Culture Beat / March 7, 2019

South Carolina’s College Constitution Course

It’s ironic that requiring knowledge of America’s founding documents is considered controversial.

South Carolina’s Senate recently passed an update to the Reinforcing College Education on America’s Constitutional Heritage Act, the state’s 95-year-old legislation requiring all college students at state schools to take a course on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. The update to the law was brought forward after the president of the University of South Carolina, Harris Pastides, refused to comply with the law back in 2014 because he termed it “archaic.”

How “progressive” of him.

Pastides raised particular objection to the law’s language that stated a student could not graduate until the “power of his loyalty” to the Constitution had been examined. Pastides called this “problematic” and believed it to be unconstitutional. But it’s ironic to think that requiring students to pass a course on the history of the founding documents of the country — including the Constitution — can be construed as unconstitutional.

Jameson Broggi at The Daily Signal noted the state’s important role in founding the country, writing, “In 1776, 56 Americans signed the Declaration of Independence, recognizing God-given unalienable rights and pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in support of that. These were not just words for these men, but a commitment. Three of the four signers from South Carolina paid a price when they were captured by the British during the War for Independence.”

In any event, South Carolina has finally responded to update the language of the law mandating a three-credit-hour course on America’s founding documents as a graduation requirement. Hopefully, South Carolina’s House will follow suit and pass the update to the legislation as well. Heaven knows young people need some help in the civics department.

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