At least that’s what a high school sophomore in Texas is claiming. Her local school district requires all student to wear ID badges with RFID tracking chips inside. She now asserts that the school is violating her religious liberties because ID badges are, “the mark of the beast.” Slate fills us in:
But those demonizing the district have ignored one key fact that could keep the case from being the big test of religious freedom, student privacy, and government surveillance that some media reports are making it out to be. The school isn’t actually expelling—or suspending, as some outlets have it—Hernandez for refusing to wear the electronic tracking chip. District officials have repeatedly offered to let Hernandez come to school wearing an identification card from which the RFID chip and battery have been removed.
“We have to respect their religious beliefs,” district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez told me in a phone interview. “So we said, ‘All right, if this is objectionable to you because it violates your religious beliefs, then we will not put the RFID technology in the card. But you still have to wear the ID card like every other student at school.’ Daddy said no, and the student said no.”
So there you have it: ID badges are now the mark of the beast. Or a better lesson to learn from this might be: if you complain about something on religious grounds, the government and corporate America will almost always back down. If you complain about something based on reason and evidence, expect a big fight.