A San Diego couple is suing the area’s school district for allegedly violating their children’s religious freedom by offering yoga classes for physical education.
Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock actually have the option to opt their children out of taking the classes, which the school’s superintendent describes as, “stretching, moving, breathing.” But their lawyer, a part of the conservative National Center for Law and Policy, still believes there is a strong case for why yoga classes are an unconstitutional violation religious freedom:
In a press release issued by Escondido-based National Center for Law and Policy, attorney Dean Broyles said the Encinitas yoga program was a “breach of public trust” that sets a “dangerous precedent.”
“This is frankly the clearest case of the state trampling on the religious freedom rights of citizens that I have personally witnessed in my 18 years of practice as a constitutional attorney,” Broyles said.
The lawsuit, which alleges civil rights violations, was filed in San Diego Superior Court. It ultimately seeks to suspend the yoga program indefinitely and “restore traditional physical education to the district.”
If the couple’s lawyer thinks that this is “the clearest case of the state trampling on [religious] freedoms” that he has witnessed, he may want to look a little harder. The First Amendment does not simply protect against legitimate threats to the free exercise of faith, it also forbids the government from endorsing religious views or forcing religion upon others — most often non-Christians. So when an Indiana lawmaker proposes requiring “the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day,” that’s a violation of religious freedom. When a conservative judges places a massive Ten Commandments monument in the middle of the Alabama Judicial Building, that’s a violation of religious freedom.
When a child does a yoga pose, on the other hand, that’s just a good way to stay in shape.