You may find the following article enlightening. Make sure you check out the picture; for some reason I couldn’t reproduce it here. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:
The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article today by Nicholas Goldberg about the Pledge of Allegiance. Goldberg praises those independent-minded students and parents who have challenged its enforcement in public (i.e., government) schools.
The Pledge of Allegiance has been used as a symbol of patriotism for more than 100 years. Today, it is recited by children in public schools and and also by adults at various events.
Conservatives are among the most ardent proponents of the Pledge. That’s ironic because it was written by a self-avowed socialist, a man named Edward Bellamy. Conservatives profess to oppose socialism and support “free enterprise.”
One of the funniest parts of the history of the Pledge was the manner in which public-school students were expected to recite it. American students were long expected to extend their right arms outward while reciting the Pledge. You know, like the Nazi salute. Officials decided, for appearance’s sake, to change it to the right hand over the heart.