In an update to the story I wrote
at the beginning of last month about Christian parents in California opposed to yoga in schools, a new development has surfaced. When we last left them, fundamentalist Christian parents in an Encinitas, CA school district had their panties in a wad over yoga being used in physical education classes. The stripped-down version of the ancient physical exercise being used at the school district is an optional program, and specifically uses only physical stretching (ensuring the absence of any cultural or spiritual language).
According to NBC Sourthern California
, “School district Superintendent Timothy Baird said he’s shocked a lawsuit was filed against the district. “We have not stripped religion out of it. We never put religion in it
,” Baird said. “What we took out were cultural connections, so we don’t use Sanskrit words. But basically what you have kids doing is stretching, moving, breathing. That’s not religious
Not satisfied with that explanation, fundamentalist Christian parents in the school district filed suit despite the district’s assurances (and the parents’ ability to remove their children). The civil rights lawsuit seeks to halt the yoga program indefinitely and “restore traditional physical education to the district.” (Notice the use of the conservative buzzword “traditional” in their lawsuit? That’s not an accident.)
In order to succeed, the lawsuit will be required to prove that practicing yoga is inherently religious (therefore making the school’s adaption of the exercise inherently unconstitutional based on the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause).
The hurdle they face is this: yoga isn’t a religious activity. While religions do incorporate yoga into their religious practices, practicing yoga isn’t inherently religious in and of itself. Equating a physical exercise some religions incorporate into their religious practice as a religious belief itself is fallacious. It would be like calling a potluck Christian because many churches host potlucks. While churches do indeed frequently use potlucks to enhance their religious experience through a shared meal, potlucks in and of themselves do not constitute a religious belief or activity – nor does yoga.
For virtually his entire life, Tim has been writing. Over the years he has dabbled in mainstream fiction, science fiction, dystopian fiction, and personal essays. The one consistent thread through his entire writing career has been blogging – he’s been doing it since 1997 in one form or another. When not working on his professional blog (Peacock Panache), Tim toils away at editing & rewriting the novels he’s completed over the years. You an read samples of his other work here.
You can find Tim online at Peacock Panache as well as his personal website. You can also find him on LinkedIn and on Twitter as @timsimms.