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How to Encourage Christians to Become Vegan
By Julie Eyrich
No matter what your religious orientation is (or even if you are agnostic or atheist), as vegan activists we need to engage in outreach to the Christian community about veganism and how it is connected to their religion. About 86% of Americans consider themselves Christians. Many Christians have been taught by their religious leaders to think God created animals for our use, but there are a some Christians who believe the Bible's core message is love, peace and compassion for all of God's creatures. There is hope that other Christians can be persuaded to adopt veganism as part of their lifestyle.
You do not have to be a Christian to do this and it is so easy and effective! A group of Minnesota animal activists with many different belief systems concerning religion — but with one main goal of animal liberation — have been church leafleting. We have been distributing the powerful and persuasive booklet "Are We Good Stewards of God's Creation" produce by the Christian Vegetarian Association. At Catholic churches we distribute "Christianity and Vegetarianism" written by a well-known priest and peace activists available from JesusVeg.
With our big, friendly, veggie smiles most of the church going people have been willing to take literature from us. So far Minnesota activists have leafleted to 16 churches and two Christian music concerts and have distributed about 6,740 booklets. Our highlight event was at a Christian concert "Acquire the Fire" where teenagers attended and we passed out 1,350 booklets in two hours. Think about how many more people we could reach about veganism if we could encourage more activists to engage in this type of outreach!
When I do tabling and displays events about veganism, I always have information about Christianity and vegetarianism available and this information quickly leaves the table. Again, you do not need to believe in Christianity, but realize as an activist how important this material is to help encourage Christians to become vegan.
When I am challenged about Christianity and vegetarianism. I respond by saying:
I do not share your interpretation of the Bible. I believe God's will for us is to be vegan. The Bible depicts a peaceful world at creation and at the end of time. God found everything in Eden 'very good,' and gave all animals and humans a vegetarian world (Genesis 1:29-30. Several prophecies such as Isaiah 11:6-9, foresee a return to this vegetarian world where the wolf, lamb, lion, cow, snake and little child co-exist peacefully.
When I am being accused of picking and choosing biblical verses, my response is, because the Bible is open to such a wide range of interpretation, all Christians pick and choose certain biblical verses that support their belief system. The God I pray to is about love, peace, and compassion for all creation.
In the past people used the Bible to justify slavery, segregation, and the oppression of women. We now understand this was a misuse of the Bible and its true intent. The same is true for eating meat.
If you do have religious intolerance please put it aside for the animals' sake and take the opportunity to educate Christians about how veganism is connected to their religion. Remember: what do we want? Animal liberation, now! Go out there and educate the religious people.
For more information, visit Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV).
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