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Yoga a Religious Practice in Schools?

Posted by on Apr. 20, 2017 at 4:40 PM
  • 100 Replies

Suit says Cobb schools ‘capitulated’ to Christians in yoga flap

Posted: 7:39 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, 2017


An assistant principal who says she introduced yoga into her Cobb County school to calm down disruptive students is claiming she was victimized by Christian parents who objected on religious grounds, and by a school district that “capitulated” to them.

The resulting federal lawsuit jabs a couple of hot-button issues in public education. Beyond the debate about yoga and religion, it raises the question of whether it’s bad for an educator’s career to be transferred to a “lower-performing” school.

Bonnie Cole, who is now the assistant principal at Mableton Elementary, asserts that it is and that the forced move from Bullard Elementary added 16 miles to her commute. She is seeking financial recompense for the resulting distress, inconvenience, income loss, “humiliation” and “indignities” and the effect on her career.

The lawsuit against the school district filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia says that yoga, as Cole introduced it, was not done as a religious practice and the school district was being hypocritical because during that period emails containing “Christian-based Daily Scripture Devotionals” were being sent to all staff.

District spokeswoman Donna Lowry said there would be no comment on pending litigation, and Cole’s attorney, Edward D. Buckley, did not return a call seeking comment.

Cole, who says she is a Christian, says school leaders and ultimately the school board buckled under pressure from parents who held a prayer rally at Bullard “for Jesus to rid the school of Buddhism.” The next day, two women put their hands on Cole’s office window and prayed.

“Not only was the capitulation and transfer a humiliating and public demonstration of the district’s lack of support of Ms. Cole, it made clear to the community that religious activities will be allowed as long as they are part of the “accepted” religion of Christianity,” her lawsuit says.

Cheryl Crawford, who runs a nonprofit that has introduced yoga into about 30 schools in metro Atlanta, said teachers want it because it calms disruptive students by teaching them to channel emotions like anger, fear and sadness. “Just telling them to focus doesn’t work. That’s pretty well-known now.”

Cobb has a history of controversy over religion in schools. In 2002, the district put a sticker on science textbooks that said evolution is “a theory, not a fact” and encouraged students to read with an open mind, “critically considered.”

Yoga has been controversial among conservative Christians. Albert Mohler, a former president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in 2010 that yoga is derived from Eastern religions and is not a Christian pathway to God. A lawsuit in southern California alleged that yoga in school violated the First Amendment ban on the government establishment of religion.

Cole’s lawsuit claims Cobb “engaged in the ‘de facto’ establishment” of the parents’ belief that yoga didn’t conform to their Christian beliefs, and violated the First Amendment by allowing Christianity on school grounds and in school emails.

Experts say the question of whether yoga is a religious practice that violates the constitution’s establishment clause is an exceedingly difficult one to answer.

“This is a hotly contested topic,” said Jonathan R. Herman, who teaches religion at Georgia State University. Yoga’s roots in Hinduism are typically stripped away in the practice of it today, he said. Instead, it’s often seen as spiritual but not religious, he said. “It’s a way of being religious in modern America while being ostensibly anti-religion.

It’s a slippery issue for academics, let alone the courts.

Another expert, Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, who teaches at Indiana University at Bloomington about the intersection of religion and law, said “religion” itself is a debatable word in the context of the establishment clause.

The word “religion” is used as shorthand for a variety of ideas and practices, and academics and courts can legitimately disagree about whether something is, or isn’t, “religious,” she said.

“I think it’s a deeply unstable and unsettled concept.”

by on Apr. 20, 2017 at 4:40 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Sisteract
by Whoopie on Apr. 20, 2017 at 4:42 PM

Again?

Sparkles4Lui
by Gold Member on Apr. 20, 2017 at 4:50 PM
2 moms liked this
"Albert Mohler, a former president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in 2010 that yoga is derived from Eastern religions and is not a Christian pathway to God."

Easter and Christmas???
mcginnisc
by on Apr. 20, 2017 at 5:06 PM
6 moms liked this

These people are morons... there are many, many Christians that do yoga. It helps to calm the system and that is what it was used for in this instance. 

Claire


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 

Ms.KitKat
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“I can’t imagine how awful that must feel. Being normal? Ugh.”
Yesterday at 4:01 PM
by Ruby Member on Apr. 20, 2017 at 5:42 PM
2 moms liked this

ffs- it's a form of exercise and has shown to greatly increase productivity and focus 


Debmomto2teens
by Platinum Member on Apr. 20, 2017 at 5:45 PM
5 moms liked this
These Christians are a bunch of snowflakes.
atlmom2
by Gold Member on Apr. 20, 2017 at 5:58 PM
2 moms liked this
WTF

Our schools have yoga and whatever. Why does everything offend someone now?
cindermom50
by Member on Apr. 20, 2017 at 6:26 PM
1 mom liked this
This is the most ignorant thing I've ever heard.
YoYiggy
by Bronze Member on Apr. 20, 2017 at 6:41 PM
1 mom liked this
Oh wow.
That is CRAZY
I've done yoga with students before, while learning about world history.

Yoga can definitely help calm those disruptive behaviors. Before or after a long lecture or test I usually have my students do some yoga stretches and deep breathing.

I've never had someone take offense.
LGAll65215
by Gold Member on Apr. 20, 2017 at 7:52 PM
2 moms liked this
Too many southern Baptists are the most narrow minded , uninformed bunch anywhere.
Idiots.


Quoting Sparkles4Lui: "Albert Mohler, a former president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in 2010 that yoga is derived from Eastern religions and is not a Christian pathway to God."



Easter and Christmas???
btamilee2750
by Silver Member on Apr. 20, 2017 at 8:10 PM

I love yoga....its great for the core!  I have known my share of southern Baptists....and I can honestly say I have never once thought of them as being more narrow minded or uninformed (idiots) than any other religion. 

Quoting LGAll65215: Those southern Baptists are the most narrow minded , uninformed bunch anywhere. Idiots.
Quoting Sparkles4Lui: "Albert Mohler, a former president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in 2010 that yoga is derived from Eastern religions and is not a Christian pathway to God." Easter and Christmas???


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