It’s not only writers who need to know what the dealbreakers are

loupnoir pointed me to this article: Quaker teacher fired for modifying loyalty oath.

Said teacher modified it not only to affirm rather than swear, but also to state that yes, she’ll support and defend the state constitution, but only by nonviolent means.

One of the things I’ve always deeply respected about the Society of Friends is the notion that every word you speak is to be taken seriously–that every word is, if I understand properly, sacred. Yet as a society, more and more often, we’re told all the time to “just sign” things that we’re not quite comfortable with.

My first job in Arizona required me to sign a loyalty oath saying I would uphold the state constitution. The hr person didn’t seem to quite understand when I protested that I didn’t even know what the terms of the state constitution were, having only just moved here, so couldn’t agree to uphold them. She shrugged and told me it was required; and I was young and felt I needed the job, so I signed it–but I always felt uneasy about. I still do, for all that it’s been a decade since I’ve worked there, and my personnel file is no doubt long gone.

The words we speak matter. Marianne Kearney-Brown has my deepest admiration for affirming that her own words and statements to be meaningful, and for not saying anything she didn’t know to be both true and something she could hold to.

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