Judge Approves Lawsuit Over God Banners

A federal judge has ruled against school district officials who made a Rancho Penasquitos math teacher take down classroom banners proclaiming "In God We Trust," "God Bless America" and other sayings, it was reported Wednesday.

Westview High School teacher Brad Johnson sued Poway Unified School District after district officials declared the messages on Johnson's banners a "Judeo-Christian" point of view, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled against a motion by the district to dismiss the lawsuit, according to the Union-Tribune.

In his lawsuit, Johnson argued that the district allows other teachers to choose what to display on their classroom walls, including Tibetan prayer flags and posters with Buddhist and Islamic messages, the newspaper reported.

Johnson was asked to remove his banners in January and he complied, according to the Union-Tribune.

In his 23-page ruling issued Friday, Benitez said the banners aren't religious but rather historic and patriotic, the newspaper reported.

Johnson's lawyer, Brian Rooney, told the Union-Tribune that his client has agreed to drop his lawsuit if the district pays his legal fees.

District officials have yet to announce whether they will appeal Benitez's decision or settle the lawsuit.

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