Sunday, July 5, 2020

A New Book-oath on ‘A People’s History’ Has Come to Town

Thanks to a January 6, 2020, The American Spectator article, The Zinn Education Project: Teaching Trump-Hate and Other Dogma - A decade after his death Howard Zinn lives on, propagandizing America’s youth, by Mary Grabar, I’ve learned that two recently elected officials at the very local level have had the audacity to replace the customary Bible with Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of theUnited States.

Here’s the scoop:

Zinn’s book has attained the status of a holy book. In April [9, 2019] JoBeth Hamon used it in place of the customary Bible in her swearing-in to the Oklahoma City Council. 

In Fairfax County, Virginia, a wealthy D.C. suburb and one of the largest school districts in the nation, “Rachna Sizemore Heizer … swore the oath of office while holding a copy of . . . Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States,” according to a December 20 [2019 Fairfax County Times] article celebrating the new “historically diverse” school board, part of the transformation of this community and 32 others toward racial “equitythrough groups funded by Soros, and others.

Not surprisingly, Fairfax County students will soon have one day off for protesting. The Zinn Education Project will provide plenty of resources, from abolishing Columbus Day to protesting climate change.

Mary Grabar made a special effort to scold JoBeth Hamon in the 9/17/20119 Epoch Times article, Bible Replaced by Marxist Book in Taking Oath of Office. Here’s a snippet from the beginning of her commentary:

When Oklahoma City Council member Jobeth Hamon was sworn in early this year [April 9,2019 to take her seat], she chose to use a copy of Howard Zinn’s “A People’ History of the United States,”

While there’s no law or  policy that requires the use of a Bible for swearing-in ceremonies, Hamon upset traditions going back to ninth-century England.

Mary Grabar is right about mandatory Bible (loyalty test) oaths having a long tradition going back to ninth-century England, but she should take into consideration what Tucker Lieberman explained in his 1/11/2017 blog post, The long and misguided history of swearing in on Bibles:

When England was a Catholic country, swearing oaths on physical copies of the Bible held a prominent place in the culture. A religious movement whose adherents were known as Lollards opposed this practice in the early 15th century, as did Quakers in the 17th century. Lollards were willing to swear verbally by God, but were burned at the stake for being unwilling to swear on the Bible. Quakers would not swear at all, which meant that they couldn't take oaths of allegiance and couldn't testify in court. [Melissa] Mohr writes, "A good technique for getting rid of a Quaker you didn't like was to accuse him of doing something illegal. Whether or not he was guilty, when he refused to take an oath his property would be confiscated and he would be thrown in jail for contempt of court."

Aware of this religious history in England, the American founding fathers aimed for a more secular start to the nation in the 18th century. The U.S. Constitution prescribes this presidential oath of office: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." This secular statement avoids the difficulties that presented themselves in England. Article VI of the Constitution additionally clarifies: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

So despite Mary Grabar's lamentations, and by virtue of the Constitution, there's apparently no guarantee that the long established tradition built on the Bible will be sufficient to discourage further encounters with a Marxist book, "A People's History of the United States."


Tom Van Dyke said...

Mary Grabar is saying nothing GWash didn't say:

Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?

A society is more than the sum of its laws. Its values and traditions are the glue that hold them together. Destroy them at your peril.

I think the argument being made here is based on a false premise--the norm of oath-taking was ensconced in law, as was the [new] norm of religious tolerance that permitted affirmations instead, not because the oath was un-sacred for those people--as it is for the people with the infantile stunt of swearing on Howard Zinn--but because to them oath-taking was TOO sacred.

And even if it took until the 1940s to take the tolerance principle to its logical conclusion in the case of the Jehovah's Witnesses, the principles themselves are sound and timeless.

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