School districts all over the country are facing budget deficits. They are scrambling to find ways to cut expenses. One school district is looking at replacing traditional PE classes with a form of yoga, saving the costs of expensive athletic equipment and it’s not setting well with a number of parents.
The Encinitas Union School District brought in Ashtanga yoga to replace the physical educational classes in grades K-6. Yoga has always been tied into a religious experience and Ashtanga yoga is no different as it has its roots in Hinduism. During the class, students claimed that they were told to pray to the sun god and to make themselves one with god, but not the one true God.
Sonia Tudor Jones with the Jois Foundation, also known as the Somina Foundation, is working with the school district to develop the yoga program. She said that she wanted to:
“Spread the gospel of Ashtanga through the country and even internationally.”
Parents Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock sued the school district for teaching religion. The National Center for Law and Policy, a non-profit Christian organization represented the parents. In July 2013, San Diego Superior Court Judge John Meyer ruled that the school was not teaching religion and that the yoga classes were acceptable.
NCLP has now filed an appeal with the Fourth District Court of Appeals, asking the court to shut down the program. They said that in the first trial, the judge:
“Acknowledged that, although not structured as a religious foundation per se, Jois/Sonima is ‘deeply involved in yoga and Ashtanga yoga’ and ‘has a mission to establish and teach Ashtanga yoga.’”
The appeal still claims that supporters of Ashtanga yoga have:
“Affirmed … explicit teaching that the mere ‘physical practice’ of the yoga … leads practitioners to ‘become one with god … whether they want it or not.’”
“Evidently, in spite of Judge Meyer’s stated grave concerns about Jois Foundation’s mission to promote Ashtanga yoga to public school children and Ashtanga devotee Jen Brown’s transparent conflict of interest as a Jois Foundation employee and EUSD yoga teacher, these red flags were not enough to cause Judge Meyer to find ‘excessive government entanglement with religion’ and suspend the religious yoga program.”
Dean Broyles, Chief Counsel for NCLP stated:
“The Sonima Foundation is a religious organization with a religious agenda. They have the explicitly religious ‘outreach’ ‘mission’ of teaching Ashtanga yoga to children, which is based in Hindu religious beliefs and practices.”
“[The school district] has violated the First Amendment and has committed an egregious breach of the public trust.”
“I am appalled that Sonima is arrogantly pushing ahead with its national public school launch prematurely, before the three-year study is complete and before the appeal is decided. This shows a callous disregard for religious freedom, parental rights, and the importance of objectively studying the program.”
It only goes to reason that in today’s America that you can’t teach anything resembling Christianity in the public schools, but you can teach all about Islam and various eastern religions including Hindu based yoga. Our kids and grandkids are taught to pray to Allah and the sun god. They are taught to meditate and become one with some eastern religion’s god. But the moment a teacher mentions Jesus, God, Bible, 10 Commandments or Christian, the courts quickly rule to stop it.
America – once Christian, is today everything but Christian.