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news and things sacred and irreverent put together by opinionated people.

Judge sides with pro-god teacher – giant banners allowed in math class

Posted by 1minionsopinion on March 2, 2010

The story started in 2007 when a San Diego high school math teacher was informed that his god promoting banners had to be taken down. It being America, Bradley Johnson took the Poway Unified School District to court over this. It being America, the federal judge finally sided with Johnson and gave him the right to push his religion in a public school.

The banners are about 7 feet wide and 2 feet tall. One has the phrases “In God We Trust,” “One Nation Under God,” “God Bless America” and “God Sheds His Grace On thee.”

A second reads “All Men Are Created Equal, They Are Endowed By Their Creator,” with the last word in uppercase letters.

The district said it had to come down on Johnson because the banners advocated a Judeo-Christian point of view that was not in sync with the nonreligious mission of public schools.

Benitez said the district allows other teachers to post things on a variety or religious and nonreligious topics without penalty.

He said the action against Johnson amounted to discriminating against a particular point of view, which courts have long said is not permitted.

According to a 2008 article from the L.A. Times, the district had tried to get the lawsuit dismissed but Judge Roger Benitez wanted his day in court as much as Johnson did.

In a blistering 23-page decision, U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez rejected the district’s motion as legally faulty and blasted its “brash” attempt to take down the banners. The jurist noted that the district allowed other teachers to put up posters with Buddhist and Islamic messages, posters of rock bands including Nirvana and the Clash, and Tibetan prayer rugs.

Johnson’s banners, Benitez wrote, were patriotic expressions deeply rooted in American history.

“By squelching only Johnson’s patriotic expression, the school district does a disservice to the students of Westview High School, and the federal and state constitutions do not permit such one-sided censorship,” Benitez wrote in a ruling issued last week.

But, as Jack M. Sleeth Jr., the district’s district attorney, pointed out, “It’s not as simple as the teacher loves the Lord and we tried to stop him. He was hired to teach mathematics. What do these banners have to do with mathematics?”

Fuck all. That’s the answer. Be religious if you want. Be patriotic if you want. But on the job, do the job. If it is not your job to be pushing your religion or your patriotism, then don’t do it while you’re working. Having enormous banners around to do it for you is stupid. As to the other teachers displaying religious/cultural decoration, maybe their stuff isn’t so damned hard on the eyes and maybe the teachers themselves aren’t so obviously pushing a religious agenda at the same time.

It’s a stupid ruling and I feel sorry for anyone who’s uncomfortable in that room but can’t switch math teachers.

(this has been a crosspost)


10 Responses to “Judge sides with pro-god teacher – giant banners allowed in math class”

  1. dorian said

    thanks, minion!

    and because i’m lazy and don’t want to repeat myself, i’m cross-posting my comment from there re. this asinine judge and his more asinine ruling:

    where does that judge think we are? last time i checked, this country was not a theocracy. religion is now encroaching upon public schools. this is worth following. i wonder if there are any protests from parents. what a surprise, they weren’t told it was a religious and denominational school. if the teacher wanted to push religion, he should be teaching religion in christian cult school. let him do his attempts at brainwashing children there.


  2. This will end poorly..why? Because this is the first step. And because the judge allowed the Christian Banner. Just like with Bush’s bailouts which Bush knew what was going to happen. The judge would have to allow Muslim, Wicca, Buddhist, and any other religions will now be allowed in. Which would be perfectly fine..unless (hold on its 0420)


  3. strike unless from last. we will change that fine, but who will be the first to claim separation of church and state? The conservatives, the ones that pushed that their religion should be in public schools. They would show that only one religion should be taught and the slanderous propaganda the Church speaks of other religions, would be taught in schools. etc. etc. That is what Bill wants. That is what Kay wants. But that is unconstutional. But then again Kay has proven she thinks that freedom and the constitution are socialist ideals. The same poison that the Republican Tea Bagging movement is pushing. They don’t want to tea bag your wallet, like these reforms the president wants will do. They want to tea bag your freedoms. They don’t care if your kids teachers say that all muslims are terrorists. It would keep the cycle of violence alive. All of that being said….

    The Judge’s ruling was unconstitutional and should be brought to the Supreme Court. Which would quickly do exactly this..they would say the last judge’s ruling would be unconstitutional. Or the teacher’s actions would be against Separation of Church and State..Being that teacher displayed slogan’s of a particular religion in a Government funded facility, while teaching a Government funded curriculum. The court will rule that the slogans must come down.


  4. I would rather be paying more money in taxes, and be free. Opposed to having more money, and live in a Facist Theocracy…I would be leading the revolution if our government ever started to favor one particular religion.


  5. 1minionsopinion said

    Friendly Atheist has pics of the banners


    and to say I “dislike” them is an understatement. That the district never made him take them down a decade ago doesn’t make him right. The district perhaps should ban all religiously inspired displays from all its schools so this guy can’t simply claim he’s targeted for his beliefs.


  6. the elementary school that my nephew attends has “IN GOD WE TRUST” and “ONE NATION UNDER GOD” plastered all over the place. and in the mornings, they rally around the flag before school starts (VOLUNTARILY?) and are led in prayer by the principal, mike rio, who just so happens to have been having an extramarital affair with the assistant principal.



  7. dorian said

    ugh. when the religious zealots sneak their way into schools this is when i become vigilant. the conservatives were all over the president about his speech to schoolchildren about staying in school. they said he had no right delivering messages to schoolchildren, that he was propagandizing and brainwashing. and banners 7 feet wide and 2 feet tall,
    phrases “In God We Trust,” “One Nation Under God,” “God Bless America” and “God Sheds His Grace On thee.” “All Men Are Created Equal, They Are Endowed By Their Creator,” are allowed?

    of course this math teacher will cry “discrimination”! if the ruling was opposed. bottomline is that he had no business imposing his beliefs in a PUBLIC school. his actions are subversive and shows complete disregard for others that may not share his beliefs.


  8. dorian said

    P, i didn’t know they could do that in government funded schools. so it’s okay to assume that everybody attending the school belongs to the same religion? religious rituals practiced and all that signage around? what country is this? e_e, sign me up!


  9. they use the same reason that the judge used. in god we trust is on our money and one nation under god is in the pledge of allegiance. it’s the same with the prayer, it can be done before the start of school, by volunteers. also, in manatee county, almost all of the public elementary schools are rented out on sunday to house christian churches, it’s true.

    americans united against church and state have been all over my nephews school already. to no avail.


  10. not only was this elementary school doing all of this, but they were advertising the church on the outside school’s LED sign (at taxpayer expense) and had church signs lining the sidewalk. i called the school board and complained, they just gave me the runaround. then i called au.org, the signs were down pretty fast after that.


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