It was the great Detroit poet-philosopher Robert Clark "Bob" Seger who lamented, "I feel like a number/I'm not a number" -- and his words have never been more prescient: A high school sophomore in San Antonio was suspended in September for refusing to wear a school-issued ID badge with a built-in tracking device. (A judge subsequently stayed the suspension, much to the chagrin of the jack-booted thugs at Northside Independent School District.)
According to court papers, Andrea Hernandez refused to wear the "Smart ID" badge "on the basis of Scriptures found in the book of Revelation." (We would have refused to wear on the basis of the aforementioned Mr. Seger, but whatevs.)
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The suit continues: "According to these Scriptures, an individual's acceptance of a certain code, identified with his or her person, as a pass conferring certain privileges from a secular ruling authority, is a form of idolatry or submission to a false god."
The school offered to let her remove the badge's computer chip, but she'd still have to wear the badge, which Hernandez still considered a religious no-no.
Just in case Hernandez's complaint wasn't heavy-handed enough, the president of the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties legal group representing Hernandez, stated that "Regimes in the past have always started with the schools, where they develop a compliant citizenry. These 'Student Locator' programs 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 e-mail will be watched by the government." (Hair Balls hopes this isn't true -- just last week, we forwarded a rather funny fart joke to some friends, and now we're afraid this could somehow land us in Guantánamo.)
The temporary suspension means Hernandez has won the battle, but the war is hardly over. We shall stay on top of this, to make sure that the Northside Independent School District won't succeed in its plans to turn the USA into the dystopian nightmare Mr. Seger warned us of.