The morality of eating meat: Why we shouldn’t push our food choices onto others
As a busy working mom, I don’t have the luxury of time to plan out elaborate meals, let alone contemplate such thoughts as why I choose to eat meat.
All I know is that I enjoy a good burger, steak, pork chop or chicken breast. Animal-based proteins are a good bargain at the grocery store considering all the nutrients they offer in a small package: high-quality protein, iron and other vital micronutrients that our bodies need.
Yet I know that some people struggle with the choice to eat meat, especially those who aren’t familiar with modern animal agricultural practices and who see a growing number of plant-based protein choices available today.
Recently, I was intrigued to learn about a new book, titled “What Would Jesus Really Eat?”, which takes a closer look at what the Bible actually says about Christianity and the morality of eating meat.
Animal rights activists are focusing on an unlikely place — your local church — to create confusion about the morality of eating meat.
Even in rural Iowa, farmers say they’ve been shocked to see “Meatless Monday” promotions and messages attacking livestock farming in their local church bulletins and Bible study guides.
The debate about how Christians should live — and what they should or shouldn’t eat — is as old as the faith itself, said the book’s co-author Wes Jamison at a recent press teleconference hosted by the Animal Agriculture Alliance, which published the book.
Yet what makes this debate fresh again is that animal rights activists are taking advantage of loose interpretations of the Bible and our society’s disconnect from how our food is grown and raised, said Jamison, an ordained minister and a professor of public relations at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Specifically, animal rights groups attack the Christian view that humans are made in the image of God and He gave us dominion over the Earth and its creatures, Jamison said.
Jamison says Christians shouldn’t be ashamed for their choice to eat meat or raise livestock. “In fact, you can rejoice in it,” he says.
Overall, the Bible doesn’t give any restrictions on what you can eat, Jamison says.
“The Christian has freedom to eat meat without it being a question of conscience,” Jamison said. “Not only are we free to (eat meat), but we are blessed to do so.”
Animal rights activists also criticize the morality of conventional livestock farming. However, Jamison says the Bible isn’t a moral manual that gives a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to agricultural practices.
“The clear idea is that you may eat whatever you want to eat, as long as you are not a glutton and as long as you don’t make your convictions someone else’s commandments,” Jamison said.
I agree that’s excellent guidance - to not push our own personal food choices onto someone else. Just because I choose to eat meat doesn’t mean I should shame anyone for their choice to be a vegetarian, and vice versa.
Copies of the book, “What Would Jesus Really Eat?,” can be purchased from the Animal Agricultural Alliance for $15 plus shipping and handling at www.animalagalliance.org.
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