According to reports, three California parents are suing to stop the state’s public school system from encouraging students to recite prayers to Aztec gods, which have been worshipped using human sacrifices. Their argument is that doing so violates both the U.S. and California constitutions.
“The issue emerged earlier this year when researcher Chris Rufo reported on that particular aspect of the state’s ethnic studies curriculum,” Fox News reported, adding that “the curriculum suggests chants that invoke the deity [Tezcatlipoca].”
Tezcatlipoca is an Aztec god “honored” using human sacrifices. The World History Encyclopedia explained that the heart of an impersonator of Tezcatlipoca — usually played by a prisoner of war — would be removed with an obsidian knife, and presented as a sacrifice.
The parents are being represented by The Thomas More Society, a group that described the curriculum as “blatantly unconstitutional” in court documents.
“Our clients are not opposed to having students learn about different cultures and religions, including the practices of the Aztecs,” said Paul Jonna, partner at LiMandri & Jonna LLP and Thomas More Society special counsel. “But the California State Board of Education’s approved Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum goes far beyond that by directing students to pray to Aztec deities. This portion of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum is not only offensive, but blatantly unconstitutional.”
“The Aztecs regularly performed gruesome and horrific acts for the sole purpose of pacifying and appeasing the very beings that the prayers from the curriculum invoke,” Jonna said. “Our clients have both a religious and civic objection to the Aztec prayer, and they do not want their children chanting it, being asked or pressured to do so, or risking ostracism if they refuse.”
“Both the California and the United States Constitutions prohibit prayer in public schools,” he added. “Can you imagine if elements of the Christian faith were proposed to be included in the public school curriculum? What if a class incorporated praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or even reciting the Lord’s Prayer? How would that be received?”
The California Board of Education and Department of Education are listed as defendants in the lawsuit, which seeks a temporary restraining order that would prevent “Defendants from authorizing, promoting or permitting the use of Aztec prayers and the ‘Ashe’ chant in California’s public schools and also requiring Defendants to direct those under their authority not to use the Aztec prayer or ‘Ashe’ chant in public schools.”
Fox News explained that “Under the curriculum’s ‘Lesson Resources,’ the [California Department of Education] lays out the chant and more generally defends chants as ‘energizers’ that can bring unity.”
“This section includes several ethnic studies-oriented chants, proverbs and affirmations,” the document reads. “These can be used as energizers to bring the class together, build unity around ethnic studies principles and values, and to reinvigorate the class following a lesson that may be emotionally taxing or even when student engagement may appear to be low.”
The “ethnic studies curriculum” was approved to be taught across all public schools in the state earlier this year, and looks to teach students about the “histories, struggles and contributions of Asian, Black, Latino and Native Americans.” The chant to Aztec gods forms a part of Chapter 5 of the curriculum, titled, “Affirmation, Chants, and Energizers.”
‘The curriculum’s unequivocal promotion of Aztec gods or deities through repetitive chanting and affirmation of their symbolic principles constitutes an unlawful government preference toward a particular religious practice,’ said President of Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, Frank Xu, in a statement.