Cult not religion, OK to be taught in school

American Family News Network/November 19, 2010

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against a California school district that claimed two public schools were violating the First Amendment's Establishment Clause by teaching a controversial education philosophy based on an unusual belief system.

Two public schools in Sacramento use the Waldorf teaching method, which is based on anthroposophy. That was inspired by 19th century Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner, who formulated his own teachings and cult-like following by mixing religions. But a judge has ruled that anthroposophy is not a religion, so public schools can continue to utilize its methodology.

Pacific Justice Institute was involved in the lawsuit that originated in 1998. Chief Counsel Kevin Snider tells OneNewsNow the ruling illustrates the double standard seen too often in public education in which widely-held beliefs like Christianity and Judaism are excluded, while unusual beliefs like anthroposophy are promoted.

"We don't believe that a separation of church and state requires [an] eradication or censorship of historical realities," he explains. "What we are against is to have religious practice and indoctrination, and that's exactly what anthroposophy is calculated to do. We think that there is a heightened level of state scrutiny when you're dealing with children."

But Snider says the judge excluded nearly all the evidence presented against Anthroposophy, and his group thinks that "was an error of law." So there will be an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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