by JASMINE ELSHAMY Photo & Video Editor
Arizona politicians – obviously Republicans – have put forward a law that seniors cannot graduate high school without stating a loyalty oath to God. House Bill 2467 details the proposal that once all course requirements and standardized testing requirements are met, the oath would be the final condition for graduation.
The oath reads as follows:
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.
This oath would disenfranchise many people from graduating high school, assuming that they would be reluctant to lie for the sake of graduating high school. Atheists would not be able to pledge to this oath, nor would foreign students or students coming here as a transfer student to study abroad.
“This bill is absurd,” said Troy Boyle, President of The National Atheist Party. “This is how Arizona lawmakers are spending their time improving their education system. Not to mention that this bill was apparently written by elected officials with both no understanding of the US Constitution or respect for their constituent’s intelligence.”
Boyle is absolutely right in his statements about the Republicans. They think by getting students to leave high school with a verbal agreement committing them to this country that tells absolutely nothing about what they will actually do is just absurd. Just how stupid do you have to be to include “that I will take this obligation freely” in the oath THAT YOU ARE FORCING PEOPLE TO TAKE?
“Nothing says ‘I take this obligation freely’ quite like a state law that withholds your diploma unless you swear an oath,” says Comedy Central’s Ilya Gerner.
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. Arizona students could challenge the proposed high school oath as a violation of their religious liberties and freedom of expression, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.
“This bill is honestly such a waste of time. Even if the students say they are dedicated and committed to their country and all that blah blah blah, who says they’re actually going to stick with that? There is no solid proof keeping that promise,” says senior Ahmed Halim.
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.
“Republicans are stupid, basically,” says sophomore Bree McKenna.