Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
In an age when anything even remotely Christian is not permitted on public property, the White House has no reservations about using the most solemn Christian holiday of Easter to introduce youngsters to the Hindu practice of yoga during the annual Easter Egg roll to be held today.
A variety of news sources are reporting that the theme of this year’s event is “Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You!” and includes a “Yoga Garden” in which participants are given a session of yoga from professional instructors during the annual egg roll.
“Come enjoy a session of yoga from professional instructors,” reads the announcement by the White House.
According to the Times of India, this isn’t the first time the Obama’s have hosted yoga instructors during the Easter Egg Roll but this year is particularly significant because of a lawsuit pending in California which involves parents who don’t want yoga taught to their children at school.
“Yoga has become a universal language of spiritual exercise in the United States, crossing many lines of religion and culture,” said a White House spokesperson in defense of its actions. “Every day millions of people practice yoga to improve their health and overall well-being.”
True, but every day millions of people in the United States also take part in a “language of spiritual exercise” that is distinctly Christian, a practice they also engage in to maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to host some of these Christian spiritual practices during an egg roll commemorating a Christian holy day? Instead of teaching children how to bow to the sun god, why not show them how to raise their arms to the heavens or jump for joy while praising the Risen Lord? Why risk a neck injury while posing to the snake god when kids can have a ball linking arms and dancing around in a circle and singing that age-old hymn, “Jesus Loves Me This I Know”?
Aren’t these spiritual exercises too?
Yes, but silly me, I forgot the big difference between the two – yoga is “in” and Christianity is “out” – even on its own holidays!
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