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Must Christians Be Vegetarians?
Crisis Magazine ^ | October 25, 2013 | Austin Ruse

Posted on 10/25/2013 3:09:26 PM PDT by NYer

Cows

Is there a religious obligation not to eat meat? Is there an obligation of faithful Catholics to become vegetarians or even vegans? Quite astonishingly, Professor Charles Camosy of Fordham University says yes in his new book For Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action.

Genesis, according to Camosy, makes it clear that God intended only for us to eat green and grain because that is what He gave mankind to eat. God did not say we could eat the animals. Camosy argues that recent popes, when they have called for the care of creation, implicitly endorse this view. He also cites the Universal Catechism for his point of view.

Camosy is not the only one making these arguments. The modern granddaddy of these arguments is former Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully who published a book called Dominion that has turned many to vegetarianism. Camosy was deeply affected by Scully’s book, as was my dear friend Mary Eberstadt who has written the foreword to Camosy’s book. And in recent days Weekly Standard writer Jonathan Last has joined their ranks and come out as a campaigning vegetarian.

With the exception of Scully each are religious and each are practicing Catholics and make religious arguments to back their claims. In a recent National Review article, Scully quotes Pope Francis’s first sermon where he called for “respecting each of God’s creatures” and Benedict condemning the “industrial use of animals” and John Paul II asking farmers to “resist the temptations of productivity and profit that work to the detriment of nature.”

For-love-of-animalsThey also make a great deal about what is called factory or industrial farming. The accusation is that such farming is profoundly cruel. Sows are boxed so they cannot move, only eat, defecate and grow fat. Chickens, too. They never go outside. Male chicks are immediately ground into nothing because they cannot lay eggs and take too long to grow for meat. After suffering their whole lives these animals are led to slaughter with at least some kind of knowledge of what is about to happen to them.

One thing Camosy et al have in common is that they are pro-life. You would understand this to mean the protection of unborn children from abortion, the protection of human embryos from experimentation, and the protection of the elderly from euthanasia. They would include animals in this. In fact, Camosy says he became a vegetarian in order to be more “authentically pro-life.”

There is a practical political aspect to vegetarianism. Mary Eberstadt, whom I have praised to the high heavens in these pages and will continue to do so, argues that Millennials can be reached more effectively if we speak to them as vegetarians. In fact, the main thrust of this current campaign, which is running almost exclusively in the online pages of National Review, is to convince pro-lifers to be “pro-animal” and that a great bonanza of support for our cause lies among the vegetarian set who think we are hypocrites for protecting unborn babies yet happily eat our cheeseburgers.

And so what of their arguments? First, know that these are very smart and learned people. Most of us would be unequipped to argue with them on many topics including this one. And while I find their arguments interesting, I do not find them ultimately compelling. And some of them I find offensive.

On the question of factory farming, there is the charge of wanton, unspeakable cruelty. Take pens used to confine nursing hogs, for instance. It sounds awful. The pens hold them tight so they cannot turn around. Perhaps the most interesting writer in defense of modern farming is Missouri farmer Blake Hurst who began writing for the American Enterprise Institute when Michael Pollan’s anti-meat and much else Omnivore’s Dilemma came out a few years ago. Hurst runs not a “factory” farm but a family one. He says such pens are necessary because mother sows have a nasty tendency to lie down and crush their young. Sometimes they eat their young. Even so such pens are outlawed in some states.

Hurst goes on at great length defending the practices condemned by Camosy et al. He describes a turkey farmer who wanted to raise them “free range” but who did not know that turkeys do not come in out of the rain and can drown beaks up open wide. He lost 4,000 turkeys in one storm. He now raises them in a more confined space, where they won’t drown or be eaten by other animals. But Camosy et al are not simply against factory farming of livestock. This is their hard-case argument. In fact, they oppose the eating of any animal no matter how they are raised.

The religious question is not as complicated as the factory farm question. There simply is no demand by the Church that we not eat meat. The Catechism is quite plain and says we may use animals for food. Camosy points this but then emphasizes the Catechism says we cannot do it “needlessly.” Strictly speaking you can live your whole life without eating meat and therefore the only time Camosy would allow us to eat meat is traveling through Death Valley by horseback with no choice but to eat the horse. But the Church does not teach that. The Church asks for a meatless fast on Fridays—still does by the way—which implies we may eat meat every other day. What’s more the Bible is chock full of meat eating. Where Genesis 1 gives us green and grain to eat, Genesis 9 gives us all the animals to eat. Jesus ate fish, gave fish for others to eat, and being a faithful Jew there is little question that he ate the lamb at Passover.

It is perfectly fine for Scully and the others not to eat meat. It is perfectly fine for them to campaign for their point of view. And I must say their description of “factory farming” has given me pause. But to cast this as religiously required is deeply offensive, particularly for someone like Camosy who teaches at a Catholic school. Sure, recent Popes have called for care of creation including animals but none of them have said we cannot eat meat. I have been blessed to spend time in the residence where Pope Francis now lives and recall enjoying some delicious cuts of dead calf. The Church clearly does not teach what Scully and Camosy says it does.

Finally, to suggest that being a vegetarian makes you “authentically pro-life” is a kind mischief making that all pro-lifers ought to reject. Pro-life does not mean raising the minimum wage or easing immigration restriction or not eating meat. The seamless garment has done a great deal of harm already. Let’s not allow it to stretch any further.



TOPICS: Catholic; Religion & Culture; Religion & Science
KEYWORDS: christian; fordham; scripture; vegetarian
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1 posted on 10/25/2013 3:09:26 PM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer

Dominion is tasty.


2 posted on 10/25/2013 3:10:19 PM PDT by Viennacon
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To: Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; Ronaldus Magnus; tiki; ...

Ping!


3 posted on 10/25/2013 3:10:30 PM PDT by NYer ("The wise man is the one who can save his soul. - St. Nimatullah Al-Hardini)
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To: Viennacon

Amen!


4 posted on 10/25/2013 3:12:45 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: NYer

Why was Abel a shepherd of sheep? Hobby? Pets?


5 posted on 10/25/2013 3:13:33 PM PDT by roamer_1 (Globalism is just socialism in a business suit.)
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To: NYer

What a load of BS. Christ broke the fish to eat, referenced the fatted calf and eating the lamb. Was Christ not a Christian? The Old Testament references are also abundant. This author is a kook.


6 posted on 10/25/2013 3:14:34 PM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: roamer_1

Maybe he sold wool?


7 posted on 10/25/2013 3:14:52 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: NYer
Quite astonishingly, Professor Charles Camosy of Fordham University says yes in his new book For Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action.

Why is it astonishing when someone in an Ivory tower bestows their ludicrous idiocy unto the world?

8 posted on 10/25/2013 3:15:46 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: NYer

9 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.

2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.


9 posted on 10/25/2013 3:16:13 PM PDT by Rodm
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To: NYer

1 So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.

3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.

—Genesis, Chapter 5


10 posted on 10/25/2013 3:16:26 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: NYer
One word:

.


11 posted on 10/25/2013 3:16:28 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Obamacare: You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.)
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To: NYer

I hate all animals except my dog and cat. So I will continue to cook and eat little animals and big animals and continue to consider myself Catholic!!!


12 posted on 10/25/2013 3:16:29 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (I)
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To: Rodm

Beat me to it.


13 posted on 10/25/2013 3:16:49 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: roamer_1

Abel wasn’t a Christian.


14 posted on 10/25/2013 3:17:42 PM PDT by Fuzz
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To: Cicero
I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.

What kind of "herbs" are we talking here?

15 posted on 10/25/2013 3:17:44 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: NYer

“Canon 1251
Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.”

I’m not Catholic, so I risk getting flamed. My understanding was that Benedict XVI declared that fish would be eaten on Fridays instead of meat. This implies that all days but Friday it’s okay to eat meat.

I can’t recall which pope did it, but one declared that it was okay to eat meat because animals did not possess a soul.

In addition, it’s okay for vegans to eat McDonald’s hamburgers because they do not contain meat. (Donning protective clothing, ducking down.)


16 posted on 10/25/2013 3:18:36 PM PDT by Gen.Blather
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To: SampleMan

The Left lies and uses disguises to politicize.


17 posted on 10/25/2013 3:18:40 PM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: GeronL
Maybe he sold wool?

They had money?

To his mom and dad, and to his brother?

Bidnezz is really picking up!! ; )

18 posted on 10/25/2013 3:19:13 PM PDT by roamer_1 (Globalism is just socialism in a business suit.)
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To: roamer_1

lol


19 posted on 10/25/2013 3:19:55 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: dfwgator

I believe it refers to the entire kingdom of plants.


20 posted on 10/25/2013 3:20:06 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: NYer

Abraham had large herds of cattle . . . maybe to look at or only to sacrifice???? If you had no use for cattle other than milk, what would be the “sacrifice” in a burnt offering?? It is amazing the lunacy that masquerades as scholarship.


21 posted on 10/25/2013 3:20:13 PM PDT by RatRipper (The political left are utterly evil and corrupt)
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To: dfwgator

All edible plants


22 posted on 10/25/2013 3:20:28 PM PDT by Rodm
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To: roamer_1

daddy created fiat money, cow patties.


23 posted on 10/25/2013 3:20:32 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: NYer

Even 6 year old children (many at least) know the story of fishes and Loaves. Are we supposed to believe Jesus feed then tofu fish sticks.


24 posted on 10/25/2013 3:20:45 PM PDT by Fzob (In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Jefferson)
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To: NYer
Planting and harvesting crops kills millions of small reptiles, mammals and birds.

THE LEAST HARM PRINCIPLE MAY REQUIRE THAT HUMANS CONSUME A DIET CONTAINING LARGE HERBIVORES, NOT A VEGAN DIET

Perhaps Christians have a moral obligation to not eat anything at all.

25 posted on 10/25/2013 3:21:19 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Who knew that one day professional wrestling would be less fake than professional journalism?)
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To: NYer

Gen 18:7 says the Lord ate a calf... tender and good. Of course I Timothy 4:1-4 makes it crystal clear.


26 posted on 10/25/2013 3:21:27 PM PDT by DocRock (All they that TAKE the sword shall perish with the sword. Matthew 26:52 Gun grabbers beware.)
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To: RatRipper

Who said that some ideas are so absurd that only scholars would believe it?


27 posted on 10/25/2013 3:22:15 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: NYer

I really can’t imagine God would have blessed those who raise the animals and produce all these centuries, or made the human body to be healthier on an omnivorous diet-green/grain/meat if he didn’t mean for is to eat that way.

I’m from a family of small ranchers who raise animals-and veggies-only the natural way-and I agree that factory farming IS animal cruelty. I won’t eat anything that isn’t free-ranged, even a chicken-and I prefer it comes from a small rancher/farmer nearby-no animal torture or drugs, thank you...


28 posted on 10/25/2013 3:22:40 PM PDT by Texan5 ("You've got to saddle up your boys, you've got to draw a hard line"...)
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To: NYer

I wonder how long a vegan would last on a lifeboat that has just water, a lamb and a knife on it.


29 posted on 10/25/2013 3:22:55 PM PDT by GrandJediMasterYoda (What do we want? Time travel. When do we want it? It's irrelevant.)
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To: GeronL
daddy created fiat money, cow patties. LOL! If ya don't wait for them to dry, you get 'filthy rich' ! The 'mark' of Cain?

There's a lesson there somewhere... : D

30 posted on 10/25/2013 3:24:25 PM PDT by roamer_1 (Globalism is just socialism in a business suit.)
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To: NYer

This is dopey.


31 posted on 10/25/2013 3:25:04 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: NYer

“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days”

—Colossians 2:16


32 posted on 10/25/2013 3:26:51 PM PDT by .45 Long Colt
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To: Texan5

Exactly. We’re raising our first steer for butchering. His name is, ‘Dinner.’ His, ‘Use By Date’ is January 8th. He has had an absolutely fantastic life when compared to steers in feed lots.

We just went in with some friends and there is 1/4 pig in my freezer that also had a wonderful life...right up until the last minute of it.

The more I know, the less I want to eat anything I, myself am not responsible for bringing into being. I know I’ll never be 100% self-suffucuent, but I’m aiming for 75%!


33 posted on 10/25/2013 3:27:43 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (I don't have 'Hobbies.' I'm developing a robust Post-Apocalyptic skill set...)
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To: NYer

“Kill and eat. And don’t call anything I made ‘unclean’.” - God

(Exact verse escapes me.)


34 posted on 10/25/2013 3:27:58 PM PDT by ctdonath2 (Making good people helpless doesn't make bad people harmless.)
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To: GeronL
Why is it astonishing when someone in an Ivory tower bestows their ludicrous idiocy unto the world?

Profoundly insightful.

35 posted on 10/25/2013 3:29:43 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("The heart of the matter is God's love. It always has been. It always will be."~Abp. Chaput)
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To: NYer
I wonder if these barking moonbats actually consider what would happen IF all Christians abstained from meat...

Can you imagine how expensive plant food would be...especially the ones which are higher in protein...

36 posted on 10/25/2013 3:30:50 PM PDT by Popman (Liberal wars are about killing people for humanitarian reasons...)
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To: Fzob

“Are we supposed to believe Jesus feed them tofu fish sticks”.

Now, that is funny! The Bible has so many references to fatted calves, lambs and other animals for sacrifice and feasts, etc-I don’t see how it says we aren’t supposed to eat the animals. I’m Catholic and I do eat fish on Friday-but I prefer meat on other days...


37 posted on 10/25/2013 3:31:26 PM PDT by Texan5 ("You've got to saddle up your boys, you've got to draw a hard line"...)
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To: ctdonath2

It’s in the Acts of the Apostles. I could look it up, but I’ll go get more wine and pretzels, instead.


38 posted on 10/25/2013 3:32:23 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("The heart of the matter is God's love. It always has been. It always will be."~Abp. Chaput)
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To: NYer

What kind of monster would prey upon plants? They are completely helpless, unable to flee their attackers. At least animals can move, flee, and fight back. But the vegan falls upon the hapless plant and savagely rips it from Gaia’s womb. They’re depraved monsters.


39 posted on 10/25/2013 3:32:25 PM PDT by Ray76 (You can't win if you don't fight. Remember the Barrycades!)
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To: NYer

Gonna go eat some nice chicken piccata. Beasties are tasty.


40 posted on 10/25/2013 3:33:22 PM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: roamer_1

lol

That is a good point


41 posted on 10/25/2013 3:36:36 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: Tax-chick

I have had a few Earth-shatteringly awesome posts today... usually they are thread killers.

:p


42 posted on 10/25/2013 3:37:56 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: Fuzz
Abel wasn’t a Christian.

How do you know?

43 posted on 10/25/2013 3:39:58 PM PDT by roamer_1 (Globalism is just socialism in a business suit.)
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To: roamer_1

How could he be?


44 posted on 10/25/2013 3:44:21 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: GeronL

That happens to me all the time. I say something brilliant, and ... crickets. Forever.

One thing I find interesting about this topic is that all the writers the author mentions are probably doctrinaire Darwinists (or they wouldn’t be respected writers). They believe God’s plan for all of life was a universal death-struggle ... and yet they believe we shouldn’t eat a fish or a chicken.

I think there’s some balance: humans may be top of the food chain in the suburbs, but put us in Alaska or Africa and we’re just a snack.


45 posted on 10/25/2013 3:45:52 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("The heart of the matter is God's love. It always has been. It always will be."~Abp. Chaput)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Same here-hope I’ll soon have enough room to have some chickens in addition to a bigger garden to sell/barter from. Some hogs these days have at least one parent that is a feral hog captured and put in with the domestic ones to breed some healthier, leaner pigs-and they are free for the trapping-they are delicious, and are likely happier hanging out than they were in the wild, but you do have to keep them penned securely. There are so many feral hogs-mean and dangerous when mad, and destructive to gardens and crops-capture and breed seems a good, cheap solution.


46 posted on 10/25/2013 3:47:05 PM PDT by Texan5 ("You've got to saddle up your boys, you've got to draw a hard line"...)
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To: NYer; All
God did not say we could eat the animals.

The following critique is directed at the article NYer, not you.

Yes, God had originally limited man's diet to green plants.

However, after the flood, God told Noah, evidenced by Genesis 9:3-4, that he could now eat everything (the word used in KJV), including meat, just not meat with blood still in it.

Also, Mosaic Law later reintroduced some food restrictions. But also note that food restrictions in NT times are up to the convictions of the beliver as evidenced by Romans 14:6 and 1 Corinthians 10:25-27.

47 posted on 10/25/2013 3:48:50 PM PDT by Amendment10
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To: Tax-chick

bump


48 posted on 10/25/2013 3:53:02 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: NYer
In a word, no. Biblically, no.

Shove off, apostates.

49 posted on 10/25/2013 3:54:19 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (You hear it here first.)
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To: NYer

A friend’s reply to this is: I am a vegetarian, this body that I occupy is an omnivore, thus eats meat.


50 posted on 10/25/2013 3:54:40 PM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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