Sunday, June 8, 2008

"Settlement" in CSU Loyalty Oath Case

A press release by People for the American Way has announced a settlement to the dispute wherein Quaker teacher Wendy Gonaver was fired by California State University, Northridge, for refusing to sign a state-required loyalty oath. A representative for CSU is listed as a co-contact on the press release.

Ms. Gonaver cited her religious convictions as reason to withhold signature to the oath, which is a throwback to McCarthyite repressive legislation aimed against Communists and other anti-government activists during the Cold War.

The PFAW/CSU statment says:
CSU has agreed to appoint Gonaver as a temporary lecturer teaching two classes in American Studies and Women's Studies during the fall 2008 semester, and to allow the attachment of a revised explanatory statement to the oath that CSU agrees does not undermine or qualify the oath.

"CSU is committed to working with individual employees to accommodate their religious beliefs in order to allow them to sign the oath," said CSU General Counsel Christine Helwick. "If an explanatory statement is needed to accomplish this, CSU must ensure that any such statement does not undermine or qualify the oath.
The spokesperson for PFAW believes the settlement clears the way "for others with religious or other objections to the oath to attach an explanatory statement, as long as the statement does not undermine or qualify the oath."

It is touching that everyone is so concerned about undermining or qualifying the oath. The PFAW-brokered deal in the Gonaver case is a classic liberal capitulation via an attempted runaround of an antidemocratic government measure. While I am glad that Ms. Gonaver will be able to exercise her livelihood without worrying about her religious convictions disqualifying her employment, the loyalty law remains on the books. Who knows who will be victimized next?

As I wrote in my original article on the subject last month:
... it strikes me that the proper stance to take is to demand an end to all loyalty oaths. They are not meant to really stop saboteurs, terrorists, communists, or anyone else who would really wish to powerfully oppose this country -- what person so inclined would feel any compunction about lying on such an oath anyway? Loyalty oaths are meant to police and frighten the population. They are against everything this country was founded upon. They should be banned.

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