1) Students should have a religious right not to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Children should have the right to not say pledge. Why bring religion into it? This is a free speech right.
That has actually come up in real life. There is at least one sect (Jehovah's Witnesses, I think, though I could be mistaken) which teaches against swearing oaths. Since they see saying the Pledge as violating that belief, they successfully sought to have their children excused from class during the Pledge. I recall that having been an issue in the 1940's.
quote:Prominent legal challenges were brought in the 1930s and 1940s by Jehovah's Witnesses, a denomination whose beliefs preclude swearing loyalty to any power other than God, and who objected to policies in public schools requiring students to swear an oath to the flag. They said requiring the pledge violated their freedom of religion guaranteed by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The first case was in 1935, when two children, Lillian and William Gobitas, ages ten and twelve, were expelled from the Minersville, Pennsylvania, public schools that year for failing to salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
quote:In 1940, the Supreme Court, in Minersville School District v. Gobitis, ruled that students in public schools, including the respondents in that case—Jehovah's Witnesses who considered the flag salute to be idolatry—could be compelled to swear the Pledge. In 1943, in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the Supreme Court reversed its decision. Justice Robert H. Jackson, writing for the 6 to 3 majority, went beyond simply ruling in the precise matter presented by the case to say that public school students are not required to say the Pledge on narrow grounds, and asserted that such ideological dogmata are antithetical to the principles of the country, concluding with:
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that 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. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.
In 2004, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals held that students are also not required to stand for the Pledge.
That section also mentions other objections, including from atheist parents who view the 1954 addition of "under God" as imposing religion onto the students thus violating church-state separation.