"If a group of thugs beat up a kid who opts out, the chances are excellent that they would have found another moronic reason to do so." This from Finn, and if I understand this, I might agree.
Maybe this will help clarify:
My point is that there may have been a time when a kid who opted out of the pledge might have been singled out and isolated or punished by other kids for that reason alone, but no longer.
I don't have any experience with it and I was one of those kids who opted out in High School (graduated 1971), but I can imagine it happened...back then.
I just don't buy that today opting out is so contraversial as to mark a kid as a pariah or target. If a kid, today, opts out and is attacked by bullies, the chances are there are plenty of other stupid reasons why idiotic thugs would beat him up.