Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from

Towards a Religion of Compassion

From Victoria Moran,
June 2022

It perplexes me no end when spiritual communities with so much to recommend them ignore, avoid, and even disavow including so-called “farm animals” within the scope of Divine love and protection.

order of the cross
This is the symbol of The Order of the Cross. Their teachings state: “​The members of The Order of the Cross are dedicated to living a life of compassion and follow a pacifist and vegan or vegetarian way of life.”

I was in the lunch line at Kripalu, my first time at this yoga retreat in the Berkshires that I’d heard about since the 1970s. I knew they’d gone through a major restructuring some years back and one of the concessions they made to stay in business was adding meat, fish, and eggs to their previously lacto-vegetarian menu. With this background information, it wasn’t the fact that meat was offered that threw me. It was that there were two lines, one marked “Main Buffet,” the other, “Vegetarian Buffet.”

This is a yoga retreat. While only slowly and painstakingly opening to veganism, yoga and its communities throughout the centuries have been vegetarian. The idea that the meat-eating norm would ever be seen as “Main” at a yoga institute would never have crossed my mind.

I used to feel that same at the Unity Inn, on the grounds of Unity World Headquarters outside my hometown of Kansas City. While I was seventeen when I discovered yoga, I knew about the progressive Christian movement, Unity, from before I could toddle. My grandmother-aged nanny (and first spiritual teacher) took me to church with her at Unity, and I learned to read before kindergarten from their devotional magazine, Daily Word, published to this day. Unity was founded in the 1890s by devoted vegetarians Charles and Myrtle Fillmore.

They were as close to vegan as people got before the concept was codified in the 1940s, and they were vocal about it. The Unity Inn was one of the nation’s first vegetarian restaurants and at its zenith in the mid-1920s, was serving nearly 2,000 meals every day with no animals on the menu.



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