Arizona Christians Annoy Me
Angry with The Lord’s Prayer being posted on the wall in your child’s school? Annoyed at Christmas displays in your community park? You haven’t seen anything yet. Republicans in Arizona have proposed a bill that would make students recite an oath in order to receive their high school diploma. You know, because all of those requirements like reading and writing and two years of foreign language and, of course, gym class, aren’t enough to prove that students have mastered the skills to live above the poverty line.
Students would be required to say “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.” Really. You can see the actual bill here: Arizona Legislature.
There’s so much that I find wrong with this pledge. As a teacher, I am concerned with making sure that students learn the material that will help them succeed in the world. I’m not really focused on making them weapons for the government. To be honest, I don’t really care what they feel about the government, as long as they can express their opinion intelligently. Are we attempting to get back to McCarthyism? Are we hunting for very, very scary Communists?
In addition, what’s going on with the line “I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose or evasion…”? Of COURSE they’re taking this oath for a purpose: they’d like to graduate!
And then, of course, there’s the end of the oath… “so help me God.” Seriously? Do we really have to go over this again, Tea-Party Republicans? Not everyone in America believes in your God. Not everyone believes in A god. Why do our elected officials constantly try to push all people into their own little perfect idea of what a person should be?
I’m also curious… what happens if someone takes that oath, and then two years later, they’re caught selling secrets to the Russians or something? Could we prosecute them for breaking their oath? Take away their high-school diploma? Is that really something that we should hang over their heads? Hey — you know what that sounds like? RELIGION. You know, like God… “Promise that you love me, because I love you, or you will BURN IN HELL!” Yeah, that’s the kind of relationship we’re taught to avoid.
You know what would be really nice? If legislators would spend some time working on curriculum for schools, or school safety or something, and not worry about making one more little hoop to jump through so that people can graduate. I’m not asking for much. Save your fake little religion for church on Sundays, and let the world go on without your antiquated ideas.