'God Bless America'? Not in high school math class, US judges rule.
A US appeals court in California says a public high school teacher has no constitutional right to display posters in his math class preaching his 'views on the role of God in our nation's history.'
A federal appeals court in California has ruled that a public high school math teacher has no constitutional right to display posters in his classroom depicting the national motto and other phrases that refer to God.
A three-judge panel of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Tuesday that the Poway Unified School District in San Diego County did not violate the teacher’s free speech or religious expression rights when it ordered him to remove the posters.
Bradley Johnson, a 30-year teacher in the school district, had argued that other teachers at Westview High School adorn their classrooms with quasi-religious messages, including Tibetan prayer flags, a Mahatma Gandi poster, a Dalai Lama poster, and a Malcolm X poster.
He said by directing the removal of his posters but not other religious posters, school officials were conveying a government-sponsored message of hostility toward the Christian religion and the nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage.
A federal judge agreed with Mr. Johnson, ordering the school district to allow him to keep his posters up. But the federal appeals court reversed that decision.
The appeals court said Johnson was a government employee hired to teach math, not to “use his public position as a pulpit from which to preach his own views on the role of God in our nation’s history to the captive students in his mathematics classroom.”