Jump directly to the content

Christian Parents Protest Yoga in Public Schools

(UPDATED) Judge says grant-funded, non-religious yoga classes can continue.

Update (July 1): A San Diego court judge has ruled that the Encinitas Union School District's yoga program can continue because it is not religious in nature, UT San Diego reports.

According to the local ABC affiliate, "The court determined that a reasonable student would not associate yoga with religion because of the way the district set up its program."

-----

Update (Feb. 21): Parents of children in the Encinitas Union School District officially have filed a lawsuit against the district's Ashtanga yoga program.

According to the Associated Press, "In the lawsuit filed in San Diego Superior Court, attorney Dean Broyles argued that the twice weekly, 30-minute classes are inherently religious, in violation of the separation between church and state."

Yoga teachers in the district maintain that they are not teaching religion, but an overall wellness program that incorporates yoga for students.

______________________________________

Original (Dec. 19, 2012): Just as a California school district prepares to launch the first-ever comprehensive yoga program in public schools, officials also are preparing for something a bit less calming: a lawsuit.

A group of Christian parents is threatening to sue Encinitas Union School District for indoctrinating children with Eastern spirituality, fearing that the district's twice-weekly, 30-minute yoga classes could "nudge their children closer to ancient Hindu beliefs." The parents say school-sponsored yoga violates the First Amendment.

According to the Associated Press, New York University law professor Adam Samaha says litigation against the program would not be easily decided. Courts still have not settled on a clear definition of religion, he said.

Dean Broyles, president of the National Center for Law and Policy, told the New York Times that the school district clearly is promoting "Hindu religious beliefs and practices in the public schools through this Ashtanga yoga program."

However, Encinitas assistant superintendent David Miyashiro has said that the instructors have been careful to remove not only spiritual references, but also "anything that can be perceived by onlookers as a concern."

CT has previously covered the topic of yoga, including its relationship to Christianity, whether or not it is dangerous to attain a "higher state of consciousness" through meditation, and whether or not Christians should say 'yes' to yoga.

Posted:December 1, 2013 at 1:25PM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.

Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article.
Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.
Login
or
Subscribe
or
Register
Recent Posts
Guard Kills 3 Americans at Christian Hospital in Afghanistan
Pediatrician left Chicago's Lawndale Christian Health Center for Kabul.
Israeli Military's Call-Up of Arab Christians Labeled 'Intimidation'
Attempt at increasing recruits ten-fold occurs against backdrop of stalled peace talks, Hamas-PLO reconciliation.
James Dobson's Birthday Gift: Latest Court Victory Over Obamacare Contraception
In shadow of Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby hearing, judge rules in favor of Family Talk.
Bill Gothard Breaks Silence on Harassment Claims by 30 Women
(UPDATED) Popular seminar speaker: 'I have failed to live out some of the very things that I have taught.'