The California Department of Education passed a curriculum that has students praying to Aztec gods, according to a lawsuit filed on Friday by the Thomas More Society.
The prayers, according to the national non-profit public interest law firm, are being elicited under the guise of an ethnic studies curriculum.
The lawsuit was filed in California Superior Court on behalf the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation and individual taxpayers and parents of school children. It came after the state superintendent of public instruction chose not to answer a letter with legal demands. The letter asked the state's top educational authority to withdraw the Aztec prayer from the curriculum.
As CBN News reported in March, the curriculum reportedly features its own "ethnic studies community chant" and recommends teachers lead students in a series of indigenous songs, chants, and affirmations, including the "In Lak Ech Affirmation," which appeals directly to the Aztec gods," according to the City Journal website.
The lawsuit details the state's board of education-approved Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, which includes a section of "Affirmation, Chants, and Energizers." Although labeled as an "affirmation," it addresses the deities both by name and by their traditional titles, recognizes them as sources of power and knowledge, invokes their assistance, and gives thanks to them. In short, the complaint points out it is clearly a state-mandated prayer.
"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," explained Paul Jonna, partner at LiMandri & Jonna LLP and Thomas More Society special counsel. "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."
In addition, the curriculum includes the Ashe Prayer from the Yoruba religion. Yoruba is an ancient spiritual concept that is the root of many pagan religions, including Santeria and Haitian Vodou or Voodoo.
In City Journal's article from March, Contributing Editor Christopher F. Rufo describes the chant to the five Aztec gods.
"Students first clap and chant to the god Tezkatlipoka—whom the Aztecs traditionally worshipped with human sacrifice and cannibalism—asking him for the power to be 'warriors' for 'social justice.' Next, the students chant to the gods Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli, and Xipe Totek, seeking 'healing epistemologies' and 'a revolutionary spirit.' Huitzilopochtli, in particular, is the Aztec deity of war and inspired hundreds of thousands of human sacrifices during Aztec rule. Finally, the chant comes to a climax with a request for 'liberation, transformation, and decolonization,' after which students shout 'Panche beh! Panche beh!' in pursuit of ultimate 'critical consciousness."
These chants have a clear significance: a shift away from the Christian God to the establishment of native 'gods' in the so-called social justice hierarchy.
"Both the California and the United States Constitutions prohibit prayer in public schools – particularly prayers drafted by public officials," Jonna explained. "Can you imagine if elements of the Christian faith were proposed to be included 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 that be received?"
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