Rep. Bob Thorpe (R), described in an AlterNet report as a “freshman tea party member” of the Arizona House, introduced House Bill 2467. It would mandate students of public high schools to “recite an oath supporting the U.S. Constitution” in order to receive a graduation diploma.
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.
From AlterNet: (emphasis added)
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.’
If Thorpe is serious about that – not creating a “requirement that students or parents may feel uncomfortable with” – then perhaps he shouldn’t have rushed the bill through; and, it seems to me the “amendment” he promises will need to remove the “requirement” mandate for everyone, whether or not the “so help me God” part is relevant to them.
Another measure was introduced by a “colleague” which would require the Pledge of Allegiance by recited daily first through 12th graders.
Currently, ‘schools must set aside time for the pledge each day, but students may choose whether to participate.’
Well now, that certainly needs changing, the unpatriotic notion that students should be free to choose. I mean, who do they think they are?
According to the AlterNet report, the ACLU has warned that both of these proposals are unconstitutional. ACLU of Arizona Public Policy Director Anjali Abraham:
‘You can’t require students to attend school … and then require them to either pledge allegiance to the flag or swear this loyalty oath in order to graduate. It’s a violation of the First Amendment.’
What he said.
Rep. Thorpe isn’t limiting himself to loyalty oaths. He also backs a bill “preventing state enforcement of federally enacted gun safety laws.”
So, students should be forced to swear a loyalty to the Constitution and pledge allegiance to the flag of the nation that promises “liberty and justice for all”; and the state should be free to pick and choose which federal laws are enforced. Of course, this way of thinking isn’t unique to some of the Arizona Electeds, or to this moment in the nation’s history.
“Liberty and justice for all” has always been rather creatively interpreted.
(Arizona Map via InfoPlease
Arizona Student Oath via AlterNet)