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Can Animal Rights and
Vegetarianism (Veganism) Succeed Without Church Support?
- Readers' Comments -
Comments by Elizabeth Farians - 10 June 2002
Dear Frank and Mary,
You are so correct about needing to get support from church groups to help animals. Thank you for your good article to Steve.
You might be interested in my quote:
"To try to picture the Christ, the one whom Christians call 'Agnus Dei', the Lamb of God, chewing on a leg of lamb seems incongruous to me." Elizabeth Farians
We're having MAC Day June 8, a local celebration of the life and work of Rev. Maurice McCrackin. Mac was a dear friend of mine and was often called the "conscience of Cincinnati". The event is held in the West End, Cincinnati's ghetto, where MAC lived and worked for the poor. He was a pacifist and at about 85 climbed over the White House fence to pour red dye into the White House fountain. Obviously, he was in jail dozens of times.
He died about two years ago a 92. He became a vegetarian when I told him about factory farming. Mostly black people from the neighborhood come and we serve vegetarian food.
Dr. Elizabeth Farians
513 984 8062
8540 Lynnehaven Drive
Cincinnati, Ohio 45236
You might also be interested in my account of Mac becoming a vegetarian for the interreligious service we had today "Study War No More" What I said was:
"Just as it is impossible to have peace without justice so it is impossible to have peace without compassion for all beings." The account follows.
MAC WAS A VEGETARIAN!
Elizabeth Farians, Ph.D.
One of the most important things to know about Mac is that he was a vegetarian. Mac never paid much attention to food. Being of robust health, he just ate to keep going. That was probably not too bad when he lived at his church with his mother and sister. They cooked for him. But when he retired and had to prepare food for himself, that was a different story. So sometimes I'd take a bowl of freshly made tomato soup down to him in his apartment behind the Dominican Sister's house.
On one such an occasion I had just gotten a Meat Out Day flyer (March 20) from our local animals rights group. I wanted to share it with Mac. He was in his early eighties. The flyer made a lot of claims about the health benefits of not eating meat. I was always trying to get Mac to adopt a better diet. But he very strongly disagreed with the health claims. So I told him about the horrors of factory farming. He immediately said he didn't want to be responsible for the suffering of animals; that he didn't want that on his conscience. He said he would never eat an animal again. He said he had never really thought about it before but that doing violence to animals and hurting them could not continue to be part of his life as he strove to be a non-violent person.
The point of the story is that just as it is impossible to have peace without justice so it is impossible to have peace without compassion for all beings.
Non-violence begins with the fork.
It is a tenant of belief and practice for some of the religions represented here today to be vegetarian. For that we should all be grateful. But some, such as the Christian and Jewish religions, are not vegetarian. I ask such groups to look back on their history and tradition with fresh eyes and to look at the present situation. More and more there are those who claim that these religions do in fact support vegetarianism as a compassionate lifestyle. And the truly unspeakable cruelty of modern farming practices are being recognized as unacceptable for any religious person. We need a full blossoming of non-violent philosophy that must include compassion and justice for all beings.
"For as long as men massacre animals,
they will kill each other. Indeed, he
who sows the seed of murder and pain
cannot reap joy and love."
ANIMALS, PEOPLE and the EARTH
MAC Day June 8, 2002
Interfaith Service: Study War No More June 9, 2002
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