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Arizona Republicans Propose Bill That Would Not Allow Atheists To Graduate High School

Posted by on Jun. 25, 2013 at 12:51 PM
  • 56 Replies


Quote:

Arizona Republicans Propose Bill That Would Not Allow Atheists To Graduate High School

 

A group of Arizona politicians — all Republicans, of course — have proposed a law (House Bill 2467) requiring public high school students to recite the following oath in order to graduate:

 

 

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 of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.

To quote Comedy Central’s Ilya Gerner: “Nothing says ‘I take this obligation freely’ quite like a state law that withholds your diploma unless you swear an oath.”

Kevin Bondelli adds:

… 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.

It’s bad enough the Republicans are demanding loyalty of the kind normally reserved for members of Congress and beyond — but there’s also no way I would say those last four words, and the current text of the legislation does not allow for any alternatives.

In other words, if this bill were to become a law, atheists would either not be allowed to graduate… or they would be forced to lie so they couldgraduate. Neither option is acceptable.

Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal points out another problem:

The Arizona bill could also face legal challenges if it is approved.

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.

This bill is the work of Representatives Bob Thorpe, Sonny Borrelli, Carl Seel, T.J. Shope, Jeff Dial, David Livingston, Chester Crandell, and Steve Smith.

Smith and Shope have also introduced legislation demanding that all students in grades 1-12 recite the Pledge of Allegiance (with “Under God”) every day. At least in that bill, students can get out of saying it with their parents’ permission.

No such exemption exists in the Loyalty Oath.

Keep in mind that in both cases, the bills do not help children get a better education. That’s the saddest thing about all this. The people who are in charge of fixing the education crisis are proposing solutions that would only waste more classroom time and exclude many students from graduating despite fulfilling their current requirements.

***Update***: While the bill still includes the God language, Think Progress reports that it may be revised:

As written, the bill does not exempt atheist students or those of different faiths from the requirement, though Thorpe has pledged to amend the measure. “In that we had a tight deadline for dropping our bills, I was not able to update the language,” he wrote in an e-mail to the Arizona Republic. “Even though I want to encourage all of our students to understand and respect our Constitution and constitutional form of government, I do not want to create a requirement that students or parents may feel uncomfortable with.”

So it’s possible alternative language may solve the atheist problem, but *requiring* students to take the oath still poses a host of constitutional issues. Another option would be to make the oath optional, but that would make this bill completely irrelevant.

Which would be fine by me.

(Thanks to Brian for the link)


Why should ANY ONE, regardless of their religious affiliation, be forced to recite the Oath after graduating high school?

The article states the Bill is supposedly going to be amended as not to offend any one.  Why do I not believe that?  It sounds like an excuse, they had to rush the Bill in therefore it could not be amended properly.  There will be further excuses as to why an amendment is not made.

by on Jun. 25, 2013 at 12:51 PM
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Replies (1-10):
LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Jun. 25, 2013 at 12:59 PM
12 moms liked this

Disgusting bill, with or without the requirment to pledge to the Christian God.  Forcing kids to swear an oath of allegiance in order to be allowed to graduate high school???  Hell to the NO!!!

enlightened_24
by Member on Jun. 25, 2013 at 1:01 PM
1 mom liked this

People need to stop being scared of what is different and STOP forcing other religions onto people.

Mommabearbergh
by on Jun. 25, 2013 at 1:07 PM

seriously this is really a bill.Seperation of church and state they totally don't get that concept do they. I just don't get them...I really don't

SuperChicken
by on Jun. 25, 2013 at 1:08 PM
6 moms liked this

Just another example of how those poor poor Christians are persecuted in this country.....

Lorik1969
by Bronze Member on Jun. 25, 2013 at 1:14 PM
Just another part of the New World Order....Does anyone else think that the conspriacy theorists aren't as crazy as we thought?


Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

Disgusting bill, with or without the requirment to pledge to the Christian God.  Forcing kids to swear an oath of allegiance in order to be allowed to graduate high school???  Hell to the NO!!!


..MoonShine..
by Redwood Witch on Jun. 25, 2013 at 1:19 PM
Totally agree.

Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

Disgusting bill, with or without the requirment to pledge to the Christian God.  Forcing kids to swear an oath of allegiance in order to be allowed to graduate high school???  Hell to the NO!!!

lizmarie1975
by Gold Member on Jun. 25, 2013 at 1:19 PM
4 moms liked this

I'm pretty sure there was someone, in another recent thread, asking how people are trying to insert religion into government. Well...here you go.

coupon_ash_back
by on Jun. 25, 2013 at 1:20 PM
Stupidest thing I have heard all day.
jessilin0113
by Platinum Member on Jun. 25, 2013 at 1:22 PM
I don't get the point of this bill in the first place. If they've fulfilled the requirements of the school to graduate, that should be it. This oath can't possibly even be legally binding, so what's the point besides posturing?
TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Jun. 25, 2013 at 1:23 PM
1 mom liked this

 What a stupid, non-issue, just as I suspected.  No one is or will be required to add "God" on the end, whether in a courtroom or at school.  It would not pass constitutional muster today. 

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