When a Pat Robertson follower asks the televangelist for life advice, even just about yoga classes, that person is probably already more than a little lost. A letter from a viewer that Robertson read on air this week however, got more of a response than anyone could have expected.
“My family recently moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico because of my husband’s work. There are a lot of people interested in New Age spirituality in our new neighborhood – dream catchers, yoga, veganism, that sort of thing. My concern is that my teenage daughter is now interested in taking yoga classes with one of her friends.”
Was anyone else aware that being vegan was somehow contrary to being a Christian?
Pat Robertson began with a sensible answer, but he couldn’t maintain being sensible for very long. Stretching, he assured the writer, was fine. Her daughter could “stretch up high, stretch down low” without going to hell, it seems. Good to know.
Then, of course, the insanity began. This is Pat Robertson we’re talking about. Of course there was insanity coming.
“Robertson cautioned that while there is nothing wrong with stretching exercises, ‘along with yoga they have a mantra, and the mantra you say is in Hindu.’
‘You don’t know what the Hindu says, but actually it’s a prayer to a Hindu deity and so it sounds like gibberish. So you’re saying ‘kali, kali, kali,’ but you’re praying to a Hindu deity and you don’t want your daughter in that,” Robertson said. “Stretching exercise is cool, praying to a Hindu deity is not too cool.'”
While Christian fundamentalists eschewing yoga as a “religious practice” isn’t uncommon, yoga as practiced in the United States is actually far removed from the religious practice of Hinduism.
“Yoga in America...is a secular, multi-billion dollar industry. It is only a philosophical or spiritual practice when we want it to be, and we certainly don’t accept it as a religion.
American-Hindu organizations such as Take Back Yoga will keep trying, but will keep failing to reinsert the religious aspects of Hinduism into American yoga because yoga in the US is exactly what America wants it to be. If they really want to take back yoga, they might just have to buy it back.”
Hindu, by the way, is not a language. It’s a religion. It is a religion that predates Christianity and may even be the oldest religion that exists. It is in no way, however, a language.
No worries, really. Yoga will never have you “speaking Hindu.”
See the insane segment below: