Did you know all California state employees are required to sign a loyalty oath? The pledge was added in 1952 at the height of anti-Communist hysteria.
Mariannne Kearney-Brown, a Cal State math instructor, was fired last month after refusing to sign the oath, concerned with wording pledging to “defend” the California and U.S. constitutions “against all enemies, foreign and domestic” could mean taking up violent arms.
Feeling that her religious rights were being violated, Kearney-Brown, a Quaker, filed a grievance that made its way to the state Attorney General Jerry Browns office, where a statement was drafted clarifying that the oath “does not carry with it any obligation or requirement that public employees bear arms or otherwise engage in violence.” In turn, Kearney-Brown signed the oath, and has been re-hired.[source: Los Angeles Times]
Text of the oath:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defendthe Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.
James Endres Howell, a former employee at UC Berkeley, appears to have had a similar issue with the oath in 1998, and has a page outlining his analysis.