Free to be you and me…but not them

By Dennis Hartley

Thank the Lord Vishnu this isn’t your father’s Georgia. Or is it?

(from The Guardian)

Administrators at an elementary school in Georgia are making changes to yoga practices for students, after parents complained such practices encouraged non-Christian beliefs.

Bullard elementary, in Cobb County, is one of a number of schools across the US and in Georgia to offer yoga and other mindfulness practices rooted in Hinduism and Buddhism as stress management methods for students.

Some parents at Bullard, however, felt the introduction of yoga was akin to pushing Hinduism on their children, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“No prayer in schools. Some don’t even say the pledge [of allegiance], yet they’re pushing ideology on our students,” one mother, Susan Jaramillo, told 11Alive, an NBC affiliate. “Some of those things are religious practices that we don’t want our children doing in our schools.”

Really, Georgia? Seriously? Wait…it gets even more absurd:

Bullard is now making changes to how students go about the practice. When they go through the yoga moves, they will not say “namaste” or put their hands by their hearts, because the term and gesture are derived from Hindu custom.

Students will also no longer be allowed to color mandalas, spiritual symbols in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Oy. OK. First off, let’s examine the etymology of the word namaste:

(from the Urban Dictionary)

…an ancient Sanskrit greeting still in everyday use in India and especially on the trail in the Nepal Himalaya. Translated roughly, it means “I bow to the God within you”, or “The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you” – a knowing that we are all made from the same One Divine Consciousness.

That seems fairly benign. Like “hello”, or “good morning”.  No…wait:

(from All Experts)

There is agreement among etymologists that Goodbye, Good morning, Good afternoon, etc.  all derive from the word ‘God’; (Goodbye specifically from ‘God be with you’.) and times of the day inserted accordingly;   All these greeting and parting expressions are found in earliest literature; recorded as early as 1200 in Layamon’s ‘Chronicle of Britain).

OK, that tears it. I demand that homeroom teachers immediately stop greeting their students with  “good morning, class”. Because this is obviously pushing some kind of Christian agenda. I’m offended.

Wasn’t that a silly stretch on my part? I agree.  Namaste. Peace out.

UPDATE:  Oh, Georgia…just when I thought you were incorrigible:

(from the Washington Post)

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) on Monday vetoed a controversial religious liberties bill that had provoked outrage from Hollywood, sports leagues and corporations for what critics said was its discrimination against gay and transgender people.

“I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, which I and my family have been a part of for generations,” Deal said at a news conference announcing his decision.

Deal’s decision comes two weeks after the state legislature passed a bill aimed at shoring up the rights of religious organizations to refuse services that clash with their faith, particularly with regard to same-sex marriage. Deal, who had already expressed discomfort with the measure, came under enormous pressure to veto the bill after the National Football League suggested it might pass over Atlanta for future Super Bowls, and leading Hollywood figures threatened to pull production from the state.

The decision drew immediate praise from gay rights groups.


Social conservatives, however, accused Deal of flinching in the face of liberal opposition. Among those who immediately expressed disappointment via Twitter was Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission at the Southern Baptist Convention.

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