My state has recently proposed a bill to make it a requirement for students to recite the following oath in order to graduate:
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.
I think that this is a rather foolhardy notion on several levels. The students would not be reciting this oath freely, as it is a requirement to graduate. The “so help me God” bit could easily be left out (I’m fine with anyone that wants to add it, but many folks don’t believe in a deity and many don’t want to swear loyalty to a document in a deity’s name).
Representative [Skas' Representative],I’m writing to request that you withdraw your sponsorship of HB 2467 and vote no on the bill should it come to a vote.I appreciate the sentiment behind the bill, and wish that all Americans would recite such an oath (and more importantly remember said oath). That said, I do not believe that should be a requirement for a student to graduate from a state mandated learning institution.If we want students to better respect and appreciate the Constitution, we should ensure that they are taking well structured civics courses that properly cover the great benefits to the Constitution and why it is such a powerful document. I think that by ensuring that students understand the document, that they will further appreciate the Constitution.We need students to read the Articles of Confederation, the Federalist and anti-Federalist papers, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution and exhibit understanding of these documents. Forcing students to recite an oath as a requirement for graduation could do more to increase spite towards our great country and the Constitution.
Additionally, what does this oath even do? There is no penalty for breaking your oath. Most students when they graduate aren’t even 18, so it’s not going to carry any legal weight. I picture this being recited with the same derision with which the pledge of allegiance is said these days.
Thoughts? Obviously someone thinks this is a good idea, and I want more people coming out of high school to believe in the Constitution and the diligent effort put forth by our founding fathers…but I don’t think this is how you get that point across.