Sympathy for the Devil

Hero Teen Opposes Government School’s New ID Card Because It Is The Mark Of The Beast

All the other girls in her class LIKE the new ID cardsWould you like a story about schools that isn’t horribly depressing, but only mildly eye-rolling? As it happens, we have one for you! A number of Texas school districts (yes, Texas again!) have figured out that since federal school funding is largely based on the numbers of butts in seats on a given school day, the better they can account for the attendance of every single student, the more funding they can get — and in a state that’s cutting education spending like crazy, that matters. To improve attendance stats, a number of districts are requiring students to wear ID badges with an RFID chip that automatically register whether students are in class or not, which is more accurate and more remunerative than the “taking attendance” method, apparently.

Now, there are probably good reasons to be concerned about the privacy implications of all this, as well as how screwed up it is that the whole thing is driven by state cuts to education funding, but happily, we can sidestep all that for this story. That’s because the Hernandez family of San Antonio opposes the RFID badges at their daughter’s high school because they think it’s part of the Antichrist’s plan to make everyone have The Mark Of The Beast, so opposing the ID scheme is not about privacy or security, it’s now about religious oppression.

Steven Hernandez says his daughter was alarmed this summer when John Jay High School in San Antonio informed families that new IDs would include the chips, which would help the school know electronically if the student was on campus.

“And she says, ‘Daddy, I’m not going to do this.’ And I said, ‘Why aren’t you going to do this, honey?’ She says, ‘Dad, that’s exactly what it talks about in the Book of Revelation that you were teaching us about taking the mark of the beast. This is the exact same thing,’ ” Hernandez says.

The Hernandez family is evangelical Christian and attends John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in San Antonio.

“The mark of the beast is what the Antichrist is going to use so he can track the people,” Hernandez says.

We are pretty sure that the Mark of the Beast is not something you can wear on a lanyard, either, but sure, why not.

The Hernandezes are being represented in federal court by the Rutherford Institute, which has also attempted to argue that parents have a 1st Amendment right for their children to be taught “Intelligent Design.” They are arguing that the girl should be allowed to opt out of wearing the new ID; the school district has actually offered to let her wear an ID that has the RFID chip removed, but the family says that even a deactivated card would infringe their religious liberty for some reason, so she must be allowed to simply use her old ID.

Otherwise we’re just like Communist Russia, obviously.

[NPR / Slate]

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About the author

Doktor Zoom Is the pseudonym of Marty Kelley, who lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his nym from a fan of Silver-Age comics after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

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          1. GemlikeFlame

            Well, current thinking is that the Number of the Beast really was 616, so the student with the real complaint was obvs in line about fifty ahead of her. This poseur is even in the wrong state, 616 is the area code of the Beast and covers parts of Michigan. Wasn't there something about Michigan in the news lately?

          1. GemlikeFlame

            Before you put down that mouse, Groucho, check this out. This fine gentleman has tracked the beast to its lair, which is to say the brazen occupation of the US States Code, title 42, section 666 by Old Scratch himself. If he's right, and he thinks he is, then the Mark of the Beast is the venerated social security number, in which case there isn't just one of them, there are millions. Why does the Social Security Administration hate God?

    1. JustPixelz

      She was wearing it upside down. It was really the mark of Cain – 999. Which is not much of an improvement.

      1. actor212

        That depends. If you transliterate Nero's name from Latin into Hebrew, you'd be correct. But most early bibles were written in Greek and Nero's name in Greek transliterated provides the 666 number.

  1. BaldarTFlagass

    "make everyone have The Mark Of The Beast"

    Young lady, you are confusing your student ID with your smallpox vaccination scar.

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        No shit? Man, back in the day you could not attend school without all your vaccinations. Maybe that's what's causing these mass shootings.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      With brain-dead paranoid parents like hers, she's probably never gotten vaccinated, against anything.

  2. Oblios_Cap

    My god, when will the persecution of the Xtians ever end?!

    Is Hagee the schuckster who snorts meth off of rentboys asses?

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Nah, that's some dude in Colorado. Hagee was the one who endorsed McCain in 08 but the McCain campaign rejected him because of some really crazy shit he had said previously. He's a local hero down here in SA. That fucking church looks like a damn shopping mall.

      1. Butch_Wagstaff

        Ah yes. He who loves Israel so much because he loves the Jewish people. Just as long as they convert to Christianity in the End Times.

        "That fucking church looks like a damn shopping mall." I haven't seen one megachurch that doesn't look like a shopping mall.

    2. sullivanst

      Hagee's the one who said that Hitler was sent by God to drive all the Jews to Israel so we could have the Rapture.

    1. Antispandex

      Having any sort of feeling, "down there", is evidence that satan has won. So, how are so many of these people reproducing? Just another of those things you can't explain with science.

    2. sewollef

      Ah, the Mark of the Beast. And this chick hasn't even gotten a hickey yet.

      Well, one above the pantie line that is…

  3. asterixaverni

    "The Hernandez family is evangelical Christian "

    No shit, REALLY? I thought they were hindoos or something.

  4. BaldarTFlagass

    I call bullshit. She was just having a bad hair day when they took her photo and she hates that picture.

  5. Oblios_Cap

    that parents have a 1st Amendment right for their children to be taught “Intelligent Design.”

    Teach that shit at home, on your own time.

    1. docterry6973

      Well, yes, in the sense that the government can't jail them for asking. They do not, however, have a Constitutional right to get the answer they want.

    2. SayItWithWookies

      Kids should definitely learn about intelligent design — mostly about the Dover v. Kitzmiller decision in which the judge wrote an excoriating opinion saying that ID was clearly an attempt to inject religion into public schools, that ID had no scientific basis whatsoever and that it shouldn't be taught in science class.

    3. OneDollarJuana

      By that logic, we all have the First Amendment right to be taught how to make nuclear weapons. Or moonshine.

  6. snowpointsecret

    That girl is clearly less evil than many people involved in government policy from the state of Texas. And many of the other people there, apparently.

  7. BigSkullF*ckingDog

    I tried to tell my math teacher that Calculus was against my religion but he just threw an eraser at my head. Kids today have it so much easier.

    1. finallyhappy

      I made my 11th grade english teacher horribly ashamed(she told me that) because I said the word "hell"- "ladies do not use words like that"

    2. JustPixelz

      And as you watched the eraser arc through the air, you realized there must be a mathematical way to apply the forces at work. Then a flash of insight into how such a thing could be done followed by a cloud of chalk dust as the eraser struck, erasing (appropriately enough) your idea. "Damn you Mr. Liebniz", you cried out.

    3. GunToting[Redacted]

      There was a teacher at my school (he also coached football) who was very skilled at eraser throwing. My history teacher told us that this individual thought he had blinded a kid because the eraser he threw was fully saturated with chalk dust.

    4. CommieDad

      You see, sir (or m'am), when you look at it this way, the inverse relationship between the derivative and the integral can only be proven if you postulate that there is no infinitesimal* and thus there must not be an infinite, so you are really saying there is no God, as God is , by definition, infinite.

      *This is not true. Calculus still works with an infinitesimal. In fact it makes it a little easier. So maybe the objection was the modern infinit-less way that Calculus was taught which is BSFD's real problem.

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        "As God asymptotically approaches zero, his voice gets real tiny and squeaky, like the "Help me" dude in the original version of that Fly movie."

        1. CommieDad

          That's more of that new fangled way of looking at it. God is ∞. So he is part of 1/∞. Once you use words like "approach" you are being all godless and modern.

          In short, instead of all that lim h->0 crap you learned, the God Respecting way is to simply say that the derivative of F(a) is F(a) – F(a+1/∞) * ∞. See. Much easier, and it uses God (∞) twice.

          1. GemlikeFlame

            Foo. Ancient Greeks thought God (perfection) was unity, but they never said which of God or zero won out when it came to division.I'll see your infinitesimals, Mr. Newton, and raise you an epsilon.

  8. Callyson

    Well, in fairness, it's not hard to see why the kid thinks the Texas government officials are working for The Beast.

  9. SayItWithWookies

    I say the girl's right — and since the whole "knowing where you are" thing is an evil plot perpetrated by the Antichrist, she should probably ditch her cell phone too, since that can be used to track her. Go ahead dear, it's for your own salvation.

  10. SorosBot

    The plan is working perfectly; this "Mark of the Beast" nonsense will distract the fools from the real truth, that the ID cards are actually the Death Eater's Dark Marks which secure the students' allegiance to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

  11. SoBeach

    Every school — hell, everyone everywhere — should have to accommodate every possible permutation of whack job fundamentalist craziness out there. As long as it's Jesus based whack job fundamentalist craziness.

  12. gullywompr

    Thankfully, we don't have to worry about this nutcase ever being granted access to any of our nation's classified facilities when she enters the working world later in life.

    See? There's a silver lining to every wingnut…

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      These are precisely the sort of nutters that Dumbya appointed, by the hundreds, to all the Federal agencies.

  13. Antispandex

    Wait, I thought Social Security numebrs were the…….or, I mean UPC marks, or…I forget, but it's not school ID's. I don't think. Now I'm confused.

  14. SmutBoffin

    You might ask, "Doesn't Satan have anything better to do than make sure that Little Jimmy/Susie is in Social Studies class?", but that is just what he wants you to think.

    Every student that watches a filmstrip/DVD about puberty, learns what a logarithm is, and then gets forced to run laps around the school track by a dull-eyed jock becomes another servant in Satan's Army of Darkness (TM).

  15. noodlesalad

    I never thought about it before, but having fundie parents could be really cool if you knew how to play your cards right.

    "I had to miss my curfew because I prayed and god said the rapture was about to happen and I didn't want to be driving."

    "Satan tempted me with this beer but after a six pack I was able to get him behind me."

    "They were teaching me evolution/science/anything in school so I had to play hooky for Jesus."

  16. CommieLibunatic

    So, what? Will a driver's license go against their beliefs on that dark day she hits the public streets?

    The urge to punch a minor out of soul-blackening rage is only overshadowed by the will of the Editrix.

    So… uh… I hope they lose in court. Let's leave it there.

  17. Dudleydidwrong

    There are so many stoopids in this story that it is hard to know where to start, but since it starts with Texas we know that it is going to be a Grade A Prime example of stoopid. (And I apologize to the Winkettes who are residents of the state, but you gotta admit that in general, the state is a hairball coughed up by a big cat.)

    1. NellCote71

      Hey, hey, hey. We have been out of the spotlight way too long these past few months. Florida, Arizona, the Carolinas . . . have all had their turn. Eyes on Texas, please.

  18. asterixaverni

    I wonder if this child knows there is a gps in her phone?

    Oh, who am I kidding. The poor thing lives in Texas – it's a miracle if she can read.

  19. FakaktaSouth

    I enjoy the humble brag tone of the father explaining that his daughter came up with this all on her own, based on what he had taught her. Look at how great it is, my daughter is completely Christarded all on her own, and conflates ease of use with dogmatic nonsense. Am I a great father or what? The self-righteousness is strong in this family. She should just stop going to school all together, she's obviously too fucking smart as it is.

    1. actor212

      Yea. I mean, had she come up with the obvious "invasion of privacy" argument based on what her dad taught her, I could understand being proud, but to teach your kid to be willfully ignert?


  20. a_pink_poodle

    I'm pretty sure the Bible says the Mark of the Beast will be placed on your forehead or right hand, not on a lanyard. Revelation 13:16… you stupid FUUUUUUCK!

    Sorry for that outburst… there's only so much frustration I can hold back the dam just bursts from one last wave of stupid.

    1. CommieLibunatic

      Hey, whether you're schooled at home, publicly, or privately, you're expected to read the fucking material.

    2. actor212

      It doesn't precisely say that, only that it will take the place of the tefillin, two things Jews do wear (a small black box and a small black ribbon) around their right arms and across their foreheads.

      1. Wile E. Quixote

        So if I don't wear one of those faggy little boxes like those hasadic dickheads wear I'm safe? Excellent.

  21. Botlrokit

    I have read about the possbility of misapplications of RFID technology (credit cards and passports come to mind…), but that's small and fixable, compared to the misapplication of the bible.

  22. BaldarTFlagass

    She's going to have a real dilemna to deal with when it comes time to get her driver's license.

  23. mavenmaven

    Now if wonkette was selling underwear (and full size pillows) with THAT picture on it, sales would skyrocket.

    1. Wile E. Quixote

      Well yes, as will be the tattoo over her breasts that says "R.I.P. Jesus Christ, born, 25 December, 0 AD. Died Easter, 33 AD."

        1. Wile E. Quixote

          Yeah, I forgot, Good Friday was when he died. Easter is when he rolled the stone away from his cave, came out, saw his shadow and went back inside because winter was going to be six weeks longer.

  24. snowpointsecret

    I just want to note that my 666th comment is right here, on an article about the devil's mark. Isn't it beautiful? Thanks Texas, you amused me for five seconds! Now get some brains so it never happens again.

  25. Callyson

    Also, OT alert:

    NRA Takes Down Facebook Page, Goes Silent on Twitter
    The Daily Dot noted on Friday that the Facebook page had turned into a hotbed of anti-gun sentiment in the wake of the shooting, which may be what prompted the NRA to take it down.

    Now I'm curious: how many of you good Wonketteers can take credit for this development?

    1. Pithaughn

      Not me this time, but if you read about some old fat guy self immolating in their lobby, you will notice that the blog of Pith goes silent. Hey it worked in Tunisia!

      1. Callyson

        Now, now, we all need to stay alive for what will undoubtedly be a long, hard slog……er, um, you know what I mean…

    2. TootsStansbury

      Is it due to shame or cowardice? I wish they would crawl under a rock never to be seen is heard from again. Unless it is in a court of law and they are being prosecuted as accessories ro murder, of course.

  26. Wile E. Quixote

    You know as fucked up as this case is it's probably the only way to stop fucked up policies like this where we're essentially lo-jacking all of our children to make life easier for lazy educational bureaucrats. Seriously, if you were to go to Texas and make a case against these IDs on privacy grounds or anything remotely rational you'd be laughed out of court. But bring in Jeebus and all of a sudden they'll start listening to you.

    1. finallyhappy

      As an older person who has seen family go senile- I personally want a chip implanted in me at some point. Later on when my family, caregiver or lockdown facility loses me, I want to be found before I end up frozen to death or dehydrated to the point of kidney failure(as has happened to wanderers).

    2. AlaskaGrrl

      As one of the "lazy" bureaucrats, I work pretty g*ddamned hard keeping track of the little buggers and you have no idea of the amount of time and energy it takes, jeebus or no jeebus.

      If your post was snark, well "ha ha", if not, go fuck yourself.

      1. Wile E. Quixote

        Hey, if you're the kind of stupid fucking educational bureaucrat who feels that chipping children and turning schools into a Panopticon is the solution to kids skipping class then you should go fuck yourself and find another job where you're not making school suck even more for these kids like the fucking shitbags in Texas.

  27. Botlrokit

    Things we learned this week about children and their educations:

    1) Kids should be make more empowered decisions about defeating Satan, and
    2) They need more guns in classrooms.

    1. anniegetyerfun

      "Hm, John B is "totes hungover", is he? Perhaps a night of drunken carousing with scantily clad females? Mark him down for another two years or so in my personal condo!," chuckled Satan as he browsed through his friends' timelines.

  28. justkillmenow

    How does having a card keep track students? Are they too stupid to give the card to a friend when they skip out of class? Oh, wait…Texas.

  29. Mumbletypeg

    Seems if they spent less time injecting Satan into these conversations some fundie thumpers might actually find themselves too busy being Christlike to hallucinate these devils poisoning the air they breathe.

    too busy being Christlike
    … ..

    haHA, I had you didn't I?? Any vision that far-fetched, the only person hallucinating here is *me*~

  30. Wile E. Quixote

    You know what I want to do? Go to school districts like this with gear that can clone RFIDs and make bank by selling kids cloned RFID cards. Don't want to go to school today? No problem, just have a friend bring a duped RFID tag to school and then pass it around among your friends. The teachers and administrators will all think you're there as long as you show up on the system and since no one bothers taking roll any more. Systems like this that are mandated by stupid government policies, sold by corrupt companies that are run by complete pieces of shit and who have no customers other than government agencies because what they sell is useless or repulsive and deployed by stupid and corrupt government agencies (which is all of them in the State of Texas) are the easiest ones to outwit.

    1. Rotundo_

      Hell, the school administration has probably already hacked the system for near perfect attendance without any external prompting. If you're corkscrew crooked enough to buy into a system like that, you certainly are more than likely going to game it from the inside so no one else can screw with it. Look for attendance at this high school to do quite well, albeit not perfectly, from launch to arrest for fraud.

  31. SorosBot

    To be fair, this, unlike telling employers that they can't dictate their employees' private lives based on their religious beliefs, is an actual encroachment on her religious freedom. They are incredibly beliefs, but the First Amendment probably does cover the crazy fundies' right not to use this ID here. The family should have gone to a decent organization that protects actual freedom like, say, the ACLU instead of a crazed wingnut evangelical legal organization though.

  32. rickmaci

    Why couldn't they just be satisfied with seeing the image of Mary on a tortilla like the rest of the Christonuttier of my people?

  33. jolpaj

    The child recognizes that the treatment of human beings as commodities, the pervasive bureaucratic impulse to count and manage them, is powerful and inhuman. She puts it into religious terms — of course she does, religious texts are a popular source of metaphor and poetry, and metaphor and poetry are sometimes necessary to stand outside of society a moment and view and critique its forms. She's simply using a different language. We should use this language to forge coalitions and understand one another.

  34. sewollef

    The Hernandezes….

    Is this in the Chicago Manual of Style's 17th Edition, Dok? I like it.

    It reads like, "The Hernan-disease". Which is kinda what they have isn't it. A fundamentalist disease.

  35. smellypossum

    The eyes of Satan are upon you
    All the live-long day…

    Actually, they aren't. Satan is just not that into you. Bless your little Texan heart.

  36. Blueb4sinrise

    ….Mark of the Beast is not something you can wear on a lanyard…

    Wonkette Bazaar Team, GET ON IT!!!!

  37. E_Tx_Pines

    Guyz, I think we are missing a good plan here –

    Local Authoritarians want to make you do something you don't like?

    Make a religious case out of it – odds are good you'll get your way.

  38. NDeeeZ

    I love how "mark of the beast" is the reason for not wearing the chip; when the school offers to provide her a chipless ID, she refuses cuz "Hey–suddenly I realize that acting like a brainwashed teenager is bringing me fame and attention!"

  39. AlaskaGrrl

    The only drawback to this whole electronic attendance thing is that it replaces actual butts in the seat, with virtual butts in the seat. Eventually there will be only six students showing up for school, each wearing a hundred or so id badges around their neck. Attendance will be at an all time high, those kids, other than having their posture ruined by the weight of the many tags about thier neck, will get individualized instruction. Win win!

  40. hagajim

    I'd have loved a damn ID card with an RFID chip. I'd have stuck the damn thing in someone in the pocket of one of my classmates and gone to coffee…sheesh, kids these days are soooo dumb.

  41. Pat_Pending

    This is much better than bar codes tattooed on the back of our necks, but it doesn't go far enough. We need to be microchipped!

  42. Tommmcatt_Again

    Dang it! Where is the tentacle pron? I demand tentacle pron if you insist on using images like that!

  43. Jus_Wonderin

    Not particularly to tie last week to this week in public education but wouldn't she want someone to know where she is at her school….these days being what they are??

    1. shelwood46

      Yeah, I mean, if they are actually doing the scans by classroom and having the teachers verify, as an emergency responder, I can see this could be quite useful. And for those worried this is tracking the kids around school like the magical map in Harry Potter, no, that would be super expensive. We firefighters do have that technology built into our PASS (personal accountability) alarms, which triangulates our position in real time, and it runs, minimum, $400/person.

  44. Wile E. Quixote

    I went to school with this insane Jesus Squeezer who believed that everyone except the people who went to his church and a few others were all going to Hell and that the Rapture was going to happen. Brett was explaining his theology to me one day and as I recall the Mormons were all going to go to Hell because they were really worshipping the demon Baal and because the Book of Mormon and The Pearl of Great Price in direct violation of Revelation: 22-18/19 which states:

    “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
    “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”

    and thus prohibits unauthorized sequels to the Bible. Who knew that God was so touchy about IP and branding? Catholics were going to go to Hell because they worshipped the Virgin Mary and not Jesus, Methodists were going to go to Hell because they were Methodists (the exact theological underpinnings of why the Methodists were damned was unclear, but damned they clearly were). Lutherans and Presbyterians would get into Heaven, but not into any of the good parts where Brett's fellow congregationalists were. If Heaven was like Las Vegas then Lutherans, Presbyterians and the other protestant denominations were relegated to staying at the Golden Nugget while the folks who went to Brett's church got to stay at the Bellagio and the Excalibur. Sure, if you're at the Golden Nugget you're in Vegas, but Fremont Street isn't the Strip. Listening to all of this was a real revelation (no pun intended) to me about how completely fucking insane fundamentalist Christians are.

    And Brett was convinced that the Rapture was right around the corner and that Satan was already putting it in place. As an example he told me that all credit cards had the mark of the beast on them and that if you took your credit card number and divided it by another number that you would end up with the number of the beast. Of course the fact that it is possible to show, for any integer X, that there is another number, Y, that when divided into X will yield 666, was lost on Brett, or perhaps it was more proof of the existence of Satan, I can't recall.

    The first class of the day, and the only class I shared with Brett, was concert choir. One day me and a couple of friends came up with what we thought was a great idea: we would put bright red 666s on our foreheads and then tell Brett that he needed to report to the principal's office to get his mark and that we were to bring him there. At first we thought this was hilarious, then we realized that it probably wouldn't be hilarious because Brett was fucking insane and that this would send his crazy ass completely around the bend.

    1. SuspectedDemocrat

      It probably would have sent him round the bend, but I still think it's hilarious. Sounds like we hung out with the same friends in high school.

  45. TribecaMike

    I refuse to get a driver's license because, according to the sixties sitcom "My Mother The Car," automobiles are reincarnations of dead people.

  46. mustangsavvy

    "We are pretty sure that the Mark of the Beast is not something you can wear on a lanyard…."

    Come on, Wonkers. You gotta give The Beast something to work with! Do you even KNOW how much digital Marks of the Beast even COST nowadays, per head?!?!?! Geez you Liberals are just out of touch. The Beast Inc is TRYING to create jobs and cut costs at the same time, there's gonna HAVE to be some sacrifices. So they track the kiddos with manual Marks of the Beast (patent pending) rather than digital – but hey, with that OBAMACARE coming along, how do you expect The Beast Inc to even compete in the Apocalypse industry without some smart expense cuts? Those consultancy fees to Mitt Romney don't pay themselves you know! I mean, seriously, Wonkers. Bad form etc.

  47. Biel_ze_Bubba

    Interesting pic. Am I the only one wondering what owns all those pink tentacles … and what, exactly, it's up to back there?

  48. sundaytrucker

    Stupid parents, the mark of the beast is the number wheel at the deli counter. That's why I just cut in front like a Christian.

  49. ttommyunger

    At least one can be assured that Pastor John Hagee will never be caught in bed with a male hooker. He is so physically repulsive there isn't enough money in the world for him to get laid by animal, vegetable or mineral. Also a bloviating windbag.

  50. Negropolis

    Mark of the Beasts of the Southern Wild is the name of my new band.

    But, no, really, watch Beasts of the Southern Wild, and fuck the Golden Globes for not recognizing anything about it.

    BTW, I never saw the plural for Hernandez in print, before. Nearly through me for a loop.

Comments are closed.