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UPDATE: Parent lawsuit forces California to drop curriculum requirement that had students praying to Aztec gods


UPDATE: The California Department of Education has voluntarily settled a lawsuit by agreeing to remove any requirement or encouragement that students chant prayers or affirmations to Aztec and Ashe gods.

The suit, brought by parents and the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, had alleged that the prayers, part of the state-approved Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, was a sectarian endorsement of religion and thus a violation of California’s constitution. The Thomas More Society, which represented the parents, finalized the legal settlement last week and called it a “significant triumph for freedom and equality.


An ethnic studies curriculum that will be voted on next week by the California Department of Education is steeped in Critical Race Theory (CRT) and encourages students to chant and pray to Aztec gods.

Quick Facts

The Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum has been in development for five years and its two previous iterations have received negative responses. Rather than pursue a different course of action, education officials have continued to tweak the same curriculum and reintroduce it.

The California Department of Education will vote on the third draft of the curriculum next week. The curriculum is truly radical in its commitment to CRT and is being called anti-American by critics.

The introduction of the program states,

“By affirming the identities and contributions of marginalized groups in our society, ethnic studies helps students see themselves and each other as part of the narrative of the United States. Importantly, this helps students see themselves as active agents in the interethnic bridge-building process we call American life.”

Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute, wrote that much of the curriculum was developed by R. Tolteka Cuauhtin. Cuauhtin claims that the United States was founded on a “Eurocentric, white supremacist (racist, anti-Black, anti-Indigenous), capitalist (classist), patriarchal (sexist and misogynistic), heteropatriarchal (homophobic), and anthropocentric paradigm brought from Europe.”

The document accuses whites of “grabbing the land,” “hatching hierarchies,” and “developing for Europe/whiteness.” It claims that whites established a “hegemony” that continues today and that minorities are subject to “socialization, domestication, and zombification.”

European Christian settlers are also accused of “theocide” and establishing a regime of genocide characterized by the “‘explicit erasure and replacement of holistic Indigeneity and humanity.’”

Rufo writes,

“The solution, according to Cuauhtin and the ethnic studies curriculum, is to ‘name, speak to, resist, and transform the hegemonic Eurocentric neocolonial condition’ in a posture of ‘transformational resistance.’ The ultimate goal is to ‘decolonize’ American society and establish a new regime of ‘countergenocide’ and ‘counterhegemony,’ which will displace white Christian culture and lead to the ‘regeneration of indigenous epistemic and cultural futurity.’”

He added that the approach “enables teachers to inspire their pupils to participate in ‘social movements that struggle for social justice’ and ‘build new possibilities for a post-racist, post-systemic racism society.’”

Included in reestablishing indigenous culture is the curriculum’s usage of “energizing” chants and affirmations, which amount to prayers to Aztec gods who were once worshiped through human sacrifice and cannabalism.

One chant states, “You are my other me” and “If I do harm to you, I do harm to myself.” Another adds, “Seeking the roots of the truth, seeking the truth of the roots, elders and us youth, (youth), critical thinking through.”

Students then chant the name of the Aztec god Tezkatlipoka: “Tezkatlipoka, Tezkatlipoka, x2 smoking mirror, self-reflection Tezkatlipoka.”

The chant goes on to call on the names of other Aztec gods, including Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec deity of war, saying,

“Pulsating creation Huitzilopochtli cause like sunlight, the light inside of us, in will to action’s what brings… Xipe Totek, Xipe Totek, x2 transformation, liberation, education, emancipation, imagination revitalization, liberation, transformation, decolonization, liberation, education, emancipation, changin’ our situation in this human transformation.”

The curriculum also claims to emphasize the oppression of various groups yet has received criticism for its conspicuously limited mentions of the Jewish people and Armenians, as well as other white ethnic groups, such as the Irish, Poles, and Italians, who found refuge in the United States after being persecuted in their homelands.

Even the Los Angeles Times, which supports curriculum that “broadens students’ thinking about race and gender and sexuality and history and power,” criticized an earlier version of the program , saying, “…too often the proposed ethnic studies curriculum feels like an exercise in groupthink, designed to proselytize and inculcate more than to inform and open minds. It talks about critical thinking but usually offers one side and one side only.”

The Times added that the draft “is an impenetrable mélange of academic jargon and politically correct pronouncements. It’s hard to wade through all the references to hxrstory and womxn and misogynoir and cisheteropatriarchy.”

This curriculum is nothing less than a disturbing example of propaganda. It seeks to overturn the very foundations of American government, society, and morality while also forcing children to pray to Aztec gods, false deities to whom worshippers offered human sacrifices.

Moreover, it is a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, both in encouraging students to pray to these gods but also by instructing them to adopt the entire ideology of Critical Race Theory, which as this curriculum illustrates, amounts to a religion.

These attempts by California educators are reminiscent of the “Conditioners” described in C.S. Lewis’ classic work “The Abolition of Man.” Lewis explains that after throwing off any concept of objective and inherent value or truth, a class of Conditioners would arise to exert control over the rest of mankind. These Conditioners would not be beholden to any value other than their strongest emotional impulse and would impose a fabricated system of values on the conditioned in order to shape mankind as they saw fit.

While America has not reached the final stage of Lewis’ predictions, Conditioners are clearly at work in California public schools (and other places). Having shirked any sense of commitment to objective value, the authors of this program are seeking to shape California students for their purposes, teaching them to reject the loving and merciful beliefs of Christianity as a characteristic of “whiteness” and embrace the barbarism of the Aztecs by calling on the name of false deities who demanded human sacrifice. The result is a malleable mankind, ready to achieve the political purposes of the curriculum’s authors.

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