Coverage of a recent dust-up between parents of students in a Maryland elementary school who voiced concern over the introduction of yoga and mindfulness is the perfect example of how the media uses hyperbole and biased reporting to promote non-Christian practices.
USA Today is reporting on the conflict between some of the parents and administrators at Buckingham Elementary School in Berlin, Maryland after the school announced plans to begin a 6-10 minute mindfulness and yoga session each morning to help students “positively start off their day.” The program comes in the form of a recorded video which is used to help students calm themselves both physically and mentally so that they can focus better on their schoolwork.
Many of the parents objected on the basis that mindfulness is rooted in Buddhism and yoga in the practice of Hinduism. If schools aren’t allowing Christian prayer in schools, why are they allowing these practices?
The answer is simple, at least according to USA Today – because mindfulness is just about “focusing on the present moment” and yoga is just about “stretching” and anyone who thinks otherwise is a right-wing extremist.
For example, the article interviewed several well-spoken advocates of yoga while featuring atypical Christians to speak on the anti-yoga position, such as a woman who thinks yoga is a “last days deception.” Of all of the experts they could have interviewed on the subject, such as Professor Candace Gunther Brown, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, Father Mitch Pacwa, etc. this is the best they could do? It’s no wonder the comments section was filled with people spewing hatred for Christians.
They also neglected to do any fact-checking and, as a result, allowed inaccurate information to be disseminated to the public. This is how Monika Lupean, owner and operator of Salisbury Yoga & Wellness Center, in Salisbury, Maryland, got away with insisting that there are “more than 10,000 scientific studies” which say mindfulness helps people lead happier, healthier lives.”
Neither the yoga instructor nor USA Today gave any source for this information, nor did they reference the 2014 study by Johns Hopkins University which found only 47 of 19,000 mindfulness studies to be of enough quality to draw any conclusions about its efficacy. Late last year another group of prominent researchers voiced serious concerns about the lackluster science behind mindfulness and warned about continuing to promote it so broadly.
Obviously, USA Today and Ms. Lupean didn’t get the memo.
As a result of this slanted coverage, more fuel was added to the fire of hostility against Christianity which was appallingly evident on the article’s Facebook page. The discussion is riddled with the usual hysterical name-calling, personal attacks, accusation, and mockery of Christians.
For example, when one woman said she believed one ought to be careful to keep the physical aspects of yoga separated from the ideology, she was accused of being “mentally weak/pliable.”
Another commenter, who posted a very serious video about the dangers of yoga which was made by a woman who had spent years in the New Age, was dismissed out-of-hand and told that she sounded ridiculous.
The vitriol was typical, especially that of the “devout Christians” who practice yoga. You know, the ones who come out of the woodwork during these discussion and present themselves as the resident “experts” when it comes to addressing Christian concerns about incorporating non-Christian practices into their lives.
One such “devout Christian” who weighed in on this discussion claimed to be “well read.” Judging by the way she disparaged Christians who dared to question yoga, the Bible is obviously not on her reading list. Otherwise, she would be more aware of the admonition of St. Paul where he addresses those who disagree with the religious sensitivities of others.
“Then let us no longer judge one another, but rather resolve never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother,” we read in Romans 14:13. If a fellow Christian is being hurt by what we’re doing, even if we disagree with them, we are obliged to stop doing it; otherwise, “your conduct is no longer in accord with love.”
No wonder I wasn’t feeling the love.
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