What's So Wrong With Peace, Love, and Understanding?
"Imagine your elementary school child coming home one night and explaining the actions that their teacher asked them to do that day—to close their eyes and obey an audio recording that tells them to clear their minds, to watch their memories and emotions float away on clouds, and to feel the love and warmth from their connection to the universe. How would you react if this same audio recording is telling your child to look inside themselves to reach inner-goodness and peace? "
Sounds pretty anodyne to me. But not to a Pat Robertson-founded radical religious front organization which sees the spread of mindfulness in schools as an insidious menace. What kind of problem? Well, according to the blogpost on the Robertson-associated site (I'm not naming or linking to them), mindfulness is Buddhism and Buddhism is a religion. And therefore (this is taken directly from their blog post):
Generally, any involvement at all by public school officials in religious activity during the school day is unconstitutional under Establishment Clause jurisprudence. School officials violate the Establishment Clause if an “objective observer” would perceive the activity or instruction as a state endorsement of religious belief. Santa Fe Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290, 308 (2000).
But elsewhere on their site, they seem to have a major problem with the Establishment Clause:
Two Christian schools were barred from praying at a high school football championship game. Now they’re banning Christian school prayer?
The government’s state athletic association banned the prayer simply because of its Christian message. A pep talk would have been fine, but a Christian prayer – by two Christian schools – was banned. Even worse, a federal judge agreed.
This type of blatant anti-Christian discrimination on campus is spreading like a virus.
What makes this even more amusing is that the mindfulness program, Inner Explorer, is an explicitly secular program that mentions Buddhism nowhere (as far as I can tell) on their Web site (and in fact mindfulness techniques are found both in many religious traditions and also in entirely secular programs like Inner Explorer). So...
Robertson's group is (1) seeking to ban a non-religious program using the Establishment Clause while simultaneously (2) seeking to promote overtly religious rituals by opposing the Establishment Clause.
BTW, at the time of this writing, 51,663 outraged christianists had already signed a petition on the Robertson Web site calling for the banning of mindfulness from public schools.