Interactive, Inc. | Stephen R. Kaufman,
Case for Christian Vegetarian Activism by Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D., CVA medical director
Nearly all veg.
advocates have had the frustrating experience of hearing someone declare,
God made animals for people. Were supposed to eat animals.
Many find it hard to have sympathy for Christianity after hearing
that. While I will not attempt to show that, on balance, Christianity
has benefited animals, I do think that the faith is potentially very
sympathetic to animal protectionism. Furthermore, if we fail to reach
out to the Christian community, we write off a very large
segment of American society.
and Animal Welfare
The Bible describes
the Garden of Eden as vegetarian (Genesis 1:29-30), and the prophet
Isaiah envisioned a similarly peaceful end of time, when the Messiah
will come and the wolf shall lie with the lamb and the
lion shall eat straw like the ox and they shall not
hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain. (Isaiah 11:6-9) Veganism
is clearly a biblical ideal. Furthermore, there are many passages
(mostly in the Hebrew Scriptures) that oppose cruelty to animals
and praise compassion for animals.
encouraging teachings, I dont think that Christian tradition
mandates that all people must be vegetarian today. Christianity is
humanocentric, and those who need to eat animals for survival appear
justified. Of course, this is true of few Americans, and the harmful
effects of animal agriculture on the environment, world hunger, animal
welfare, and human health lead the Christian Vegetarian Association
(www.christianveg.com) to conclude that, if Jesus were among us today,
he would likely be a vegetarian.
think an animal rights/animal liberation position readily derives
from Christian tradition, but a strong case against factory farming
and any unnecessary killing of animals receives powerful support.
That many Christians fail to see this should not prompt animal-friendly
Christians to leave their churches. Rather, they should persistently
and respectfully encourage their church communities to study and
reflect on what the Christian faith teaches about humankinds
proper relationship to nonhuman Creation.
advocates, frustrated by Christianitys humanocentric tendencies,
may find the Christian faith altogether unappealing. Nevertheless,
I urge them, when distributing veg. literature, to also offer materials
aimed at Christian audiences. In Cleveland, Vegetarian Advocates
primarily distributes Vegan Outreachs Vegetarian Living, and
many people who visit our tables are interested in the Christian
Vegetarian Associations pamphlet What Would Jesus Eat Today?
Most Christians find the CVA pamphlet very compelling, while many
Christians are unmoved by animal rights or other secular arguments.
Sometimes, Christians challenge the pamphlets content, and
these Christians are simply advised to contact the CVA.
The CVA offers
up to 5 copies of WWJET free of charge. After that, the 8-page pamphlets
are only 12 cents each. For more information about the CVA, visit