me is high. Often marriages are seen as “they have a wonderful marriage” until without warning one of them has gone.

  18. AgentCormac says:

    My experience of the USA is that it is a country full of incredible contradictions. It is home to the cleverest, most brilliant minds on the planet. It also has way more than its fair share of complete retards. They are the most welcoming and also the most xenophobic people you will ever meet. Some of the most generous and intelligent Americans I have ever met also turned out to be horribly racist and thought that anyone who wasn’t lily-white was responsible for their every woe.

    It was Samuel Johnson who in 1775 declared that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. In the USA, however, that refuge is religion.

  19. JohnMWhite says:

    This is more sinister than merely mental midgets demanding that everybody pretend to like their god. These grown adults want to ruin the lives of young people, and have created an absolutely ludicrous trap designed to snap shut around them and leave them destitute. No college, no decent job, a life of poverty and misery awaits if you don’t at least pretend to be just like them. That adults have expended the mental and physical energy to do this to the next generation is incredibly troubling. Why are they so determined to punish the young? It’s a rather unseemly desire…

  20. barriejohn says:

    I’m sure that they won’t get anywhere with this, but how on earth can anyone take an oath which says “that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose or evasion”, when they are being blackmailed into swearing it? Too silly for words!

  21. Robster says:

    Can’t fill your church with deluded godbots every Sunday? Lots of red wine and crackers going to waste? The Arizona Government can help with legislation! People that are afflicted by religious fantasy are realizing they’re losing the battle, so they call in that great friend: The government. They can then legislate that everyone must love the baby jesus and the rest of the nonsense to be a part of society. This is the only thing left for them to use to stifle the huge loss of bums on pews. This is an acceptance and admission by the christian right and the churches in general, that they’re losing the battle. The more onerous their silly nonsense gets, the quicker they’ll bleed adherants and although uncomfortable, in the long run it could be a positive thing.

  22. barriejohn says:

    ROAS: I am very sceptical when people allege that Christianity is much older than Islam, and has grown out of that aggressive, violent phase when people were “forced” to believe. I don’t think it would take much to return us to the bad old days, when everyone had to toe the line and pretend to be a sincere believer in whatever form of Christianity the state deemed acceptable, on pain of all sorts of sanctions. After all, it’s for the benefit of humanity, isn’t it?

  23. barriejohn says:

    Sorry, that comment was in response to Robster’s post. If only we could still edit!

  24. barriejohn says:

    Here’s some heartening news from the good ol’ US of A:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2268963/You-Betcha-Sarah-Palin-vows-fight-cutting-ties-FOX-News.html

    Palin laid out her new year’s resolutions in an interview with Breitbart on Saturday after news of her FOX departure filled the airwaves.

    She downplayed her cable news exit, saying she was just working to ‘free up opportunities to share more broadly the message of the beauty of freedom and the imperative of defending our republic and restoring this most exceptional nation.’

    Yeah!

  25. Matt Westwood says:

    Can they replace it with “I piss on this fucking bullshit excuse for a country and hereby affirm my eternal dedication to the cause of doing anything I possibly can to destroy the entire shabby fascist edifice. Now give me my fucking certificate you cunt.”

  26. Matt Westwood says:

    @Robster: They’re missing a trick: they ought to bring in a law to make it illegal not to attend an official government-sanctioned religious ceremony at least once a week. You choose whether it’s muzzylimb, xtian, hingdoo, buddiest, shingtoe or anniemist, you gotta do this thing. Voodoo will of course *not* be gubmit sanctioned.

  27. Matt Westwood says:

    “in England we do not have this nonsense when graduating from School/College/University, just shake hands with the person who gives you your certificates, job done.”

    More importantly, you don’t actually have to turn up to any stupid fuckwit “ceremony” in order to be awarded with the certificate – once you’ve passed your exams or have otherwise demonstrated that you have earned the right to be awarded the qualification and write the appropriate letters after your name, you are then considered a graduate.

    I have proved the above twice. The thought of attending a stupid graduation ceremony never even crossed my mind – I had far more important things to do.

  28. [...] Five go mad in Arizona with a bill denying students graduation if they refuse to take a God oath [...]

  29. Georgina says:

    I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies … and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; in particular the 14th amendment.

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States

  30. L.Long says:

    The only good thing about the lower and middle and southern and some northwestern and well OK all of the US is the InfernalNet. With that in place at least some of these captured kids can get some other views. Also they will be exposed to other peoples views because after getting their ‘quality’ religious education the HiTech companies will have to import skilled workers.

  31. Edward Taylor says:

    this bill is the stupidest thing I ever heard. total nonsense