On 24th May 2009, Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten published an article in which some serious accusations were brought against Natha Yogacenter, including its being ‘a sect’ and ‘providing sexual services’. The source of these accusations is priest Tom Thygesen Daugaard, who is associated with (and ex-leader of) an organization called Dialogcentret (The Dialogue Centre). Since this organization is spreading lies about Natha Yogacenter, and with the help of Jyllands Posten is pretending to be an objective expert on the subject, we have decided to investigate this centre.
The result was beyond our wildest dreams! Delving further into this issue we were amazed to discover many accepted authorities on the subject consider Dialogcentret to be a sect-like group, boasting radical religious views, and being by no means objective. Contrary to their objective charade, this group perceives any yoga school as standing in contradiction to the ''interest of the Danish society''.
Here is an example of their views, from the main page of Dialogcentret’s website:
From Dialogue Center Website
“New-religiousness, sectarianism and relativism have in many forms and variations gained position and have become a strong religious factor in the Danish population and the Danish Society”
We found it interesting to discover that back in 2004 the same Tom Thygesen Daugaard, then called Fredriksen, wrote an article called “Natha – a Holy path to God or Prostitution?” for Dialogcentret. As the article resulted in a state investigation for libel, DC defended themselves by referring to their statutes in which they clearly define their a-priori, non-objective “critical relation to new religious movements” and “this being the premise of the article and the activities of DC1.” Note that this position is not at all declared in the article of Jyllands Posten – the same views of Dialogcentret are presented, but this time as though they are coming from an objective expert on the subject (which is far from the truth). Why was Mr. Tom Thygesen Daugaard hiding the fact that he is not an expert and just a critic aiming to make his voice heard in matters that he consider of his interest?
Furthermore, if one just reads through the papers and documents of DC and reads what the All Danish Council and leading scientific experts have to say on this subject, one will be amazed to discover who Dialogcentret really is.
The Dialogcentret (DC) is a Christian interest group fighting against the spiritual paths they consider harmful to Christian society. Their statutes define “the area of work” to be “the new religious movements and streams challenging the Church and Society". Furthermore, this work is to be done “based on the Christian Teaching and Confession, as the biblical texts and the scriptures of the old church normatively formulates them2.”
For an open minded person, does this definition not sound sectarian? It becomes more clear that if DC were to apply their own principles to their own group they should dissolve themselves.
Another relevant element from their history was in 1990 when the group addresses the Danish parliament with a plea not to give state support for Yoga, as yoga is not in the interest of Danish Society! This attitude clearly shows the “openness” and “objectivity” this group has, not to mention that this attempt to attack without discernment any yoga organization is not at all in the spirit of the same Bible to which they hypocritically refer.
DC also published a booklet called Critical Information on Hatha Yoga. This booklet can be found at: http://dci.dk.
Should such a group be considered expert in problems related to yoga, after openly declaring, based on religious motivation, their adversity to any form of yoga?
Following the activities of DC, professor of the science of religion at the university of Copenhagen, Mikael Rothstein, finds them “developing towards an autonomous sect within the protestant tradition. (…) many priests do not in any way wish to be identified with the group and the ambition to create their own marked profile becomes ever more evident. At the confessional level there are barely alterations, but DC seems to accentuate things more ardently, thus bringing back concepts such as “redemption”, “a lost soul” and “guilt” to the theological vocabulary. (…) at the time DC intensifies the ambition to be something unique and special, to administrate the best of opinions and to become the centre for the one new, pure revival movement3.”
Does this sound familiar? Isn't this the same kind of accusations DC made about Natha Yogacenter?
In response to DC’s own initiative to suggest actions to the Danish authorities, Rothstein replies: “It is a scandal. The DC is devoid of any scientific expertise and it would therefore be completely grotesque if Danish authorities listened to their opinions on others4.”
Peter Lodberg, president of the All Danish Church Council, does not approve of DC’s methods: “In the All Danish Church Council we have chosen the diametrically opposing method. For us, the premise is to solve controversies and difficult questions in a common dialogue5.”
Tim Jensen of Syddansk Universitet finds the actions of DC to be symptoms of inner and outer crisis, which is typical for authoritarian groups following the death of their charismatic leaders. After the death of the founder Johannes Aagaard the group split in two, today’s DC being the more fundamentalist of them. Jensen says: “Like for many religions, it was a problem for them to lose their charismatic leader. At the same time, the media now has more options for opinions on new religions.” He also points to their recent actions as attempts to regain a position in the media after the increased interest in Islamic groups has marginalized DC and their mission in the public view6.
This is also the reason why DC was so keen to participate in the slander campaign about Natha Yogacenter, this being the only way their voice has a chance to be heard. This hunt for an opportunity to gain some public attention was also evident in their previous attempts to create public opinion against Natha Yogacenter, especially since Natha has become a big center for yoga and spirituality and therefore a good opportunity.
In conclusion, we concede that using DC as an expert on Natha Yogacenter is just another malevolent action by the Jyllands Posten journalist in his writing the articles on Natha. All of this information was supposed to come to the attention of the journalist during his investigation and we cannot believe that it was by mistake that it didn't.
We hope that through this we have made the truth about what hides behind DC's “expert” opinions clearer.
1. “Brev til Pressenævnet”, 2005,
2. The statutes of DC stk 2 and stk 3,
3. “En sekterisk udvikling”, Mikael Rothstein,
4. Kristeligt Dagblad,
5. Kristeligt Dagblad,