This is the latest installment of our year-end victories series looking back at some of the numerous victories by the ACLJ in 2019.
This year, we took direct action to curtail an emerging and disturbing trend in public schools of incorporating Buddhist-based “mindfulness” practices into the daily curriculum of elementary school age children.
We were contacted by parents of elementary, middle, and high school students from over a dozen states who were required to participate in as many as three meditation or mindfulness sessions each school day. The programs included audio recordings encouraging children to empty their minds or watch their thoughts float away on a cloud. Children are instructed to meditate on their own magnificence, to worship nature and believe that all men are inherently good.
The programs used creative terminology to remove overt references to Buddhism, but don’t be fooled. Mindfulness meditation is to Buddhism what prayer is to Christianity. Regardless of what they call it, mindfulness curriculum teaches Buddhist practices and is a violation of the First Amendment.
The ACLJ took on the religious indoctrination of school children in the practices of Buddhism – sending demand letters to schools across the country to educate them on the religious nature of the practice and the application of federal law and to demand that these schools cease implementing these compulsory mindfulness programs.
As a result, at least one school has agreed not to implement any mindfulness program into the everyday curriculum and others are currently re-evaluating the program.
In addition, several teachers, upon learning of the undisputable religious connection between mindfulness and Buddhism, ceased using the curriculum in their classroom.
We also filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on this issue to the Department of Education over federal taxpayer-funded grants. It’s imperative that parents know what their children are being taught outside of the home – especially in taxpayer supported public schools.
These schools and educators wouldn’t consider integrating Christian prayer into their curriculum. We refuse to allow them to indoctrinate school children regarding Godless Buddhism, subverting and confusing the Christian upbringing they’re receiving at home from their own families.
To help the ACLJ continue to have the resources we need to make these First Amendment victories possible and protect children, please consider making a Tax-Deductible donation to the ACLJ through our year-end Matching Challenge. Your gift will be DOUBLED dollar-for-dollar through the end of the year.
You can read more in the ACLJ’s 2019 Victories Series here.
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