A state’s public school curriculum contains prayer, so a new lawsuit seeks to take religion out of the classroom.
See a lede like that and the average reader probably assumes Mississippi or some abutting state is requiring students to say the Our Father before the Pledge of Allegiance.
In fact, the state is California — and, according to a conservative religious freedom group, the prayer is to Aztec gods who demand rites like “human sacrifice, cutting out of human hearts, flaying of victims and wearing their skin.”
The Thomas More Society is spearheading a legal challenge to part of California’s ethnic studies curriculum, which the group says includes “affirmation, chants and energizers” that are little more than prayers to pagan deities.
The suit was filed on Friday; the Thomas More Society was joined by the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation along with parents and other California taxpayers, according to CBN News.
It came after the California Department of Education ignored a letter from the group asking that the Aztec prayers be removed from the curriculum.
“The Aztecs regularly performed gruesome and horrific acts for the sole purpose of pacifying and appeasing the very beings that the prayers from the curriculum invoke,” said Paul Jonna, special counsel for the Thomas More Society.
“Any form of prayer and glorification of these bloodthirsty beings in whose name horrible atrocities were performed is repulsive to any reasonably informed observer.”
“Our clients have both a religious and civic objection to the Aztec prayer, and they do not want their children chanting it, being asked or pressured to do so, or risking ostracism if they refuse,” Jonna said in a news release.
“Under both the California and United States Constitutions, they have the right to expect all branches of the state government … to respect this choice. Furthermore, all Californians have the right to expect that tax-supported public schools will not aid or promote this religion.”
California’s ethnic studies curriculum was first reported on in March by Christopher Rufo of City Journal, who’s written extensively on the excesses of critical race theory and associated detritus clogging curricula from sea to shining sea.
Rufo reported that the model curriculum “recommends that teachers lead their students in a series of indigenous songs, chants, and affirmations.”
“Students first clap and chant to the god Tezkatlipoka — whom the Aztecs traditionally worshipped with human sacrifice and cannibalism — asking him for the power to be ‘warriors’ for ‘social justice.’
“Next, the students chant to the gods Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli, and Xipe Totek, seeking ‘healing epistemologies’ and ‘a revolutionary spirit,'” Rufo wrote. “Huitzilopochtli, in particular, is the Aztec deity of war and inspired hundreds of thousands of human sacrifices during Aztec rule.
“Finally, the chant comes to a climax with a request for ‘liberation, transformation, [and] decolonization,’ after which students shout ‘Panche beh! Panche beh!’ in pursuit of ultimate ‘critical consciousness.’”
According to The Washington Times, the California Board of Education adopted the curriculum unanimously in March.
The stilted Marxist language mixed with woo-woo spiritualism may sound as if it had been written by Mao reincarnated in a San Mateo pot dispensary. But the chant is still something more than just a chant.
As CBN noted, it may be “labeled as an ‘affirmation,'” but it “addresses the deities both by name and by their traditional titles, recognizes them as sources of power and knowledge, invokes their assistance, and gives thanks to them. In short, the complaint points out it is clearly a state-mandated prayer.”
“Both the California and the United States Constitutions prohibit prayer in public schools — particularly prayers drafted by public officials,” Jonna said.
“Can you imagine if elements of the Christian faith were proposed to be included in the public school curriculum? What if a class incorporated praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or even reciting the Lord’s Prayer? How would that be received?”
Depends. Does the prayer depict the Blessed Virgin Mary as an oppressed Palestinian living under the heel of colonizers?
After all, if Aztec gods can be woke, just think what one could do with a religion not quite as bloodthirsty. Unfortunately, a god remains a god — and as we know from the left’s anaphylactic reaction to the Christian God anywhere near the classroom, religion is a no-no in public schools.
Praying to the God who is love has long been verboten in public school classrooms under the Establishment Clause. The same, then, should hold true regarding supplication to cruel Aztec deities, even if those prayers are repurposed as calls for “liberation, transformation and decolonization.”
Furthermore, if leftists think people will get upset over students saying the Lord’s Prayer, they’re about to see what’ll happen when parents learn their children are being encouraged to participate in Aztec rites.
No matter what sort of New Age name you want to give it — be it “affirmation” or “energizer” — a prayer is a prayer is a prayer.
It matters not whether goose or gander sayeth it — one Constitution is good for them both.
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