Alabama’s attempt to override the state’s yoga-in-schools ban was already eyeroll-inducing when we learned the bill came with the caveat that schools would be prohibited from using words like “Om” or “Namaste” in connection with the activity. Who knew stretching could be too brown for Alabama?
And yet today, Alabama Republicans think even that concession isn’t enough. Republicans, with the help of right-wing Christian hate groups, have delayed the bill yet again. Why? Because stretching might lead students to change their religion.
The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday did not advance the bill after a public hearing in which representatives from two conservative groups objected, saying they were worried it could lead to the promotion of Hinduism or guided meditation practices… The Alabama lawmaker sponsoring the bill, a former college athlete, said the bill is about exercise and not religion.
”This whole notion that if you do yoga, you’ll become Hindu — I’ve been doing yoga for 10 years and I go to church and I’m very much a Christian,” Democratic Rep. Jeremy Gray of Opelika.
Yoga doesn’t make you Hindu, and all of those Christians should explain in detail what’s wrong with being Hindu.
Those weren’t just conservative groups opposing yoga. They were Christian hate groups. The Eagle Forum of Alabama is affiliated with Phyllis Schlafly, who famously opposed the Equal Rights Amendment and continues to oppose LGBTQ rights and feminism. The theocracy-loving Foundation for Moral Law is connected with alleged child molester Roy Moore.
“Yoga is a very big part of the Hindu religion,” Becky Gerritson, director of Eagle Forum of Alabama, told the committee. Gerritson argued the bill is unneeded since students can do stretches now in school.
“If this bill passes, then instructors will be able to come into classrooms as young as kindergarten and bring these children through guided imagery, which is a spiritual exercise, and it’s outside their parents’ view. And we just believe that this is not appropriate.”
John Eidsmoe, the senior counsel for the Foundation for Moral Law, suggested schools could have yoga clubs instead or parents could sign forms stating they “understand the Hindu origins of this.”
Jesus H. Christ. It’s group stretching. It’s not Hindu indoctrination. Just like teaching kids evolution isn’t the same as preaching atheism, no matter what Creationists say. If stretching your body is all it takes to destroy Christianity, then the religion must be weaker than we thought. It survived the scientific revolution but just can’t handle kids saying a two-letter word.
Hinduism isn’t even a religion that tries to indoctrinate anyone. These Christians, as usual, are just projecting. How much would you like to bet they couldn’t tell you anything else about Hinduism?
The bill isn’t dead. It will come back for a vote at a later date. But all these complaints serve as a reminder that right-wing Christians will flip out over anything, which is a reason no one should take their complaints seriously. They don’t have realistic principles; it’s just about constant grievance and pretend persecution.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Scott for the link)