Parents sue California public school system over ‘unconstitutional’ chanting to Aztec deities

Three California parents have filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Education over a chant to Aztec deities included in a new ethnic studies curriculum.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed earlier this month, the program asks students to repeat the “In Lak Ech Affirmation” – a chant that invokes the Aztec gods who were worshiped through human sacrifice.

The Thomas More Society – a conservative law firm that represents all three parents – described the model program as “grossly unconstitutional” in court documents.

The new ethnic studies curriculum was approved for teaching in all California public schools earlier this year. It will teach students in the state “the history, struggles, and contributions of Asians, Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans.”

Chapter 5 of the program includes an “Affirmation, chants and energizers” section of which chanting to the Aztec deities is a part.

The program says of the song: “In Lak Ech translates to you are my other me and relates to our habit of mind, empathy, but also compassion, interdependence, ecology, love and mutual respect.”

“The program’s unequivocal promotion of Aztec gods or deities through repetitive chanting and affirmation of their symbolic tenets constitutes an unlawful governmental preference for a particular religious practice,” said Frank Xu, president of the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation. , in a press release published on The Thomas More Society website.

Three California parents have filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Education over a chant to Aztec deities included in a new ethnic studies curriculum. An exhibit of the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca is depicted

Deities referenced in the chant allegedly include Tezkatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli and Xipe Totec.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Tezkatlipoca was a protean sorcerer who caused the death of many Toltecs by his black magic.

In the fifth month of the Aztec solar year, Tezcatlipoca was worshiped in special ceremonies, in which a prisoner of war was taken to a temple where he had his heart cut out with an obsidian knife.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Paul Joanna said in a statement: “The Aztecs have routinely committed horrific and gruesome acts for the sole purpose of pacifying and placating the very beings the program prayers invoke.

“Our clients have both a religious and civic objection to the Aztec Prayer, and they do not want their children to recite it, be asked or compelled to do so, or risk the ostracism if they refuse.”

He added: “The constitutions of California and the United States prohibit prayer in public schools. Can you imagine if elements of the Christian faith were proposed for inclusion 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 this be received?

The Constitution prohibits public school officials from leading or promoting prayer in their official duties, although students are permitted to pray privately in school as part of their right to free speech and expression of first amendment.

Huitzilopochtli is another deity referenced in the chant.  A design of the Aztec god is depicted

Huitzilopochtli is another deity referenced in the chant. A design of the Aztec god is depicted

The California Department of Education is targeted in the new lawsuit, filed earlier this month

The California Department of Education is targeted in the new lawsuit, filed earlier this month

In March, the State Board of Education unanimously approved the new ethnic studies curriculum.

The program focuses on “social consciousness” and cultures often ignored or overlooked in mainstream textbooks, such as “African American, Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x, Native American, Asian American, and Islander Studies of the Pacific,” according to resources available on the CDE website.

The model curriculum also includes a number of goals that students and teachers can achieve together.

Together, the classes can “criticize empire building in history and its relationship to white supremacy, racism, and other forms of power and oppression.”

They can also “challenge racist, bigoted, discriminatory, imperialist/colonial beliefs and practices on many levels” and “connect us to past and contemporary social movements fighting for social justice and a fair and democratic society” as students seek to “build new possibilities for a society of post-racist and post-systemic racism.

Expected outcomes with this program include the pursuit of justice, greater inclusiveness, greater self-understanding, more empathy for others, and recognition of intersectionality, which is where people’s diverse identities merge. .

In March, the State Board of Education unanimously approved the new ethnic studies curriculum.  Image bank

In March, the State Board of Education unanimously approved the new ethnic studies curriculum. Image bank

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