lousiana law review on the waldorf case

here’s a frighteningly interesting article about the waldorf school law-suit in the US. It was written by Michael Rhea and published in Louisiana Law Review [vol 72, p 1095] last year.

In fact, this group [meaning PLANS  /-a]  is the plaintiff in a lawsuit, which alleges that publicly funded Waldorf education is religious in nature and thus violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Representatives and supporters of Waldorf schools, as well as followers of anthroposophy, forcefully deny this accusation, asserting that anthroposophy is merely a spiritual philosophy—not a religion. Thus, what actually qualifies as a religion under the Constitution is central to the resolution of this dispute. Whereas a significant line of cases addresses the issue of defining religion when a group claims or admits religious status, the Waldorf controversy provides the uncommon situation in which an entity denies religiosity.

The case is described, including the main claims of the parties, but perhaps more importantly there’s an interesting discussion about what constitutes religion and a discussion of various legally relevant definitions. The article puts anthroposophy and waldorf schools into this perspective, particularly discussing what importance should be conferred to a movement’s own denial of a religious nature. Of the footnotes, it is particularly worth noting number 214.

(H/t Dan Dugan, on the critics list, some time last fall…)


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