“Ohmmm” my goodness: Yoga and religion in public schools
2013-03-01 0:00

By Amy E. Feldman | Constitution Daily

The Encinitas Union School District near San Diego has been hit with a lawsuit that claims the school district violates the students’ religious freedom. How? It provides yoga classes to elementary school students.

The physical education program is funded by a nonprofit organization that trains students in Ashtanga yoga, which comprises both the physical fitness aspects of yoga along with breathing practices, stress management techniques, and other life skills. Those principles, the plaintiff argues, have roots in Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, and metaphysical beliefs that are inherently religious and, as a result, violate the public school’s duty to maintain a separation between church and state.

Many people are confused. There is no Church of Yoga. How can teaching yoga in school violate the Constitution?

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states in part: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Similarly, the California Constitution forbids any public funding of religious instruction and guarantees that “free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference.”

But before determining if the public school is, through its program, establishing religion, it would be helpful to understand the definition of a “religion.”

While the lawsuit is based on religious freedom under the California state constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up the matter of what qualifies as a religion on many occasions, and their decisions shed light on the yoga case.

In the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which, among other prohibitions, prevents discrimination on the basis of religion, Congress defined religion as “a belief [that] must be sincerely held, and within the believer’s own scheme of things religious.” But the use of the word “religious” to define religion is not very helpful.

For further clarification, we turn to the Supreme Court, whose definition of a “religion” has (ironically enough) evolved over time. When the Supreme Court first took up the task of defining religion in 1890 in Davis v. Beason, it stated: “The term ‘religion’ has reference to one’s views of his relations to his Creator, and to the obligations they impose of reverence for his being and character and of obedience to his will.” In other words, to be a religion, there must be a belief in God and the practice of worship.


Read the full article at: constitutioncenter.org

Related Articles
Southern Baptist leader on yoga: Not Christianity
Army’s New PTSD Treatments: Yoga, Reiki, ’Bioenergy’

Latest News from our Front Page

ISIS to France: "We will be coming. Victory has been promised to us by Allah"
2015-11-26 3:33
Homegrown French ISIS fighters have issued a chilling threat of new attacks on France just 24 hours after the terrorist group used movie footage of the Eiffel Tower's collapse in another video.  A balaclava-clad militant is seen warning 'we will be coming, we will come to crush your country' in footage posted on Twitter earlier today. It is unclear where the film ...
ISIS teenage 'poster girl' Samra Kesinovic 'beaten to death' as she tried to flee the group
2015-11-26 1:07
She appeared in social media images for the group carrying a Kalashnikov and surrounded by armed men A teenage girl who ran away from her Vienna home to join Isis in Syria has reportedly been beaten to death by the group after trying to escape. Samra Kesinovic, 17, travelled to Syria last year with her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15. The two became a ...
The Right Stuff's flagship podcast "The Daily Shoah" has been censored by Soundcloud
2015-11-25 22:56
Editor's note: The PC corporate moral police strike again. Just as Radio 3Fourteen & Red Ice Radio were censored from iTunes, The Daily Shoah was pulled from Soundcloud today. As per usual, there is a double standard, they allow any kind of anti-White material: No counter culture humor making fun of the genocidal mainstream garbage is allowed! ... From: therightstuff.biz Soundcloud took it upon ...
Merkel Welcomes A Million More: Vows To Stand By Refugee Policy Despite Security Fears
2015-11-25 21:05
Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Wednesday to stick to her open-door refugee policy, defying criticism at home and abroad which has intensified due to growing fears about a potential security risk after the Islamist attacks in Paris. Conservative Merkel faces splits in her right-left coalition and pressure from EU states, including France, over her insistence that Germany can cope with up ...
Paris Terrorist Was Gay 'Rent Boy', On The Run From Islamic State And Police
2015-11-25 20:16
The elusive eighth Paris attacker and one of three brothers implicated in the atrocity reportedly frequented gay clubs before the attack. He may have backed out of his mission at the last minute, and is possibly on the run from Islamic State as well as authorities. “We had him down as a rent boy, he was always hanging out with that ...
More News »