Lebanese Priest Thinks Yoga is Satanic, Lebanese Police Believe Him
I really, really, really, really wish this was a satire piece, but it’s not. I’m not sure why, but the Christian religious institutions in Lebanon along with their armed supporters think that Stanley Kubrick’s movie “Eyes Wide Shut” was about Lebanon, and everyone in it who’s not a misinformed conservative. They must think we all wear masks and have orgies praising Satan every night.
Earlier today, and I kid you not, this is true, the police in Jounieh questioned a person accused of worshipping satan (a non-existent crime in Lebanon). As if that wasn’t absurd enough, and again, this is real, not satire, they asked the innocent Lebanese taxpayer if he practices “Yoga”n as one of the follow-up questions to “are you a satanist?”
I guess the priest (Marwan Khoury) must have watched one of the exorcism movies and thought the violent contractions by mentally ill people (which some local priests still think is “possession by demons” even when the church generally doesn’t do that dangerous and harmful ritual anymore) are actually yoga poses. To be fair, for the untrained eye, yoga might seem scary. Then again, those same people are afraid of Harry Potter books, so you can’t really count on their lucid judgment. Read the article here (in Arabic) where that priest elaborates his conspiracy theories about yoga, but be warned, you might feel pain in your ribs from too much laughter if you’re educated or know what Google is, or might burst an artery in your eye from seething with anger if you’re a yogi.
The saddest part though in all of this incident, isn’t the ignorance and hatred of the religious establishment. That’s not news, we all know that’s what they’re like. The terrifying part is that the police, funded by our taxes and tasked to allegedly “serve and protect” taxpayers, actually bought into that ridiculous delusion, and acted upon it.
Your taxes were wasted today on bullying an innocent taxpayer for his lifestyle, instead of arresting armed thugs that threaten anyone who doesn’t submit to their rigid and archaic beliefs. It might not be you that’s getting questioned, but your money is paying for it, not the church’s endless coffers.
First of all, I’d like to tell modern-day inquisitors that it’s none of your business if someone worships satan. Lebanon guarantees absolute freedom of belief and creed (or lack-thereof). I know you all solemnly believe your god is the one true god, but it’s none of your business who other people worship or what they practice or enjoy (be it satanism or yoga or heavy metal).
On that note, even MTV, the ultra-right mouthpiece of Christian conservatives known for fabricating stories like “digital drugs”, had to admit that there has never been a single case of “satanic worshipping” in Lebanon. Ever. So, where are they getting these delusions from (with hilarious fake numbers like “8000 satanists in Lebanon”)
Regardless, as mentioned before, satanism (albeit non-existent in Lebanon) is not a crime under Lebanese law. However, priests like Marwan Khoury and Abou Kasam are breaking the law, and have been doing so for many, many years. In Lebanon, purposely offending a religion is illegal. Christian zealots are guilty of that on numerous occasions, like when the “Santa Muerte” scandal broke out after a Christian zealot thought Zara was selling t-shirts with the venerated Catholic symbol in many South American countries (by the way, it turned out they weren’t even selling it here, it was only on the Zara website). So, the Christian zealots broke the law by doing that, purposefully insulting a religion (their own, ironically).
So, technically, those that should be being questioned and put on trial are the priests and their armed supporters that are “defaming” their own religions others’. Insults and fabrications against Yogis for example, which more and more Lebanese identify as these days (not as an organized religion though, just spirituality or a good workout for most), are punishable by archaic Lebanese law. Now, I don’t like that law, given I am pro-free speech and do not want to silence anyone like the church here is trying so vehemently to do. However, I find the irony that they are the ones guilty of what they are accusing psytrance fans, metal-heads and apparently now yoga enthusiasts of, delicious.
Pope Francis, Where Are You?
I love this Pope. He’s exactly what the Catholic church needed: less hatred, less ignorance and less scandals. However, looking at how the local church here is behaving, I’m sure the Pope would be extremely unhappy with the unacceptable way Lebanon’s catholic clergy are oppressing vast swaths of Lebanese society for their lifestyles, musical preferences and even workout and wellbeing routines.
Perhaps we can appeal to the newly reforming Vatican, maybe they can relieve Lebanon’s modern-day inquisitors and instead appoint clergy that are true to what their faith is supposed to be about: love, compassion and forgiveness, instead of bitterness, hatred and oppression.
I had to post this today, because the yoga thing I found equally hilarious and terrifying, like so many other things the police in Lebanon think are “crimes”. So, I’m announcing a new series on the blog that will focus on incidents like this, where the police and those coaxing them to oppress taxpayers are highlighted. Not to defame, but in hopes of making them better informed to stop religious institutions from pressuring them into breaking the law to silence those with different opinions.
However, that’s not all I have to say about this inquisition and the whole satanism scandal. I will be publishing detailed reports and investigations into how it all started, how it’s being orchestrated, who it is targeting and most importantly, what we can do to put an end to this unacceptable breach of freedom, privacy and most basic rights of Lebanese taxpayers in what is supposed to be a “bastion of liberal thought” in the region, but is looking more like Saudi or Iranian moral police these days…