www.christiantoday.com/ 9/4/07 [Excerpts]: The Hindu Council UK (HCUK), the largest national network of Hindu organisations within the UK, is considering whether a ban on yoga classes at St James' Church and the Silver Street Baptist Church in Taunton, Somerset, may breach the Equality Act 2006.
Lawyers for HCUK are exploring whether comments made by both The Reverend Tim Jones, Vicar of St James' and The Reverend Simon Farrar of the Silver Street Baptist Church that yoga is a "sham," a "false philosophy" and "unchristian" may indicate they have acted contrary to the ‘Religion and Belief' section of the Act [and are] considering whether to ask the Commission for Equality and Human Rights to investigate whether the priests' comments amount to "instructing or causing discrimination."
HCUK General Secretary Anil Bhanot said: "These priests might appear to be advising Christians not to practice yoga because they believe it is based on a ‘sham' and a ‘false philosophy' but what in effect they mean is that Hinduism is a false religion."
Rev. Farrar of Silver Street Baptist Church has previously said: "We are a Christian organisation....Clearly, yoga impinges on the spiritual life of people in a way which we as Christians don't believe is the same as our ethos."
The Rev. Tim Jones, vicar of St James's, supported the decision, saying: "Any alternative philosophies or beliefs are offering a sham--and at St James's Church we want people to have the real thing. Yoga has its roots in Hinduism, and attempts to use exercises and relaxation techniques to put a person into a calm frame of mind -in touch with some kind of impersonal spiritual reality.
"The philosophy of yoga cannot be separated from the practice of it, and any teacher of yoga, even to toddlers, must subscribe to the philosophy.
"Yoga may appear harmless or even beneficial, but it is encouraging people to think that there is a way to wholeness of body and mind through human techniques - whereas the only true way to wholeness is by faith in God through Jesus Christ."