While Christian prayer has been infamously banned from public schools for decades, California parents have been horrified to find that their children could be expected to participate in chants to Aztec gods from a historical era when the Mesoamerican civilization was engaging in bloody, mass human sacrifice to appease said deities.
Last week, the Thomas More Society filed a lawsuit on behalf of parents and individual taxpayers to block schools from including the chants in the state’s ethnic studies curriculum.
The Christian Post reports that the “Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum” approved by the state has been adopted by many public schools and includes a section of “Affirmation, Chants, and Energizers” which includes the “In Lak Ech Affirmation,” an invocation to five Aztec deities, according to the lawsuit.
In a statement shared with the Post, the law firm stated that the “affirmation” names the deities, thanks them, and credits them as being sources of knowledge and power.
As you can imagine, the parents in the lawsuit are very concerned both about the religious nature of the chant as well as the history of the Aztec religion.
“Our clients have both a religious and civic objection to the Aztec prayer, and they do not want their children chanting it, being asked or pressured to do so, or risking ostracism if they refuse,” Thomas More Society Special Counsel Paul Jonna said.
“The Aztecs regularly performed gruesome and horrific acts for the sole purpose of pacifying and appeasing the very beings that the prayers from the curriculum invoke,” he explained. “The human sacrifice, cutting out of human hearts, flaying of victims and wearing their skin, are a matter of historical record, along with sacrifices of war prisoners, and other repulsive acts and ceremonies the Aztecs conducted to honor their deities. Any form of prayer and glorification of these bloodthirsty beings in whose name horrible atrocities were performed is repulsive to any reasonably informed observer.”
Frank Xu, president of the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, explains that the promotion of the Aztec chanting and affirmation “constitutes an unlawful government preference toward a particular religious practice.”
“This public endorsement of the Aztec religion fundamentally erodes equal education rights and irresponsibly glorifies anthropomorphic, male deities whose religious rituals involved gruesome human sacrifice and human dismemberment,” he explained.
The lawsuit also points to the inclusion of aspects of the African Yoruba religion, “an ancient philosophical concept that is the root of many pagan religions, including santeria and Haitian vodou or voodoo.”
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