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What is Citizenship? Attitudes and Actions Responsible Citizenship Communicating Keeping Freedom What Do You Think?

Which Americans Do You Agree With?

There are many debates in the United States about whether or not damaging, burning, or trampling on the country's flag should be legal or illegal.  Decide what you believe about flag burning after reading each paragraph under the flags below.  Put an X in the text box next to the paragraph you agree with on the attached worksheet. 

  1. Some patriotic Americans want to make desecration of the United States flag a crime because many people believe the flag is sacred.  They believe purposefully damaging the U.S. flag would demonstrate opposition to American values and to democracy.  Many people believe they are supporting the American values the flag represents by opposing flag desecration. This particular group of citizens has proposed an amendment to the United States Constitution that says "The Congress and the states shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

  1. Other patriotic Americas oppose making desecration of the flag illegal because they say flag desecration is a form of free speech.  They believe all Americans, even if they personally oppose what someone has to say, should oppose any attempt to restrict free speech.  These Americans also warn that making flag desecration illegal would require a change to the Bill of Rights.  They caution others that the cost of government intrusion into people's individual behavior outweighs any disgust for flag burning.

After completing the attached worksheet, discuss your views and debate the issues with your teacher and classmates.


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The "flag burning" controversy has been a hotly debated issue of election-year political opportunism since the Supreme Court's 1989 decision, in Texas vs. Johnson, that burning the American flag is constitutionally protected free speech.

*Citizenship section select ideas derived from Citizenship, Learning to Live as Responsible Citizens, published by Good Apple, Inc.

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