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The modern religious objection to mandatory flag salute in America: a history and evaluation.

A bill came before the Senate in 1995 that was designed to "protect" the American flag. The measure failed to pass, but for many Americans, the attempt was only the most recent episode in a long and tragic story of flag protectionism which belies what the flag stands for. One part of this story, a practice called pledging allegiance to the American flag, has been part of American school ritual for decades.(1) Few Americans object to this exercise; most persons willingly participate because they see it as purposeful in instilling a sense of loyalty and devotion to their country. Some religious groups, though, strongly object to taking part. These include the Jehovah's Witnesses,(2) some Mennonite groups,(3) the Jehovites, the Elijah Voice Society, the Church of God, the Amish, the Christadelphians, and the Molokans.(4) The Jehovah's Witnesses (often called Witnesses) claim American adherents of almost 2 million,(5) the Christadelphians around 5,000,(6) Mennonites about 240,000,(7) the Amish close to 79,000, and the Jehovites over 600.(8)

Hence, a significant number, but less than 1 percent of the American population, claim membership in an objecting religion. This essay explores the history and reasons why these groups have adopted a non-saluting position and includes a review of the Supreme Court case which established that public schools could not require its students to salute the flag.

The History Of Flag Saluting In America

On 14 June 1779, the Continental Congress gave birth to the American flag by adopting the following resolution: "Be it adopted that the flag of the United States shall bear thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation."(9) In January 1794, after the admission of Kentucky and Vermont to the Union, two new stars and stripes were added. Because it was apparent even then that other new states would likely be added, Congress passed a resolution on 4 July 1818 providing that the stripes should remain at thirteen in honor of the original thirteen states, and each new state would be represented by another star only. With the addition of New Mexico and Arizona in 1912, the stars' number reached forty-eight. On 3 January 1959, the admission of Alaska brought the number to forty-nine. When Hawaii became a state on 21 August 1959, it reached the present level of fifty.(10)

For much of American history, the flag was used primarily in conjunction with military activities. It was only in 1916 when President Wilson proclaimed 14 June "Flag Day" that the flag officially became part of civilian life. The Pledge of Allegiance itself actually dates back only to 1892.(11) Although the dispute over the Pledge's authorship has never been settled, it can probably be attributed to two men, Francis Bellamy and James B. Upham. In 1923, the original words "my flag" in the Pledge were changed to "the flag of the United States," and in 1924 the words "of America" were added.

In the early 1890s, Youth's Companion Magazine, as part of a campaign designed to arouse patriotism in the country's youth, set as a goal that an American flag should wave "on or near all public schools."(12) The editors also conceived the idea of establishing 12 October 1892, and each 12 October thereafter, a national holiday called "Columbus Day." The plan was later officially endorsed by the National Education Association of Superintendents (now the American Association of School Administrators) at their February 1892 convention in Brooklyn. This convention was also responsible for the custom requiring school children to recite in unison the Pledge of Allegiance. As a result of their efforts, the flag salute requirement spread rapidly. In 1907, Kansas made the flag salute compulsory for al public school children, and similar resolutions were soon passed in hundreds of school districts.(13)

Early Opposition To The Flag Salute

The first recorded incident of salute refusal in American schools in this century occurred in 1918. Ora Troyer, a Mennonite, was prosecuted in West Liberty, Ohio, because his daughter had been repeatedly sent home for refusing to participate in the school's flag salute ceremony.(14) Troyer appealed to the Logan Court of Common Pleas which ruled against him. The judge denounced Troyer's position, mating: "the child was told by the defendant not to salute . . . such conduct on the part of our citizens is not conscionable. . . ." In the same year, a public school teacher, this time a Church of God member, was fired in Sarpy Country, Nebraska for refusing to salute.(15)

On 8 September 1925, Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Tremain, members of the Elijah Voice Society Church, withdrew their nine-year-old son, Russell, from school after the authorities refused to excuse him from participating in the school's flag exercises. Eight days later, Mr. Tremain was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was convicted and served eight days in jail in lieu of a $25 fine. While Mr. Tremain was still in jail, Russell was removed from his parents' home and placed in the state children's home. On 4 June 1926, Juvenile Court Judge Brown awarded the home permanent custody of the boy, commenting that the parents requesting their son not to salute placed their "child in danger of growing up to lead an idle, dissolute immoral life."(16) Soon some fifty Jehovites were expelled for non-saluting, and appeals to the county superintendent and state board of education proved fruitless.(17) The issue was resolved only when certain members of the local board moved away; when the Jehovites returned to school the next fall they were not required to salute.

One of the lesser known non-saluting sects is the Molokans, a Russian Orthodox Church splinter group founded by Simeon Uklein, the son-in-law of a prominent Dukhobor leader.(18) Most were forced to flee from the Trans-Caucasia area of Russia, and they settled in California between 1905 and 1907. Their objections are basically the same as most other non-saluting sects, and include primarily false worship concerns and an attempt to avoid excess involvement in secular society.

The Jehovites, or Children of Israel, is another small sect which views the salute and similar ceremonies as religious idolatry; thus, their reasons are identical to the Jehovah's Witnesses (discussed below), only more extreme. The members of the Elijah Voice Society refuse to salute for similar reasons, but also stress, like the Witnesses, that they are not under the authority of any earthly government and view acts such as saluting to be seditious. The Elijah Voice Society also objects to the ceremony's militaristic aspects.

Most of the various Mennonite denominations are conditional non-saluters, viewing saluting as acceptable only if it is clearly divorced from its military implications. Many of the numerous Mennonite saluting cases occurred in the schools before the 1940s, and at this time most Mennonite churches accepted the leaders' ruling, namely that

With regard to the pledge of allegiance, we can freely subscribe to its provisions so long as its does not compromise our conscientious scruples against war and militarism. . . . As to the flag salute, we feel that there are implications which may involve the violation of principles such as bestowing personal honor upon impersonal objects in violation of the God-given conscience. We respectfully plead deference to such . . . on the grounds of the inviolate right to liberty of conscience in matters of worship. We counsel our members to follow the leading of their conscience, based upon the Word of God.(19)

After the Supreme Court ruled in 1940 in the Gobitis case that flag saluting was not a military or idolatrous gesture, most (but not all) Mennonite authorities concluded that it would not be wrong to salute.(20) Most Mennonites' position today is that the ceremony is a non-religious act signifying respect for the state. Military salutes, though, are a different matter and are still condemned. This issue occasionally surfaces among Mennonites, such as it did, for example, during the Vietnam War, and many Mennonites still elect not to salute.(21)

In the years leading up to the Gobitis case, of the sects which objected to the ceremony, only the Witnesses' position became the focus of national attention. Children of Christadelphian or Mennonite parents usually managed to avoid making an issue of their refusal--teachers usually assigned the non-saluters to other activities during the flag salute observance.(22) The Witnesses, though, who were far more vocal and adamant in their specific demands, forced the flag issue to became a national problem. For this reason, this review will concentrate on this group, even though most of the Witnesses' objections are similar to those voiced by other groups. It was only after 1937 that conflicts existed between their religious beliefs and the flag salute practice.(23)

The Victims

Tragically, those most often hurt by the flag salute issue were the children, innocent victims often caught between the rigid demands of their parents and the school authorities.(24) The Witnesses' religious authorities pressured the children through the parents to not salute, and the children s' teachers, peers, the school boards, and the government typically pressured them to disobey both their parents and conscience in order to salute. Unfortunately, both sides often showed a callous disregard for the children who suffered the most from what essentially were adult confrontations. The authorities in the United States, Canada, and other countries were often ruthless in their efforts to force compliance.(25)

In most cases, the children sincerely objected to saluting even though they were often acting largely in response to their home training. Persons raised in a non-saluting faith often firmly believed that what their parents taught them about saluting was true, namely that the act is a gross sin against God which could result in their everlasting destruction.(26) An indication of the seriousness with which the Witnesses regard saluting is found in their official magazine, which teaches that Jehovah's Witnesses are

in a covenant to do the will of God and they sincerely and conscientiously believe that if they break that covenant they must suffer complete loss of life. Neither the government of . . . United States, nor any other . . . can give [everlasting] life to man. . . . Respondents thus sincerely believing [they] have no alternative. If they would live they must obey God, [and not salute] because disobeying means their destruction.(27)

This belief may seem foreign to many, but if a child's parents, friends, and relatives are all actively involved in a religion which teaches that saluting is wrong, this view will often become very much a part of the child's belief structure. In the minds of many children, forcing one who firmly believes that to salute is a gross sin before God is similar to forcing an adult to murder his mother. Even without direct pressure, this situation would be very traumatic for most children. Author Barbara Harrison explained what it was like to grow up a "non-saluter," noting that she spent

a lot of time in the offices of principals . . . explaining why I didn't salute the Hag and the Witnesses, admonition not to "make friends with the world" was, for me almost entirely gratuitous: very few children wanted to make friends with me. Teachers frequently singled me out for attention. The nicest regarded me with a mixture of admiration and pity, the coarsest treated me with frank and meddlesome curiosity, they all tried to change me. I was a challenge. . . . I was almost always alone. I always had to be assigned a partner for school activities. In high school, walking down the corridor between classes was an agony repeated every forty-five minutes because nobody ever walked with me. I don't think anyone knew I suffered, I appeared remote and self-contained . . . the other children reacted self-preservatively by scorning my difference and my alien behavior, [and] I hated it. Everything commonplace enthralled me: girls' linking pinkies with other girls in easy friendship, sharing sodas and cupcakes in the lunchroom, it all seemed remarkable and unattainable. Other girls were famous for playing Chopin Polonaises, or being good at volleyball, or knowing about sex; I was notorious for not saluting the flag. I had a seventh-grade teacher who cultivated me as if I were an exotic flower; but when I became friendly with another girl in her class, she put an end to the friendship by telling the girl's mother that I was trying to convert her (I was) and that I was a pernicious influence. I learned to fear betrayal. The simple act of going to a theater or to a ball game was filled with dreaded expectation, because the national anthem might be played, the flag saluted. . . . I could never expect not to be different from other people.(28)

The situation above became extremely common, and often involved not only psychological but also often physical violence. The violence typical of the 1940s is seen in the following accounts:

At Grindstone, Pennsylvania, Stanley Brachna, aged twelve, was knocked around, thrown against a desk, and forced to salute the flag against his will. At Nemacolin, Pennsylvania, Louis Wilkovich, aged eleven, was whipped. At New Ringgold, Pennsylvania, Paul Jones, aged ten, was forced to stand all day. At Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, Anna Prinos, aged thirteen, was choked and whipped until great welts appeared on her back. The parent brought court action against the teacher unsuccessfully. There, too, Timothy Geroger, aged eleven, carried marks of beating for a week, and became hysterical. Grace Sandstrom was expelled from one school, and her parents charged with preventing her attendance. Sent to another school, she was accepted, but when the school was deluged with phone calls protesting her acceptance, she was told to leave. When her case came to court, despite the legal assistance given by the,American Civil Liberties Union, the jury unanimously found her guilty of misconduct.(29)

Most children are anxious to obey their teachers and strive hard to please their peers. Thus, those who object to saluting the flag will usually find abstaining difficult. Few children want to anger their teachers or be looked down upon and mocked by their peers. Witnesses already see themselves as "different," a self-image which only compounds their problems.(30) Anxious for peer approval, they find it difficult to display behavior which causes even greater alienation. Their religious beliefs, though, are in most cases strong enough that they willingly sacrifice social acceptance, and often their social adjustment, in order not to act against them. Yet they typically feel extreme conflict when caught between saluting and upsetting both their conscience and their parents, or not saluting and upsetting their peers and teachers.

Even if, as was more common after the 1950s, they were not physically abused, they still felt enormous psychological pressure. One law professor said he grew up fearing the United States fla. I dreaded the start of each school day when everyone in the class would stand and pledge allegiance to the symbol of our country. Everyone except me. Raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, I could not salute the flag with the rest of my classmates for religious reasons . . . the pressure to conform was searing. I was aware that the U.S. Supreme Court had said that I had a right not to pledge allegiance to the flag. But in a way, secretly, I wished that it had not so decided. Then, perhaps, I would not have had to stand out as being so completely different from my classmates.(31)

In spite of the fact that they often fully believed saluting was "wrong," they also usually found it difficult to coherently and appropriately reply to a teacher's questions as to their reasons for refusal. Many children were spared this trauma by having their parents discuss their concerns with their teachers before the issue arose. Yet many children, even decades after the Supreme Court ruled in their favor, were still being forced to act against their will. And this problem, even if solved for one school year, was sometimes confronted each succeeding year when the student was promoted. And the flag salute issue is still a problem for many children today, although admittedly usually not in the same way that it was during the 1930s and 1940s.(32)

Because the non-saluting children and their parents are clearly advocating a minority view, some self-doubt about their position probably exists. Their sensitivity to this often causes some irrationality and defensiveness which in turn is often misinterpreted by teachers and school boards. In addition, when confronted with the issue, many children are torn by ambivalence which may produce some undesirable behavior. Even if they have no doubts about the validity of the Witness teaching that saluting the flag is a moral affront to God which will result in their everlasting destruction (which is what most non-saluting sects teach), they must still deal with the conflicts and pressures from both their parents and the school. Saluting means facing the disapproval (and probably the punishment, which can be severe) of parents and religious leaders.

While the states' reaction to saluters can be savage, the reaction of the sect against saluters can be vicious as well. Christadelphians, Jehovah Witnesses, Reformed Mennonites, and others practice what is called disfellowshipping. This involves expelling persons from the church who violate certain church rules. The church believes the person so expelled is "lost" in the eyes of God, and because of the fear of "corrupting" members in good standing (and often even those in one's own family if they are also members), they cannot associate with such a person. Generally, disfellowshipped persons are forbidden to speak to any church member in good standing, whether necessary or not.(33) Among the Witnesses this rule, although relaxed for a few years, is now held to tenaciously.(34 )Disfellowshipped persons are now viewed with utter contempt, even to the extent that one in this condition is considered dead.(35)

This is a very difficult state for many people to endure, especially youngsters. Many religious sects are unequivocal in their absolute condemnation of anyone who violates church rules.(36) Disfellowshipping not uncommonly results in suicide, partially because of the extreme state of despondency which it can produce.(37) The sect member's most important friends (and often their only friends) are their fellow religionists, and consequently disfellowshipping may cut them off from their entire social world. As most disfellowshipped persons still feel a very strong in-group attachment, they find it difficult to associate with outsiders. Even former members possess a great deal of hostility toward non-Witnesses, who are often believed to be "of the world" and "sinners displeasing God."(38) This very strong in-group, out-group demarcation exists among most of the non-saluting sects.

If the child obeys his parents and the dictates of his religion and does not salute, he likely will incur the wrath (or at least disapproval) of his teachers and peers, persons who are in most cases members of his out-group anyway. As some hostility normally exists between teachers and students, obeying one's parents often is the course of least resistance. The schools' response (especially in the 1940s) was often openly irrational and inhumane.(39) Spanking, public ridicule, criticism of the child's belief, forcing the child to salute the flag by manhandling or expelling him from school, sometimes even placing resistors in a reform school or other such measures, all occurred as a result of a child obeying his parents.(40) Ironically, these measures typically served primarily to reinforce and solidify the children's beliefs, causing them to be even more determined to defiantly stand up for what they had been taught was right. The extent to which force is unsuccessful was demonstrated in Nazi Germany and the communist countries where Witnesses were repeatedly put to death for refusing to salute, yet most did not compromise.(41) If most members of the non-saluting sects remained steadfast even under the threat of death, one can hardly expect that expulsion from school or corporal punishment would successfully force conformity.

An example of the reaction to non-saluting was a 1940s newspaper article by a Mr. Larson which carried the bold headline, "Salute the Flag or Get Out."(42) Its entire first page was devoted to the argument that persons who refuse to salute should be forced out of the country. The irony of the author's reason for this view--that because anyone who refuses to salute does not deserve to live in a country where people have as many freedoms as they do in America--evidently never occurred to Larson. This attitude is why refusing to salute caused Witnesses to be repeatedly mobbed, tarred and feathered, and driven out of towns to a degree "unparalled in American history since the attacks on the Mormons."(43) According to the ACLU:

Not since the persecution of the Mormons years ago has any religious minority been so bitterly and generally attacked as members of Jehovah's Witnesses--particularly in the spring and summer of 1940. . . . Documents filed with the Department of Justice by attorneys for Jehovah's Witnesses and the American Civil Liberties Union showed over three hundred and thirty-five instances of mob violence in forty-four states during 1940, involving one thousand, four hundred and eighty-eight men, women and children.(44)

The reason for this onslaught was "chiefly because of their [Witnesses] position on flag saluting, [which was] well advertised by their widespread distribution of the 29 May 1940 issue" of their magazine Consolation.(45) According to the ACLU, "except on the sole issue of flag saluting, the attitude of Jehovah's Witnesses toward governments is to obey every `righteous' law." It is ironic that violence ranging in severity from name-calling to outright murder (some were blinded, castrated, or maimed for life) was used to force others to recite a pledge which declared that America was a land of liberty and justice for all!(46) The very pledge they were being forced to repeat, if practiced, would rule out forcing its recitation. And most objectors were moral persons whose conscience refused to let them recite words which they knew full well were simply not true.(47)

American editors, high government officials, and politicians almost unanimously opposed this outbreak of violence, much of which occurred following the Gobitis decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that it is constitutional to punish a student for refusing to salute the American flag.(48) A study of 171 of the largest newspapers of the time found that only "three or four editorials condoned the Supreme Court's blessing of this barbary."(49) Even most Catholic writers (who were typically very critical of Witnesses, partly because of the Watchtower Society's extreme anti-Catholicism), felt that saluting should be up to one's conscience.(50) Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter felt that the unruly activities by local authorities as a result of the Gobitis case were "stupid, unnecessary and offensive," but fell within their legal power.(51) Partially because of the massive outbreak of violence against Witnesses, in 1943 the Supreme Court voted 6 to 3 to reverse its previous ruling.(52)


To most outsiders, the rationale for the non-salute position given by the Christadelphians, Witnesses, and others is based almost totally on a few misused biblical references. Yet, this view is an important part of the total belief structure of non-saluters.(53) The main scriptural support is from the Ten Commandments, namely Exodus 20:4, which reads: "You must not make for yourselves a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above, or that is on the earth underneath or that is in the waters under the earth."(54) These sects understand these words to mean that humans are not to bow down to anything physical, nor is any act of obeisance to be rendered to any symbol including a "salute or other act of reverence."(55) Saluting is condemned as "worshiping" forbidden objects because the American flag includes stars which are objects "in the heavens" that are not to be worshiped.(56)

Most denominations teach that this Scripture refers primarily to bowing down to false religious gods (the statue of Buddha, for instance) and not saluting a national symbol such as a flag. Saluting is not "worshiping," they feel, only paying an act of respect similar to taking a loyalty oath; a marriage vow, or swearing on the Bible that one will not lie in court. Interestingly, all of these acts are permitted by both Witnesses and Christadelphians, but not by some Mennonite groups. Aside from Exodus 20:4, most Bible scholars interpret differently the Scriptures which are used to defend a non-saluting view. An anti-salute stand requires both a literalist view of Scripture and a non-saluting tradition. Consulting the official journals of these sects helps one to understand the reasons for non-saluting. As the Watchtower concluded: To many persons the saluting of a national flag means nothing. To . . . [The Jehovah's Witnesses] it means much. To such person `sovereignty' means the supreme authority or power. Many persons believe that `the higher powers' mentioned in the Bible at Romans thirteen, means the Sovereign State but to the . . . [Jehovah's Witnesses], this means only Jehovah God and Christ Jesus . . . to which al] must be subject.(57)

Ironically, the Witnesses recently altered their interpretation of this passage to agree with the mainline churches. They now teach that the "higher powers" of Romans 13 refer to the states' authority and not the Watchtower organization as they formerly taught.(58) The Witnesses still teach that one should obey the teachings of the Watchtower organization over and above the state regardless of the rationale behind the command. Their concern is with relative allegiance, and they teach that the Watchtower's rules are above all others without exception.(59) This is true whether or not the teaching can be adequately justified (although the Watchtower most often attempts to justify its position).(60)

As an example of this effort, the Watchtower quoted the Encyclopedia Britannica,(61) which states that "the flag, like the cross, is sacred . . . the rules and regulations relative to the human attitude toward national standards use strong, expressive words, as `service to the flag'." The writer used Webster's definitions for "reverence," "devotion," and similar words that the Britannica quote used, concluding that saluting is "a form of prayer or worship." Support from secular sources for their teaching that saluting is a form of worship (even though it is not defined as such by most saluters) reinforces their basic positional--though it does not rest on these "proofs." As a result of their concern that all of one's religious devotion be reserved only for the Creator (the non-saluting sects all stress that it interferes with "exclusive devotion" to God), they avoid in any way even a hint of worshiping something else. The article concluded that:

It appears from the recognized lexicographers that saluting the flag is a religious formalism. According to the Bible there cannot be the slightest doubt about it, because by such salute there is bestowed upon the image or thing, reverence, devotion, and a form of prayer or worship, and which thing or image or that which it represents is regarded as sacred.(62)

This form of reasoning, though, is not why the Witnesses refuse to salute the flag but is an attempt to justify their practice, which is based largely on an established comprehensive belief system. The Watchtower uses religious teaching to require that Witnesses

believe that saluting the flag is a violation of His [Gods] law. Any willful disobedience to the divine law to them means complete or eternal destruction. `For Moses truly said unto the fathers . . . every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.'(63)

To offset criticism, the Watchtower adds that these beliefs are "not their interpretation of God's law," because "Jehovah God interprets His own law and records the meaning thereof." They believe that the Bible cannot "mistakenly believe that saluting the flag is religious." Several biblical precedents are used to show that Witnesses have a "a clear basis for their belief and action." An example cited is Mordecai's refusal to bow down to Haman which was contrary to the instructions of his totalitarian ruler.(64) Refusing to bow down to a government official could be judged as similar to refusing to salute a flag, but clear differences exist. Mordecai's refusal was an attempt to avoid involving himself in a false religious ceremony, because bowing down to a representative of the emperor of Persia could be interpreted as giving obeisance to a person who opposed God and was thus condemned.

A prime example used to support non-saluting is the biblical account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego, the three Hebrews whom the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar tried to force to bow down to an "image" that he had constructed. According to the biblical account, they were cast into a "fiery furnace" because of this refusal.(65) A similar objection as found in this account is utilized by the non-saluting sects, i.e., the ruler claims to be a god and this image represents him. Bowing down to it would, therefore, be paying homage to what the three Hebrews saw as an image of a false god. The pro-saluters argue that neither the American state nor the president claims to be a god, and thus saluting is not strictly comparable to bowing down to a god, even though some groups may interpret it as such.

Historically, because of the above scriptural references, the nonsaluting position did at times develop in certain sects. The Anabaptists, Waldenses, Lollards, and other groups all held similar non-saluting beliefs. In addition, evidence exists that many of the early Christians and Quakers took a stand similar to the non-saluting sects.(66) One example is that of the early Christians refusing to burn a pinch of incense for the emperor. The saluters argue that, because the emperor was seen as a god, burning incense would be more objectionable.(67) Other famous cases that have a bearing on a non-saluting stand include William Tell's refusal to bow down to the emperor's hat which was placed on a pole for that purpose.


Many reasons, aside from the supposed scriptural ones, could be given to support a non-saluting position. They may sound plausible, but it cannot be "proven" that they are the actual basis for a religion adopting a non-saluting stand. Especially in the religious area, myriads of beliefs exist which can be supported at least in the minds of believers. These include the salvation requirement that one speak in tongues (glossolalia), practice foot washing, refuse medical treatment, or make annual pilgrimages to various holy cities.(68) Excellent "reasons" can be given for all of these beliefs, but most people do not practice them. The real reason that a particular sect holds a belief such as refusing to salute the flag is often different from the ones stated. Various contingencies involved in the religion's development are critical in developing opposition to a particular behavior. Doctrine slowly solidifies, and, regardless of how it originates, the reasons for its origin are somewhat unimportant for its maintenance.

Some feel that part of the reason for non-saluting, at least with the Witnesses, may involve what is known in theology as a works salvation. Most of the non-saluting groups emphasize personal conduct--especially that related to one's relationship with God. Being very concerned about worship, they carefully scrutinize the Scriptures--not necessarily to understand the principles, background, history, or various possible interpretations--but to learn what the believer must do (emphasizing works) to earn God's favor.(69) Thus, specific acts of conduct are carefully examined.

Secondly, non-saluting groups generally disregard the temporal system of things as an impediment to their primary concern, their relationship to God. For these reasons, they tend to disregard many of life's everyday concerns and concentrate almost exclusively on what they must do to earn God's favor. Nonreligious persons may focus on such things as taxes or how public schools are functioning, but many highly religious persons tend to be "other-worldly" and less concerned with these and other mundane issues.

Focusing on "other-worldly" things, meaning God's salvation requirements, causes people not to indulge in behaviors even if a slight objection to them exists. These people view such acts as flag saluting largely as an outsider, and preoccupation with religious matters causes them to view most temporal affairs superficially or casually. Thus it is easy to reject these behaviors because they are often not fundamentally important.


Opposition to the salute did not begin until 1935, or about fifty-six years after the Watchtower Society was founded by C.T. Russell in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, in 1879.(70) Until 1935, most Witnesses saluted the flag without much question as to its propriety, and, if objections surfaced, few persons evidently made it an issue. This topic was researched by the Watchtower only when Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy forced their subjects to salute either the Fuhrer or an image of him.(71) This development caused the Witnesses in these countries to examine the situation. A person extremely concerned about religious issues and one's proper devotion to God would probably at least question the propriety of this act.

The Witness leadership eventually concluded that saluting Hitler was morally wrong. They were then forced to ask, "If it is not proper to salute Hitler, would it be proper to salute his flag? And if it was wrong to salute his flag, what about the American flag?" To be consistent, the Watchtower ruled that total neutrality requires not saluting any emperor, ruler, or king, nor the flag of any nation, America's included. If it was wrong to salute Hitler and his flag, it was likewise wrong to salute Roosevelt and "his" flag, especially given the similarities in the act of saluting cloth symbols.(72) One might object to saluting Hitler on the grounds of disapproval of his government; and it might seem that it would not be wrong to salute the American flag if one approved of the current government. The Watchtower, though, was not concerned with judgments regarding the quality of governments but with consistently applying their religious principles. According to their official history, the refusal to salute "had its beginning in Germany in 1932 when Hitler sought to regiment the people in continental Europe by enforcing compulsory flag salute of his Swastika. This issue struck at the foundation of Jehovah's Witnesses' allegiance to their Supreme Sovereign, Jehovah God. It swept into the United States and Canada, here zealous patriots . . . seized upon it . . . [by organizing] Flag salute ceremonies . . . in the schools."(73)

The Watchtower first "officially" condemned saluting on 3 June 1935, during a question-and-answer meeting at their five-day-long Washington, D.C convention. Watchtower President J.F. Rutherford stated in answer to a flag salute question that the act displayed unfaithfulness to God. Shortly thereafter, on 20 September 1935, the first incident of many occurred in the seven-year legal struggle of Witnesses to not salute. This incident and many others were widely publicized throughout the United States and much of the rest of the world. After the 1935 oral pronouncement, statements against saluting became stronger. In the 1936 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, the editor stated that for those who "know and serve God . . . saluting of any flag . . . constituted the breaking" of God's law so serious that death is the appropriate punishment. The main reason was that their loyalty was first to the Watchtower which they believe was God's organization, then to their family, and, finally, to their government and other secular institutions.(74)

One of the first Witness flag salute incidents involved a thirteen-year-old school girl by the name of Anna Prinos. The incident, which took place in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania during the week of 4 November 1935, illustrates the treatment often handed out to Witnesses for their non-saluting stand.

Anna Prinos (Teacher Ruth Aiken . . . daughter of a Presbyterian minister) . . . was whipped with a stick about 3 by 24 inches by 1 1/2 inch in thickness . . . in all fourteen strokes were given . . . Principal Earl S. Davidson crabbed Anna by the throat with both of his hands and shook her repeating, "When I make orders I want them obeyed," and as he repeated this statement, he tightened his grip. This grip was such that the next day deep marks and bruises were seen on her neck. She tried to shake him off and prevent his choking her entirely, but he overpowered her. After this, Anna was sent out of the room into the has and she started to cry because of the severe treatment she had received at the hands of Davidson . . . Later Anna was ordered to go down to . . . the boiler room; and knowing what it was for, and due to the nervous strain she had been under during the administration of the choking in the classroom, she asked that she might first to go the toilet. This request was refused. . . . Mrs. Aiken herself did the beating. Each time Anna jerked she was informed she would get that much more. . . . The bruises and marks of welts raised on Anna looked like raw liver, and the next day she could scarcely sit, because of the pain. She had to be taken to a doctor.(75)


On 6 November 1935, two Gobitis children were expelled from school in Minersville, Pennsylvania. Their father was arrested and fined $25, and the children were forced to attend a Witness "Kingdom School" which was set up in a nearby city to meet the law's school attendance requirements. Believing that the school board's action was unjust, Mr. Gobitis decided to go to court. The case, first heard in a Federal District Court, was decided in favor of the Witnesses. It was then appealed by the Minersville School District, and the Witnesses again prevailed.(76) Superintendent Roudabush seemed to have a personal vendetta against the Gobitis family (who ran a family business and were highly respected by their neighbors) and was determined to drag the case to the Supreme Court if necessary. Finally, in 1940 the Supreme Court ruled with disastrous results. They reversed the lower court's favorable judgment, and the Witnesses lost in a crushing 8 to 1 decision. The lone dissenter was Justice Harlan Stone.(77)

As already noted, this decision precipitated a wave of persecution unprecedented against any religious group except the Mormons. So widespread and intense was the persecution that the United States Solicitor General Francis Biddle and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt made a public appeal to the American people to discontinue their vicious onslaught against the Witnesses. The Attorney General, in a coast to coast NBC broadcast, on 16 June 1940 said that Jehovah's Witnesses have been repeatedly set upon and beaten. They had committed no crime; but the mob adjudged they had, and meted out mob punishment. The Attorney General has ordered an immediate investigation of these outrages. The people must be alert and watchful and above all cool and sane. Since mob violence will make the government's task infinitely more difficult, it will not be tolerated. We shall not defeat the Nazi evil by emulating its methods.(78)

This view was shared by many. The well-known historian Arnold J. Toynbee said: "One of the reasons why our times are dangerous is that we all have been taught to worship our nation, our flag and our own past history. Man may safely worship only God."(79) Many also disagreed, including President Roosevelt.

At the Hyde Park discussion of the Gobitis case . . . Mrs. Roosevelt said she would not presume to question Frankfurter's local scholarship and reasoning. But there seemed to her to be something wrong with an opinion, both in logic and in justice, that forced little children to salute a flag when such a ceremony was repugnant to their conscience. Besides, she was apprehensive about the practical results. She feared that self-appointed, flag-waving patriots would now feel that they had a mandate from the Supreme Court to drive out every conspicuous sign of dissent and non-conformity, even when undertaken for conscience's sake. The President disagreed. He said with great emphasis that what the local authorities were doing to the children was "stupid, unnecessary, and offensive" but it fell within the proper limits of their legal power. That was an exact statement of Frankfurter's own position.(80)

After the Witnesses lost in the Supreme Court, their only alternative was to pursue another case to the High Court. They soon half-heartedly settled upon West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette. The Attorney General of West Virginia felt that he could rely upon the Gobitis case and for this reason did not bother to prepare an argument. In court he stated: "It is not necessary for me to answer Mr. Covington (the Watchtower attorney) in this case. I'm standing on the unreversed decision of Gobitis vs. Minersville School District." Then, in an unexpected move, the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals' presiding Judge, Mr. Parker, stated: "Mr. Attorney General, if you are relying on that opinion you [had] better argue this case."(81) Taken by surprise, the Attorney General made a feeble, unprepared argument. The three-judge court then unanimously refused to follow the Supreme Court mandate.

When the case reached the Supreme Court, it reversed its previous position by a 6 to 3 vote, holding that the school board did not have the right to expel students from school for not saluting and thereby deny the children of their education, concluding:

To sustain the compulsory flag salute we are required to say that a Bill of Rights which guards the individual's right to speak his own mind, left it open to public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind.... One's right to life liberty and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote, they depend on the outcome of no elections ... [and] no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein . . . the action of the local authorities in compelling the flag salute and pledge transcends constitutional limitations on their power and invades the sphere of intellect and spirit which ... is the purpose of the First Amendment to our constitution.(82)

Ironically, the Barnette decision was handed down on Flag Day, 14 June 1943. The press's strong, widespread support of the decision was reflected in headlines such as "Supreme Court Abnegates as the Nation's School Board"(83) and"The Supreme Court Hands Down an Educationally Significant Decision."(84) Although the issue has never again advanced to the Supreme Court and this ruling largely ended the matter, similar cases periodically occur. Children are still occasionally expelled from school and teachers fired for refusing to salute. One recent example was Susan Cooke Russo who was fired from her Rochester, New York teaching position in August of 1979 because of her refusal to salute the American flag for "political" reasons.(85) Today, many courts have ruled that refusing to salute the flag is sufficient grounds to terminate a teacher, although dismissal is usually stated as "refusal to teach the flag salute," which is an underhanded way of going around the court decisions which went against schools that fired teachers for their refusal to salute.(86)


In many other countries, though, expelling children from school for refusing to salute is common. An Argentina presidential decree (No. 1868) passed on 31 August 1976 banned all activities of Jehovah's Witnesses throughout the country, partly because of the refusal of Witness children to salute the flag.(87) Despite appeals and a number of favorable court decisions (even from the Supreme Court of Argentina), the government has refused to formally rescind the ban. As a result, thousands of children of Jehovah's Witnesses have been expelled from schools throughout the country for refusing to salute the Argentine flag. An example of this took place on 15 December 1978:

School inspector Mrs. Theresa E. Inchauste de Stechi decreed that Susan and Gladys Simon were to be expelled from all schools public and private. She stated "they were subject to the sanction of expulsion from the establishment, and as pupils of any other educational service as well as being banned from being given exams as independent students ... because of ... [their refusal] to revere the patriotic symbols [the Argentine Hag], the national heroes and to commemorate corresponding dates, to sing the national anthem and patriotic marches."(88)

In another case, after a ten-day trial, twenty-three Witnesses were fined between 1,000 and 4,000 Singapore dollars for refusal to "salute the state flag" and similar patriotic duties.(89) Many other South American African, and Asian countries have taken similar action against non-saluters. In reaction to this, prominent jurist Dr. German J. Bidart Campos wrote that "it is not the State's concern to manufacture lay saints [why cannot one] ... disagree with what they [the government] thought or did? Is it that they are infallible? Where did this quasi-religious dogmatism come from?"(90) The drama which has already occurred in the American states is currently being repeated throughout the world. Have these nations learned nothing from the tragic American experience?


The salute cases and others that the Witnesses have carried to the Supreme Court have been heralded by many as important milestones which have served to preserve freedom of speech, press, and worship for all Americans. As Kenneth Starr summarized, Jehovah's Witnesses have achieved

more than any other religious group to present to the Supreme Court certain basic questions concerning the nature of religious freedom. Professor Cushman has estimated that between 1938 and 1946, the Witnesses brought twenty major cases before the Court and were victorious in fourteen. In this way, they have not only forced the clarification of certain issues but in at least two instances have led the Court to reverse itself. The more famous of these reversals were the two Flag Salute Cases.(91)

The flag salute cases required a long and bitter struggle--one which culminated in a decision which gave viable meaning to the Pledge itself. The true tragedy, though, is the harm done to the innocent victims, the children, who were caught between the two rigid opposing sides. Each side tends to be characterized by a disregard for the mental and emotional health of these victims, and both were often equally callous and cruel. The history of the conflict between minority religious groups and the state has been long and eventful, but it is far from over today, even in America.(92)

The flag salute issue is only one of many which has surfaced in the endless conflict between church and state. This conflict, which has occurred in various forms throughout history, touches the heart of religious worship. The flag as a symbol typically elicits strong emotional feelings on the part of both those who feel all should salute as well as those who feel saluting is wrong. This emotional conflict has probably been part of the basis of the verbal and physical aggression which for so long has characterized the history of the use of symbols to represent larger ideals of small groups and the whole society.

The harm that this issue creates is still occurring, although not in the same form as in the 1940s. Flag salute cases still periodically recur, sometimes ending up in the local courts. Abdul-Rauf, a guard for the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, was suspended by the league in 1996 for refusing to stand for the national anthem. Although many cases are `won' by the non-salutors, they always lose. Their children, even today, are continually subjected to hassles, if only the mental anguish of being isolated, ridiculed, and callously mocked and labeled. Much of the harm could be mitigated by supportive parents and understanding teachers as well as by children who have learned to tolerate individual differences. Tolerance of individual nuances and acceptance of one's fellow human beings should be a national goal. It is cruel to socially ostracize someone because of minor behavior peculiarities such as refusal to salute a flag. Neither the Witness parents nor the school administrators seem to fully understand what the children suffered because of this conflict. This experience profoundly affects many of them throughout their life, even those who later change their views on the merits of flag saluting.(93)

(1.) Mary Tierney Coutts, "How the Flag Pledge Originated," Journal of Education 125 (October 1942) 225-26.

(2.) David Manwaring, Render Unto Caesar: The Flag Salute Controversy (Chicago, III.: University of Chicago Press, 1962), vii.

(3.) James Hodge, "Should We Salute the Flag," mimeographed paper published by the author.

(4.) J. Gordon Melton, The Encyclopedia of American Religions, 4th ed., Vols. 1 and 2 (New York: The Haworth Press, 1993), 63.

(5.) The statistic used is the attendance at the Memorial, a once-a-year celebration among witnesses. This number is probably a more accurate estimate than the peak number of "publishers," another number often used. The publishers include only those actively engaged in the ministry of the witnesses, hut the Memorial attendance includes all church members, even those nominally affiliated (many of whom follow most of the witness precepts even though they are not active). The 1996 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, p. 41, stated that 13,147,201 persons from around the world attended the Memorial in 1995.

(6.) Robert Famighetti, The World Almanac & Book of Facts 1994 (New York Newspaper Enterprise Association, Inc., 1993), 762.

(7.) This number is an estimate based on several sources.

(8.) Melton, The Encyclopedia of American Religions, 1a.

(9.) Editorial, "The Flag Salute," The Journal of the National Education Association 32 (December 1943): 265-66.

(10.) Encyclopedia Americana, Vol. 1 (Danbury, cone. Grolier, Inc., 1995), 473, and ibid., Vol. 13, 879.

(11.) Editorial, "The Flag salute," 265.

(12.) Coutts, "How the Flag Pledge Originated," 225.

(13.) Editorial, "The Flag Salute," 265.

(14.) Ibid., 11.

(15.) Ibid., 12, 15.

(16.) Ibid., 14.

(17.) Ibid., 12.

(18.) Melton, The Encyclopedia of American Religions, 63.

(19.) Anon, "Flag Saluting Resolution," paper on file in the Archives of the Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ill., 2.

(20.) "The Nonresistant Christian and the Flag Salute," paper on file at the Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ill., 1-2.

(21.) Letter, Guy Hershberger to Verlin Ray Miller at Goshen College, 23 November 1968 (on file in the Archives of the Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ill.).

(22.) Minutes of Mennonite General Conference, 26-29 August 1941, Wellman, Iowa, 1941, 20-21.

(23.) Interview with Leonard Gross, Executive Secretary of the Mennonite Church Historical Committee, 14 June 1979; James Hodge, "Should We Salute the Flag?," mimeographed paper published by the author, n.d.; The Christadelphian Magazine, January 1882, 1, and ibid., 1915, 363; interview with Arthur Armstrong, 13 September 1995; and Manwaring, Render Unto Caesar, 11-32.

(24.) Timothy White, A People for His Name (New York: Vantage Press, 1967), 321.

(25.) M. James Penton, Jehovah's Witnesses in Canada: Champions of Freedom of Speech and Worship (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1976), 138. Leonard A. Stevens, Salute! The Case of the Bible vs. The Flag (New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, Inc., 1973), 31. Merlin Owen Newton, Armed With the Constitution (Tuscaloosa, Ala.: The University of Alabama Press, 1995); William Kaplan, State and Salvation (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989); interviews with Hayden C. Covington, Cincinnati, Ohio, 22 May 1976; victor Blackwell, Covington, Louisiana, 2 December 1976, and 24 May 1977; and James Penton, Lethbridge, Canada, 1 January 1995.

(26.) Boston Post, 21 September 1935.

(27.) Consolation, 29 May 1940, 11.

(28.) Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, Visions of Glory: A History and A Memory of Jehovah's Witnesses (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), 197-98 (emphasis the author's).

(29.) White, A People for His Name, 321-22.

(30.) Werner Cohen, "Jehovah's Witnesses As a Proletarian Sect" (Master's Thesis, New School for Social Research, New York, 1954).

(31.) Daniel Kobil, "Democracy Stronger because of Dissent," The Toledo Blade, 19 December 1995, 3. See also Jerry Bergman, "Interviews with Non-Saluters," unpublished paper, Bowling Green State University, 1995.

(32.) Jerry Bergman, "Dealing With Jehovah's Witness Custody Cases," Creighton Law Review 29 (June 1996): 1483-1516. Also interview with attorney Hayden C. Covington, Cincinnati, Ohio, 3 October 1976.

(33.) Most of these sects do not disfellowship a child below the age of 12, especially if he or she is not baptized into the sect. The Watchtower will disfellowship a child of any age if a member; otherwise, they treat nonconformists as disfellowshipped. See Watchtower, 15 September 1981, 28.

(34.) The Watchtower, 1 September 1954, 543; 15 September 1981, 25-26, 28; 15 July 1959, 447-48; 15 July 1985, 30-31; and 15 August 1985, 30-31.

(35.) For example, see David Reed, Blood on the Altar, Confessions of a Jehovah's Witness Minister (Amherst N.Y.: Prometheus Books 1996); and Watchtower, 15 July 1993, 28-31; and 1 January 1995, 27.

(36.) The Watchtower, 15 May 1944, 152-53; 1 March 1952, 137-48; and 15 July 1995, 2527, also Bergman, "Dealing With Jehovah's Witness Custody Cases," 1483-1516.

(37.) Jerry Bergman, Jehovah Witnesses and the Problem of Mental Illness (Clayton, Calif.:.Witness Inc., 1992); Havor Montague, "The Pessimistic Sect's Influence on the Mental Health of its Members: The Case of Jehovah's Witnesses," Social Compass 24 (1977): 135-47.

(38.) Harrison, Visions of Glory: A History and A Memory of Jehovah's Witnesses, 197, 345.

(39.) Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose (Brooklyn N.Y.: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1959), 143-44.

(40.) Hollis W. Barber, "Religious Liberty vs. Pouce Power: Jehovah's Witnesses," The American Political Science Review 41 (April 1947): 226-47; Editorial, "Flag Salutes and Food," Social Service Review 14 (December 1940): 752-53.

(41.) See Jerry Bergman, "The Jehovah's Witness' Experience in the Nazi Concentration Camps, A History of their Conflicts with the Nazi State," Journal of Church and State 38 (Winter 1996): 87-113; Margarete Buber, Under Two Dictators (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. N.D.); Eugen Kozon, Theory and Practice of Hell (New York: Berkeley, Medallion Book, 1950); and Bruno Bettelheim, The Informed Heart (Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1960) among dozens of other references.

(42.) Alfred Lawson, "Salute the Flag or Get Out," The Benefactor 2 (1940): 1.

(43.) American Civil Liberties Union, N.Y., The Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses, 1-24.

(44.) Ibid., 3.

(45.) Consolation, 24 July 1940, 7.

(46.) The Golden Age, 29 January 1936, 261-62.

(47.) Stevens, Salute! The Case of the Bible vs. the Flag, 106-16.

(48.) Harold H. Punke, "The Flag and the Courts in Free Public Education," Journal of Religion 24 (April 1944): 123-24; Victor V. Blackwell, O'er the Ramparts They Watched (New York: Carleton Press, Inc., 1976), 144-46; Alan Rogerson, Millions Now Living Will Never Die: A Study of Jehovah's Witnesses (London: Constable & Co., 1969), 63.

(49.) Isidore Starr, Human Rights in the United States (New York: Oxford Books, 1964) 25, 26.

(50.) Paul L. Blakely, "Flag Salute vs. Oregon Case," America, 15 June 1940, 259-60; and James Joseph Kearney, "Supreme Court Abdicates As Nation's School Board," Catholic Educational Review 38 (October 1940): 457.

(51.) Quoted in Joseph P. Lash, Eleanor Roosevelt: A Friend's Memoir (New York: Doubleday and Co., 1964).

(52.) West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).

(53.) Bryan R. Wilson, Sects and Society (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1961), 281-314.

(54.) The Golden Age, 23 October 1935, 35-42; 16 December 1936, 177-78; and Marley Cole, Jehovah's Witnesses: The New World Society (New York: Vantage Press, 1955), 197.

(55.) Samuel J. Knoefsky, Chief Justice Stone and the Supreme Court (New York The Macmillan Company, 1946), 216; and West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette at 629.

(56.) The Golden Age, 4 November 1936, 81-82; 8 September 1937, 785.

(57.) Consolation, 29 May 1940, 9-23.

(58). For some examples, see David Reed, "Watchtower Reverses Itself on Draftee Hospital Service"; Earl Hulbert, "New Policy is Just the Latest in a Series of Flip-Flops" Comments From the Friends 15 (1996): 1-7; "The Watchtowers New Truth on Ejucasion (Education)," Comments From the Friends 12 (1993): 1-3; and M. James Penton, "Jehovah's Witnesses and the Secular State: A Historical Analysis of Doctrine," Journal of Church and State 21 (Winter 1979): 55-74.

(59.) The Golden Age, 23 October 1935, 37.

(60.) Consolation, 29 May 1940, 10.

(61.) Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. II, 316 (edition used not given.)

(62.) Consolation, 29 May 1940, 10.

(63.) Ibid., 11. Scriptural passage is Acts 3:22, 23.

(64.) Consolation, 29 May 1940, 11.

(65.) The Golden Age, 23 October 1935, 36-37.

(66.) Ethel Rose Peyser, The Book of Culture (New York: Esser-Frederick, Inc., 1934), 549.

(67.) Kiltanning Leader Times, 21 October 1935.

(68.) For a discussion of religious groups which accept these beliefs, see Melton, the Encyclopedia of American Religions, Vols. 1 and 2.

(69.) Ted Dencher, The Watchtower Heresy versus The Bible (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1963), 52-61.

(70.) Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, "Jehovah's Witness," 140.

(71.) Ibid., 143.

(72.) The Golden Age, 15 December 1935, 168-72.

(73.) Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, "Jehovah's Witness," 143.

(74.) The Golden Age, 18 December 1935, 171.

(75.) Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, "Loyalty Questions and Answers on Whose servant? Saluting a Flag Last Days," (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Watchtower Bible and Tract society, 1935), 3-11.

(76.) Board of Education of Minersville School District vs. Gobitis at 586-604.

(77.) Knoefsky, Chief Justice, 218.

(78.) William J. Whalen, Armageddon Around the Corner, A Report on Jehovah's Witnesses (New York: The John Day Company, 1962), 183.

(79.) Look, 17 August 1948.

(80.) Max Freedman, ed., Roosevelt and Frankfurter; Their Correspondence, 1928-1945 (Boston, Mass.: Little Brown and Co., 1967), 701.

(81.) Watchtower, "Jehovah's," 208.

(82.) West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette at 634, 638, 642.

(83.) Catholic Educational Review 38 (October 1940).

(84.) "The Supreme Court Hands Down Educationally Significant Decisions," School and Society 57 (1943): 696-97.

(85.) Daniel Lang, "A Reporter At Large; Love for Country, The New Yorker, 30 July 1979, 35-48.

(86.) See Joethelia Palmer vs. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, 466 Fed. Supp. (1979), 600-05. Also see Brief submitted to Supreme Court, Oct. Term, 1979, printed in booklet form, typeset, No. 79-738. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case, letting the lower court decision stand. For the EEOC decision, see Vol. 22, Employment Practices Decisions, 30, 692-30, 694, pp. 14, 638-14, 644.

(87.) Awake! 60 (8 September 1979): 816.

(88.) Buenos Airas Herald, 30 June 1979.

(89.) Francis Byrne, "23 Jehovah's Witnesses Fined in Singapore," Comments from the Friends 5 (Spring 1996): 10.

(90.) El Derecho (Argentine: Catholic University Press, 1979).

(91.) Starr, Human Rights in the United States, 25.

(92.) Robert Jewett and Constance Collora, "On Turning the Flag into a Sacred Object," Journal of Church and State 37 (Autumn 1995): 741-52.

(93.) Kobil, "Democracy of Dissent," 3.

(*) JERRY BERGMAN (B.S., M.Ed., Ph.D., Wayne State University; M.A., Bowling Green State University) is currently an instructor of behavioral sciences at Northwest State College, Archbold, Ohio. His articles have appeared in Church History; Psychology: A Quarterly Journal of Human Behavior; The Journal of Pastoral Practice; Journal of Church and State; and Journal of Educational Communication, among others. Special interests include alternative religions, religion and mental health, and sociology of religion. The author wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to the following persons, all of whom read either sections or the entire manuscript. Foremost are two attorneys, Hayden C. Covington, formerly of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Victor Blackwell, of Covington, Louisiana, both of whom were the principal attorneys in the cases cited herein, and who spent close to a half century involved in litigation regarding religious state conflicts, specifically flag salute cases.

I am also indebted to Dr. James Penton, professor of church history at the University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada, and Dr. Joseph Zygmont professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, and, lastly, William Chamberlin, for their comments and suggestions.
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