Demonstrating an intolerance that is noxious, bizarre, and antithetical to living in a globalized world, the founder of PraiseMoves – a recently concocted “Christian alternative to yoga” – is demonizing yoga, of all things. PraiseMoves founder Laurette Willis was, apparently, stunned to learn that yoga was related to Hinduism, and now decries the practice, suggesting that the mental components of yoga can lead, apparently, to something approximating possession: “If there's nothing in your mind, you're open to all kinds of deception… While I don't believe Christians can become possessed, I do believe we can become oppressed by demonic spirits of fear, depression, lust, false religion, etc.”

While the movement’s idiocy may neuter its effectiveness, the motivations for PraiseMoves are both destructive in its encouragement of religious division and demonization as well its curious inability to acknowledge religious dialogue and shared religious practices that have evolved through inter-religious contact. If Ms. Willis were to be told that the Christmas tree is a practice that has rich pagan roots, she might be nudged to reconsider her intolerance. Although factionalization and the rhetoric of religious and ethnic division has gained currency and publicity, Ms. Willis would do well to be reminded that religious practices neither developed in a vacuum, nor are they static: they are dynamic processes that have developed through intellectual exchange – polemic and violent as well as syncretic and peaceful – both within and with other faith communities.

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