Friday, January 27, 2012

Free-Speech Case Appealed to Supreme Court

The Thomas More Law Center on Jan. 24 appealed the case of a Southern California teacher to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bradley Johnson, a high school math teacher in the Poway Unified School District near San Diego, had banners hanging in his classroom for 25 years with mottos such as “In God We Trust,” “One Nation Under God” and “God Bless America.”

For the last 30 years, the school district has had a policy allowing teachers to use their classrooms for displays of personal belief — a policy other teachers at Johnson’s school have taken advantage of by hanging up Tibetan prayer flags and posters of the Dalai Lama, Malcolm X and Hindu sayings.

In 2007, the school told Johnson his banners needed to be removed, while the other displays remained. A federal district court in 2008 upheld Johnson’s First Amendment rights, but a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision last year — then turned down a request for an en banc hearing by the full court.

That leaves the U.S. Supreme Court as a last resort, said Thomas More Law Center President Richard Thompson.

“This case is a prime example of how public schools across our nation are cleansing our classrooms of our Christian heritage, while promoting atheism and other non-Christian religions under the guise of cultural diversity,” he said.

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