Teaching Loyalty

George P. Fletcher

in Loyalty

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780195098327
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852901 | DOI:
Teaching Loyalty

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This chapter proposes that a revised version of the Pledge of Allegiance be recited in the classroom as a ritual expression of loyalty and a means for instilling patriotism. Sanctions should not be taken against teachers and students who dissent on religious grounds. Although some consider the pledge a form of indoctrination, the author concludes that teaching values, including a shared national identity, is inherent to an educational system. In Gobitis (1940) the Supreme Court ruled that the pledge is a neutral law not intended to impinge on religious beliefs. In Barnette (1943), the court ruled that children have the right not to recite the pledge. Barnette was initially perceived as a defense of religious freedom and a rejection of classroom indoctrination and later reinterpreted as defense of freedom of speech. In determining the scope of freedom of conscience, the author distinguishes between loyalty to a religious community and personal convictions.

Keywords: Pledge of Allegiance; indoctrination; teaching values; loyalty; religious beliefs; Barnette; Gobitis; freedom of speech; religious freedom

Chapter.  9462 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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