Jehovah's Witness Lillian Gobitas Klose dead at 90. How would 12 year old Lillian reacted to JW Governing body 2.0 raising Chilean Flags at Chilean Kingdom Halls in 2014 to avoid two hundred dollar fines?
Did a seventh grader have a better grasp of her beliefs than the modern day Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses?
She stood her ground: A child’s conscience made America a better place
September 13, 2014 12:00 AM
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By the Editorial Board
In 1935 when Lillian Gobitas Klose was in seventh grade in Minersville, Pa., she refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because she felt to do so would be a violation of her religious faith as a Jehovah’s Witness. Her brother also refused to recite the pledge, leading to the siblings’ expulsion from school and a legal battle that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, twice.
Ms. Klose died Aug. 22 at 90, but the impact of her courageous fight to uphold every American’s right not to be coerced into speech one doesn’t believe in is still with us. Because of a brave 12-year-old’s willingness to be ostracized and bullied for her beliefs, adherence to the First Amendment wins the day even during times when patriotism is at its most opportunistic.
Though the Supreme Court initially ruled 8-1 in 1940 that compelling students to recite the pledge was not a violation of their free speech or religious freedom, the high court reversed itself with a 6-3 vote in 1943.
Writing for the majority, Justice Robert H. Jackson summed up the controversy brilliantly: “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.”
Ms. Klose was a smart, ordinary American who refused to accept second-class citizenship. Like Rosa Parks, the African-American seamstress who refused to give her seat on a segregated bus to a white man, Ms. Klose stood her ground in an earlier decade.
Though she was not as famous as Rosa Parks, Ms. Klose proved by her act of conscience that the true American is usually the one who has the guts to insist on being treated the way the U.S. Constitution insists every citizen be treated