WorldNetDaily news editor Bob Unruh's sorry record of dishonest reporting continues in a Feb. 21 article in which he once again serves as stenographer for right-wing legal groups trying to eliminate yoga classes from a California school district.
Unruh uncritically repeats what these right-wingh legal groups -- the Pacific Justice Institute and the National Center for Law & Policy -- claim a lower court said about the classes:
At the district court level, the judge ruled that yoga is “religious” and that the school’s practices are “identical” to the faith-based practices in yoga. For example, part of what students do is to take various “praying hands” positions and bow down “to the Hindu solar god Surya,” but the lower court ruled the district could do it anyway.
But that description dishonestly leaves out one important aspect of the judge's ruling: It did not find that the school district's implementation of yoga was religious.
A local newspaper reported at the time of the July 2013 ruling:
A San Diego Superior Court judge ruled Monday that the Encinitas Union School District can continue a yoga program for students because it is not religious, as some parents have contended.
While Judge John Meyer acknowledged that yoga can be religious, he also said "EUSD Yoga" passed muster because it appears secular and thus does not violate the constitutional separation of church and state.
Meyer said he focused on testimony from people with firsthand knowledge about yoga in the classroom.
The judge also disregarded much of the testimony of religious expert Candy Brown, who described Ashtanga as the most religious form of yoga. Brown also said yoga leads practitioners to gain interest in Hinduism or other religions.
"There's a point where you have to separate theory and shadow from reality," Meyer said in reference to Browns' remarks.
The judge said he based his decision in part on the 1971 ruling Lemon vs. Kurtzman, which prohibits school districts from reimbursing Catholic school instructors who teach secular subjects.
The ruling resulted in the three-pronged "Lemon test" for determining violations of the church and state separation. Using the test, Meyer said he judged the yoga program on whether it had a secular purpose, whether it advanced or inhibited religion, and whether it fostered an excessive government entanglement with religion.
The answer was "no" in each case, the judge determined.
Why would Unruh omit this critical information from his article? If history is a guide, it's because he sides with the right-wing legal groups' case and has no interest in fairly telling the school district's side of the story.
WND editor Joseph Farah has called for the firing of reporters in other media organizations who he has accused of misrepresenting facts. Yet for all of his blatant misrepresentation, Unruh still has a job. Go figure.