murder by numbers
- (I'm re-sending this posting, along with the two attachments
which were lost the last time around.)
There was a rumor floating around that Tipper Gore had become a
vegetarian. I don't think there's any truth to it. Back in the '90s,
there was a rumor briefly floating around that Hilary Clinton had
become a vegetarian.
Dennis Kucinich's veganism got attention in the veg*n press (e.g.,
Veg-News), but was not discussed at all by the mainstream media,
to mention that he wouldn't try to impose his morality upon everyone
else. I have a problem with this mentality, which even animal
fall prey to, from time to time. In the Animals' Agenda, several years
ago, for example, columnist Lawrence Carter-Long wrote a column asking
"Should the Vegetarian Proselytize?" To me, the answer is obvious!
Why doesn't the media mention the vegetarianism of any celebrity?
Possibly because people become vegetarian for any number of reasons.
Back in 1982-83, when Sir Richard Attenborough's biographical film
"Gandhi" was released, someone wrote in to the Los Angeles Times and
pointed out that while it was a good movie, Attenborough failed to
mention that Gandhi was a vegetarian. The letter writer said this
be like making a movie on the Pope and forgetting to mention that he's
Another letter writer wrote in, responding to this first letter, and
tried to dismiss Gandhi's vegetarianism by repeating the old myth that
Hitler was a vegetarian, too. Vegetarian historian Rynn Berry of the
North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) debunks this myth in his 2004
book, Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover. I gave a copy of
Rynn Berry's book to Dixie Mahy a couple of years ago, and she gave it
a favorable review in the SFVS newsletter. Roberta Kalechofsky of Jews
for Animal Rights wrote an article entitled "Nazis and Animals:
Debunking the Myths", which appeared in a 1996 issue of the Animals'
I agree with Rynn Berry's assertion that the evidence (Scriptural,
theological, historical, etc.) that Jesus was a vegetarian is
circumstancial at best, but nonetheless compelling. I discussed this
point with Dixie some time ago. If Jesus really was a vegetarian, the
ancient world would have taken notice: just like they did with
Pythagoras. (The chapter on Pythagorean vegetarianism, from my book
They Shall Not Hurt or Destroy is attached as a Word document.)
Jesus was a rabbi in the Jewish tradition, which upholds vegetarianism
as a moral ideal. (The chapter on Jewish vegetarianism, from my book
They Shall Not Hurt or Destroy is also attached as a Word document.)
There is nothing in the synoptic gospels of Jesus to suggest a
fundamental break with Judaism. Jesus was called Rabbi, meaning Master
or Teacher, 42 times in the gospels. The ministry of Jesus was a
rabbinic one. Jesus related Scripture and God's laws to everyday life,
teaching by personal example. He engaged in healing and acts of mercy.
He told stories or parables--a rabbinic method of teaching. He went to
the synagogue (Matthew 12:9), taught in the synagogues (Matthew 4:23,
13:54; Mark 1:39), expressed concern for Jairus, "one of the rulers of
the synagogue" (Mark 5:36), and it "was his custom" to go to the
synagogue on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16).
Jesus blessed the meek, repeating Psalm 37:11, saying they would
inherit the earth. Here, Jesus refers to Isaiah's vision (11:6-9) of
the future Kingdom of Peace, where the earth is restored to a
vegetarian paradise (Genesis 1:29-31). Jesus taught his followers to
pray for the coming of this Kingdom, in what is now known as "the
Lord's Prayer". Jesus said he did not come to abolish the Law and the
prophets, instead he insisted upon the moral standards given by God at
the beginning (Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 12:24-28)
Jesus repeatedly upheld Mosaic Law: Matthew 5:17-19; Mark 10:17-22;
Luke 16:17. He justified his healing on the Sabbath by referring to
commandments calling for the humane treatment of animals as well as
their rest on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-16, 14:1-5). He recalled a
legend about Moses' compassion as a shepherd for his flock (Matthew
18:11-13; Luke 15:3-7,10) Jesus taught that God desires mercy and not
sacrifice (Matthew 9:10-13, 12:6-7; Mark 2:15-17; Luke 5:29-32), and
opposed the buying and selling of animals for sacrifice (Matthew
21:12-14; Mark 11:15; John 2:14-15). I agree with secular scholar
Akers (author, The Lost Religion of Jesus) that Jesus did not come to
abolish the Law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17-19; Mark 10:17-22; Luke
16:17), but only the institution of animal sacrifice, and that the
gentile world (beginning with the apostle Paul) mistook this for a
rejection of the entire Mosaic framework.
It was Paul, then, and not Jesus, who broke from Judaism, and created
a separate religion. Bertrand Russell refers to Paul as the "inventor
of Christianity." Again, I agree with vegetarian historian Rynn Berry
of the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) that the evidence
(Scriptural, theological, historical, etc.) that Jesus was a
is circumstancial at best, but nonetheless compelling.
Enjoy reading the attachments!
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