In 1935 a young Jehovah’s Witness schoolgirl called Lillian Gobitis was punished for not pledging allegiance to the flag. This led to a court case that went all the way up to the United States Supreme Court in 1940 known as Minersville School District v. Gobitis involving the religious rights of public school students under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court ruled then that public schools could compel students to salute the American flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance despite the students’ religious objections to these practices.
This decision led to increased persecution of Witnesses in the United States. However, only three years later, the Supreme Court overruled this decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)
Listen to the faith strengthening interview of sister Gobitis conducted by TV host Phil Donahue.
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