As reported on Monday in the Phoenix New Times, a proposed Arizona state law would require students to swear an oath to God (we can assume the Judeo-Christian god) to defend the United States Constitution in order to graduate from high school.
Swear. An oath. To God. To graduate. From high school.
No, it’s not an Onion article. You can read the text of HB 2467 on the Arizona State Legislature website:
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 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 of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; so help me God.”
Nothing like being required to “take this obligation freely.”
Students aren’t being asked to serve two compulsory years in the country’s military or defend people in court. They’re graduating high school, which, as blogger Kevin Bondelli points out, “is the culmination of an education that up until that point was compulsory.” It’s the bare minimum requirement for admission to most colleges and universities, and to getting a job that pays more than minimum wage.
This law is aimed directly at public school students, whose ranks include Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, and atheists, to name a few. But I guess if you can’t be a good little American and pretend like you believe in the [Judeo-Christian] God like the rest of this God fearing nation, no one else is to blame but you if you don’t get a high school diploma…
Bondelli points out: “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.”
But the Constitution doesn’t really matter, right? Not when it’s trumped by the Bible. Because the Founders used the Bible as their primary source for writing the Constitution, don’t you know? Or did you miss the Amendments about selling your daughter into slavery and killing anyone who works on the Sabbath or converts from Christianity?
So the people who want to make it impossible for non-Christians to graduate high school in Arizona (at least without lying under oath) are the same ones who believe that the Earth is no more than 10,000 years old, that a woman can’t get pregnant if she was raped, and that gays are directly responsible for hurricanes? (I exaggerate a little on that last one.)
Yeah. No disconnect there.