Pumsy and DUSO aren't the only vehicles for injecting nontraditional values into our public schools. In White Plains, New York, in 1999, a group of Roman Catholic parents sued the Bedford School District for introducing New Age themes in the schools. One complaint was that a third grade teacher asked students to make "worry dolls" during a lesson on India. Some believe that worry dolls can ward off evil spirits. Another objection was that the teacher asked the children to make paper representations of Ganesha, a Hindu god. Perhaps the worst example involved an Earth Day assembly where the students were told: "The mother of us all is the earth. The father is the sun."
While the judge did strike down these three practices, he let twelve others stand, such as yoga exercises, meditation, and lectures on crystals. The yoga exercises were taught by a "yogi," Sikh minister Agia Akai Singh Kalsa. The minister denied, as they always do, that his lesson had anything to do with religion. Most noteworthy here is how effortlessly a Sikh minister, Hindu practices, New Age beliefs, and yoga were introduced in the school. Would the school-or the judge in his compromise ruling-have been so lenient if the Roman Catholic parents had tried to insert a curriculum with a Catholic priest teaching how to pray the Rosary, venerate the Virgin Mary, and pray the Stations of the Cross? Somehow, I don't think so. It has become a natural knee-jerk reaction of the public schools to have one exclusionist standard for Christians and one inclusive, "tolerant" standard for every other system of belief.
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