Texas Public School Teacher Sees ‘Mark of Beast’ in Fingerprinting Mandate

November 6, 2009
Citing her religious beliefs, a Texas public school teacher is fighting a state law that requires teachers to be fingerprinted. Pam McLaurin, a kindergarten teacher in the Big Sandy Independent School District outside Houston, said that fingerprinting represents a sign of the beast, a reference to the Bible's book of Revelation.

Revelation states that people who worship "the beast and his image and receives his mark on his forehead or on his right hand," shall draw God's wrath. McLaurin's attorney says the law, which could prompt the teacher's dismissal, violates her First Amendment free exercise of religion right. The attorney, Scott Skelton, told Wired that McLaurin firmly believes that computerized fingerprinting is the mark of the beast referenced in Revelation. "This law prohibits the free exercise of her religion," he told Wired.

The Texas Education Agency has told Big Sandy school officials that McLaurin would be barred from teaching if she doesn't get fingerprinted. Wired notes that McLaurin's lawsuit is similar to one lodged by a group of Michigan farmers against a state requirement to tag livestock with RFID chips. The group claims the tagging would represent a demonic mark.

George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley lightly examines McLaurin's lawsuit on his blog. He notes:

Fingerprinting does not leave a mark on your hand or forehead. It leaves it on a piece of paper that is then digitized. Under this bizarre interpretation, any ink, lotion, or impression left by McLaurin's fingers could constitute a sign of the Beast. However, she is willing to take a photo and presumably a optic scanner or other imagining picture. Thus, what if the state simply takes a picture of her fingerprints directly on a digitized scanner? How is that different from asking her to take a high-resolution picture?