“Forcing Kids to Say Pledge Is the Type of ‘Patriotism’ Hitler Insisted Upon,” by Will Bagley from t

;In 1935, 12-year-old Lillian and 10-year-old Billy Gobitas of Minersville, Pa., refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. For this, the children were ridiculed and stoned, expelled from school. The town’s largest church boycotted the family business. Their father sued, and the Gobitas’ case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which made one of its worst decisions. “National unity is the basis of national security,” Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote, and “the flag is a symbol of our national unity.” ;Remarkably, the high court agreed to hear another case raising the same issues only three years later. What had happened? ;Many Americans did not say the pledge with their hands over their hearts in 1940. Instead, they raised their right arm just as Nazis [did] in giving their palm salute while chanting “Sieg Heil.” Pearl Harbor and images of thousands of Nazis worshipping the swastika and pledging loyalty to Hitler gave the Supreme Court a chilling new perspective on totalitarianism.

Posted January 28, 2003

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