But Did They RSVP??

Parents may sue over yoga lessons in Encinitas

A group of parents who say that yoga lessons being taught in the Encinitas Union School District are a form of religious indoctrination are considering legal action against the district if the classes don’t stop, an attorney for the group said.

In an Oct. 12 email sent to Superintendent Tim Baird, attorney Dean Broyles, called the program unconstitutional and warned that he may initiate “a legal course of action” if the district doesn’t end it.

“There’s a deep concern that the Encinitas Union School District is using taxpayer resources to promote Ashtanga yoga and Hinduism, a religion system of beliefs and practices,” Broyles said.

I already read ahead, but it was at this point that I knew … just knew … what religion these parents followed and that there would be no possible way of reasoning them out of their fears that a set of exercises without any of the woo would not convert their precious children to Hinduism.  Let’s sit back and watch.

Broyles is president and chief counsel for The National Center for Law & Policy, a nonprofit law firm that focuses on “the protection and promotion of religious freedom, the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, parental rights and other civil liberties,” according to its website.

In other words, he belongs to a law firm that focuses on the incorporation of evangelical Christianity in public schools, the criminalization of abortion, the treatment of homosexuals as second class citizens, and the rights for parents to shield their children from the horrors of learning about sex in a controlled, safe environment where they’re given all of the facts before finding out in the back seat of an old Chevette on Prom Night.

I might be exaggerating somewhat, but in my experience this is what people mean when they use those kinds of buzzwords.

The crux of the disagreement over the program is whether the particular type of yoga being taught and the lessons themselves are inherently religious.  District officials say that they have stripped any semblance of religion from the classes, but some parents are worried that that may not be true.

“I think that they really would like to think that, but I don’t think that, in actuality, it has been done,” said Mary Eady, who has pulled her son from the classes at Park Dale Lane. “There’s really a lot of unease among a lot of parents.”

I don’t know … I would tend to believe the judgment of a group of district officials over a gaggle of parents who are so desperately afraid their children might accidentally learn a little something about Hinduism that they’re willing to pull them out of the class.

This isn’t to say that I advocate the promotion of any religion – Christianity or otherwise – in a public school.  I just don’t really think it’s happening here.  It sounds more like a case of paranoia as opposed to anything legitimate, since they never really came up with anything concrete as evidence to refute the officials.

And there’s this reason:

For some of the concerned parents, the yoga poses serve as religious expression or a way to invite Hindu deities into the body.

Aaaaaand we’re done. These “concerned parents” are afraid of yoga because the poses themselves – which, if done properly, have demonstrated benefits in strength, circulation, and flexibility – constitute “religious expression”.  It’s possible that this may be true for some people, but it clearly doesn’t have to be, as shown by the millions of people of all faiths who practice it on a regular basis without any catastrophic spiritual repercussions.  As for the rest of their “concerns”, you can’t make any attempt to use logic and reason against some people if their argument is based on nothing more than ignorance and fear.  What the hell kind of world do they live in where that sort of thing is seen on a regular basis?  Every so often?  Once??

The remainder of the article rightly goes into the trouble with there being a lack of physical activity in today’s children and the need to incorporate more exercise into their daily routine.   Again, yoga has demonstrated all of the aforementioned benefits as well as the promotion of relaxation and peace of mind if the meditative aspects are explored as well.  (This might be a good idea for a bunch of hyperactive kids … although one stray fart in an otherwise silent room and the whole session is forfeit.)

Now, obviously, I haven’t seen the class, and I can’t say for sure whether the religious elements were sufficiently “scrubbed” from the course.  But again, if the district officials gave it their blessing (so to speak), then I’m compelled to think that it’s an issue of some parents with an overactive imagination.  I am similarly compelled to wonder what sort of response there would be from the same parents if some Christian themed program were to be introduced into the school, and whether there would be the same outcry.  Again, experience says that would be a completely different story.  It’s a shame to see parents acting more immature than the children they’re supposedly trying to protect.

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This entry was posted in Dr. Bob's House of Crap, Freedom from Religion, Religion and Public Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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