Church silence promotes violence to humans, to animals, to our
environment, to our economy, to our education, to our finances, and to our health.
By: Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman
When one-third of the human population of our planet is going to bed hungry, and many are starving, while another third is over fed, something is terribly wrong.
We are destroying our rainforests, polluting our streams, rivers, lakes, and coastal waters; and then we hide from the real problem. Something is terribly wrong.
We have been consuming our aquifers faster than the water can be replaced, until they are lower today than at any time since the last ice age. Something is terribly wrong.
When more people die of preventable diseases each year than from all the wars and acts of terrorism combined, something is terribly wrong.
When we cause unbelievable pain and suffering and death to over ten billion land animals in these United States every year, with almost total indifference, something is terribly wrong.
I strongly believe that these wrongs are destabilizing world peace and sowing the seeds of violence.
And what is the common denominator?
It's animal agriculture, and factory farming in particular.
And, Yes, it does do violence to our to our health, to the animals, and to the environment.
I strongly believe that wars are going to be fought over what is happening unless we do something to reverse our present coarse.
In the midst of all of this are the vast majority of churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions doing little or nothing to correct these problems, and in most cases we are actually contributing to the problem.
How do we change our present situation and begin to make a positive difference in this world?
Let's begin our search for this answer by looking at a little Biblical history.
When God created the heavens and the earth and all of us and our fellow beings who occupy this planet, plant foods were created for our sustenance, as we are told in Genesis 1:29-30.
29. Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every
plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree
which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
30. and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.
And what are we told immediately after this in verse 31?
31. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. NASU
There was no death and everything that God had made was very good including the Lord's intent for both humans and non-humans to eat only plant foods.
Then corruption entered the earth and humans and animals began to eat each other, but from the beginning this was never God's intent.
The Lord only granted a concession to eat flesh because of the hardness of the human heart. This was a way of limiting our self indulgence in the hope that we would realize the error of our ways and return to God's original intent.
But, alas, human gluttony prevailed.
When the Spirit of the Lord led the Hebrews out of Egypt, God once again tried to return the children of Israel back to a vegan diet by supplying manna from heaven, but the people rebelled against God for their "pound of flesh".
So God supplied quail for them and many died in their gluttony.
Then about 2,800 years ago, the prophets of Israel began to speak out for a more compassionate world.
Isaiah, after chastising the priests and leaders, and speaking for the Lord, paints us a picture of a peaceable kingdom to come (Isaiah 11:6-9)
6. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.
7. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den.
9. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea. NASU
The message is clear. The knowledge of the Lord leads to peaceful living for every living soul upon this earth, whether human or non-human, and their food is vegan.
People who possess the true knowledge of the Lord do not commit acts of terrorism, engage in war, take revenge through capital punishment, kill animals for food and clothing, or kill unborn babies.
People who possess the knowledge of the Lord are peacemakers.
And when Jesus came on the scene about 2,000 years ago, He said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons [children] of God." (Matthew 5:9)
Paul picks up on this message in Romans 8:18-25 and tells us that "the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons [children] of God" to put and end to the corruption and suffering to which it has been subjected.
With so many people claiming to know God and believe in the Lord, we should expect that peace should prevail, but it doesn't.
It doesn't make sense, unless we are not as full of the knowledge of the Lord as we claim to be.
In Revelation 21:4, we are told that there will no longer be any tears, or pain, or mourning, or death in heaven, and Jesus taught us to pray, in part,
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
From looking around the world or even just at this country, we see very little of this heaven on earth.
Either we don't believe what we're praying for, or we don't seem to want to make the changes necessary to bring it to pass.
I believe it's because we don't want to give up our pet indulgences, particularly the eating and wearing of animals.
Let's look at a few facts:
There is not enough land in the world to feed the world's population with the standard American diet.
This is why people are hungry and starving.
So what does the Church do? It supports the Heifer Project which introduces animal agriculture instead of helping these impoverished areas of the world produce sustainable plant foods.
The way the medical profession and related industries are operated, today, is to pay for illness with little or no regard for prevention.
The Loma Linda study proved that vegetarians live an average of 10 years longer than those who eat the standard American diet which is high in animal products.
This study, and others, have shown that the last ten years of a vegetarian's (vegan's) life are also much healthier.
Instead of educating their congregations to these truths, what do most churches do? They pray for the sick.
This is why I believe Rev. George Malkmus wrote his book, Why Christians Get Sick. They get sick because they eat a diet high in animal foods.
There is more money wasted in the medical industry than it would cost to provide real health care for every uninsured person.
Food-borne illnesses from the meat, dairy and egg industries are getting more deadly and harder to treat every year, and we are doing little or nothing to stop this trend.
We seem only to want to find ways to treat the problem, rather than to eliminate it.
All of the problems of hunger, poverty, lack of tillable land, lack of potable water, and illness sow the seeds of discontent.
We, as members of religious and similarly minded communities, have a duty and an obligation to learn the truth about these problems and inform our congregations.
In the United States 70% of the grain we grow goes to feed animals destined for slaughter.
If we truly want peace in this world, then we need to sow the seeds of peace, rather than feed them to animals.
We do not need to raise animals for food!
Plant foods are better, more healthful, and will sustain the whole earth.
Our silence and lack of action is doing violence to our sensitivities and emotional well being.
Each of us is a leader in our community, no matter who we think we are; and, as peacemakers, the challenge is ours.
If we have roast beast dinners, we are saying that factory farming, with all its ills, is acceptable.
Or we can set a peaceable vegan example.
People learn best by example.
If we are healthy peacemakers, others will begin to listen to that choice, too.
We need to fill people with the knowledge of the Lord rather than just doctrine, and the status quo.
We need to help them become the children of God for whom the whole of creation anxiously awaits.
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