On September 3, 2021, several parents in California filed a lawsuit against the State Board of Education over a new “Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum” (ESMC) being proposed. While this curriculum sounds innocuous, it turns out to be another indoctrination ritual as students are compelled to chant affirmations to Aztec gods and participate in ancient Nigerian Yoruba religious prayer.
Some of the critics of this curriculum argue that it indoctrinates students in Marxism. According to media reports, the state board unanimously approved the curriculum, of which over 6 million California students would be subjected to, back in March.
The lawsuit features the text of the “Nahui Ollin.” This was described as a chant “founded on traditional Aztec beliefs, focusing especially on the four deities Tezkatlipoka, Quetzalkoatl, Huitzilopochtli, and Xipe Totek” in addition to a reference to Hunab Ku, “an older Mayan creator deity.”
The other “affirmation” included in the curriculum is dedicated to the Yoruba “divine force” known as Ashe.
Mark A. Kellner of the Washington Times highlighted how this affirmation ritual works in real time:
After sentences such as “Who is going to have a positive day?” or “Who will represent their people, this day?”, students are told to say, “Ashe!’”
The Thomas More Society and special counsel Paul Jonna of LiMandri & Jonna LLP banded together to file the legal complaint with the Superior Court of California in San Diego on behalf of Californians for Equal Rights and San Diego country residents Eric Gonzales, Steve Houbeck, and Jose Velazquez. The latter three are the parents of school-age children. This legal action was carried out after the state board did not respond to a letter requesting that the offensive curriculum be removed.
“The curriculum’s unequivocal promotion of five Aztec gods or deities through repetitive chanting and affirmation of their symbolic principles constitutes an unlawful government preference toward a particular religious practice,” Frank Xu, Californians for Equal Rights Foundation president, declared in a statement. “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,” Xu added.
The ESMC lawsuit features a section of “Affirmation, Chants, and Energizers.” One invocation that is referenced in the lawsuit deals with how deities are addressed “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 the complaint, it was argued that “In short … it [the invocation] is a prayer.”
Mr. Jonna, the legal counsel, noted in a statement that “both the California and the United States constitutions prohibit prayer in public schools – particularly prayers drafted by public officials.”
“Can you imagine if elements of the Christian faith were proposed to be included in the public school curriculum?” Jonna continued. “What if a class incorporated praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or even reciting the Lord’s Prayer?”
California’s case is instructive. As one of America’s most leftist states, it’s an incubator for leftist policies that eventually go national. These radical ethnic studies are meant to indoctrinate and acclimate students to a post-national environment where America’s foundational principles are ignored and other foreign cultures are celebrated.
This is no way to run an education system and represents another effort to undermine America’s national character. Conservatives would be wise to promote measures that defund institutions who champion post-national curriculum and instead set up alternatives like homeschooling and private schooling.