MWC III – First Amendment Rights

The World Community for Christian Meditation in the USA expects to abide by the law of the land with regard to First Amendment rights of all persons to freedom from religion (separation of church and state) in certain public places including public schools.

  1. We cannot offer Christian Meditation with Children in a public school during normal school hours or as part of a regularly scheduled class.
  2. Any presentation of Meditation with Children (MWC) in a public school should be pre-approved by the WCCM-USA Executive Committee. If not pre-approved by the EC, the event should be moved to a non-public-school setting.
  3. Even the use of public school property after hours for a MWC event should be cleared (pre-approved) through the WCCM-USA Executive Committee. If not pre-approved by the EC, the event should be moved to a non-public-school setting.

    BACKGROUND:

    Religious activity at public schools is one source of concern about infringement of First Amendment rights (guaranteed in the United States Constitution).

    The major concern (and legal risk) is that the state-funded school would promote a specific religious practice. For instance, there recently was litigation in California by parents objecting to yoga classes in a public school based on the argument that yoga is a part of Hinduism.

    Faith-based educational programs accept students into explicitly faith-tradition settings. Enrollment agreements signed by the students’ legally authorized representatives include the understanding that faith traditions and religious practices will be part of the accepted curriculum. Any student whose parent or guardian does not consent to such education and practices can be withdrawn from that educational setting and go elsewhere. Such latitude does not necessarily exist for students attending public schools – which in any event are funded by public tax dollars and thus have broader commitments to the public to be religion-free and/or neutral.

(updated 07/29/14 las)