Ariz. bill requires Constitution loyalty oaths for diplomas

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A bill making its way through the Arizona State House would require students to take an oath to defend the Constitution in order to receive their high school diplomas.

The bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Bob Thorpe, reads:

“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.”

A second proposal, introduced by Republican state Rep. Steve Smith, would require all public students in grades 1-12 to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Is this bill going to move heaven and Earth? No,” Mr. Smith told The Arizona Republic. “But it’s important that our kids do this.”

Mr. Thorpe has already received criticism for the legislation and is considering making the oath optional in order to keep students and parents from feeling uncomfortable.

“The idea that there’s something evil about taking this oath seems to be a pretty ineffective argument when you think about all the areas where people take this oath voluntarily,” he told The Republic.

Both bills, if they were to become law in their current form, would face legal challenges, with the American Civil Liberties Union already posturing to make it a First Amendment issue.

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