JESSICA, a 13-year-old girl from the United States, was assigned along with her classmates to give a speech on the theme “God, Flag, and Country.” Knowing that her fellow students were curious about why she as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses did not salute the flag, Jessica courageously took advantage of this opportunity to explain her beliefs. The following are excerpts from her report.
“At the beginning of each school day, students are asked to say the pledge of allegiance, but because of my beliefs and my religion, I do not. Many people wonder why. Now, I’ll tell you.
“The first words of the flag salute are: ‘I pledge allegiance to the flag.’ Well, what is allegiance? It is the obligation of support, loyalty, and devotion. Since I have already pledged my allegiance to God, I cannot and will not pledge my allegiance to the flag. That I do not worship or pledge my allegiance to the flag, though, does not mean that I disrespect it.
“God is most important in my life. I try the best I can to follow his commandments as set out in the Bible. Every day I pray to him, and I also pray when I need extra help or encouragement. I always receive that help and encouragement at the right time. I have found that when I put God first and when I do the things he has commanded us to do, I am happier.
“So although I don’t salute the flag, I do respect it and would not dishonor it in any way. But my allegiance is to God, and rightly so, because he created me and I owe that allegiance to him.”
The students in Jessica’s class were asked to evaluate the reports they heard. How happy Jessica was that as a result of her effort, fellow classmates said they had gained a better understanding of her beliefs. More important, youths who boldly speak up on behalf of Bible principles make Jehovah God’s heart rejoice!—Proverbs 27:11.