A Republican legislator, in Arizona, introduced a bill that would require high school students to take a loyalty oath before being allowed to graduate. The oath includes the usual invoking of God clap trap we see in the Pledge of Allegiance. The requirement is stupid, doesn’t help educate kids, and could be used to discriminate against people who either don’t believe in such oaths, like Jehovah Witnesses, or who don’t believe in the God part like Atheists.
Here is the text of the proposed high school graduation loyalty oath introduced by Rep. Bob Thorpe:
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.
It is similar to the oath taken by the Vice President, other elected officials, and the military. Besides the issue of invoking God, the “I take this obligation freely” part is irrational in an oath required to get a diploma because if it’s required then you aren’t taking the obligation freely. The other issue is the need for a citizen to take a loyalty oath. Once we’re citizens, additional requirements to enjoy the rights and benefits of being a citizen should be examined with extreme suspicion. The proposed law smacks of fascism.
The proposed law has invoked complaints from atheists and those who support separation of church and state although some atheists think it is too trivial to be outraged about.
When defending civil rights there are no trivial issues. Words mean things and for theists, symbolism is the utmost importance. Forcing students to recite “so help me God” is the theist way of putting God back into the public schools. Like with the pledge of allegiance, children could be discriminated against if they don’t say the God part and if this bill were to pass into law, there is a possibility that atheists could be kept from graduating even if the God part is common and “fairly irrelevant” to us rational people.
The oath is constitutionally suspect even without the God pledge and more so with it in. The state can’t force you to pledge to any God but staying silent about this proposed law or ignoring it won’t stop idiots like Rep. Bob Thorpe from introducing such bills in the future. Complaining will clue people in to think twice before trying to make laws that force people to follow particular religious symbols. You would think they would have gotten the message by now but we have to keep bringing it up.
Theists always use silence from dissenters as “proof” that what they are doing is right so dissenters have to keep speaking out. The whole point of social justice is to speak out as loudly as possible or we will get steam rolled by the tyranny of the mob.