A Raleigh, NC elementary school has received letters from a local activists group to stop some classes that the group claims were “school-sponsored religious activities that violated the First Amendment.” The classes were even conducted by a religous leader from outside the school that runs a ministry.
Why isn’t the national media all over this story? Where is the outrage from the ACLU?
Well the problem is that the activist group is a Christian group and the classes are relaxation classes based on New Age belief systems..
In the print copy of the story that I have from the Spartanburg Herald Journal, Emily Gunter who conducted the classes said, “I am always curious when people call me New Age. People will always couch anything that is unknown as New Age.”
Maybe that is the case. Maybe it is a big misunderstanding and the Christians have jumped the gun again and thrown around the “New Age” label where it didn’t belong. Gunter said herself that she doesn’t “do anybody’s religion,” but rather she “enhance[s] the learning practice.
Perhaps her website could give us some more information into her enhancing the learning practice.
First off we see that her foundation’s mission is “to bring peace to our world through the personal empowerment and spiritual development of the Youth.” The website also notes that Gunter just returned from a spiritual pilgrimage in the Himalayas of Tibet and Nepal, where she wrote her newest book, “A Rite of Passage to Spiritual Enlightenment: Living with Compassion.”
If we look at the links of her website. We see about a dozen links to sites discussing sacred geometry and other belief systems. Here is the “spiritual philosophy” of one of her “friends around the web” that she links.
We can’t automatically pin on her the beliefs of someone she links, after all I link to Insulted occassionaly and we all know that we don’t share many of the same beliefs. So, let’s look at what it takes to be an “elder” in her organization and part of the retreats that they go on.
Here is how the elder retreats are described:
Be willing to change. Surrender to the flow. Watch how mundane activities are transformed into Divine support. God loves us and we need to feel this love directly in our bodies. The retreat is a safe and loving place to help us feel our innocence, in the sweet caring setting of nature. Open to receive miracles. Come join the Mutual Admiration Society with fellow elders.
What does the agenda include:
Sacred Geometry, Spiritual Code of Ethics, Conflict Resolution, Balance, Spherical Holy Breath, Balance, Fire Ceremony and so much more
Nope, no religion here. There is no need to remove this from schools, just as long as we keep those nasty Christians out of the public sector. In fact, we should expand her reach to other areas. Oh wait, Rites of Passage is already involved with the following:
City of Durham, NC Public Schools
City of Chapel Hill, NC School District
City of Durham, NC Park and Recreation
City of Rochester, NY Human Resource Dept.
City of Durham, NC Human Resources Dept.
City of Chapel Hill, NC Housing Dev.
City of Durham, NC Human Relations Commission
San Diego County, CA Social Work Dept.
along with several other public and private colleges and universities
The ACLU has spent a lot of time and resources trying to get a historic cross sculpture removed from a hill in San Diego. I wonder how much time they have spent on removing the religious influence of the Rites of Passage from the county’s social work department – probably not much.