It may not surprise anyone that the word “God,” “Almighty God,” or similar, is written into the constitution of all 50 states. In most cases, such words are found in the preambles and in the, often required, oaths of office. The mention of “God,” or the like, is used predominantly in reverent thanks or acknowledgment of a divine goodness. However, what most people do not realize is that eight of the states also include a religious component to a citizen’s eligibility to hold public office and, in two cases, to testify in court or serve on a jury. These states include Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Once grown up and operating in the “adult” world, we often forget how much loss of control and personal freedom children and teens are forced to endure while traveling through the public school system (and often more-so in the private schools). If anything, many of us look back at those times as some sort of necessary “hazing”, bitter-sweetly remembered through the prism of some John Hughes movie. However, the truth is that children and younger people is these school systems are often denied the same legal considerations and due process of adults, all in the name of order and control, and it only takes a “bad apple” here or someone “gaming the system” there to make the lives of children who don’t toe some (often imaginary) cultural/political line often unbearable. That seems to be the case at Purvis High School in Mississippi, where accusations of threatened “demon possession” got a Pagan student suspended. “When 17-year-old Shaun Derusha informed his mother that he would be unable to return to Purvis High School until she met with his principal, Denise DeSadier thought he was joking. She had received neither letter nor phone call indicating any sort of misbehavior from her son.