A homophobic yogic cult, claiming to be able to “cure” homosexuality through chanting, has infiltrated the Gold Coast City Council, according to Religion News Blog. Through its front organisation the Australian School of Meditation and Yoga, the Science of Identity movement is running yoga and meditation courses in collaboration with the Gold Coast council (as part of the latter’s “Active and Healthy” program). The leader, one Chris Butler a.k.a. Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa Jagad Guru, claims to be a “living yoga master” as well as (according to a critical site) “teacher of the entire world, a direct link to God and the only true follower of Jesus Christ.” Ex-members have some interesting stories to tell:
Former member, “Justin”, 30, told SX he was “born into” the cult because his parents had been members since the 1970s. When he came out to his parents at the age of 16, he was disowned.
“They kicked me out and told me the house would need to be sterilised because being gay was dirty, and my father said he hoped I died in hospital of AIDS,” Justin said.
“They have interesting ‘facts’ they put out about homosexuality. I was told that AIDS can live on warm surfaces for 48 hours, so that you can pick it up from toilet seats, and that kids can pick it up by putting fingers in their mouths.
“They tell stories that gays eat faeces and have up to 2,000 sexual partners a year.”
The faeces libel against gay people is not unique to Butler’s group: for example, a Polish Catholic group in 2004 issued a pamphlet to thousands of school principals making claims about homosexuals “crawling in faeces” and being “blood-suckers.” The notion that there exists a “gay agenda” is also not unique to Science of Identity:
Another former cult member, Cara James, told SX Guru Chris Butler was convinced there is a “gay agenda”.
“Once, he started talking about Jesus at Christmas and went into a complete tirade against gay people, claiming that gays were trying to get rid of Christmas,” James said.
She said the cult was “very guarded” about who they allow to hear Butler’s lectures because “they are very much aware of the fact that they would breach vilification laws” if the speeches were made public.
In a pamphlet, Homosexuality: The Identity Crisis, Butler wrote: “The homosexuals are trying to convince themselves and others that their perverted sexual dealings are very satisfying, that’s why they call themselves gay, as if they are in perpetual bliss and are free”. (Religion News Blog)
Others claim that Science of Identity advocates polygamy and arranged marriages, and (like many other cults) the group appears to be in sync with Luke 14:26 on how members should dispose themselves towards their families.
The Gold Coast Council is currently investigating the matter.