SCOTUS yesterday effectively decided to uphold an earlier decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the use of religious messages and textbooks in classrooms. The two cases — one involving a San Diego area teacher who had hung "In God We Trust" and "God Shed His Grace on Thee" banners in his classroom for three decades and one involving an Idaho charter school that used the Bible as a "cultural" text — were heard together in September.

The 9th Circuit issued a 3-0 ruling stating that public schools like the Nampa Classical Academy in Idaho could not condone the "governmental promotion of religion," and that the teacher in the Poway Unified School District near San Diego, Bradley Johnson, could not "use his public position as a pulpit."

Johnson and his attorney whined that another teacher was allowed to hang John Lennon's "Imagine" poster in his classroom, and that song includes a lyric about imagining a world with no religion. But the court ruled that that poster had no religious purpose.

The Supreme Court declined to review either case without comment.

[SF Chron]