Comment below:

--- In, "sparaig" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> > [Brigante wrote:] Not exactly a surprise, in fact I was wondering 
why there had not 
> > been a challenge earlier, given the Malnak ruling years ago 
(1979 --
> >   

> Bunches of reasons: 1) it works; 2) the ruling was EXTREMELY 
> in scope and even if it were not, it was a lower-court ruling, so 
> wouldn'tbeconsidered binding precedent in another state; 3) times 
> have changed with faith-based initiatives all over the place --no 
> Christian organization will dare bring a lawsuit challenging TM 
> a ruling against TM would make THEIR initiatives vulnerable also.

The ruling in Malnak v. Yogi (592 F.2d 197 (1977)) was from the Third 
District Federal Court and consequently only binding precedent in the 
Third District, and only *persuasive* authority (but not binding) in 
lower state courts within the Third District and therefore of only 
limited persuasive authority (if that) anywhere else.

Whether or not TM "works", the Court in Malnak specifically evaluated 
whether or not the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution (the 
First Amendment, which bans the government from either promoting or 
prohibiting religion) was violated by the *combined* teaching of 
TM/SCI in the New Jersey public schools, and not the teaching of TM 
by itself (although the Court does reference a Law Review article 
from the University of Minnesota that argues TM alone would be 
violative of the Establishment Clause in Footnote 54, see below).  
The relevant passages from that decision follow:

"Although Transcendental Meditation by itself might be defended as 
appellants sought to do in this appeal as primarily a relaxation or 
concentration technique with no "ultimate" significance,[FN54] the 
New Jersey course at issue here was not a course in TM alone, but a 
course in the Science of Creative Intelligence. Creative 
Intelligence, according to the textbook in the record, is "at the 
basis of all growth and progress" and is, indeed, "the basis of 
everything." Transcendental Meditation is presented as a means for 
contacting this "impelling life force" so as to achieve "inner 
contentment." Creative Intelligence can provide such "contentment" 
because it is "a field of unlimited happiness," which is at work 
everywhere and visible in such diverse places as in "the changing of 
the seasons" and "the wings of a butterfly." That the existence of 
such a pervasive and fundamental life force is a matter of "ultimate 
concern" can hardly be questioned. It is put forth as the foundation 
of life and the world itself.[FN55]

FN54. The religious significance of TM alone is disputed. It has been 
defended as wholly consistent with other religious views, and 
attacked by adherents of those religions as premeated with Hinduism. 
Compare D. Denniston & P. McWilliams, The TM Book 14-19 (1975) With 
Beware of TM, 19 Christianity Today 1168 (1975). The extent of its 
involvement with "ultimate concerns" might well vary from course to 
course. For a comprehensive survey of the literature for and against 
TM, and the distinctions between TM and SCI/TM See Note, 
Transcendental Meditation and The Meaning of Religion Under the 
Establishment Clause, 62 Minn.L.Rev. 887 (1978). The Minnesota 
commentator expresses considerable doubt that any TM course could 
pass constitutional muster. Id. 938-48.

FN55. Appellants have argued that Creative Intelligence is a science, 
not a religion, and that their claims for it are scientifically 
verifiable. But theology, too, may be regarded as a science, and many 
theologians in the past have thought that the existence of their God 
could be proved by reason. It is true that some of those favoring a 
broad definition of religion have suggested that one indicia of a 
religious nature is that such beliefs are not based on reason alone, 
but are to some extent based on faith. See United States v. Kauten, 
133 F.2d 703, 708 (2d Cir. 1943); Boyan, Defining Religion in 
Operational and Institutional Terms, 116 U.Pa.L.Rev. 479, 485-86 
(1968). I think it sufficient to conclude that a court cannot accept 
nor doubt a believer's assertion that his views are "true" and 
provable empirically. Such a controversy would involve an examination 
of the truth or falsity of beliefs rather than their nature.

The Science of Creative Intelligence provides answers to questions 
concerning the nature both of world and man, the underlying 
sustaining force of the universe, and the way to unlimited happiness. 
Although it is not as comprehensive as some religions for example, it 
does not appear to include a complete or absolute moral code it is 
nonetheless sufficiently comprehensive to avoid the suggestion of an 
isolated theory unconnected with any particular world view or basic 
belief system. SCI/TM provides a way, indeed in the eyes of its 
adherents, The way to full self realization and oneness with the 
underlying reality of the universe. Consequently, it can reasonably 
be understood as presenting a claim of ultimate "truth."

This conclusion is supported by the formal observances and structure 
of SCI/TM. Although there is no evidence in the record of organized 
clergy or traditional rites, such as marriage, burial or the like, 
there are trained teachers and an organization devoted to the 
propagation of the faith. And there is a ceremony, the Puja, that is 
intimately associated with the transmission of the mantra. The mantra 
is a word communicated privately to each newly-inducted practitioner, 
which is said to be vital to transcendental meditation and access to 
the field of unlimited happiness.

SCI/TM is not a Theistic religion, but it is nonetheless a 
constitutionally protected religion. It concerns itself with the same 
search for ultimate truth as other religions and seeks to offer a 
comprehensive and critically important answer to the questions and 
doubts that haunt modern man. That those who espouse these views and 
engage in the Puja, or meditate in the hope of reaching the 
transcendental reality of creative intelligence, would be entitled to 
the protection of the free exercise clause if threatened by 
governmental interference or regulation is clear. They are thus 
similarly subject, in my view, to the constraints of the 
establishment clause. When the government seeks to encourage this 
version of ultimate truth, and not others, an establishment clause 
problem arises."

It would seem, then, that teaching meditation by itself without the 
theoretical underpinning, as Farrokh does, seems to avoid the issue 
the Court discussed in Malnak.  And, in any case, a Third District 
opinion has no force in the Eighth Circuit (I think Missouri is in 
the 8th) and even less relevance in Saint Louis Municipal Courts 
which are the bottom tier of the state court system.

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