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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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To: trisham
How could he be?

*shrugs*

YHWH is spirit - No man has seen YHWH, right?

Who walked with Adam and Eve in the garden then? Who clothed them in the skins of animals? Who was Abraham's Friend? Who walked between the halves? Who was it that was with the two angels when they took a break in Abraham's tents on the way to determine the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah? Who was Melchizedek?

51 posted on 10/25/2013 3:56:40 PM PDT by roamer_1 (Globalism is just socialism in a business suit.)
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To: NYer
This kind of idiocy is hard to believe, but is widespread today because it tickles the ears of proud fools who believe themselves to be wise, and declare that God's Truth must conform to their own fleeting whims -- instead of the other way around.

Ignorance of Scripture is a recipe for disaster that any fool can cook. Priests and scholars come and go, some good and some bad but all with feet of clay, and people who fail to study the Bible will follow them wherever they lead. There is little Biblical discernment today, and plenty of ignorant human sheep being led to slaughter.

"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever." -Isaiah 40:8

52 posted on 10/25/2013 3:57:44 PM PDT by Always A Marine
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To: Ray76

How about bacterians eating scum all day?


53 posted on 10/25/2013 3:59:06 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: NYer

How about eggs?


54 posted on 10/25/2013 3:59:33 PM PDT by imardmd1 (Fiat Lux)
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To: NYer

Umm....Jesus ate fish and lamb.


55 posted on 10/25/2013 3:59:34 PM PDT by AppyPappy (Obama: What did I not know and when did I not know it?)
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To: Texan5

Sound like a great solution! :)


56 posted on 10/25/2013 4:03:38 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
Must Christians Be Vegetarians?

"Professor" Charles Camosy of Fordham University
is incredibly ignorant of the WORD of Elohim.

In addition the headline & book title speak of Christians
and the text speaks of Catholics. How arrogant !

Shabbat Shalom !

shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
57 posted on 10/25/2013 4:04:55 PM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your teaching is my delight.)
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To: NYer

Is this the group leading this interpretation?

58 posted on 10/25/2013 4:09:33 PM PDT by TigersEye (Stupid is a Progressive disease.)
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To: onedoug

UH! The Bacterians! How could I have forgotten them?!


59 posted on 10/25/2013 4:10:37 PM PDT by Ray76 (You can't win if you don't fight. Remember the Barrycades!)
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To: roamer_1

How could someone who lived and died before Christ be a Christian?


60 posted on 10/25/2013 4:13:59 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: UriĀ’el-2012

Exactly. But let the Catholic Church decree no meat on Fridays, fish only, and watch the “faithful” line up. No questioning the reasoning, they march lock-step to defend and follow the leader to the fish market. In their minds this makes perfect sense. Go follow...


61 posted on 10/25/2013 4:16:38 PM PDT by smvoice (HELP! I'm trapped inside this body and I can't get out!)
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To: trisham
How could someone who lived and died before Christ be a Christian?

Who has lived before Yeshua?

62 posted on 10/25/2013 4:17:34 PM PDT by roamer_1 (Globalism is just socialism in a business suit.)
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To: NYer

We already have more than enough S**theads in the Catholic Church, many of whom are Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals. We don’t need any more, especially this idiot ranting about God not meaning for humans to eat animals. I suppose that includes fish, in which case most of the Apostles were committing the sin of fishing nearly every day.


63 posted on 10/25/2013 4:17:53 PM PDT by CdMGuy
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To: NYer

I think there is a strict Biblical invocation against eating dinosaur meat.


64 posted on 10/25/2013 4:22:54 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Welfare is the new euphemism for Eugenics.)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

If you’re not going to eat crocodiles, you probably wouldn’t eat dinosaurs, either.


65 posted on 10/25/2013 4:25:50 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
" In fact, Camosy says he became a vegetarian in order to be more “authentically pro-life.”"

What? Like that famous pro-life vegetarian Hitler?

66 posted on 10/25/2013 4:39:52 PM PDT by Flag_This (Liberalism: Kills countries dead.)
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To: NYer

Vegetarians are cool. All I eat are vegatarians, except for the occasional Mountain lion steak—Ted Nugent


67 posted on 10/25/2013 4:40:21 PM PDT by cyclotic (Hey BSA-I'm gone. Walk Worthy-traillifeusa.com)
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To: roamer_1

I have a basic understanding of linear time.


68 posted on 10/25/2013 4:58:36 PM PDT by Fuzz
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To: Fuzz

lol


69 posted on 10/25/2013 5:00:31 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: NYer

Heck no!


70 posted on 10/25/2013 5:05:41 PM PDT by bboop (does not suffer fools gladly)
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To: NYer

“Most of us would be unequipped to argue with them on many topics including this one.”

Speak for yourself dude. I’m an Irish-American from NYC, I’m 100% equipped to argue with anybody at anytime on any subject.

A pig is not a dog is not a boy. I made that comment over at NRO on one of the pieces on this subject, they took it down.

I find the idea that there is any equivalence between animal and human life to be highly offensive.

You can be pro-animal, you can be a vegetarian (although I think veganism is unhealthy and bizarre) but to equate this with opposition to abortion and euthanasia is to concede something that should never be conceded. I’d think such smart people would understand that.

And quite frankly I don’t think the Sandra Flukes of the world will listen to us even if we eat nothing but beans and rice for the rest of our days.


71 posted on 10/25/2013 5:36:30 PM PDT by jocon307
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To: SampleMan

You are right.


72 posted on 10/25/2013 6:02:52 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer
Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
Genesis 9:3
73 posted on 10/25/2013 6:50:34 PM PDT by Old Yeller (Obama: A dark spot in this country's history.)
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To: jocon307
I find the idea that there is any equivalence between animal and human life to be highly offensive.

Agreed. I am sick to death of people acting like critters are fuzzy humans.

74 posted on 10/25/2013 6:55:46 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: sitetest
Gonna go eat some nice chicken piccata

Interesting. Got a recipe?

75 posted on 10/25/2013 7:01:21 PM PDT by Rio (Proud resident of the State of Jefferson)
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To: dfwgator

What kind of “herbs” are we talking here?


Green herbs.


76 posted on 10/25/2013 7:07:21 PM PDT by Rides_A_Red_Horse (Why do you need a fire extinguisher when you can call the fire department?)
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To: Always A Marine

This kind of idiocy is hard to believe, but is widespread today because it tickles the ears of proud fools who believe themselves to be wise, and declare that God’s Truth must conform to their own fleeting whims — instead of the other way around.


Liberals want to make their “god” in their own image. It’s easier than turning to the One True God, repenting and letting the “Potter” shape the clay.


77 posted on 10/25/2013 7:12:59 PM PDT by Rides_A_Red_Horse (Why do you need a fire extinguisher when you can call the fire department?)
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To: NYer

The world was not created with death of creatures possessing the breath of life, that came with the fall of man. Eating meat was not permitted until the aftermath of the flood, however. The author is correct to an extent about early Creation but ignores everything else to the contrary that comes after the Biblical passages that support a vegetarian diet. We are permitted to eat meat. We are to be good shepherds of the creatures in our care. The wise man is merciful to his beast, but the tenderest mercies of the wicked are cruel. Be vegetarian if you want, there’s nothing innthe Bible contrary to doing so. But, make no mistake, eating meat is not condemned.


78 posted on 10/25/2013 7:18:02 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: NYer

Every Rainbow should remind us to go out and have sex with our spouse (within the sanctity of marriage), have a steak dinner, and condemn a homosexual to death.

At least those were provide by God in His rainbow He provided man.


79 posted on 10/25/2013 7:21:10 PM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: Flag_This

What? Like that famous pro-life vegetarian Hitler?


Somone asked me how I can claim to be pro life while eating dead animals.

I explained that when you stick a fork in a live animal they tend to run away.


80 posted on 10/25/2013 7:37:01 PM PDT by Rides_A_Red_Horse (Why do you need a fire extinguisher when you can call the fire department?)
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To: NYer
The "Seventh-day Adventist" Christian denomination strongly advocates vegetarianism, but I don't think that all Seventh-day Adventists practice that teaching.

(It was a teaching set up by their founding "prophetess", Ellen G. White.)

81 posted on 10/25/2013 7:42:17 PM PDT by Heart-Rest (Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Gal 6:7)
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To: NYer

There a couple of interesting words in Genesis chapter 1(KJV): Cattle & meat.

The word cattle means domesticated animals harvested for milk, meat, & skins.

In Gen. 1:29+30, why would God refer to seed & fruit as meat, if meat should not be consumed? Why not refer to it as food? Why would the word meat even exist? Substitute an inedible item for the word meat & the verses become absurd. Even a vegetarian understands the clear meaning of the word meat in these 2 verses.

In verse 30, God gives plants to creatures for food (meat). What is missing here are carnivorous creatures. Many creatures are strict carnivores. Are they somehow against God’s will for eating meat even though he created them that way?

My take is that eating meat was so normal to God, even in the beginning, that it went without saying, & the use of the word meat as a substitute for the word food proves that.


82 posted on 10/25/2013 9:42:49 PM PDT by Mister Da (The mark of a wise man is not what he knows, but what he knows he doesn't know!)
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To: Heart-Rest

I’ve been to several SDA owned food stores. You will never find a piece of meat in one, not even canned meat. Only highly processed soy imitation “meat”.


83 posted on 10/25/2013 9:46:21 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Sometimes you need 7+ more ammo. LOTS MORE.)
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To: NYer; alphadog; infool7; Heart-Rest; HoosierDammit; red irish; fastrock; NorthernCrunchyCon; ...

“Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats 19 my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.

For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.

This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum
Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?

What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?”

He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve.” [John 6: 49-71]


84 posted on 10/25/2013 9:49:38 PM PDT by narses (... unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.)
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To: NYer

God did not say we could eat the animals.


Genesis 4

3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.

4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

The fat indicates that it was butchered, makes me wonder which God and which book these guys are looking at.


85 posted on 10/26/2013 6:09:15 AM PDT by ravenwolf
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To: Texan5

I won’t eat anything that isn’t free-ranged,


I look at it much the same way but I also know that if you don,t pen a hog up nothing else will survive.

But sense we are not supposed to eat hog meat then why would we have them.


86 posted on 10/26/2013 6:22:51 AM PDT by ravenwolf
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To: ravenwolf

My friends who are Jewish do not eat pork-there is a religious prohibition against that. I am a Christian, and I’ve never heard that Christians can’t eat pork, or any other livestock.

Hogs cannot run totally loose-there has to be a fence in the equation-people ignoring/abandoning their livestock is how we got all those rampaging feral hogs in the first place.

Free ranged hogs certainly have a pen, but it is a large outdoor area with natural vegetation like grass, and they are free to run around, root, snooze in the sun, etc. They are fed drug free hog chow and kitchen leftovers-mostly vegetable scraps, resulting in healthy hogs and more lean meat-not mostly just tasteless fat.

A factory farm hog has a cruel existence in a pen the size of a large box or crate, almost always mostly indoors-they are fed antibiotics and chow laced with hormones and drugs and God knows what else to make them gain weight-mostly fat-definitely not free range, and not healthy to eat, in my opinion...


87 posted on 10/26/2013 8:36:17 AM PDT by Texan5 ("You've got to saddle up your boys, you've got to draw a hard line"...)
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To: SampleMan
Was Christ not a Christian?

Technically, no. He was a Jew. He is the rock upon which the faith is founded. And yes, the author IS a kook.

88 posted on 10/26/2013 9:45:39 AM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed & water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: NYer

1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

we know where vegetarianism originates. . .


89 posted on 10/26/2013 1:11:15 PM PDT by will of the people
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To: JimRed
Technically, no. He was a Jew.

Jesus was only Jewish on His mother's side. That said, being Jewish and Christian are not mutually exclusive.

90 posted on 10/28/2013 11:08:42 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: Texan5

Free ranged hogs certainly have a pen, but it is a large outdoor area with natural vegetation like grass, and they are free to run around, root, snooze in the sun, etc.


My folks went from one poor farm to another all the time I was a kid and I guess I don,t remember seeing a free ranged hog so I will just take your word for it.

As the eating of it is concerned I like good lean bacon but can,t stand roast and don,t like ham very much.

My only argument is that if Christians want to eat pork why don,t they just eat it? why do many Churches take the bible out of context to prove that pork has been cleansed?


91 posted on 10/28/2013 4:27:06 PM PDT by ravenwolf
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