Mainline American religion can sometimes produce real events that even a satirist could not dream up. This post provides an example.
In the city in which I live, a former bishop wrote that Catholics ought not do yoga because that was a “serious sin.” According to the Lincoln paper,
“It would be most desirable for persons who are Catholic to abstain from the practice of yoga and use other methods to exercise … We are never allowed to place our Catholic faith unnecessarily in any danger, and certainly the practice of yoga could be an occasion of serious sin …”
The Women of Grace blog further stated:
“He (Bruskewitz) correctly points out that yoga originated in, and is an important part of, various forms of the Hindu religion which is, in the Catholic perspective, ‘a pagan religion based on heathen beliefs and false doctrine of revelation involving such things as transmigration of souls, and so forth.’”*
This really pissed off the Hindus. Thus:
Hindu cleric Rajan Zed, in a statement issued early Friday morning, urged Pope Francis to discipline Bruskewitz for unnecessary condemnation of yoga. Zed is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, a noted leader in interfaith relations in Nevada and in 2007 was the first person to offer Hindu prayer before the United States Senate.
Despite my agnosticism, I greatly respect Catholics (like my wife and members of her family) and other people of deep faith from America’s mainline religions. That said, the experts who do polling tell us that for Christians in America their share of the population is in sharp decline. I wonder why.
*As the Lincoln paper notes, “Catholicism is not the only religion to take issue with yoga. Some evangelical Christian churches warn congregants that it is incompatible with Christianity. In response, Christian yogis have adapted the stretches and meditations to include Christ-centered prayer and scripture.”