Wednesday 12/11/13

    1. Designer gym routine
    2. Nuns and Social Workers
    3. Mandela the (yawn!) Commie Consort
    4. Cartoon Fever
    5. Transforming (yawn!) the Cosmos

1

I’m still feeling that blogging has become an obsession, so I’m consciously cutting back. But Rod Dreher was on a roll Monday.

First, he picked up a story I was going to cover, too. Our American courts consider Yoga just a stretching exercise, suitable for gym class in public school, in no intrinsic way religious. The courts of India, which should know, think otherwise, and the reason may surprise you:

In traditional understanding, yoga is itself a religious act. The postures themselves lead the practitioner to God, whether the practitioner intends this or not. In traditional understanding, in other words, one can’t separate the religious and secular aspects of yoga and one really shouldn’t try. Indeed, some American Hindus object to the way our popular culture treats yoga as a designer gym routine. Much as many American Christians seek to “Keep Christ in Christmas,” the Hindu American Foundation has mounted a campaign to “Take Back Yoga” for the faith.

Imagine that! A religion that thinks what we do with our bodies has something to do with whether and how we relate to God. No, not Hinduism. Dreher:

From an Orthodox Christian perspective, though, it is impossible to separate religion from the particularity of the prayers and physical movements. They are all designed to bring one closer to God — the Christian God. It would be beyond absurd to claim that these prayers and physical movements are only religious if people say they are intended to be so.

The original story Dreher and I both caught is here.

2

Dreher also made a connection that I, not much of a moviegoer, hadn’t noted:

The new film Philomena is about an Irish woman whose illegitimate child was taken from her 50 years earlier by Catholic authorities working with the state, as was the practice of the time. Peter Hitchens says that as evil as that was, we cannot walk out of the film thinking that we today are free from the moral blindness that led to such travesties. Excerpt:

Some may have seen the astonishing case of the Italian woman confined to a mental hospital, forced to undergo a caesarean section, and then actually deprived of her own child by the courts.

This is so grotesque that they have probably concluded it is exceptional. On the contrary, thousands of British children are being snatched from their natural parents in secret each year, after totally unfair hearings against which it is almost impossible to appeal or fight.

The villains are not nuns, but their modern-day equivalents – local authority social workers convinced of their own goodness, and dedicated to our new faiths of equality and diversity and political correctness.

The parallel should be humbling.

3

Then, again Dreher, Yeah, Mandela Was A Communist. So?, to which I don’t think I could add anything.

4

Cartoon Kerfuffles usually astonish me.

In my hometown, a right-wing leader a few decades ago called for (you’ll need to concentrate now; it’s convoluted and more that a bit crazy and dishonest) a boycott of the local newspaper because the wonderful strip, For Better or Worse (now defunct I believe), had introduced a gay junior-high character and, “unlike 700 newspapers” (or something like that), our local paper continued to carry it. The introduction of this character supposedly made the strip subversive of the family.

Crazy? Yeah. For Better or Worse was one of the most family-affirming comics there was, and it remained so as the gayness of the new character never became campy or a tendentious drum-beat. Dishonest? Yeah. The 700 newspapers that didn’t carry it never had carried it; they had not dropped it as the leader deliberately implied. Yours Truly caught all kinds of hell for calling out the leader for the lie, accused of betrayal and selling out (because I was doing court collections for the newspaper at the time – i.e., trying to assure that subscribers and carriers paid what they owed – as if I could be bought that cheap).

Now a student newspaper at University of Alabama has been accused of running a racist cartoon, and has ritually abased itself for the offiense of running a cartoon that called Auburn’s victory over Alabama “What Happens in Obama’s America,” the last two words being in large, horror film font with dripping blood.

(H/T James Taranto, who lives behind paywall)

5

In the resurrection, God conquers death, but in the ascension, Jesus Christ transforms the cosmos.

(Stephen H. Webb) I neither endorse nor repudiate the rest of the column, but I enthusiastically agree that the Ascension is “one of Christianity’s most neglected doctrines,” and it grieves me that most Churches have abandoned “Ascension Day” services, and those that haven’t see them sparsely attended.

* * * * *

Nothing of any importance happened Tuesday except that President Obama was so effusive about Nelson Mandela that I almost gagged. Is there no greatness that we can’t just leave to radiate? Must we sully everything by trying to capture reflected glory?

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.