Clericalism as a Cultural Pattern: Aiding and Abetting Abuse

Clericalism as a Cultural Pattern: Aiding and Abetting Abuse Michael Horan Clericalism, like racism or sexism, festers within cultures and inside individual imaginations. Clericalism is based on social location in the Catholic church’s cultural system for both worship and governance, a system developed a millennium ago. Theologian Paul Lakeland asserts that all isms at their root are moved by a belief in the lesser humanity of the oppressed group. You know when you are adversely affected by an ism, but you hardly notice it if the ism benefits you. Just as sexism or racism privileges men over women and whites […]

Manufacturing Consent: Creating Hierarchies in the Guru-Disciple Relationship

Manufacturing Consent: Creating Hierarchies in the Guru-Disciple Relationship Amanda Lucia Sexual abuse happens across the globe and in nearly every environment. Recognizing this, religion scholar Andrea Jain argues that focusing on a specific religious context can be distracting and detrimental to tackling what is a global and ubiquitous problem. She writes, “The appeal to the dangers of guru charisma and devotion as an explanation for sexual violence pulls our attention away from larger social structures and norms that cultivate a dominant global culture of sexual violence … and lends itself to an orientalist stereotype of South Asians, their religions, and […]

Sacrilegious Episode 01: Why?

In the first episode of Sacrilegious, Gary Laderman explains some of his thinking behind starting the podcast. What is sacred? Are we religious in ways we may not be aware of or are not immediately obvious to the naked eye? From the get-go, the podcast asks listeners to begin reconsidering how they understand religion, define it, and identify it in the world around them, and to enter into a public discussion about the various ways religious forces of all kinds shape identities, communities, and societies. Religion is more than churches, temples, and mosques, and not always concerned with bibles, dogmas, […]

Introduction: Abuse in Yoga and Beyond: Cultural Logics and Pathways for the Future

Introduction: Abuse in Yoga and Beyond: Cultural Logics and Pathways for the Future Christopher Miller In recent years, abuse scandals have shaken the yoga world once again, overturning previously held conceptions of yoga gurus, their teachings, and the individuals and organizations that have enabled their abuse. Most importantly, these abuse scenarios – whether they have involved sexual assault, cruelty, financial exploitation, etc. – have left individuals and communities disoriented, deeply traumatized, and desperately searching for answers. As Sacred Matters editor Gary Laderman writes, “the sacred is not always what it seems, can be associated with just about anything, and remains […]

Dangerous Pedagogy: Takeaways from Taking Sacred Drugs

Gary Laderman Elaine Penagos Many of us looked forward to each class session and thought about it when we weren’t together synchronously, and there were, we think, even moments of collective effervescence that broke down the artificiality of virtual teaching, and that would have surely aroused Durkheim’s curiosity.