David Skaggs wrote:
And isn't this leeway the reason why so many people are now attracted to Aikido? By stripping the overtly religious practices of O'Sensei and keeping a separate definition of spiritual allows people to practice their religious/philosophical beliefs through Aikido.
Yes, According to current aikido 'theory' (peace & harmony, but with a pronounced non-religious 'spiritual' dimension, the spirituality being what you make of it) prevalent outside Japan, and in Japan also, you are right. However, my own view is that there is a danger that we are throwing the baby out with the bathwater and that a deeper study of Ueshiba's overtly religious practices is necessary.
I know what he said (I can read O Sensei in Japanese), but I am not sure how much he believed that aikido was simply a morally neutral vehicle for allowing people to practise their own religious/philosophical beliefs. If this were right, then AUM Shinrikyou could also enlist O Sensei in their avowed mission to promote world peace and harmony.