The Recreation Professional, Religion & Politics

By Du, Bob; Greenspoon, Leonard J. | Parks & Recreation, July 1993 | Go to article overview

The Recreation Professional, Religion & Politics

Du, Bob, Greenspoon, Leonard J., Parks & Recreation

As is well known, parks and recreation professionals have to wear a number of hats. From sports directors to referees, from amateur chefs to on-the-spot psychologists, most individuals who select this profession relish the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities.

In the process, they often touch on the emotional lives of those with whom they come into contact. Part of the emotional or effective dimension of most individuals includes an element of what we generally understand to be religion. Those involved in public or government-supported activities generally stay clear of any action that might conflict with the well-known Constitutional principle of separation of church and state. And rightly so! With all of the problems facing the busy recreation professional, the last thing he or she needs is to become embroiled in the two very areas where emotions tend to run highest--religion and politics.

Nonetheless, as recent events have shown, even the simplest, or seemingly simplest decision can arouse all sorts of reactions, bringing in religion and threatening the very fabric of otherwise close-knit communities. The case which we highlight below is becoming typical of what is occurring with increasing frequency throughout the country, not just in the South and not just in smaller towns and cities. We raise many questions, but offer relatively few solutions. Since legal and cultural norms differ from state to state, those are both worked out on the local level. Like it or not, recreation professionals may well be called upon to make judgments on what is or is not a religious group or a religious practice, or (even more controversial) whether seemingly innocuous activities are somehow related to satanism.

On August 16, 1990, the following notice appeared in the Toccoa (GA) Record


The recreation department will sponsor a Yoga class that

will meet on Monday nights for six weeks from 6-7:30

p.m. Cost will be $40 and the instructor will be Carolyn

Davis, author of two books on Yoga. The class will teach

participants how to relax, control stress, breathing awareness,

stretching, facial exercise and diet tips. Pre-registration

is required.

Sandwiched between announcements of a cat show and a karate tournament, and registration deadlines for sports and cheerleading, this notice appears to be as straightforward and non-controversial as the rest of the news included under the headline "Recreation Department Update." it would be difficult, if not impossible, to count the number of similar courses in Yoga offered by recreation departments elsewhere in the United States or the number of notices like this one that appear almost daily in newspapers, community newsletters and other publications. Yet, this particular notice set off a string of actions and reactions that brought Toccoa to national prominence and at the same time focused attention on the role of recreation professionals.

Toccoa, a small city with a population of about 9,000, is situated at the northeast comer of the mountain region of Georgia. It is a tranquil area, embraced by forests and mountains and enjoying a peaceful and beautifully preserved natural environment. Toccoans are relatively less affected by trends of new thought than are their more urbanized neighbors. Christian fundamentalists have a strong influence. Traditional patterns of thought and action continue to dominate the community.

Soon after the announcement of the Yoga classes appeared, a local chiropractor made the circuit of several churches in the city asserting that Yoga is a branch of the occult and that its reputed benefits are demon-inspired. He held out little hope for those who participated in this course, people whom he likened to cattle on their way to a slaughter. Incited by this individual, more and more people in and around Toccoa came to believe that instruction in Yoga is a form of devil worship and that Yoga classes represented a serious threat to their homes and families. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Recreation Professional, Religion & Politics


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.