The Pledge of Allegiance is commonly recited in public (and most private) schools in the USA.

Does the current practice of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools violate the 1st Amendment?

  • It would be quite idiotic to require say a German child going to school in the USA to recite the "Pledge of Allegiance", because said child has absolutely no allegiance to the USA.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 14, 2016 at 7:56

2 Answers 2


The pledge does not violate the first amendment because it is not required. No one is legally required to say the pledge, you are allowed, by law to abstain from reciting the pledge. As for the pledge potentially violating the second commandment, neither the flag nor the eagle atop it (by the way, not all U.S. flags have eagles on top) represent a "graven image". A "graven image" is a carved idol of a god used for the purpose of worship. The flag is not carved, and neither the flag nor the eagle represent any god, nor are either worshiped as such by any group of people. Furthermore, if there were a group of people who DID worship either the flag or the eagle as a god (unlikely), they would by definition NOT be Christians, so the 2nd Commandment would be as meaningless to them as it is to Hindus or anyone else from a non-Abrahamic faith.

  • 2
    The original question included a point about whether or not the pledge may or may not violate the second commandment. The question has since been edited... Making my answer appear to make less sense. Sep 13, 2016 at 17:31
  • That part wasn't on-topic for this site, so I deleted it. If you want, you could remove the parts of your answer that address the 2nd commandment, to make your answer make more sense again.
    – user3851
    Sep 13, 2016 at 17:36
  • No, I understand the edit... I just wanted to clarify my answer. I think my answer is more valuable left whole since it answers the actual question asked. Sep 13, 2016 at 17:38

The First Amendment does not guarantee a right to not be offended. However, as held in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), it does prohibit compelled speech, and a person cannot be compelled to recite the pledge. The basis is not religion: this is a general prohibition on what the government can do. ("Parental consent" comes through the school informing parents of the right to not recite the pledge, and a parent who objects will tell their child to not recite the pledge, thus consent is implicit for those parents whose children do recite -- unless the child's actions don't reflect the parents' intent).

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