The devil inside, the devil inside, every single one of us, the devil inside. – INXS
Newsflash: yoga is satanic and you’re all evil. Also, you’re dead spirits.
Virginia’s GOP candidate for lieutenant governor and conservative pastor E.W. Jackson has just taken over as head conductor of the “yoga is satanic” train to Kooksville, making local stops in Paranoiatown and What? City. Jackson is preceded by the hip evangelical pastor Mark Driscoll who says yoga is “demonic” and the Vatican’s Chief Exorcist who says yoga (and Harry Potter) are “evil” satanic “magic.” So, you know, at least he’s not alone.
Jackson’s view on yoga came to light after Betsy Woodruff posted a profile on him in the National Review and included some quotes from his 2008 book Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life: Making Your Dreams Come True.
The excerpt on yoga goes like this:
When one hears the word meditation, it conjures an image of Maharishi Yoga talking about finding a mantra and striving for nirvana…The purpose of such meditation is to empty oneself…[Satan] is happy to invade the empty vacuum of your soul and possess it. That is why people serve Satan without ever knowing it or deciding to, but no one can be a child of God without making a decision to surrender to him. Beware of systems of spirituality which tell you to empty yourself. You will end up filled with something you probably do not want.
Well, that’s strange. Does he mean the self-acceptance and tolerance, or the feeling of connection to all living things or a healthier body that we don’t want? Maybe it’s all the hemp and chia seeds we’re filling up with that’s the devil’s work? Coconut water demon vacuums, we are! Nom nom.
Of course, he also says, “most people are dead spirits,” so there’s that, too. Only in savasana, dude. And even then, it’s only our empty vessel of a body that dies. Our spirits are doing just fine, thank you very much.
ps. we know plenty of god-loving/fearing folks who practice yoga and have not grown devil horns just yet.
pps. HuffPo notes that the controversy-consumed Jackson has also compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan, called gay rights “ikky” and said President Barack Obama has a “Muslim perspective.”
This is ignorant thinking. I am a Christian and I practice yoga several times a week. One’s yoga practice is an individual thing. When I am in my savasana, I am lying there being thankful for the opportunity to be able to practice and the peace that I receive from it. I am thanking The Lord for that blessing. Mr. Jackson apparently has no idea, and I am embarrassed by his narrow minded view of Christianity.
THIS is what we need more of — common sense! I have repeatedly told people, yoga is not a religion. What you do with your mind while you are practicing is your very private business. Yes, there are studios that are more in touch with Hinduism, etc., but that varies by studio. It is not yoga itself. Thank you for being you! 🙂
Thank you for your intelligent comment demonstrating that there is a broad spectrum of Christianity. Meditation was part of Christian contemplative practices long before any concept of yoga reached the west. The world in general needs more people like you.
Come on, we can’t have people feeling connected to themselves and each other!
He also says in the same book, “While giving to the poor is important, the most powerful giving for wealth building is upward giving.”
This is how he explains:
“For example, as you read this book, you may feel a deep spiritual affinity for the things I am teaching and therefore a profound spiritual kinship with me. We may never meet in person, but you can draw on the anointing which God has placed on my life by sowing into my ministry. That opens a spiritual door for you to partake at a deeper level and for me to impart to you as one in Covenant with me. That is how I have come to support other ministries. Wherever you are moved to give, do it consistently and generously. This will start a flow of prosperity in your life which will enhance all the other principles you have learned.”
As a Virginian, I am embarrassed. 9 times out of 10 when Virginia makes national news, I am embarrassed. Also, very confused why the GOP chose these candidates after Virginia voted Obama twice…
So in a nutshell he’s saying “Send me money and you will be prosperous and closer to God”
THAT sounds like Satan!
I have to agree with the other poster that as a Virginian, it’s usually embarrassing to hear the Commonwealth make the news anymore. I mean, it wasn’t very long ago when the Governor declared Confederate History Month, so I guess what chance does yoga have in an atmosphere that backward?
He doesn’t even have the terms of his critique right! Technically, nirvana is a concept from Buddhism.
It’s just that this fellow hasn’t found a way to get people to transfer funds to him and his so-called prosperity gospel if they are busy freeing themselves (and sometimes encountering Jesus spirit-to-spirit) in yoga sadhana. To wit: ‘… sādhanā, which both prevents an excess of worldliness and molds the mind and disposition (bhāva) into a form which develops the knowledge of dispassion and non-attachment. Sādhanā is a means whereby bondage becomes liberation.’ (Bhattacharyya, N. N.).
This pastor, by promising material wealth as a result of investing in his business er, um, “ministry” is actually promoting bondage to materialism, supporting it with fear-based lies. Lord Jesus would not approve.
The problem isn’t arguing over what imaginary god does or does not want or what some imaginary demon is going to do to you. The problem is that people continue to hold superstitious beliefs about imaginary and invisible people/demons/animals/gods/whatever who live in the sky. Once one abandons infantile spirituality these types of arguments become superfluous.
Google “nuns and yoga” to see at least one group of very dedicated religious folks who don’t adhere to the yoga devil doctrine. Churches are also a very common location for yoga classes. Bad behavior: his scary combination of religious ignorance and a “Let’s Make a Deal” approach to opening a spiritual door. Is it always “follow the money?”
In no particular order:
Oh, for the love of Darwin…
Separation of Faith & State?
This man is an idiot.
Can’t y’all get along?
Keep Calm and Yoga On.