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on 13/9/16


In the 1930s, the government of Nazi Germany began arresting thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses who refused to salute the Nazi flag, and sent them to concentration camps.
In the United States, Jehovah's Witness national leaders advocated demonstrating solidarity with German Jehovah's Witnesses by refusing to participate in the daily flag salutes that had become compulsory in American schools. The Witnesses taught and still teach that the obligation imposed by the law of God is superior to that of laws enacted by temporal government. Their religious beliefs include a literal version of Exodus, Chapter 20, verses 4 and 5, which says: 'Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them.' They consider that the flag is an 'image' within this command. For this reason they refused to salute the flag. Children of Jehovah's Witnesses had been expelled from school and were threatened with exclusion for no other cause. Officials threatened to send them to reformatories maintained for criminally inclined juveniles. Parents of such children had been prosecuted and were being threatened with prosecutions for causing delinquency. In 1935, 9 year-old Carlton Nichols was expelled from school and his father arrested in Lynn, Massachusetts for such a refusal. Additional refusals followed, one such leading to Minersville School District v. Gobitis[2] Even after the Gobitis decision, Jehovah's Witnesses continued to refuse to say the pledge