Monday, June 16, 2008

Rolled Oaths

A current Slate article discusses the practice of California State public colleges of requiring that new hires sign a loyalty oath as a condition of employment. Two teachers objected this requirement based on their religious beliefs. They are both Quaker, and the oath includes a provision that they will "defend" state and federal law against "enemies." To them, this terminology would commit them to engage in violence should the constitution of California or of the U.S. government ever come under attack. These two instructors have had some success after drawn out negotiations, in becoming eligible to work while objecting to that specific part of the oath.

This solution appalls me. Citizens and those with visas allowing them to work in this country are eligible to work in this country. Their employment should be based solely on ability and performance. While something like this may be appropriate for military and possibly for law enforcement, teachers should not be required to serve as a reserve militia. If their area of study extends to exploring possible constitutional changes, the product should be treated the same as any other researched opinion.

The problem is the loyalty oath, not one specific item within it.

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