Featured in the October 24th Washington Post health insert was a story detailing a government health program where the Department of Housing and Urban development paid $840,000 to the National Institute for Medical Options to promote techniques to reduce stress and illness among residents of public housing.
There was more to this program than teaching residents to take their vitamins, eat three square meals per day, and to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. As part of the program, participants were taught to burn incense, about the healing power of crystals, and how to chant "I am the perfect image of the Divine Creator". Somehow, I don’t think this was a Biblical reference to being made in the image of God because, in addition to the aforementioned practices, patients also learned what goddesses of the Greco-Roman pantheon best described their particular personality.
It is amazing with what one can get by with provided one’s goal is the erosion of the traditional American values. For example, Greek mythology is no longer deemed appropriate as part of a well-rounded education because of its despised Eurocentric origins even though, despite its shortcomings, it has been traditionally utilized as a literary device in transmitting the ethical heritage of Western civilization. However, when used to undermine traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs, the government gives it its imprimatur as a system by which to promote pagan practices. One can imagine the outrage that would erupt had personalities been classified according to what Biblical character they most resembled and prayer suggested as technique for controlling stress.
If Christian organizations and charities are to be excluded from alliances with the government designed to ameliorate human deprivation for fear of the harm the church might inflict upon the state rather than as a way to prevent the state from exerting undue control over the church, such cautions should be taken in avoiding entangling relationships with other religions that compromise the First Amendment as well. It cannot be denied that this so-called "wellness" program offered by the National Institute of Medical Options is fundamentally religious in nature backed by science so dubious in nature it would force Carl Sagan to side with Creation Science if he was forced to pick between the two.
The Washington Post article pointed out that the National Institute for Medical Options is administered by the same individual who pastors the Community Center for Wholistic Healing. Michelle Lusson, ordained by the Episcopal Church, who claims to be a "metaphysician who channels Cosmic Cycle Updates that provide valuable information on the spiritual awakening and transformation of the global world body and of the individual." I don’t know exactly what such nonsense means, but I can tell you it wreaks of the New Age movement.
Unfortunately, the questionable spirituality is not confined to the private-sector partner of this contractual relationship. The article revealed that these kinds of beliefs can be traced to the highest levels of public service.
These New Age therapies have been endorsed by HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Assisted Housing Delivery Gloria J. Cousar. It was also mentioned she happens to be ordained by the International Metaphysical Ministry.
Cousar defended these kinds of programs by saying, "People become involved in drugs because they have given up.... This program helps empower people to act on healthier lifestyles."
So would handing out Bibles and inviting the downtrodden to Sunday School. However, the government would never do that and certain elites would probably like to forbid you as private citizens from doing that as well in light of the many agency regulations, municipal statutes and corporate policies radically curtailing religious speech and prosyletization efforts.
A number of Evangelical leaders have suggested that Christians should curtail the attention they pay to matters of politics and policy in order to concentrate on the loftier concerns of faith and belief confronting American society. Such a suggestion might prove inadequate when these arenas begin to merge as a single challenge as is the case of these New Age welfare programs.
(First published in the mid 1990’s)
By Frederick Meekins
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