Slovak Church: Yoga equals atheism

A glitch in cyberspace…when trying to read one of the only english written Slovak newspapers ‘the Slovak Spectator’, our warrior accidentally stumbled upon the article below. Further research (i.e. actually reading the full article after already writing a blog post but before publishing) showed that the article was from 2001, hence six years old! As the content of the article is actually quite amusing and as it does tell something about the Slovak society, be it Slovakia six years ago, the warrior decided to publish it anyway, and to get back later with an update on the issue.

So in the series ‘OLD NEWS’ we present….

Slovak Church: Yoga equals atheism

New casus belli: Yoga plan for Slovakian schools

Education Minister Milan Ftáčnik, a proponent and practioner of yoga. photo: TASR

By Martina Pisárová, July 2001

A proposal to introduce yoga as an optional course in Slovak elementary schools is an effort to stamp out Christianity in the country, say the Church and members of the ruling coalition Christian Democrat party (KDH).

The yoga proposal was put forth last year by Education Minister Milan Ftáčnik, who is an avid yogi himself and would like the courses to begin in September. But if the plan moves forward, said KDH Chairman Pavol Hrušovský, the party may seek Ftáčnik’s recall.

“Yoga is an attempt to eliminate Christianity in Slovakia,” Hrušovský told The Slovak Spectator July 19. “We think this is a very serious problem.”

“Before this, it was Soviet Communism [which tried to eliminate Christianity],” added party mate Vladimír Palko. “Now it’s Asian yoga.”

The Conference of Slovak Bishops (KBS) also spoke against the yoga proposal in the form of a Sunday sermon. On July 5, the country’s bishops co-wrote the “Shepherds’ Letter”, a sermon opposing yoga in schools, and distributed it to churches around the country.
Further excerpts from the Shepherd’s Letter read: “Is it really just physical exercise? Yoga rejects faith in God the Creator, it rejects Jesus Christ, the whole act of redemption, and [therefore] Christianity. It is a path to total atheism.

“Yoga leads to a spirituality which focuses on the self. However, the basis of Christianity is a spirituality which is directed towards others. To better understand what yoga is and what the results of it are, let’s have a look at India, a cradle of yoga. How is it possible that there are children and old people lying near trash containers and nobody even notices them? It is possible because under the influence of Hinduism everybody lives only for themselves. How is it possible that Mother Theresa had to go there to pick up those who were kicked aside by such a life style?”

“We Christians must not forget that we do not need yoga, but rather our daily bread which we ask in our prayers, which was taught to us by our Master Jesus Christ. With that, all problems can be solved and we won’t need to search for some dubious substitute.”

Added Bishop Rudolf Baláž of the Banská Bystrica regional diocese: “Yoga is a practice from a strange country.” […] ”

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