Pledge of Allegiance
A. How many of you really look forward to saying the pledge of allegiance?
B. Controversy, many court cases
A. Violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
1. Jehovah's Witnesses a group whose beliefs preclude swearing loyalty to any power
lesser than God.
2. 1940 Supreme Court case Minersville School District vs. Gobitis held that a school
district's interest in promoting national unity permitted it to require Jehovah's Witness
students to recite the Pledge along with their classmates.
3. Unpopular decision in the press, led to a rash of mob violence and intimidation
against Jehovah's Witnesses; three years later in West Virginia State Board of
Education vs. Barnette, the Court reversed itself, voting 6-3 to forbid a school from
requiring the Pledge.
4. As a result, since 1943 public schools have been disallowed from punishing students
for not reciting the Pledge. Nonetheless, it remains taught to and expected of
children in many schools, as the Court leaves many details in such matters up to
respective state governments.
B. The Pledge promotes a socialist state
1. Francis Bellamy, the author of the Pledge, was a former Baptist minister who
preached that Jesus was a socialist. He was ideologically allied with his cousin,
Edward Bellamy, one of the most renowned socialists of the late 19th century.
2. Provided the opportunity to write a pledge to the American flag in a campaign to sell
flags to public schools
3. Turned to the words and principles of socialism. If American youth could to be taught
“loyalty to the State”, it would pave the way for the socialist utopia that Edward
Bellamy had described.
4. The central idea of “one nation” in the pledge was especially important for achieving
his vision of the kind of consolidated, monopoly government necessary for a
socialism to be adopted.
C. The mandatory recital of what amounts to an oath, particularly by children, led by
government employees in public schools, is a form of compulsory speech, amounting to
indoctrination, that is the antithesis of the liberty the flag itself represents.
1. Justices Black and Douglas wrote in a concurring opinion, "Words uttered under
coercion are proof of loyalty to nothing but self-interest. Love of country must spring
from willing hearts and free minds, inspired by a fair administration of wise laws
enacted by the people's elected representatives within the bounds of express
A. Violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, incompatible with democracy
and freedom, and pledges of allegiance are features of totalitarian states like Nazi