A Texas high school wants its students to carry ID cards with microchips, so that it can tell where they are.
ID badges containing radio tags started to be introduced at the start of the 2012 school year to schools run by San Antonio’s Northside Independent School District (NISD). The tracking tags gave NISD a better idea of the numbers of students attending classes each day – the daily average of which dictates how much cash it gets from state coffers.
I can’t help thinking it would be better if schools were small enough so that they could have a handle on how many students were attending just by eyeballing the classroom, but hey, I know that would cost more money and education of other people’s children isn’t a priority. So are these badges with tags ok? I don’t know; they seem intrusive to me, but then I don’t have a huge factory full of teenagers to run.
But one student refuses to wear the things because they’re of Satan.
Hernandez refused to wear the tag because it conflicted with her religious beliefs, according to court papers. Wearing such a barcoded tag can be seen as a mark of the beast as described in Revelation 13 in the Bible, Ms Hernandez’s father told Wired magazine in an interview.
That’s not a good reason. If that’s a reason, then another student could say that homework can be seen as a mark of the beast. If something that “can be seen as” whatever is a valid reason for refusal, then anything can be a valid reason for refusal. Hence the need for secularism. Once you can just paste the word “religious” on whatever you want to do or refuse to do, we’re screwed.
The Rutherford Institute said the NISD’s suspension violated Texan laws on religious freedom as well as free speech amendments to the US constitution.
But if “religious freedom” covers everything, then we’ll get paralysis.
The court’s willingness to grant a temporary restraining order is a good first step, but there is still a long way to go – not just in this case, but dealing with the mindset, in general, that everyone needs to be monitored and controlled,” said John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute in a statement.
Mr Whitehead said student tagging and locating projects were the first step in producing a “compliant citizenry”.
“These ‘student locator’ programmes are ultimately aimed at getting students used to living in a total surveillance state where there will be no privacy, and wherever you go and whatever you text or email will be watched by the government,” he said.
But that’s a different argument. It’s a different kind of argument. It’s got nothing to do with a mark of the beast. I think he has a point, but it’s a secular point. They should make that point, and leave Revelation 13 out of it.