The federal government has been caught trying to push a Buddhist-based meditation program on preschoolers, and the American Center for Law and Justice is demanding that the public be given details.
ACLJ representatives attended a school board meeting in Colorado where the indoctrination was being implemented.
ACLJ argued the “Inner Explorer” program imposed on elementary students was an Establishment Clause violation.
That’s because the program “coaches students through several Buddhist principles, as defined by the United Nations. For example, the practice of Prajna is to foster ‘discernment, insight, wisdom, enlightenment.”
“This is the real heart of Buddhism. Wisdom will emerge if your mind is pure and calm.’ Within Inner Explorer, children are told to walk through a similar practice.”
ACLJ said federal funds have been awarded to implement such religious teachings to preschoolers.
It responded immediately with a Freedom of Information Act request for more details.
ACLJ wants to find out from the Department of Education how many grants it has awarded for the programs “and how it justifies using federal taxpayer dollars to implement them.”
The information “will educate the American public about the U.S. government’s spending of U.S. taxpayer dollars to conduct Buddhism-based social experiments on children.”
One grant that has become public is a $3.3 allocation to Portland State University for a MindUP program, “a mindfulness-based social emotional learning program to be implemented on preschool-age children in 120 schools in Oregon.”
ACLJ said Portland State psychology professor Andrew Mashburn “specializes in testing programs to promote school readiness and has already looked into the MindUp program for the Gates Foundation.”
“He won the big five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to run the program in 120 classrooms in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties and measure if it works, university officials announced Tuesday.”
ACLJ noted such programs, under various names, are not exclusive to Oregon.
“We’ve learned that even more federal contracts have been awarded to push these programs. For example, in 2014, $1.5 million was awarded to the University of Wisconsin for a 3-year study to ‘take place in public elementary schools in an urban school district in Wisconsin,’ with a sample of ‘[a]pproximately 20-30 teachers and 400 students from fourth and fifth grade classrooms,'” the group said.
ACLJ said parents have claimed that if their children refuse to take part in as many as three meditations a day, the “kids are forced to sit outside their classroom, like a punishment.”
“These programs are undeniably religious,” ACLJ said. “For example, teachers play audio recordings for the children telling them: ‘We’re all connected through nature. And we’re all connected through the universe.’ It tells them how to clear their minds, watch their memories and emotions float away on clouds, and connect with the universe.”