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Old 26th January 2013, 02:10 PM   #41
JoeTheJuggler
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I think the Arizona state legislature has been infiltrated by a bunch of cutting edge performing artists. This has to be theater.

The irony of trying to serve the end of improving commitment to the Constitution with a law that is so obviously unconstitutional is delicious!

. . . At least that's how I'm going to take it to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
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Old 26th January 2013, 02:11 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by TimCallahan View Post
This law (or bill) screams "Supreme Court Case,"
If made into law, this bill would be tossed out in the district court and the decision upheld by the appellate court. It would die there, because SCOTUS would not even waste the time to grant cert on this nonsense.
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Old 26th January 2013, 02:14 PM   #43
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I think it's a stupid idea, and a stupid law.

That said, it's the same language as the armed services oath, which obviously doesn't bar atheists from serving in the military. So it's hardly unconstitutional in that way.

The phrase "take this obligation freely" is included in the oath prescribed for officers, but omitted in the oath for enlisted soldiers. It doesn't seem any more coercive to me in the context of conferring a high school diploma, than it does in conferring a military officer's commission.

Wikipedia also suggests that while the law for the military oath doesn't indicate that any parts of it are optional, military regulations do indicate that the reference to god is optional.

While I think the specific semantic issues ("god", "freely") are utterly trivial, I think that the basic idea of imposing the oath at all is unacceptable. Is the oath bad because it has these certain phrases in it? No. Is the oath bad in the context of high school graduation? Hell yes.

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Old 26th January 2013, 02:22 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
But, I take it you found it wasn't easier, was it?
Sometimes you have to choose between what is right and what is easy. St Dumbledore taught us that, as he died on the cross.

Quote:
You are stretching a demand to end an oath with "So help me God" into more than it will bear. And yes, I think a great many do take it the same way I do, as insignificant as the margins on my browser, even those who might say they are believers.

You might think of it this way -- the statement makes the oath more powerful because enforcement is left up to God. Violate the oath and God righteously punishes you. Now, does any of that have any force? None at all from where I'm sitting.

And it's not that I, myself don't draw lines, but honestly, is this where you want to make your stand? Where were you when "New and Improved" became the flat-out lie it is today? Insisting the world work according to your principles is exactly the mistake they are making. Pity them, don't become them.

You don't even have to remain silent. Say the oath. Graduate. Then mock it to your heart's content. Let them know you don't believe a word of it. Point out its failures and flaws. Tell them that not only don't you believe it, but most of the other people saying it don't either. Have a parade if you like. Get the ACLU involved, sue their pants off.

Saying the oath means absolutely nothing, so help me God.
It means at least one thing: you defer to the demands of others. You say simultaneously it's not important, it's meaningless, but then you do it anyway. That's pretty damn unprincipled.

Quote:
What you might believe, and this one is rather more important, is in the mechanism by which such an oath becomes policy -- the rule of law in miniature, the right of a majority to impose structure, the heft of tradition, the importance of listening to opinions other than your own, the ability to get along with your fellow men at no cost to yourself. Oh, there's a bunch to learn here, but an emotional reaction to getting your buttons pushed isn't the important bit.
So, the means by which you encourage "the importance of listening to opinions other than your own" is conformity to the opinions of others, and silence? That's the opposite of diversity. If listening to others' opinions is important, then how can you defend one party compelling others to publicly affirm that party's opinion and keep silent on disagreement?

Quote:
You might also take some satisfaction in that they have to enforce it by linking it to graduation. If it really were the norm, you wouldn't need to do that, it could be voluntary.
It makes it even more sick that it's not even a legitimate majority that's trying to force this on others.
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Old 26th January 2013, 02:32 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post

Wanna spend five bucks? Ask me to say I believe in Jesus. $5. Cheap. I'll do it all day long.
Except that what's proposed here is more "Say you believe in Jesus or I'll take $5 from you."
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Old 26th January 2013, 02:35 PM   #46
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Hey wait a minute, what about home schooled kids?
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Old 26th January 2013, 02:39 PM   #47
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[quote=theprestige;8946064]Wikipedia also suggests that while the law for the military oath doesn't indicate that any parts of it are optional, military regulations do indicate that the reference to god is optional.[quote]

The wikipedia articles on the officer's oath and the enlistment oath both mention the "So help me God." phrase is optional. A high school friend of mine took a secular affirmation upon joining the Navy. There was zero fuss involved in doing so.

I imagine the result of this attempt will be a law that mandates allowing graduating students to perform such an oath and leaving the actual enforcement to social and cultural pressure rather than an unconstitutional legal pressure. Much like the Pledge of Allegiance during school has ended up.
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Old 26th January 2013, 02:56 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
That said, it's the same language as the armed services oath, which obviously doesn't bar atheists from serving in the military. So it's hardly unconstitutional in that way.
There is an affirmation option to taking the military oath. Atheists and others who refuse to take oaths aren't barred from military service.

Quote:
The phrase "take this obligation freely" is included in the oath prescribed for officers, but omitted in the oath for enlisted soldiers.
I think it's referring to a different obligation. In the officers' oath it means they're taking the office's particular constitutional obligations freely. In this graduation oath it really can't apply to anything but the oath itself.

Otherwise "obligation" has no referent in the high school oath.

[ETA: I think you're onto something though. The idiots who drafted this bill probably just borrowed an oath of office where "obligation" meant something specific and didn't intend for it to refer to the obligation to recite the oath itself, which is how I took it.]


Quote:
I think that the basic idea of imposing the oath at all is unacceptable. Is the oath bad because it has these certain phrases in it? No. Is the oath bad in the context of high school graduation? Hell yes.
I agree that it's problematic even without the issue of establishing a brand new oath requirement that offers no affirmation option. But doing so is unconstitutional. (See above where I considered the bill if it were amended to offer an affirmation option.)
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Old 26th January 2013, 03:12 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Alferd_Packer View Post
Hey wait a minute, what about home schooled kids?
The bill says, "IN THIS STATE, THE PRINCIPAL OR HEAD TEACHER OF THE SCHOOL SHALL VERIFY IN WRITING THAT THE PUPIL HAS RECITED THE FOLLOWING OATH: . . . "

I suppose the parent or guardian who is in charge of the home schooling--the one acting as "head teacher"-- would have to do that verification.
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Old 26th January 2013, 06:00 PM   #50
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Old 26th January 2013, 06:03 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by The Fallen Serpent View Post
The wikipedia articles on the officer's oath and the enlistment oath both mention the "So help me God." phrase is optional. A high school friend of mine took a secular affirmation upon joining the Navy. There was zero fuss involved in doing so.

I imagine the result of this attempt will be a law that mandates allowing graduating students to perform such an oath and leaving the actual enforcement to social and cultural pressure rather than an unconstitutional legal pressure. Much like the Pledge of Allegiance during school has ended up.
actually, comparing the link from the OP to the link for the officer's oath, the two are nearly identical.
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Old 26th January 2013, 06:43 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Redtail View Post
Except that what's proposed here is more "Say you believe in Jesus or I'll take $5 from you."
Good point.
I believe in Jesus.
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Old 26th January 2013, 06:48 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
It means at least one thing: you defer to the demands of others. You say simultaneously it's not important, it's meaningless, but then you do it anyway. That's pretty damn unprincipled.
This is true, although I don't agree about the principle part. On the meaningless front, it's relative. As an atheist, I obviously don't imbue the phrase "so help me God" as having any force whatsoever. But others might. So there can simultaneously be meaning on their side and nonsense on mine.

All I'm advocating is being the adult here, the mature and rational one. My call is to avoid engaging over such minor irritants. But, if you actually do frame it as an attack on religious freedom, I'd vote your way.
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Old 26th January 2013, 06:49 PM   #54
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Wake me up when they require an individual to swear allegiance to Cthulhu.
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Old 26th January 2013, 06:59 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
Hmm, I guess this is response to the inclusion of "so help me God" at the end of the oath. What does "So help me God" mean? If I'm at a family gathering where grace or some prayer is part of the deal, I just go along. Is this different?
Yes, a family prayer is different to forcing people to acknowledge god in order to receive the prize that they earned.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I think it's a stupid idea, and a stupid law.

That said, it's the same language as the armed services oath, which obviously doesn't bar atheists from serving in the military. So it's hardly unconstitutional in that way.

The phrase "take this obligation freely" is included in the oath prescribed for officers, but omitted in the oath for enlisted soldiers. It doesn't seem any more coercive to me in the context of conferring a high school diploma, than it does in conferring a military officer's commission.
The whole point of an oath of office is that you are undertaking to uphold the duties and responsibilities of that office. High school graduates have earned their diplomas. This is more akin to requiring an oath of fealty in order to get your paycheque.
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Old 26th January 2013, 07:46 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by SezMe View Post
Speaking of misleading thread titles .... Yeah, jj, this is a dumb proposal by some bull-headed pols but that does not justify the thread title. They don't hate the constitution, they just understand it differently than you do. Don't exaggerate.
Nonsense, they are, against the words directly in the Constitution as a whole, proposing something clearly and obviously illegal. There is no doubt about that, and knowingly proposing such a thing, which is exactly what is going on here, can only be hatred.
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Old 26th January 2013, 07:52 PM   #57
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I know the so help me god is what is troublesome to most people here.
What about this part
I, _________, DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR THAT I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC

That should be a requirement to graduation? Ridiculous!
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Old 26th January 2013, 07:57 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
That said, it's the same language as the armed services oath, which obviously doesn't bar atheists from serving in the military.
Except in the military you don't have to add the "god" part, you can take an affirmation.

Ditto for the oath to testify in Federal Court. Except that the bailiff forgets, and puts the whole trial into a quandry, do they admit it to the jury and have a mistrial, or do they just apologize to the atheist? I speak from experience there.

Goddism is normative in the USA. Being able to think clearly is held against you in every part of society. Demanding that people who think that way out themselves might as well be asking us to put a yellow 'A' on our shirts. It is a vile, despicable act intended to cause harm to people who aren't of the normative religion of the people who wrote this bill. It is uttery unAmerican, it is repugnant, and the people who wrote it are traitors to the spirit of the US Constitution.

Maybe they should move to Iran.
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Old 26th January 2013, 08:01 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by eeyore1954 View Post
I know the so help me god is what is troublesome to most people here.
What about this part
I, _________, DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR THAT I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC

That should be a requirement to graduation? Ridiculous!
Exactly. I don't see the point of getting upset about the 'so help me god', when the idea of requiring a loyalty oath in order to get a diploma that was already earned is beyond repugnant whether the god bit is in there or not.

The oath, as you posted without the god, gets a 9.99 out of ten on the repugnance scale. Adding the god back in just makes it a perfect 10.
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Old 26th January 2013, 08:04 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by cwalner View Post
Exactly. I don't see the point of getting upset about the 'so help me god', when the idea of requiring a loyalty oath in order to get a diploma that was already earned is beyond repugnant whether the god bit is in there or not.

The oath, as you posted without the god, gets a 9.99 out of ten on the repugnance scale. Adding the god back in just makes it a perfect 10.
Well, if you're asking, yes, the whole thing is an abomination.

Something like the old "student loan" oaths of the 1970's.
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Old 26th January 2013, 08:19 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
All I'm advocating is being the adult here, the mature and rational one.
No, you're stating that those who disagree with you are immature, irrational children. That argument style will surely win the day.
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Old 26th January 2013, 08:32 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by SezMe View Post
No, you're stating that those who disagree with you are immature, irrational children. That argument style will surely win the day.
I didn't actually mean those that disagree with me, I meant those that think an oath something worthwhile. But I don't think outrage is warranted, so you got me on that.
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Old 27th January 2013, 08:35 AM   #63
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It just occurred to me that any foreign exchange students that want to graduate in Arizona are going to feel really awkward.
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:03 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Yeah, and I've been told my life would be a lot easier if I just told people I were straight. Kept my mouth shut and head down. Conform. Be like the rest. Don't make waves.

That is playing their game. As long as they have the illusion of homogeneity, they can do as they please because "everyone" agrees. If all who disagree keep silent, then they will never know their own numbers. Hell, you could end up with an entire population that feels the opposite of what they publicly proclaim because they each think all the others believes.
^ this.
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:13 AM   #65
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This reminds me of a childhood incident. A bully held a kid to the ground, grabbed the kids wrist and made him punch himself in the face. The whole time the bully insisted that the punishment would stop if the kid would swear that he was gay. Finally the kid said it, "I am gay." The bully let him up and laughed. That incident told me a whole lot more about the bully than it did about the victim.
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:15 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
It just occurred to me that any foreign exchange students that want to graduate in Arizona are going to feel really awkward.
Unrelated but I have duel citizenship with America and Great Britain. I flew to L.A. when I was 16 to take my oath at the British consulate. They asked if I wanted to use the bible or the Magna Carta. I swore on the latter.
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:16 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by BStrong View Post
Wake me up when they require an individual to swear allegiance to Cthulhu.
Is Cthulhu not a God?
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:25 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by BStrong View Post
Wake me up when they require an individual to swear allegiance to Cthulhu.
How about we wake you up when you are forced to show your "papers." Oh wait that's already law in AZ.
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:27 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
How about we wake you up when you are forced to show your "papers." Oh wait that's already law in AZ.
You mean you have to present a driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance when you get pulled over?

The horror!
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:32 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
You mean you have to present a driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance when you get pulled over?

The horror!
No. That's not what I mean as none of those things prove you are in the country legally.
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:36 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
No. That's not what I mean as none of those things prove you are in the country legally.
So you don't really have issues with "showing papers", only with enforcing immigration laws?

Why didn't you just say so?
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:37 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
Is Cthulhu not a God?
Cthulhu is greater than any mere god. Cthulhu eats gods for breakfast. With toast, orange juice, milk, and cantelope slices, Deity is part of this complete breakfast! Also available, Deity With Nut Clusters, and Deity With Raisin Flakes!! Add fiber and divinity to your diet today!!!

(Even Cthulhu's power is nothing before the might of advertising. Send in five box tops and $14.99 to receive a FREE t-shirt with the Deity mascot L'il YWHW on it!!!!!)
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:38 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
If I had to say, "...so help me Bugs Bunny." Would that be equivalently acknowledging the existence of Bugs? Hardly. As an atheist, the oath is nonsensical; it can hold no sway over me. Otherwise, how could I spend money that has the phrase, "In God We Trust" on it?

A meaningless oath is just that, meaningless.
Some people care a great deal about the words that come out of their mouth. Some people make a point of never saying anything meaningless, or that they don't believe to be true.

The government should not be forcing people to do these things.
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:42 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
So you don't really have issues with "showing papers", only with enforcing immigration laws?

Why didn't you just say so?
You are funny.
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:44 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by Molinaro View Post
Some people care a great deal about the words that come out of their mouth. Some people make a point of never saying anything meaningless, or that they don't believe to be true.

The government should not be forcing people to do these things.
To do otherwise breeds resentment not patriotism, as I assume the bills authors intended.
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:45 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
You are funny.
Funny, but accurate.
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:48 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by Molinaro View Post
Some people care a great deal about the words that come out of their mouth. Some people make a point of never saying anything meaningless, or that they don't believe to be true.
Who are those people? From your description, I take it they can't sing songs, read fiction out loud or tell me to have a nice day? What an odd thing to be a slave of words instead of the master. I'm not sure if my diagnosis would be toxic gravitas, hubris or megalomania. I'll fall back on supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. (Surprisingly, that wasn't in my spell checker.)

Quote:
The government should not be forcing people to do these things.
But don't forget, when you say "government" it's just shorthand for "other people in the community."
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:53 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
Funny, but accurate.
Hardly.

/derail
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:56 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Who are those people? From your description, I take it they can't sing songs, read fiction out loud or tell me to have a nice day? What an odd thing to be a slave of words instead of the master. I'm not sure if my diagnosis would be toxic gravitas, hubris or megalomania. I'll fall back on supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. (Surprisingly, that wasn't in my spell checker.)



But don't forget, when you say "government" it's just shorthand for "other people in the community."
What kind of society allows "other people in the community" to force the entire community to swear an oath.
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Last edited by Biscuit; 27th January 2013 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 27th January 2013, 09:58 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
Hardly.

/derail
It was just shown to be accurate, by your own words.
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