The Fellowship of Life
Vegetarianism - "UnBiblical" (1990 Press)"Speaker calls in St Paul"
Church Times; 11 May 1990
JOHN GUMMER, Minister of Agriculture, member of the General Synod, and meat-eater, has found himself at odds with the vegetarian Speaker of the Commons, who has referred the question to St Paul.
The affair began, writes our Parliamentary Correspondent, when Mr Gummer told the International Meat Trade Association at Butcher's Hall: "I consider meat to be an essential part of the diet. The Bible tells us that we are masters of the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field, and we very properly eat them."
He went on to label vegetarianism "an unnatural practice". David Clark, Labour shadow minister, said that Mr Gummer had let his religious bigotry overrule his common sense.
Bernard Weatherill, the Speaker, became reluctantly involved when Tony Banks (Labour) raised the Gummer remarks as a point of order, telling the Speaker he was "the most eminent vegetarian in this House".
The Speaker said that he had written to Mr Gummer, quoting from Romans. His text is believed to have been Romans 14. 19-21, which is equivocal on the point.
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