Karen Swallow Prior has been under a lot of heat lately due to her perceived affirmation of gays, and her reasoning for her abortion beliefs being grounded in social justice rather than Scripture. While she is probably best known for her position at Liberty University as an English teacher, she is also a Research Fellow at the left-leaning Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission (ERLC) for the Southern Baptist Convention. She is also been shown to be very influential among her students, her peers, as well as homosexuals. But it should be known that these aren’t the only ones she has the potential to sway towards the left.
As a teacher at a Christian university, with as much renown as Prior, her opinions are highly sought after. She writes for many publications on a regular basis, and has a clan-like following that would defend her to no end. While being tied up around the issue of homosexual affirmation, some of her other liberal ideologies have been overlooked, but should be given attention. There are at least two important issues that can affect your children; she supports the liberal Common Core education program, and she practices and defends authentic Yoga, a form of Pagan Hindu mysticism.
Why should we be worried about this? Because these things have already crept into our public schools, and even our private Christian schools.
In an article for Christianity Today, Dr. Prior says this regarding Common Core:
Thus, despite my own skepticism toward the countless education reforms I’ve seen in almost 25 years of teaching, the Common Core reading standards hearten me not only as an educator, but more so as a Christian who recognizes the centrality of words to our faith….In short, the Common Core standards of reading promise to revitalize the fading art of reading well. For Christians, this is indeed good news.
She unabashedly attempts to defend a program, which is well known to be anti-conservative and anti-Christian in nature. The Common Core English Language Arts program focuses on decreasing traditional literary works in favor of technical and government documents, including Federal Reserve documents. The documents chosen by state and federal governments will be cherry-picked to promote whatever the agenda of whatever government is in control at the time. This type of reading and language education also lessens the skills needed for Biblical literary interpretation. The creators of this program that Prior supports argue that the handling of these more complex texts will make them better readers and writers, but this has been shown to be false. A recent study by the Brookings Institute has concluded that the Common Core State Standards will have “little to no impact on student achievement.” Dr. and Dr. in a white paper titled How Common Core’s ELA Standards Place College Readiness at Risk, stated the following:
One likely reason that strong literary reading supports general college-readiness in reading is that classic literary texts pose strong challenges in vocabulary, structure, style, ambiguity, point of view, figurative language, and irony.
Since these literary styles are common throughout the use of Scripture, in parables and other creative literature within the text, it should be of great concern that Common Core seeks to diminish the use of this type of reading.
Another troubling practice that has been silently creeping into our public schools is the practice of Yoga. Yoga, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is defined as follows:
A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.
The yoga widely known in the West is based on hatha yoga, which forms one aspect of the ancient Hindu system of religious and ascetic observance and meditation, the highest form of which is raja yoga and the ultimate aim of which is spiritual purification and self-understanding leading to samadhi or union with the divine. [Emphasis Mine]
Simply put, Yoga is a Pagan religious practice. Dr. Prior has stated that not only does she practice Yoga, but she practices the authentic form of Yoga, though she claims not to participate in prayers to other “gods” during meditation. In an article, she wrote:
For nearly 15 years, I’ve attended a weekly yoga class offered by my county’s parks and recreation department. That makes it a government-sponsored event. The class is not a white-bread, YMCA-style faux-yoga class. It’s taught by a yogini for whom yoga is a lifestyle and a religious belief system, both of which, as a Christian, I do not share. I am well aware that many Christians think yoga is spiritually dangerous, or even “demonic,” and that many think it is purely physical exercise. I agree with neither of these positions. Rather, I approach yoga intentionally, having weighed carefully the risks and benefits as well as my own spiritual state and motivations for taking the class (which are for the physical benefits).
She then goes on to defend her practice by stating:
Our hatha yoga sessions – centered on slow, strength-building stretches and poses – include chanting and meditation. From these, I quietly abstain. Instead, while the other students mindlessly follow the instructor’s lead in chanting Sanskrit words or emptying their minds, I pray, or I think about the class I’ll be teaching the next day or about what I’m going to eat when I get home. But mostly, I pray.
Great, she prays during the chanting and meditation. Should Christians also go to Planned Parenthood to have mammograms done as long as they silently pray while an abortion is being done in the next room? What’s the difference? What she fails to acknowledge is that it isn’t just the chanting and meditation that is Pagan and unbiblical, it’s the entire practice of Yoga. Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said this:
A significant number of American Christians either experiment with yoga or become adherents of some yoga discipline. Most seem unaware that yoga cannot be neatly separated into physical and spiritual dimensions. The physical is the spiritual in yoga, and the exercises and disciplines of yoga are meant to connect with the divine.
Scripture teaches us to be separate from the world, not to immerse ourselves in it. 2 Corinthians 6:17 says, “Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you…” Yoga, no matter how you spin it, is an unclean thing. It cannot be separated from its Hindu roots. It’s no different than her immersing herself into the world of sodomy by taking pictures with them at a film fest.
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. – James 4:4
Why do Christians, particularly Southern Baptists, think this type of behavior is acceptable? Is there something unclear about Scripture? Part of the problem the Church has today is that man thinks he has a better way to evangelize than what is taught in Scripture. This delusional type of thinking leads us to a Church that sees nothing wrong with influential leaders yoking up with unbelievers at the Vatican, calling Jesus and illegal alien, doing promotional videos for atheist organizations that hate Christians, and condoning Christians attending gay wedding receptions–all things you would never see Jesus or the apostles do, yet are staunchly defended by our leadership.
So should we allow someone who is undeniably liberal when it comes to her expression of Christianity to hold such influential positions within the Southern Baptist Convention? How can Dr. Mohler be so against Yoga, but unwilling to confront the ERLC when they hire bring on someone who practices this without shame? Why does the ERLC continue to hire and promote people like this? The ERLC is highly influential not only among conservatives, but Christians. These conservatives and Christians often work as board members for public and private schools, as well as churches. Russell Moore has stated that he wishes there were 1000 more Karen Swallow Priors. This is the typical line of thinking that is taking over the SBC leadership, and it’s not being dealt with. The Downgrade continues.
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