Yoga and religion on trial, oh my. The recap from the Encinitas yoga trial that began earlier this week comes courtesy of U-T San Diego writer Logan Jenkins and only confirms our deepest fears: we may all be bald from tearing our hair out by the end of it, IF it ever ends.
So far, the hair-raising trial that began on Monday has seen defendant, superintendant Timothy Baird take to the stand as well as Dr. Candy Brown a religious scholar who has managed to turn this lawsuit into a yoga witch hunt replete with conspiracy theories of spiritual trickery.
According to journalist Jenkins, Brown also, at one point, equated downward facing dog to the Bible, to which defense attorney relented, ”I can’t match brain power with you.” After which, all their heads exploded and George Lucas came to explain the meaning of life.
Judge Meyer also had difficulty wrapping his head around it all, saying in response to Dr. Brown’s testimony: “We’re getting so esoteric it’s almost meaningless.”
Here’s more of Jenkins’s account from fly-on-the-wall pose:
From his body (and oral) language, it appears that Meyer, who’s disclosed that he’s done yoga (and has not converted to Hinduism), likely will rule in late June that the district is not promoting religion via its modified yoga program.
He may concede that there can be a spiritual response to yoga, but the same could be said of most any school pursuit — community service, sports, the Pledge of Allegiance.
After hearing what a slippery slope this customized “EUSD yoga” presents, Meyer performed a full shoulder shrug and side-to-side head swing (call it the Bewildered Judge pose) and said, “You might as well have every child home-schooled.”
Slippery slope indeed. Because this is more about yoga. It’s about the complexities and sensitivities around religious freedom and oppression, which, like the Second Amendment, we may never quite all agree on in this country. The parents suing the school believe no matter who you slice it, yoga stems from Eastern religion and is in competition with Christianity. And the culture wars continue.
Coincidentally, the attorneys defending yoga in this case argued, in a separate embattled case, against signs saying “In God We Trust” found in a calculus teacher’s classroom which made it to federal court. Lordie.
Yoga in public school could make it all the way to the Supreme Court. Is yoga anti-Christian? Are Christians anti-yoga? You can’t say it’s either, definitively. So how can they rule on this? We know one thing, we’re glad we’re not the judge.