Welcome to Friday. The International Day of Yoga offers an opportunity to reflect on debates around yoga in the U.S., many of which hinge on religious questions that go beyond a boiled-down binary of Christian vs. Hindu, says an NCR commentary writer. And NCR CEO/Publisher Bill Mitchell says we were able to play a leadership role in the groundbreaking 1985 coverage of clergy sexual abuse as a result of two attributes that remain central to our news organization all these years later.
Tuesday, June 21, will mark the eighth International Day of Yoga, offering an opportunity to reflect on some of the last year's public debates around yoga in the U.S., many of which hinge on religious questions.
In May 2021, Alabama lifted a 30-year ban on teaching yoga in public schools. The bill was introduced by certified yoga instructor and Democratic State Rep. Jeremy Gray. Some Christians felt that yoga classes in public schools violated First Amendment rights around religious freedom, and worried that yoga encouraged students to convert to Hinduism. This prompted an "opt-out" option for the classes (which are not mandated).
"But the debate around yoga is far from this boiled-down binary of Christian vs. Hindu," writes NCR commentator Vani Kannan, adding that it is important to critique the blatant racism in these debates around yoga in school while also understanding the grassroots uses of yoga for health and healing outside of institutional religious spaces.
NCR CEO/Publisher Bill Mitchell was present at a June 4 gathering of survivors of clergy sexual abuse to mark 20 years since the Boston Globe exposed the cover-up of predatory priests by the Boston Archdiocese. At one point during the program, an NCR front page from 1985 appeared on the screen at the front of the room. The headline above the Page 1 editorial read: "Priest child abuse cases victimizing families; bishops lack policy response."
"NCR was able to play a leadership role in the sex abuse story as a result of two attributes that remain central to the organization all these years later: our independence and our focus on stories that matter to our readers," Mitchell writes.
Read more on the gathering that reflected on two decades of scandals and what the future may hold for the abuse crisis and reforms.
NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters says that Western nations should not push Ukraine into a negotiated peace that would not meet the challenge posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Memorial Day, NCR editor/publisher emeritus Thomas C. Fox purposely trespassed onto the grounds of a nuclear weapons plant in Kansas City.
ICYMI: The 20th anniversary of the U.S. bishops' passage of the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" is "not a time of celebration, but a time of continued vigilance and determination," said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
ICYMI: The U.S. bishops' conference sent a letter to Congress members arguing that the U.S. "has a distinct responsibility to address climate change" as the world's leading historical source of greenhouse gas emissions and a leader in both emissions and energy use.