Millions of Catholics are furious after Pope Francis said one thing

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Pope Francis is unlike any pope in modern history.

It often seems that he cares more about his far-Left agenda than he does about actual church teaching.

And millions of Catholics are furious after Pope Francis said one thing.

Pope Francis is meant to lead the Catholic Church and follow their teachings.

But on a number of issues, including gay marriage and abortion, he has taken much further Left positions than any Pope in history.

And now he is using his position to promote Left-wing proposals to combat so-called “climate change.”

In his recent Message for the World Day of prayer for the Care of Creation, which occurs every year on September 1, he called on the world to give up fossil fuels to combat “climate change.”

LifeSiteNews reports:

Pope Francis has called upon the world to give up fossil fuels, claiming that the climate is in a state of “emergency” and that this has been caused by human activity.

In his Message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, an ecumenical celebration held on September 1, the Argentine pontiff encouraged the world to adopt “simpler lifestyles” and to abandon fossil fuels.

“Now is the time to abandon our dependence on fossil fuels and move, quickly and decisively, towards forms of clean energy and a sustainable and circular economy,” he said.

James Taylor, Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy at the Heartland Institute, a conservative research and education organization, told LifeSiteNews that the Vatican “should be careful” when making theological pronouncements on certain worldly issues, like the use of fossil fuels.

The Pope is essentially mirroring talking points coming from radical socialists Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

And he is using his status as the highest-ranking member of the Catholic Church to promote their agenda.

Usually when a pope makes a comment on political issues, they stand firmly against the radical Left, which promotes policies that are antithetical to the Catholic Church.

But Pope Francis is doing the opposite, and has therefore become a hero of the Left.

Do you think Pope Francis should stay out of politics?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

149 COMMENTS

  1. Vegetarianism is at the heart of Christianity. Jesus insisted upon the moral standards given by God in the beginning (Matthew 5:31-32, 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18), and this did not go unnoticed by early church fathers such as St. Basil and St. Jerome.

    One of the greatest theologians in the early Christian church, Tertullian, or Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, was born in Carthage about AD 155-160. Cyprian, the Bishop of Carthage, called him the “Master.”

    Tertullian was one of four early church fathers who wrote extensively on the subject of vegetarianism. According to Tertullian, flesh-eating is not conducive to the highest life, it violates moral law, and it debases man in intellect and emotion.

    Responding to the apparent permissiveness of Paul, Tertullian argued: “and even if he handed over to you the keys of the slaughterhouse… in permitting you to eat all things… at least he has not made the kingdom of Heaven to consist in butchery: for, says he, eating and drinking is not the Kingdom of God.”

    Tertullian similarly scorned those who would use the gospel to justify gratifying the cravings of the flesh:

    “How unworthily, too, do you press the example of Christ as having come ‘eating and drinking’ into the service of your lusts: He who pronounced not the full but the hungry and thirsty ‘blessed,’ who professed His work to be the completion of His Father’s will, was wont to abstain — instructing them to labor for that ‘meat’ which lasts to eternal life, and enjoining in their common prayers petition not for gross food but for bread only.”

    Tertullian made his case for moderate eating by referring to the history of the Israelites (Numbers 11:4-34): “And if there be ‘One’ who prefers the works of justice, not however, without sacrifice—that is to say, a spirit exercised by abstinence — it is surely that God to whom neither a gluttonous people nor priest was acceptable — monuments of whose concupiscence remain to this day, where lies buried a people greedy and clamorous for flesh-meats, gorging quails even to the point of inducing jaundice.

    “It was divinely proclaimed,” insisted Tertullian, “’Wine and strong liquor shall you not drink, you and your sons after you.’ Now this prohibition of drink is essentially connected with the vegetable diet. Thus, where abstinence from wine is required by the Deity, or is vowed by man, there, too, may be understood suppression of gross feeding, for as is the eating, so is the drinking.

    “It is not consistent with truth that a man should sacrifice half of his stomach only to God—that he should be sober in drinking, but intemperate in eating. Your belly is your God, your liver is your temple, your paunch is your altar, the cook is your priest, and the fat steam is your Holy Spirit; the seasonings and the sauces are your chrisms, and your belchings are your prophesizing…”

    Tertullian sarcastically compared gluttons to Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for a meal. “I ever recognize Esau, the hunter, as a man of taste and as his were, so are your whole skill and interest given to hunting and trapping… It is in the cooking pots that your love is inflamed—it is in the kitchen that your faith grows fervid — it is in the flesh dishes that all your hopes lie hid… Consistently do you men of the flesh reject the things of the Spirit. But if your prophets are complacent towards such persons, they are not my prophets…Let us openly and boldly vindicate our teaching.

    “We are sure that they who are in the flesh cannot please God…a grossly-feeding Christian is akin to lions and wolves rather than God. Our Lord Jesus called Himself Truth and not habit.”

    In general, Tertullian railed against gluttony, and taught that spiritual life consists of simple living. He explained, “if man could not follow even a simple taboo against eating one fruit, how could he be expected to restrain himself from more demanding restrictions? Instead, after the Flood, man was given the regulation against blood; further details were length to his own strength of will.”

    According to Tertullian, the entire creation prays to God:

    “Cattle and wild beasts pray, and bend their knees, and in coming forth from their stalls and lairs look up to heaven. Moreover the birds taking flight lift themselves up to heaven and instead of hands, spread out the cross of their wings, while saying something which may be supposed to be a prayer.”

    In his commentary on the Book of Daniel, Hippolytus (AD 200) depicted the Biblical hero and his three companions as pious ascetics. Referring to the passage in Scripture which states that these four men did not wish to defile themselves with the king’s meat, Hippolytus equated the purity of their vegetarian diet with the purity of their thoughts:

    “These, though captives in a strange land, were not seduced by delicate meats, nor were they slaves to the pleasures of wine, nor were they caught by the bait of princely glory. But they kept their mouth holy and pure, that pure speech might proceed from pure mouths, and praise with such (mouths) the Heavenly Father.”

    Clement of Alexandria (AD 150-220), or Titus Flavius Clemens, founded the Alexandrian school of Christian Theology and succeeded Pantaenus in AD 190. In his writings, he referred to vegetarian philosophers Pythagoras, Plato, and even Socrates as divinely inspired. But the true teachings, he insisted, are to be found in the Hebrew prophets and in the person of Jesus Christ.

    Clement taught that a life of virtue is one of simplicity, and that the apostle Matthew was a vegetarian. According to Clement, eating flesh and drinking wine “is rather characteristic to a beast and the fumes rising from them, being dense, darken the soul… Destroy not the work of God for the sake of food. Whether ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God, aiming after true frugality. For it is lawful for me to partake of all things, yet all things are not expedient…neither is the regimen of a Christian formed by indulgence… man is not by nature a gravy eater, but a bread eater.

    “Those who use the most frugal fare are the strongest, the healthiest and the noblest…We must guard against those sorts of food which persuade us to eat when we are not hungry,” warned Clement, “bewitching the appetite…is there not within a temperate simplicity, a wholesome variety of eatables — vegetables, roots, olives, herbs, fruits…?

    “But those who bend around inflammatory tables, nourishing their own diseases, are ruled by a most licentious disease which I shall venture to call the demon of the belly: the worst and most vile of demons. It is far better to be happy than to have a devil dwelling in us, for happiness is found only in the practice of virtue. Accordingly the apostle Matthew lived upon seeds, fruits, grains and nuts and vegetables, without the use of flesh.”

    Clement acknowledged the moral and spiritual advantages of the vegetarian way of life:

    “If any righteous man does not burden his soul by the eating of flesh, he has the advantage of a rational motive… The very ancient altar of Delos was celebrated for its purity, to which alone, as being undefiled by slaughter and death, they say that Pythagoras would permit approach.

    “And they will not believe us when we say that the righteous soul is the truly sacred altar? But I believe that sacrifices were invented by men to be a pretext for eating flesh.”

    St. Basil (AD 320-79) taught, “The steam of meat darkens the light of the spirit. One can hardly have virtue if one enjoys meat meals and feasts… In the earthly paradise, there was no wine, no one sacrificed animals, and no one ate meat. Wine was only invented after the Deluge…

    “With simple living, well being increases in the household, animals are in safety, there is no shedding of blood, nor putting animals to death. The knife of the cook is needless, for the table is spread only with the fruits that nature gives, and with them they are content.”

    St. Basil prayed for universal brotherhood, and an end to human brutality against animals:

    “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness
    Thereof. Oh, God, enlarge within us the
    Sense of fellowship with all living
    Things, our brothers the animals to
    Whom Thou gavest the earth as
    Their home in common with us

    “We remember with shame that
    In the past we have exercised the
    High dominion of man and ruthless
    Cruelty so that the voice of the earth
    Which should have gone up to Thee in
    Song, has been a groan of travail.

    “May we realize that they live not
    For us alone but for themselves and
    For Thee and that they love the sweetness
    Of life.”

    According to St. Gregory Nazianzen (AD 330-89):

    “The great Son is the glory of the Father
    and shone out from Him like light…
    He assumed a body
    to bring help to suffering creatures…

    “He was sacrifice and celebrant
    sacrificial priest and God Himself.
    He offered blood to God to cleanse
    the entire world.”

    “Holy people are most loving and gentle in their dealings with their fellows, and even with the lower animals: for this reason it was said that ‘A righteous man is merciful to the life of his beast,’” explained St. John Chrysostom (AD 347-407). “Surely we ought to show kindness and gentleness to animals for many reasons and chiefly because they are of the same origin as ourselves.”

    Writing about the Christian saints and ascetics, Chrysostom observed: “No streams of blood are among them; no butchering and cutting of flesh… With their repast of fruits and vegetables even angels from heaven, as they behold it, are delighted and pleased.”

    Chrysostom considered flesh-eating a cruel and unnatural habit for Christians: “We imitate the ways of wolves, the ways of leopards, or rather we are worse than these. For nature has assigned that they should be thus fed, but us God hath honored with speech and a sense of equity, yet we are worse than the wild beasts.”

    In a homily on Matthew 22:1-4, Chrysostom taught: “We the Christian leaders practice abstinence from the flesh of animals to subdue our bodies… the unnatural eating of flesh-meat is of demonical origin… the eating of flesh is polluting.” He added that “flesh-meats and wine serve as materials for sensuality, and are a source of danger, sorrow, and disease.”

    In a homily on II Corinthians 9, Chrysostom distinguished between nourishment and gluttony:

    “No one debars thee from these, nor forbids thee thy daily food. I say ‘food,’ not ‘feasting’; ‘raiment’ not ‘ornament,’… For consider, who should we say more truly feasted — he whose diet is herbs, and who is in sound health and suffered no uneasiness, or he who has the table of a Sybarite and is full of a thousand disorders?

    “Certainly the former. Therefore, let us seek nothing more than these, if we would at once live luxuriously and healthfully. And let him who can be satisfied with pulse, and can keep in good health, seek for nothing more. But let him who is weaker, and needs to be dieted with other vegetable fruits, not be debarred from them.”

    In a homily on the Epistle to Timothy, Chrysostom described the ill effects of becoming a slave to one’s bodily appetites:

    “A man who lives in selfish luxury is dead while he lives, for he lives only to his stomach. In other senses he lives not. He sees not what he ought to see; he hears not what he ought to hear; he speaks not what he ought to speak. Nor does he perform the actions of living.

    “But as he who is stretched upon a bed with his eyes closed and his eyelids fast, perceives nothing that is passing; so is it with this man, or rather not so, but worse. For the one is equally insensible to things good and evil, while the other is sensible to things evil only, but as insensible as the former to things good.

    “Thus he is dead. For nothing relating to the life to come moves or affects him. For intemperance, taking him into her own bosom as into some dark and dismal cavern full of all uncleanliness, causes him to dwell altogether in darkness, like the dead. For, when all his time is spent between feasting and drunkenness, is he not dead, and buried in darkness?

    “Who can describe the storm that comes of luxury, that assails the soul and body? For, as a sky continually clouded admits not the sunbeams to shine through, so the fumes of luxury… envelop his brain…and casting over it a thick mist, suffers not reason to exert itself.

    “If it were possible to bring the soul into view and to behold it with our bodily eyes—it would seem depressed, mournful, miserable, and wasted with leanness; for the more the body grows sleek and gross, the more lean and weakly is the soul. The more one is pampered, the more the other is hampered.”

    The orthodox, 4th century Christian Hieronymus connected vegetarianism with both the original diet given by God and the teachings of Jesus:

    “The eating of animal meat was unknown up to the big Flood, but since the Flood they have pushed the strings and stinking juices of animal meat into our mouths, just as they threw quails in front of the grumbling sensual people in the desert. Jesus Christ, who appeared when the time had been fulfilled, has again joined the end with the beginning, so that it is no longer allowed for us to eat animal meat.”

    St. Jerome (AD 340-420) wrote to a monk in Milan who had abandoned vegetarianism:

    “As to the argument that in God’s second blessing (Genesis 9:3) permission was given to eat flesh—a permission not given in the first blessing (Genesis 1:29)—let him know that just as permission to put away a wife (divorce) was, according to the words of the Saviour, not given from the beginning, but was granted to the human race by Moses because of the hardness of our hearts (Matthew 19:1-12), so also in like manner the eating of flesh was unknown until the Flood, but after the Flood, just as quails were given to the people when they murmured in the desert, so have sinews and the offensiveness been given to our teeth.

    “The Apostle, writing to the Ephesians, teaches us that God had purposed that in the fullness of time he would restore all things, and would draw to their beginning, even to Christ Jesus, all things that are in heaven or that are on earth. Whence also, the Saviour Himself in the Apocalypse of John says, ‘I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.’ From the beginning of human nature, we neither fed upon flesh nor did we put away our wives, nor were our foreskins taken away from us for a sign. We kept on this course until we arrived at the Flood.

    “But after the Flood, together with the giving of the Law, which no man could fulfill, the eating of flesh was brought in, and the putting away of wives was conceded to hardness of heart… But now that Christ has come in the end of time, and has turned back Omega to Alpha… neither is it permitted to us to put away our wives, nor are we circumcised, nor do we eat flesh.”

    St. Jerome was responsible for the Vulgate, or Latin version of the Bible, still in use today. He felt a vegetarian diet was best for those devoted to the pursuit of wisdom. He once wrote that he was not a follower of Pythagoras or Empodocles “who do not eat any living creature,” but concluded, “And so I too say to you: if you wish to be perfect, it is good not to drink wine and eat flesh.”

    From history, too, we learn that the earliest Christians were vegetarians as well as pacifists. For example, Clemens Prudentius, the first Christian hymn writer, in one of his hymns exhorts his fellow Christians not to pollute their hands and hearts by the slaughter of innocent cows and sheep, and points to the variety of nourishing and pleasant foods obtainable without blood-shedding.

    It’s possible historically that Christianity, like Buddhism, began as a pacifist and vegetarian religion, but was corrupted over the centuries, beginning, perhaps, with the apostle Paul. Secular scholar Keith Akers writes in his as of yet unpublished manuscript, Broken Thread, The Fate of the Jewish Followers of Jesus in Early Christianity:

    “The ‘orthodox’ response to vegetarianism has been somewhat contradictory… The objection to meat consumption has been taken as evidence of heresy when Christians have been faced with outsiders; however, vegetarianism met with a kinder reception among the monastic communities… Vegetarianism does attain a certain status even in orthodox circles.

    “Indeed, a list of known vegetarians among the church leaders reads very much like a Who’s Who in the early church. Peter is described as a vegetarian in the Recognitions and Homilies. Hegesippus, quoted by Eusebius, said that James (the brother of Jesus) was a vegetarian and was raised as a vegetarian. Clement of Alexandria thought that Matthew was a vegetarian…

    “According to Eusebius, the apostles — all the apostles, and not just James — abstained from both meat and wine, thus making them vegetarians and teetotalers, just like James. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Basil, Gregory of Nanziance, John Chrysostom, and Tertullian were all probably vegetarians, based on their writings… they themselves are evidently vegetarian and can be counted on to say a few kind words about vegetarianism. On the other hand, there are practically no references to any Christians eating fish or meat before the council of Nicaea.

    “The rule of Benedict forbade eating any four-legged animals, unless one was sick. Columbanus allowed vegetables, lentil porridge, flour, and bread only, at all times, even for the sick. A fifth-century Irish rule forbids meat, fish, cheese, and butter at all times, though the sick, elderly, travel-weary, or even monks on holidays may eat cheese or butter, but no one may ever eat meat.

    “The Carthusians were especially strict about vegetarianism. The origin of their order is related by the story of St. Bruno and his companions, who on the Sunday before Lent are sitting before some meat and are debating whether they should eat meat at all.

    “During the debate, numerous examples of vegetarians among their monastic predecessors are mentioned–the Desert Fathers, Paul (the Hermit), Antony, Hilarion, Macharius, and Arsenius, are all cited as vegetarian examples. After much discussion, they fall asleep — and remain asleep for 45 days, waking up when Archbishop Hugh shows up on Wednesday of Holy Week! When they wake up, the meat miraculously turns to ashes, and they fall on their knees and determine never to eat meat again.

    “It is true that the church rejected the requirement for vegetarianism, following the dicta of Paul. However, it is interesting under these circumstances that there are so many vegetarians. In fact, outside of the references to Jesus eating fish in the New Testament, there are hardly any references to any early Christians eating meat.

    “Thus vegetarianism was practiced by the apostles, by James the brother of Jesus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Basil, Gregory of Nanziance, John Chrysostom, Tertullian, Bonaventure, Arnobius, Cassian, Jerome, the Desert Fathers, Paul (the Hermit), Antony, Hilarion, Machrius, Columbanus, and Aresenius — but not by Jesus himself!

    “It is as if everyone in the early church understood the message except the messenger. This is extremely implausible. The much more likely explanation is that the original tradition was vegetarian, but that under the pressure of expediency and the popularity of Paul’s writings in the second century, the tradition was first dropped as a requirement and finally dropped even as a desideratum.”

    In her 2004 book, Vegetarian Christian Saints: Mystics, Ascetics & Monks, Jewish scholar Dr. Holly Roberts (she has a Master’s degree in Christian theology) documents the lives and teachings of over 150 canonized vegetarian saints:

    St. Anthony of Egypt; St. Hilarion; St. Macarius the Elder; St. Palaemon; St. Pachomius; St. Paul the Hermit; St. Marcian; St. Macarius the Younger; St. Aphraates; St. James of Nisibis; St. Ammon; St. Julian Sabas; St. Apollo; St. John of Egypt; St. Porphyry of Gaza; St. Dorotheus the Theban; St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch; St. Sabas; St. Fugentius of Ruspe; St. Gerasimus; St. Mary of Egypt; St. Dositheus; St. Abraham Kidunaja; St. John the Silent; St. Theodore of Sykeon; St. Lups of Troyes; St. Lupicinus; St. Romanus; St. Gudelinis; St. Liphardus; St. Maurus of Glanfeuil; St. Urbicius; St. Senoch; St. Hospitius; St. Winwaloe; St. Kertigan; St. Fintan; St. Molua; St. Amatus; St. Guthlac; St. Joannicus; St. Theodore the Studite; St. Lioba; St. Euthymius the Younger; St. Luke the Younger; St. Paul of Latros; St. Antony of the Caves of Kiev; St. Theodosius Pechersky; St. Fantinus; St. Wulfstan; St. Gregory of Makar; St. Elphege; St. Theobald of Provins; St. Stephen of Grandmont; St. Henry of Coquet; St. William of Malavalle; St. Godric; St. Stephen of Obazine; St. William of Bourges; St. Humility of Florence; St. Simon Stock; St. Agnes of Montepulciano; St. Laurence Justinian; St. Herculanus of Piegaro; St. Francis of Assisi; St. Clare of Assisi; St. Aventine of Troyes; st. Felix of Cantalice; St. Joseph of Cupertino; St. Benedict; St. Bruno; St. Alberic; St. Robert of Molesme; St. Stephen Harding; St. Gilbert of Sempringham; St. Dominic; St. John of Matha; St. Albert of Jerusalem; St. Angela Merici; St. Paula; St. Genevieve; St. David; St. Leonard of Noblac; St. Kevin; St. Anskar; St. Ulrich; St. Yvo; St. Laurence O’Toole; St. Hedwig; St. Mary of Onigines; St. Elizabeth of Hungary; St. Ivo Helory; St. Philip Benizi; St. Albert of Trapani; St. Nicholas of Tolentino; St. Rita of Cascia; St. Francis of Paola; St. John Capistrano; St. John of Kanti; St. Peter of Alcantara; St. Francis Xavier; St. Philip Neri; St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi; St. Jean-Marie Vianney; St. Basil the Great; St. Jerome; St. Ephraem; St. Peter Damian; St. Bernard; St. Catherine of Siena; St. Robert Bellarmine; St. Peter Celestine; St. Olympias; St. Publius; St. Malchus; St. Asella; St. Sulpicius Severus; St. Maxentius; St. Monegundis; St. Paul Aurelian; St. Coleman of Kilmacduagh; St. Bavo; St. Amandus; St. Giles; St. Silvin; St. Benedict of Aniane; St. Aybert; St. Dominic Loricatus; St. Richard of Wyche; St. Margaret of Cortona; St. Clare of Rimini; St. Frances of Rome; St. James de la Marca; St. Michael of Giedroyc; St. Mariana of Quito; St. John de Britto; St. Callistratus; St. Marianus; St. Brendon of Clonfert; St. Kieran (Carian); St. Stephen of Mar Saba; St. Anselm; St. Martin de Porres; St. Procpius; St. Boniface of Tarsus; St. Serenus.

    In the (updated) 1986 edition of A Vegetarian Sourcebook, Keith Akers similarly observes:

    “But many others, both orthodox and heterodox, testified to the vegetarian origins of Christianity. Both Athanasius and his opponent Arius were strict vegetarians. Many early church fathers were vegetarian, including Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Heironymus, Boniface, and John Chrysostom.

    “Many of the monasteries both in ancient times and at the present day practiced vegetarianism… The requirement to be vegetarian has been diluted considerably since the earliest days, but the practice of vegetarianism was continued by many saints, monks, and laymen. Vegetarianism is at the heart of Christianity.”

    According to Father Ambrose Agius:

    “Many of the saints understood God’s creatures, and together they shared the pattern of obedience to law and praise of God that still leaves us wondering. The quickest way to understand is surely to bring our own lives as closely as possible into line with the intention of the Giver of all life, animate and inanimate.”

    The Reverend Alvin Hart, an Episcopal priest in New York, says:

    “Many Georgian saints were distinguished by their love for animals. St. John Zedazneli made friends with bears near his hermitage; St. Shio befriended a wolf; St. David of Garesja protected deer and birds from hunters, proclaiming, ‘He whom I believe in and worship looks after and feds all these creatures, to whom He has given birth.’ Early Celtic saints, too, favored compassion for animals. Saints Wales, Cornwall and Brittany of Ireland in the 5th and 6th centuries AD went to great pains for their animal friends, healing them and praying for them as well.”

    St. Benedict, who founded the Benedictine Order in AD 529, permitted meat only in times of sickness, and made vegetarian foods the staple for his monks, teaching, “Nothing is more contrary to the Christian spirit than gluttony.” The Rule of St. Benedict itself is a composite of ascetic teachings from previous traditions, such as St. Anthony’s monasticism in Egypt, which called for abstinence from meat and wine.

    According to E. Eyre-Smith, in an article from The Ark, “Montalembert’s Monks of the West records in Vita Columbani, the Chronicler Jonas, writing within 25 years of the death of St. Columba, relates that this saint spent long periods in solitary contemplation and communion with the wild creatures of the forest, and insisted on his monks living, like himself, on the fruits of the earth, herbs and pulses. This indicates that in making rules for his followers in regard to non-meat eating, he was moved by his love and regard for the rest of God’s creation.”

    (The Ark is a bulletin published by the Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare.)

    Aegidius (c. 700) was a vegetarian who lived on herbs, water and the milk of a deer God sent to him. Boniface (672-754) wrote to Pope Zacharias that he had begun a monastery which followed the rules of strict abstinence, whose monks do not eat meat nor enjoy wine or other intoxicating drinks. St. Andrew lived on herbs, olives, oil and bread. He lived to be 105.

    St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) “was moved to feelings of compassion for animals, and he wept for them when he saw them caught in the hunter’s net.” St. Richard of Wyche, a vegetarian, was moved by the sight of animals taken to slaughter. “Poor innocent little creatures,” he observed. “If you were reasoning beings and could speak, you would curse us. For we are the cause of your death, and what have you done to deserve it?”

    Vegetarian writer Steven Rosen (Satyaraja dasa) explains:

    “…over the centuries, there has arisen two distinct schools of Christian thought. The Aristotelian-Thomistic school and the Augustinian-Franciscan school. The Aristotelian-Thomistic school has, as its fundamental basis, the premise that animals are here for our pleasure—they have no purpose of their own. We can eat them, torture them in laboratories—anything… Unfortunately, modern Christianity embraces this form of their religion.

    “The Augustinian-Franciscan school, however, teaches that we are all brothers and sisters under God’s Fatherhood. Based largely on the world view of St. Francis and being platonic in nature, this school fits in very neatly with the vegetarian perspective.”

    It is said that St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) bought two lambs from a butcher and gave them the coat on his back to keep them warm; and that he bought two fish from a fishwoman and threw them back into the water. He even paid to ransom lambs that were being taken to their death, recalling the gentle Lamb who willingly went to slaughter (Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29) to pay the ransom of sinners.

    “Be conscious, O man, of the wondrous state in which the Lord God has placed you,” instructed Francis in his Admonitions (4), “for He created and formed you to the image of His beloved Son —and (yet) all the creatures under heaven, each according to its nature, serve know, and obey their Creator better than you.” St. Francis felt a deep kinship with all creatures. He called them “brother,” and “sister,” knowing they came from the same Source as himself.

    Francis revealed his fraternal love for the animal world during Christmas time 1223: “If I ever have the opportunity to talk with the emperor,” he explained, “I’ll beg him, for the love of God and me, to enact a special law: no one is to capture or kill our sisters the larks or do them any harm. Furthermore, all mayors and lords of castles and towns are required to scatter wheat and other grain on the roads outside the walls so that our sisters the larks and other birds might have something to eat on so festive a day.

    “And on Christmas Eve, out of reverence for the Son of God, whom on that night the Virgin Mary placed in a manger between the ox and the ass, anyone having an ox or an ass is to feed it a generous portion of choice fodder. And, on Christmas Day, the rich are to give the poor the finest food in abundance.”

    Francis removed worms from a busy road and placed them on the roadside so they would not be crushed under human traffic. Once when he was sick and almost blind, mice ran over his table as he took his meals and over him while he slept. He regarded their disturbance as a “diabolical temptation,” which he met with patience and restraint, indicating his compassion towards other living creatures.

    St. Francis was once given a wild pheasant to eat, but he chose instead to keep it as a companion. On another occasion, he was given a fish, and on yet another, a waterfowl to eat, but he was moved by the natural beauty of these creatures and chose to set them free.

    “Dearly beloved!” said Francis beginning a sermon after a severe illness, “I have to confess to God and you that… I have eaten cakes made with lard.”

    The Catholic Encyclopedia comments on this incident as follows: “St. Francis’ gift of sympathy seems to have been wider even than St. Paul’s, for we find to evidence in the great Apostle of a love for nature or for animals…

    “Francis’ love of creatures was not simply the offspring of a soft sentimental disposition. It arose from that deep and abiding sense of the presence of God. To him all are from one Father and all are real kin…hence, his deep sense of personal responsibility towards fellow creatures: the loving friend of all God’s creatures.”

    Francis taught: “All things of creation are children of the Father and thus brothers of man… God wants us to help animals, if they need help. Every creature in distress has the same right to be protected.”

    According to Francis, a lack of mercy towards animals leads to a lack of mercy towards men: “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”

    One Franciscan monk, St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231), who preached throughout France and Italy, is said to have attracted a group of fish that came to hear him preach. St. James of Venice, who lived during the 13th century, bought and released the birds sold in Italy as toys for children. It is said he “pitied the little birds of the Lord… his tender charity recoiled from all cruelty, even to the most diminutive of animals.”

    St. Bonaventure was a scholar and theologian who joined the Franciscan Order in 1243. He wrote The Soul’s Journey into God and The Life of St. Francis, the latter documenting St. Francis’ miracles with animals and love for all creation. Bonaventure taught that all creatures come from God and return to Him, and that the light of God shines through His different creatures in different ways:

    “…For every creature is by its nature a kind of effigy and likeness of the eternal Wisdom. Therefore, open your eyes, alert the ears of your spirit, open your lips and apply your heart so that in all creatures you may see, hear, praise, love and worship, glorify and honor your God.”

    St. Bridget (1303?-1373) of Sweden, founder of the Brigittine Order, wrote in her Revelations:

    “Let a man fear, above all, Me his God, and so much the gentler will he become towards My creatures and animals, on whom, on account of Me, their Creator, he ought to have compassion.”

    She raised pigs, and a wild boar is even said to have left its home in the forest to become her pet.

    “The reason why God’s servants love His creatures so deeply is that they realize how deeply Christ loves them,” explained St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380). “And this is the very character of love to love what is loved by those we love.”

    “Here I saw a great unity between Christ and us…” wrote Julian of Norwich (1360-?), “for when he was in pain we were in pain, and all creatures able to suffer pain suffered with him.”

    Christian mystic, Thomas A’ Kempis (1380-1471) wrote in his devotional classic, The Imitation of Christ, that the soul desiring communion with God must be open to seeing, respecting and learning from all of God’s creatures, including the nonhumans:

    “…and if thy heart be straight with God,” he wrote, “then every creature shall be to thee a mirror of life and a book of holy doctrine, for there is no creature so little or vile, but that showeth and representeth the goodness of God.”

    St. Filippo Neri spent his entire life protecting and rescuing other living creatures. Born in Florence in 1515, he went to Rome as a young man, and tried to live as an ascetic. He sold his books, giving away the money to the poor. He worked without pay in the city hospital, tending to the sick and the poor. He gave whatever he possessed to others.

    St. Filippo loved the animals and could not bear to see them suffer. He took the mice caught in traps away from people’s homes and set them free in the fields and stables. A vegetarian, he could not endure walking past a butcher shop. “Ah,” he exclaimed. “If everyone were like me, no one would kill animals!”

    St. Martin de Porres was born in 1579 in Lima, Peru, as the child of a Spaniard and Ana Velasquez, a black washerwoman. He joined the Dominican Order at the age of 24, and later established orphanages, hospitals and other charitable institutions. On one occasion, he told his superior, “charity knows no rules!” St. Martin’s compassion extended to the lower animals, including even rats and mice. St. Martin healed and cared for stray dogs, cats, a mule, and even a vulture. He sometimes allowed the mosquitos to bite him, so that they might be fed, saying, “They, too, are God’s creatures.”

    The Trappist monks of the Catholic Church practiced vegetarianism from the founding of their Order until the Second Vatican Council in the late 1960s. According to the Trappist rules, as formulated by Armand Jean de Rance (1626-1700), “in the dining hall nothing is layed out except: pulse, roots, cabbages, or milk, but never any fish… I hope I will move you more and more rigorously, when you discover that the use of simple and rough food has its origin with the holy apostles (James, Peter, Matthew).

    “We can assure you that we have written nothing about this subject which was not believed, observed, proved good through antiquity, proved by historians and tradition, preserved and kept up to us by the holy monks.”

    Roman Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-90), wrote in 1870 that “cruelty to animals is as if a man did not love God.” On another occasion, he asked:

    “Now what is it that moves our very heart and sickens us so much at cruelty shown to poor brutes? I suppose this: first, that they have done us no harm; next, that they have no power whatever of resistance; it is the cowardice and tyranny of which they are the victims which make their sufferings so especially touching… there is something so very dreadful, so satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us and who cannot defend themselves; who are utterly in our power.”

    Cardinal Newman compared injustices against animals to the sacrifice, agony and death of Christ upon the cross:

    “Think of your feelings at cruelty practiced upon brute animals and you will gain the sort of feeling which the history of Christ’s cross and passion ought to excite within you. And let me add, this is in all cases one good use to which you may turn any… wanton and unfeeling acts shown towards the…animals; let them remind you, as a picture of Christ’s sufferings. He who is higher than the angels, deigned to humble Himself even to the state of the brute creation…”

    Another cardinal, Henry Edward Manning (1808-92), spoke out against cruelty to animals, especially experimentation upon animals. In a letter dated July 13, 1891, he wrote: “We owe ourselves the duty not to be brutal or cruel; and we owe to God the duty of treating all His creatures according to His own perfections of love and mercy.”

    Bishop Westcott wrote, “Animals are in our power in a peculiar sense; they are committed by God to our sovereignty and we owe them a considerate regard for their rights. No animal life can be treated as a THING. Willful disrespect of the sanctities of physical life in one sphere bears its fruit in other and higher spheres.”

    Cardinal Francis Bourne (1861-1934) told children in Westminster Cathedral in April 1931: “There is even in kindness to animals a special merit in remembering that this kindness is obligatory upon us because God made the animals, and is therefore their creator, and, in a measure, His Fatherhood extends to them.”

    Cardinal Arthur Hinsley (1865-1943), the former archbishop of Westminster, wrote that “the spirit of St. Francis is the Catholic spirit.” According to Cardinal Hinsley, “Cruelty to animals is the degrading attitude of paganism.”

    Reverend Jean Gautier, a doctor in canon law, a director of the Grand Seminary in Paris (St. Sulpice), and a noted French authority on Roman Catholic philosophy, wrote in his book A Priest and his Dog: “For cruelty to defenseless beings we shall one day have to answer before Him who trieth the heart and the reins. Not with impunity is the weakness of animals abused.”

    In his 1957 book, The Status of Animals in the Christian Religion, author C.W. Hume wrote that the catechism children use for their first Communion and for their confirmation in France contains the answer, “it is not permissible for me to cause suffering to animals without good reason, to hurt them unnecessarily is an act of cruelty.” British Jesuit Father John Bligh observed, “A man is not likely to be much of a Christian if he is not kind to animals.”

    A Roman Catholic priest, Msgr. LeRoy McWilliams of North Arlington, New Jersey, testified in October 1962 in favor of legislation to reduce the sufferings of laboratory animals. He told congressional representatives:

    “The first book of the Bible tell us that God created the animals and the birds, so they have the same Father as we do. God’s Fatherhood extends to our ‘lesser brethren.’ All animals belong to God; He alone is their absolute owner. In our relations with them, we must emulate the divine attributes, the highest of which is mercy. God, their Father and Creator, loves them tenderly. He lends them to us and adjures us to use them as He Himself would do.””

    Msgr. McWilliams also issued a letter to all seventeen thousand Catholic pastors in the United States, calling upon them to understand “what Christianity imposes on humans as their clear obligation to animals.”

    Reverend Basil Wrighton, the chairman of the Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare in London, wrote in a 1965 article entitled, “The Golden Age Must Return: A Catholic’s Views on Vegetarianism,” that a vegetarian diet is not only consistent with, but actually required by the tenets of Christianity. He concluded that the killing of animals for food not only violates religious tenets, but brutalizes humans to the point where violence and warfare against other humans becomes inevitable.

    In 1969, Reverend Kevin Daley, as chairman of the CSCAW in London, wrote that “the work of animal welfare” is an “essential part of the work of a Christian.”

    A strong condemnation of cruelty towards animals appeared in the March 10, 1966 issue ofL’Osserevatore della Domenica, the official Vatican weekly newspaper. Written by the respected theologian, Msgr. Ferdinando Lambruschini, it read in part:

    “Man’s conduct with regard to animals should be regulated by right reason, which prohibits the infliction of purposeless pain and suffering on them. To ill treat them, and make them suffer without reason, is an act of deplorable cruelty to be condemned from a Christian point of view. To make them suffer for one’s own pleasure is an exhibition of sadism which every moralist must denounce.”

    In his 1970 book God’s Animals Reverend Don Ambrose Agius wrote: “It is a moral obligation for every Christian to fight cruelty to animals because the consequences of cruelty are destructive to the Christian order… The Bible… tells us that cruelty to animals is wicked and that it is opposed to God’s will and intention…The duty of all Christians (is) to emulate God’s attributes, especially that of mercy, in regard to animals. To be kind to animals is to emulate the loving kindness of God.”

    In his foreword to Reverend Agius’ book, Cardinal John Heenan wrote: “Animals… have very positive rights because they are God’s creatures. If we have to speak with absolute accuracy, we must say that God has the right to have all His creatures treated with respect… Only the perverted are guilty of deliberate cruelty to animals or, indeed, to children.”

    Vladimir Lossky wrote about “Cosmic Awareness” and the teachings of St. Maximus in a 1973 religious text: The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. According to Lossky, the limitations of the creation are part of its intrinsic nature:

    “they are problems to be resolved, obstacles to be surmounted on the way towards union with God. Man is not a being isolated from the rest of creation; by his very nature, he is bound up with the whole of the universe, and St. Paul bears witness that the whole creation await the future glory which will be revealed in the sons of God (Rom. viii, 18-22). This cosmic awareness has never been absent from Eastern spirituality, and is given expression in theology as well as in liturgical poetry, in iconography and, perhaps above all, in the ascetical writings of the masters of the spiritual life of the Eastern Church…

    “In his way to union with God, man in no way leaves creatures aside, but gathers together in his love the whole cosmos disordered by sin, that it may at last be transfigured by grace.”

    Father Thomas Berry, a Catholic priest, author, and founder of the Riverdale Center of Religious Research in New York, wrote in 1987 that “vegetarianism is a way of life that we should all move toward for economic survival, physical well-being, and spiritual integrity.”

    In an editorial that appeared on Christmas Day, 1988, Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy, a prominent Catholic vegan, observed:

    “A long raised but rarely answered question is this: If it was God’s plan for Christ to be born among animals, why have most Christian theologians denied the value and rights of animals? Why no theology of the peaceable kingdom?… Animals in the stable at Bethlehem were a vision of the peaceable kingdom. Among theology’s mysteries, this ought to be the easiest to fathom.”

    Mother Teresa, honored for her work amongst the poor with the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, wrote in 1992 to Marlene Ryan, a former member of the National Alliance for Animals. Her letter reads:

    “I am praying for you that God’s blessing may be with you in all that you are doing to create concern for the animals which are often subjected to much cruelty. They, too, are created by the same loving Hand of God which created us. As we humans are gifted with intelligence which the animals lack, it is our duty to protect them and to promote their well being.

    “We also owe it to them as they serve us with such wonderful docility and loyalty. A person who shows cruelty to these creatures cannot be kind to other humans also. Let us do all we can to become instruments of peace—where we are—the true peace that comes from loving and caring and respecting each person as a child of God—my brother—my sister.”

    In an article entitled “The Primacy of Nonviolence as a Virtue,” appearing in Embracing Earth: Catholic Approaches to Ecology (1994), Brother Wayne Teasdale wrote: “One key answer to a culture’s preoccupation with violence is to teach, insist on, and *live* the value of nonviolence. It can be done successfully, and it has been done for more than 2,500 years by Jains and Buddhists.

    “Neither Jainism nor Buddhism has ever supported war or personal violence; this nonviolence extends to all sentient beings. Christianity can learn something valuable from these traditions. This teaching on nonviolence has been incarnated in the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama with significant results…”

    According to Teasdale: “…it is necessary to elevate nonviolence to a noble place in our civilization of loving-compassion because nonviolence as ahimsa in the Hindu tradition, a tradition that seems to possess the most advanced understanding of nonviolence, IS love! Love is the goal and ultimate nature of nonviolence as an inner disposition and commitment of the heart. It is the fulfillment of love and compassion in the social sphere, that is, in the normal course of relations among people in the matrix of society.”

    Brother Aelred (Chaitanya dasa), a Catholic monk and Krishna disciple living in Australia during the 1990s, discusses the moral issue of killing animals for food in his book Encounter: Christ and Krishna. He points out that Jesus Christ greatly expanded the interpretation of the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” to include not getting angry without cause.

    “My position is that Jesus’ teachings on mercy in the Beatitudes require an open-ended ethical inquiry” writes Brother Aelred. “I ask, for example, how a Christian may speak of ‘mercy’ in the terms of Jesus Christ, and deny mercy to creatures of God who, as we do, experience fear and suffering. Isn’t it the case that Jesus constantly went beyond the ‘letter of the law’ to its spirit?”

    Brother Aelred quotes the prophecies of Isaiah (11:6-9, 65:25) concerning the coming Kingdom of Peace. “The passage sees a time when pain and bloodshed will be no more; when prey and devourer will be reconciled. What a vision! Even if the passage is seen as just poetic exaggeration, it is clear that there is hope for a future which will be very different to the world we know. And surely we, as Christians, must be part of this ‘peace process.’ Perhaps our main burden, as Christians, is to be part of this message of hope and reconciliation.”

    Brother Aelred ends with the following:

    “An Anglican Franciscan superior, in Australia, tells his novices that if they wish to eat flesh they must go out and themselves kill the animal. The moral responsibility must be theirs alone. I consider this a thoroughly sound position, and any Christian reading this article might well reflect on the brother’s teaching. In conclusion, I must report a sad truth. My own Christian formation taught me many things of great value, but ‘respect for all things living’ was not part of that formation. It was other religious traditions and ‘secular’ insights which gave me teaching in this area.”

    Any Christians looking for the spiritual dimension to vegetarianism and animal rights, should read Every Creature a Word of God by Annika Spalde and Pelle Strindlund. (Vegetarian Advocates Press, Cleveland, OH, 2008)

    “This book is beautifully written and carefully argued. It would be the perfect book for a Bible study or church study group,” writes Stephen Webb, professor of Religion and Philosophy at Wabash College, and author of Good Eating and On God and Dogs: A Christian Theology of Compassion for Animals.

    The authors, Annika Spalde and Pelle Strindlund, are married antinuclear and animal activists involved in the Lutheran Church in Sweden. They write:

    “This is a book about being Christian in a world shared with other beings. We do not live here alone. We have brothers and sisters. ‘The animals,’ wrote the American monk Thomas Merton (1915-68), ‘are the children of God.’ What does a spirituality that affirms God’s love for all creatures look like? That is the central question of this book.

    “The animal rights movement is a recent development, but Christian concern for animals is not. We see it in the stories of medieval monks who helped hares and deer escape from hunters, and of desert hermits who offered water to thirsty donkeys. In these pages you will discover the rich history of animal-friendly living and theology within the Christian tradition…

    “This book is a result of years of reflection on our relationship to other species… over coffee in church halls, fellow worshippers have challenged us: Haven’t we been given animals for our use? Didn’t Jesus eat meat? Such questions have forced us to ask if and how compassion for animals can be an embodiment of the Christian faith. The book is also an answer to the question we have received from many of our friends in the peace movement: How can you focus on animals when so many humans are suffering?”

    Annika Spalde is an ordained deacon of the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) and a founding member of the Swedish Christian Vegetarian Movement. Her work for nonviolence and justice has included participation in the Trident Ploughshares campaign to abolish the British nuclear arsenal; organizing against the Swedish arms industry; serving as an Edumenical Accompanier in Israel/Palestine; working as an assistant nurse in Paraguay; and living with homeless at a Catholic Worker house in Duluth Minnesota. Pelle Strindlund holds an MA in Religious Studies and is a founding member of The Rescue Service, a Swedish animal rights organization.

    And in School of Compassion, Deborah M. Jones engages with the Catholic Church’s contemporary attitude towards animals. This is the fullest sustained study of the subject in that faith tradition. It begins by exploring the history of the Church’s ideas about animals. These were drawn largely from significant readings of Old and New Testament passages and inherited elements of classical philosophies.

    Themes emerge, such as the renewal of creation in the apocryphal legends, in the Desert Fathers, and in Celtic monasticism. The spirituality of St Francis of Assisi, the legal status of animals, and liturgies of the Eastern Catholic Churches also shed light on the Church’s thinking.

    The British Catholic tradition – which is relatively favorable to animals – is considered in some detail. The second part of the book provides a forensic examination of the four paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which relate particularly to animals. Finally, major contemporary issues are raised – stewardship, anthropocentrism, and gender – as well as key ethical theories. The book revisits some teachings of Aquinas, and explores doctrinal teachings such as that of human beings created in the ‘image of God’, and, with a nod to the Orthodox Tradition, as the ‘priests of creation’. These help form a consistent and authentically Catholic theology which can be viewed as a school of compassion towards animals.

    Deborah M Jones is general secretary of the international organization Catholic Concern for Animals and a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, with a doctorate in animal theology. She has also worked as editor of the Catholic Herald, deputy editor of Priests & People, as a writer and lecturer, and diocesan adviser for adult religious education.

    For Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action offers the reader an introduction to animal rights ethics within a Christian framework alongside directly related sanctity-of-life issues, like the rights of unborn children. The book’s foreword is written by Mary Eberstadt, senior fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, a devout Catholic who identifies herself as “Pro-Animal, Pro-Life.”

    Author Charles Camosy responds to criticisms from academicians Peter Singer and Lynn White, Jr., that the Christian misinterpretation of “human dominion” (versus compassionate stewardship) is responsible for the current ecological crisis. Camosy indicates that Christianity cannot be blamed if humans with their imperfections distort their own religious teachings, that Christianity did not give rise to the industrial revolution, and that real Christianity — as it was meant to be practiced — is at odds with market-driven ethics and mass consumerism (a point made decades ago by liberal Protestant theologian Dr. Harvey Cox).

    Camosy discusses the the moral status of animals in the Bible from Genesis to the Peaceable Kingdom in Isaiah 11:6-9, reconciling animal sacrifices and Jesus’ miracles like the multiplication of loaves and fishes with the vegetarian view, and downplaying the apostle Paul’s dim view of animals by contrasting Paul’s words on animals with those of Jesus. Camosy discusses early Christian saints and other great figures in the Christian tradition. Camosy discusses current Christian teachings on animals, including animal-friendly statements by recent Popes. Subsequent chapters discuss factory farming, eating meat, research, hunting, and pets.

    In 1992, my pro-life friends in Life Chain couldn’t understand my bringing up the issue of animal rights among pro-lifers, and trying to show that the Bible and the Christian tradition support the vegetarian way of life. They compared it to the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus in his own words, whereas I, having researched the long history of animal advocacy and vegetarianism within Christianity, saw it as reasonable and mainstream as someone from a pro-life Christian denomination discussing sanctity-of-life issues with someone from a pro-choice Christian denomination.

    Charles Camosy writes in his 2013 book: “About ten years ago I became convinced that, if I wanted to be authentically and consistently pro-life, I should give up eating meat.”

    The International Network for Religion and Animals (INRA) was founded in 1985, and since then dozens of books have been written on Christianity and animal rights. There is enough of a long history of concern for animals and vegetarianism in Christianity to provide the basis for Christians to be “Pro-Animal, Pro-Life,” but Camosy merely provides an overview of animal rights and animal ethics within Christianity.

      • I’m waiting for this bozo to and paste the telephone directory next. I wish the web site had a ban key so I wouldn’t have to put up with his garbage.

      • I read one and realized what a moron this guy is and just scroll through to the real messages. He needs to go troll somewhere else.

        To get back to the topic. Pope Francis like many popes before him is a jew. The jews infiltrated the Catholic Church many, many moons ago. It was evident when Vatican II came on the scene that jews had infiltrated. No more masses in Latin. No more teaching that jews were involved in Jesus’ murder but were instead our brothers. Pope Francis hasn’t got a Christian bone in his body.\

        https://aanirfan.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-big-secret-theyre-all-jews.html

    • Vasu mertu: Don’t know where you got your goobly gook from but it certainly wasn’t the Bible. First of all meat was prepared and eaten right after the fall of Man. God slew and prepared a lamb giving Adam and Eve it’s skin for covering and food for their bodies. The first sacrifice for their sin. Cain was an animal herder. Meat was eaten before the flood and throughout time since. Got news for you, Jesus ate meat. His mother prepared the Passover lamb every year and it was a staple in most Jewish homes. Not to mention the fish everyone ate, which Jesus broke the loaves and FISH to pass out for a meal for the crowds. Goat was a common meal as well. The Meal Jacob prepared for his father was MEAT. Sensible people KNOW our bodies NEED the nutrients and proteins only found in meats. Lack of it has always proven detrimental to our brains. The rest of that long winded b.s. just shows how zero God is known personally at all. Oh gee guess what they will be serving at the Feast of the Lamb? Meat!

    • Vasu Murti > > Your Hindu belief in Karma and reincarnation has led you into a vegan life. You fear that eating what God has approved, Acts 10, animals, fish, birds, insects etc. and are all sanctioned as food for believers.

      You fear that by eating any of these God approved items that you might be consuming your grandfather, grandmother, aunt, uncle, or friend whose souls has been reincarnated in them. The Bible tells us that people are created to die once and then be judged. Believers who accept that Jesus died on the cross as payment for the sin of those that accept Him as God, Savior, Redeemer, Lord, Pardoner, and obediently follow His teachings as inspired by the Holy Spirit will be with Him in Paradise.

      People that are false teachers, like you, and deny (do not accept) Jesus as their Redeemer, Savior, will wait in anxiety in Hell after their first death until the final judgment. At the final judgment they will be judged guilty of their unforgiven sin and suffer the second death. That is eternal punishment (pain) in the Lake of Fire.

      Your posts are recognized by many as blasphemous teaching from Lucifer, the father of liars. Your comments do help in your book sales and that appears the main reason that you continue to post them as clips from your books.

      Salvation is available to you if you repent of your sin, express remorse for your teachings, and accept the gift of eternal life with Him in Paradise that Jesus wants to give you. It is only available when you accept Him, Jesus, as Lord and Savior. Burning all of your books in your possession and telling others will seal and sign your confession that Jesus that you have accepted the blood sacrifice of the Lamb of God as the payment for your sin.

      WARNING: This man takes the teachings, stories, traditions, legends, etc of other False Prophets to support his perverted concepts..

      READ THEM AT YOUR OWN RISK.

      • Doug Wood; He has. Several in fact. He brags about them in his cut and paste journals he posts here. I don’t think anyone, other than the fellow members of his Nazi party, has read them either!

    • Um, sorry wrong venue. I can tell you put a lot of trouble in your dissertation of observatory. Why not go to a site more in line with the ‘Woke-Geist’ you worship.

      • Um, sorry wrong venue. I can tell you put a lot of trouble in your dissertation of absurdity(Sorry spell check). Why not go to a site more in line with the ‘Woke-Geist’ you worship.

    • Vasu Murti, You are ignorant of SEVERAL VERY IMPORTANT FACTS! Firstly, God gave Man TOTAL DOMINION over EVERY Creature on Earth in Genesis to use for food, clothing or whatever other need he had. Secondly, God told the Jews to sacrifice lambs to him at their temple. Thirdly, God CONDONED the eating of animal flesh by the Jews as well as fish, birds, etc. Jesus, who was God’s Son and God, ate animal and fish meat Himself, while on Earth! Fourthly, Catholics were told by Jesus in Mark 7: 14-19 that ‘anything edible is OK to eat’. Lastly, The Pope CAN ONLY MAKE CATHOLICS BELIEVE HIS RULINGS IF THEY INVOLVE FAITH, DOCTRINE OR MORALS AND DO NOT CHANGE WHAT WAS TAUGHT BY JESUS CHRIST AND THE 12 APOSTLES. CLIMATE CHANGE AND VEGETARIANISM ARE NOT WITHIN THOSE BOUNDARIES, THEREFORE WE CATHOLICS CAN IGNORE THEM! CASE CLOSED, VASU! END OF STORY!

    • Vasu Murti has uniquely created more religion than many people ever read. I give this person kudos for creativity, not much for veracity. Man evolved as omnivorous, and so we still are.

  2. Is reincarnationist thought compatible with Christianity? The first books of the Bible speak of man as a physical being, formed from the dust and then infused with a divine “breath of life.” New Testament writings, however, describe the individual as a spiritual being, clothed in an earthly body of flesh.

    The New Testament distinguishes between the carnal and the spiritual. “It is the Spirit that giveth the body life,” taught Jesus, “the flesh profit nothing.” (John 6:63)

    Paul taught Jesus had both an earthly and a spiritual nature (Romans 1:3), and referred to his own spiritual self. (Romans 1:9)

    The spirit is a prisoner to sin and the flesh in a body doomed to death. (Romans 7:18-24)

    Christians are to behave in a spiritually, rather than in a fleshly way. (Romans 8:4; 13:14; I Peter 2:11)

    The desires of the Spirit and those of the flesh are opposed to one another. (Galatians 5:13,16-17)

    Christians have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires;” they “live by the Spirit” and are “directed by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:19-26)

    To be carnally minded is to die. One must transcend one’s lower, bodily nature. (Rom. 8:5-14) Saving the spirit of an individual differs from the destruction of the person’s flesh. (I Corinthians 5:5)

    God’s kingdom is not carnal, but spiritual:

    “…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither does the perishable inherit the imperishable… For this perishable must put on imperishability and this mortal must put on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:50,53)

    The body is like a lump of clay. (Romans 9:21; II Corinthians 4:7) The body decays, but the self is renewed in spiritual life. (II Corinthians 4:16-17)

    The body is a temporary tent in which the spirit resides; the spirits of the faithful will soon be clothed in everlasting, heavenly bodies. (II Corinthians 5:1-3)

    The spirit resides inside a body of flesh. (II Corinthians 10:3) To identify with the body is to be absent from the Lord. (II Corinthians 5:8-10)

    Paul wrote of being “caught up as far as the third heaven… whether in the body or out of the body I do not know…” (II Corinthians 12:2-3)

    Being with Christ differs from remaining “in the body;” one’s self is separate from the physical body. (Philippians 1:21-24)

    Christians are to set their sights on heavenly, not earthly things, and to put to death their earthly nature. (Colossians 3:1-5)

    The flesh decays, but the word of God is eternal. (I Peter 2:23-25) To love this world is to alienate oneself from God’s love, because the passions of this world are temporary. (I John 2:15-17) This world belongs to the devil (II Corinthians 4:4); this present world is evil (Galatians 1:4).

    God rewards each individual according to his deeds. (Romans 2:6)

    One reaps what one sows. (II Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 6:7)

    Some souls remain entangled in decaying flesh, while others turn to the Spirit. “The one who sows for his own flesh will harvest ruin from his flesh; while the one who sows for the Spirit will harvest eternal life from the Spirit.” (Galatians 6:8)

    A kernel of spirit is placed in a body:

    “…God gives it a body as He plans, and to each seed its particular body. All flesh is not the same; but one kind is human, another is animal, another is fowl, and another fish.” (I Corinthians 15:38-39)

    The New Testament also distinguishes between earthly bodies and heavenly bodies:

    “There are heavenly bodies and also earthly bodies; but the radiance of the heavenly is one kind and that of the earthly is another kind.” (I Corinthians 15:40)

    Resurrection in the New Testament is not the Old Testament doctrine of the reassembling of dust into living bodies, but rather, the clothing of the spirit with a new body; the placing of a kernel of spirit into a new body, from where its existence continues.

    The New Testament emphasizes the distinction between the soul and the body, the clothing of the soul with a new body, and the eternal nature of the soul and its relationship to God versus the temporary nature of the flesh and the material world.

    These concepts can all be found in the doctrine of reincarnation.

    During the second century, Justin Martyr, in his Dialogue with Trypho, taught that the soul inhabits more than one body in its earthly sojourn.

    He even suggested that those who lead carnal lives and thus deprive themselves of the capacity to serve God may be reborn as beasts.

    The earliest Christians who taught the pre-existence of the soul came to be known as the “pre-existiani.” Clement of Alexandria wrote with interest about what he called metensomatosis.

    “…we have existed from the beginning,” wrote Clement in his Stromata, “for in the beginning was the Logos… Not for the first time does (the Logos) show pity on us in our wanderings; he pitied us from the beginning.”

    Origen (185-254), was one of the fathers of the early Christian church, and its most accomplished biblical scholar. His influence upon the early church was second only to that of Augustine.

    Origen taught that God creates spirits, and all spirits are created equal. All are endowed with free will. Some fall into sin, becoming demons, or imprisoned in bodies. This process of growth or retardation is continuous.

    A human being, at the time of death, may become an angel or a demon. Origen gave a highly allegorical interpretation of Genesis and the Fall from paradise.

    Origen held that the various orders of living creatures in the world corresponded to the varying degrees of perfection and imperfection.

    All of God’s children are created free and equal, but received their present condition “as rewards or punishments for the manner in which they used their free will.”

    Therefore, “as befits the degree of (the soul’s) fall into evil, it is clothed with the body of this or that irrational animal.”

    Writing in the third century, he explained: ”

    By some inclination toward evil, certain souls… come into bodies, first of men; then through their association with the irrational passions, after the allotted span of human life, they are changed into beasts, from which they sink to the level of…plants.

    “From this condition they rise again through the same stages and are restored to their heavenly place.”
    (De Principiis, Book III, Chapter 5)

    According to Origen, God sent forth Christ to bring about the redemption of all souls; a salvation so universal, even the demons will be saved. “The purified spirit will be brought home; it will no longer rebel; it will acquiesce in its lot.”

    Origen based his theology upon passages from Scripture. The prophet Elijah lived in the 9th century BC. Elijah never died, but was lifted up into heaven. (II Kings 2:11) In the closing lines of the Old Testament, Malachi recorded the prophecy: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Malachi 3:1, 4:5) Elijah would precede the Messiah.

    When the disciples asked Jesus about the prophecy that Elijah must precede the Messiah, Jesus replied, “Elijah will come indeed and will restore all things. But I tell you that Elijah has already come and they did not recognize him, but have done to him as they pleased.” The disciples then realized he was talking about John the Baptist. (Matthew 17:9-13)

    Jesus even told the multitudes, “It is he (John) of whom it is written, ‘Behold I send My messenger ahead of you, who will prepare the road before you’…If you will accept it, this is Elijah who was to come.” (Matthew 11:10,14; Luke 7:27)

    Many in Jesus’ day believed him to be the reincarnation of an Old Testament prophet. In Matthew 16:13-14, when Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” they replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”

    Similarly, in Luke 9:18-19, when Jesus asked, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” his disciples respond, “John the Baptist; but some say Elijah, and others that one of the old prophets has risen again.”

    Mark 16:14-16 records King Herod saying of Jesus, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these miracles are being done by him.” Others said, “He is Elijah,” while still others believed, “He is a prophet like one of the prophets of old.”

    Tertullian, one of the earliest of the Latin Fathers of the Christian Church, vehemently attacked any and all reincarnationist interpretations of Scripture. His attacks indicate the widespread influence of reincarnationist thought upon Christianity at the time.

    Tertullian took the position that the above passages do not presuppose reincarnation. Since Elijah was lifted into heaven (II Kings 2:11), he never died. His appearance as John the Baptist was not reincarnation, but a return visit. However the Gospel of Luke (1:5-25,57-80) indicates that Elijah did not return to earth as a mature man, but was miraculously reconceived and reborn as John the Baptist.

    Origen remarked that the fact that the Jews specifically asked John the Baptist if he was Elijah (John 1:21) indicated “that they believed in metensomatosis, as a doctrine inherited from their ancestors and therefore in no way in conflict with the secret teachings of their masters.”

    In the Fourth Gospel, Jesus and his disciples encounter a man who had been blind from his birth. The disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents? Why was he born blind?”

    Since reincarnation was a widespread belief during the time of Jesus, (as were beliefs in apocalypses, judgement day, heaven, hell and resurrection), one cannot help but wonder if the disciples had reincarnation in mind. For if the man had been born blind, he could not have committed the sin in his present life.

    Jesus did not reject the notion of pre-existence as a solution to the problem of evil. He merely replied that this man was afflicted so that “the works of God should be displayed in him,” and that it was their duty to practice the works of a merciful God. (John 9:4)

    On another occasion, Simon (Peter) said to Jesus, “Look, we have given up everything and have followed you…”

    Jesus replied: “I assure you, there is no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mothers or father or children or fields on account of me and the gospel, but will receive a hundred times over now in this age homes and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, along with persecutions; and in the world to come, eternal life.” (Matthew 19:27,29; Mark 10:28-31; Luke 18:28-30)

    It’s hard to imagine these rewards — including hundreds of relatives, parents and children — being fulfilled in one brief lifetime.

    “So where to now St. Peter?
    “If it’s true I’m in your hands?

    “I may not be a Christian
    “But I’ve done all one man can

    “I understand I’m on the road
    “Where all that was is gone

    “So where to now St. Peter?
    “Show me which road I’m on

    “Which road I’m on…”

    –Elton John, “Where to Now, St. Peter?” (1970)

    In the 3rd century, Chalcidius taught, “Souls who have failed to unite themselves with God, are compelled by the law of destiny to begin a new kind of life, entirely different from their former, until they repent of their sins.”

    Arnobius (A.D. 290) said, “We die many times, and often do we rise from the dead.” (Adversus Gentes)

    St. Gregory of Nyssa (257-332) taught, “It is absolutely necessary that the soul should be healed and purified, and if this does not take place during its life on earth it must be accomplished in future lives.” (Great Catechism)

    St. Jerome (340-420), wrote in Epistola ad Demetriadem, that “The doctrine of transmigration has been secretly taught from ancient times to small numbers of people, as a traditional truth which was not to be divulged.”

    In his Confessions, St. Augustine (354-430) prayed, “Say, Lord to me… say, did my infancy succeed another age of mine that died before it? Was it that which I spent within my mother’s womb?… and what before that life again, O God my joy, was I anywhere or in any body?”

    Synesius, Bishop of Ptolemais (370-430), wrote in his Treatise On Dreams:

    “Philosophy speaks of souls being prepared by a course of transmigrations… When first it comes down to earth, it (the soul) embarks on this animal spirit as on a boat, and through it is brought into contact with matter…

    “The soul which did not quickly return to the heavenly region from which it was sent down to earth had to go through many lives of ‘wandering.'”

    Although belief in reincarnation was widespread in early Christianity, orthodoxy prevailed. The doctrine of reincarnation never really caught on, in part, because of the apocalyptic mood of the early church. The Second Coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead were thought to be imminent.

    During the fourth century, Origen became an easy target for ecclesiastical authorities seeking victory in power struggles with other theological factions within the Christian church.

    Under circumstances that to this day remain shrouded in mystery, the Byzantine emperor Justinian in AD 553 banned the teachings of pre-existence from what had by then become the Roman Catholic Church. During that era, numerous Church writings were destroyed.

    The doctrine of reincarnation was forced underground, but persistently appeared in sects such as the Cathari, the Paulicians, and the Bogomils.

    The Cathari (who were also vegetarian) taught that the reason we are on earth in the first place is we are fallen souls forced to be repeatedly incarcerated in bodies, and must seek salvation from transmigrating from one body to another. The Cathari saw Christ as the means of divine redemption from the wheel of death and rebirth.

    The Cathari were a medieval heretical Christian sect believing in metaphysical dualism — a distinction between the spirit Vs the flesh… to the point of reincarnation. Albi, France, became the center of Cathari influence. Thus the sect came to be known as the Albigensians. Their sect consisted of two levels of service: the ordinary believers or “hearers” and members of the pious category, the “venerate.”

    Members of the venerate abstained from nearly all animal foods, and the hearers were strongly encouraged to adopt this abstemious diet.

    A passage from a Catharist book written in the middle of the 13th century says:

    “…you will make this commitment to God: that you will never knowingly or of your own will, eat cheese, milk, the flesh of birds, or creeping things, or of animals, as prohibited by the Church of God.”

    It appears that many Albigensians were resolute in their opposition to killing animals for food, as their vegetarianism was used by ecclesiastical authorities within the Roman Catholic Church to detect heresy. Many heretics chose death and even torture to apostasy. A group of heretics were hanged at Goslar in 1052 for their refusal to kill a chicken.

    Dr. Geddes MacGregor, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, and author of over twenty books, believes reincarnation is compatible with the Christian faith.

    According to Dr. MacGregor: “Reincarnation is, of course, a kind of resurrection. Great importance was attached by Christian theologians, however, to the notion of the resurrection of the ‘same body’ that we now have, though in a glorified form.

    “The so-called Athanasian Creed affirms that all men shall rise again with their bodies…and a council held at the Lateran… asserted that all shall rise again with their own bodies…

    “…such very Latin teaching about a carnis resurrectio does not seem to fit Paul’s teaching in the New Testament, which is that the body is to be of a new order… not otherwise recognizable as the same body as the one on earth.

    “The curious notion of the revivification of the material particles of the body does not arise in St. Paul.”

    Dr. MacGregor explains that conflicting theological and scriptural accounts of the afterlife have caused many, including regular churchgoers, not to concern themselves with such affairs.

    Many Christian theologians have discouraged “idle speculation” on the afterlife. Luther recognized the theological difficulties, while Calvin, in a commentary on I Corinthians 13:12, questioned his own doctrine of the eternality of the soul.

    According to Calvin, Paul intentionally gave no details on the subject, since details “could not help our piety.”

    Dr. MacGregor suggests, however, that just as we have ceased to take literally Archbishop Ussher’s biblical concept of a 6,000 year old universe, so also might reincarnation be consistent with a more enlightened world view.

    During the Renaissance, a new flowering of public interest in reincarnation emerged. One of the prominent figures in this revival was Italy’s leading philosopher and poet Giordano Bruno.

    Bruno had entered the Dominican Order at the age of fifteen. As a scholar, Bruno upheld the Copernican world view, that the Sun — and not the earth — is the center of our cosmos, teaching that there are an infinity of worlds and that many are inhabited.

    Galileo had announced other worlds and Giordano Bruno spoke of other life forms. Bruno believed there are no privileged reference frames for viewing the universe; the universe looks essentially the same from wherever one happens to view it. Bruno taught that at death the soul passes out of one body and enters into another.

    Because of his teachings, Bruno was ultimately brought before the Inquisition. In his profession of faith before the Inquisition, Bruno acknowledged that, speaking as a Catholic, he must say that the soul at death goes directly to heaven, hell or purgatory.

    However, Bruno insisted that as a philosopher who had given much thought to the question, he found it reasonable that since the soul is different from the body, yet is never found apart from the body, it passes from one body to another, as Pythagoras had taught 2,000 years before.

    In his final answers to the charges brought against him, Bruno defiantly responded that the soul “is not the body” and that “it may be in one body or in another, and pass from body to body.”

    Giordano Bruno was eventually burned at the stake in Rome on February 17, 1600. His teachings influenced 17th century philosophers such as Leibniz and Spinoza.

    “Has it occurred to you that transmigration is at once an explanation and a justification of the evil of the world?” wrote W. Somerset Maugham in The Razor’s Edge.

    “If the evils we suffer are the result of sins committed in our past lives, we can bear them with resignation and hope that if in this one we strive toward virtue our future lives will be less afflicted.”

    Sir William Jones, a Christian missionary who helped introduce East Indian philosophy to Europe in the 18th century, wrote:

    “I am no Hindu, but I hold the doctrine of the Hindus concerning a future state (reincarnation) to be incomparably more rational, more pious, and more likely to deter men from vice than the horrid opinions inculcated by Christians on punishment without end.”

    In his monumental book, The Story of Christian Origins, secular historian Dr. Martin A. Larson notes that according to Hindu, Buddhist, and Pythagorean doctrine, “hell itself was actually a kind of purgatory, since it was a place in which perhaps a majority of all people underwent repeated refinement and punishment,” before being reborn as a plant, animal, or human being.

    Examining the concept of eternal damnation, Dr. Geddes MacGregor concludes:

    “It is no wonder that purgatory seemed by comparison, despite its anguish, a demonstration of God’s mercy. Purgatory is indeed a far more intelligible concept, in the light of what the Bible says about the nature of God. Even the crassest forms of purgatory suggest moral and spiritual evolution.

    “Surely, too, even countless rebirths as a beggar lying in misery and filth on the streets of Calcutta would be infinitely more reconcilable to the Christian concept of God than is the traditional doctrine of everlasting torture in hell.

    “The appeal of reincarnationism to anyone nurtured on hell-fire sermons and tracts is by no means difficult to understand.”

    Archbishop Passavalli (1820-1897), a learned Roman Catholic archbishop accepted the teaching of reincarnation from two disciples of the Polish seer Towianski.

    Archbishop Passavalli admitted that reincarnation is not condemned by the Church, and that it is not in conflict with any Catholic dogma.

    Another Catholic priest who came to believe in reincarnation was Edward Dunski, whose Letters were published in 1915.

    Many other priests in Poland and Italy have believed in reincarnation, influenced by the great mystic Andrzej Towianski (1799-1878).

    In her autobiography, A Servant of the Queen, Maude Gonne wrote that when a priest asked her why she was not a Catholic, and she replied, “Because I believe in reincarnation,” she was told:

    “The soul comes from God and returns to God when purified, when all things will become clear; and who can tell the stages of its purification? It may be possible that some souls work out their purification on this earth.”

    The Reverend Alvin Hart, an Episcopal priest in New York, says, “In the Second Letter of Peter, the word exitus (‘exit’ or ‘a way out’) is used for ‘dying.’ The expression implies that something does exist which at death goes away, or ‘exits’ the body.

    “Reincarnation would explain a great many things–such as just where the soul goes after death. After all, it is unlikely that a merciful God would send a sinner to ‘hell’ after just one birth into this… world… It takes time…

    “Reincarnation was also accepted by many philosophers in the early church. To my way of thinking it is a logical explanation of what happens at the time of death. Reincarnation is an acceptable answer.”

    The doctrine of reincarnation first fell into disfavor in the early church beginning with Augustine, who wrote: “Let these Platonists stop threatening us with reincarnation as punishment for our souls. Reincarnation is ridiculous. There is no such thing as a return to this life for the punishment of souls…”

    As a result of this thinking, Western theology has been unable to resolve the ‘problem of evil.’ Why does a merciful and omnipotent God allow suffering and injustice? Why, for example, are some people born handicapped, or into poverty, while others are born into wealth and privilege?

    The reincarnationist explanation is karma: we reap what we sow. We are suffering and enjoying according to the deeds we committed in innumerable previous lifetimes, and our deeds in this present lifetime dictate our future — in 8,400,000 different species of life.

    Rabbi Harold S. Kushner caused a theological controversy back in the early 1980s, with his book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Kushner’s solution to the ‘problem of evil’ is that God is not omnipotent! There are limits to His power. God is just as outraged as we are at the injustices in the world, but there’s nothing He can do to stop them.

    Asking millions of synagogue-and-church-and-mosque going Americans to take up an Eastern religion, worship a long-haired, flute-playing, blue God, and believe in karma and reincarnation may sound crazy and radical, but we now find mainstream Americans doing something even more radical: they are becoming worshipers of God-the-not-Almighty.

    Brother Ron Pickarski, a vegan chef and Franciscan monk, said in an interview in historian Rynn Berry’s 1998 book, Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism & the World’s Religions, he believes Christianity will one day embrace reincarnation and vegetarianism.

    As for scientific proof of reincarnation: research by credible scientists into mind-body dualism suggests it is a real possibility. These include the research on near-death experiences by Dr. Michael Sabom, a cardiologist and professor at Emory University, and the past life memory research of Dr. Ian Stevenson, Carlson professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia.

    • Vegetarianism is NOT the heart of Christianity. Jesus ate meat as did His disciples. You need to stop trying to act like you know what you are talking about and leave this site. You realize your meaningless blabber isn’t even read by anybody on here. My cow just died I don’t need your bull.

      • Vasu, read Genesis (1st book of the Old Testament) where G-d tells Noah that all animals (except cloven hoofed) shall be, with edible plants, for man’s consumption. This was after the Great Flood where G-d also procaimed that the days (years) of man are to be 120. 120 year lifetime is now acknowledged by science to be the life barring disease of injury of mankind.

      • Karen K: Now that’s funny!! But seriously, every time this pest posts his” journals “here on this site, most responds to his drivel then commenting on the story. You can not reason with Vasu. You can not shame or insult him. He’s like a deranged energizer bunny that just keeps going and going!! But that is his whole intent. He’s paid by the DNC to keep distracting and harassing us.. Maybe he will experience a power failure in his area and we will have SOME peace without him showing up!!!

    • Vasu Murti, Reincarnationism is a wish by sinful man to avoid the just penalty for the sins he has committed while in the flesh. It was condemned early on by our Church as a Heresy. You mention the Cathari among other groups. They were condemned Heretics. Jesus Christ taught that Mankind is given 1 life to live on Earth, after which his body dies, his soul leaves his body and goes into eternity to stand before Jesus Christ, who is the Judge of all mankind, whether they knew of Jesus or not. There he is judged and eternal sentence is pronounced, either good or bad, depending on the state of his soul at earthly death. there is no appeal or do-over, as man had his whole life to do it the right way. This is why Jesus came to Earth. He came to show mankind the right way, which was to follow His teachings through His Catholic Church He started through His apostles with the sealing of them by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, after He paid all of mankind’s Sin-debt by dying on the cross, making it possible for us to accept His offer of Salvation through the Church and rising from the dead 3 days later to give us the opportunity for Eternal life. So, NO, There is no need for Reincarnation.

    • Vasu Murti must be vying for some type of rapture or sainthood. These diatribes are both inane and absurd. Unless Murti has gone through reincarnation or Resurrection, what claim has he on this knowledge? Murti: Babbling bubble of balderdash!

  3. Chanting the names of God is a universal religious practice.

    Dr. Harvey Cox, a liberal Protestant theologian at the Harvard Divinity School, observes:

    “Almost every religion I know of has formulae, prayers, chants or hymns, in which the repetition of sound, is used for a devotional purpose… But I think that these criticisms of chanting or repetition of prayers as somehow mentally destructive are frankly some of the most uninformed and ignorant of the criticisms I’ve come across.

    “These sorts of criticisms cannot possibly by made by people who know anything about the history of religions, unless they want to come right out and say that they’re against all religion, or all devotional practices, all prayer — which I think many of them are. At least they ought to be honest and not conceal their personal bias under allegedly scientific language.”

    Every genuine religious tradition in the world teaches that God’s names are holy and meant to be glorified. The Bible contains numerous references to glorifying God and His holy name. (Exodus 15:3; Deuteronomy 32:2-3; I Chronicles 16:8-36; Psalms 29:2, 47:1, 86:11, 91:14, 96:1-3, 97:12, 98:4-6, 113:3, 116:1-17, 146:1, 148:1-5, 13)

    The Lord and His name are praised throughout the Psalms. “I will praise the name of God with a song,” says King David. (Psalm 69:30) In other places we read: “All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord: and shall glorify Thy name.” (Psalm 86:9)

    “O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him: talk ye of all His wondrous works. Glory ye in His holy name.”

    (Psalm 105:1-4)

    “…Praise Him with the timbrel and the dance; praise Him upon the loud cymbals.”

    (Psalm 150:4-5)

    Israel Baal Shem Tov (1699-1761), the great Jewish mystic, founded Hasidism, a popular pietist movement within Judaism, in which members dance and chant in glorification of God. The Hasidism were especially influenced by verses in Psalms calling for the joyful worship of the Lord through song. (Psalms 100:1,2, 104:33)

    According to The Jewish Almanac: “In the Jewish tradition the name actually partakes of the essence of God. Thus, knowledge of the name is a vehicle to God, a conveyor of divine energy, an interface between the Infinite and the finite… It is curious that a tradition that places such a strong emphasis on the One God possesses such a large number of names for the divine. Each name, however, actually represents a different quality or aspect of God.”

    When teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus Christ glorified God’s holy name: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.” (Matthew 6:9) Jesus also approved of his disciples’ singing joyfully in praise of God. (Luke 19:36-40) Of his own name, Jesus said: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there with them.” (Matthew 18:20)

    The apostle Paul told his gentile followers to speak to one another in psalms and hymns, to sing heartily and make music to the Lord. Ephesians 5:19) He further taught them to instruct and admonish one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. (Colossians 3:16)

    Paul wrote to his gentile congregation in Rome: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) According to the historian Eusebius, there was “one common consent in chanting forth the praises of God,” in the early Christian churches.

    The Gregorian chants, popularized in the sixth century by Pope Gregory and later by works like Handel’s masterpiece the Messiah, with its resounding choruses of “hallelujah” (which means “praised be the name of God” in Hebrew), are still performed and appreciated all over the world.

    In addition to praising the Lord’s name and glories through music, song, and dance, there has also emerged the practice of meditating upon God by chanting upon beads of prayer.

    St. John Chrysostom recommended the “prayerful invocation of the name of God,” which he said should be “uninterrupted.”

    Reverend Norman Moorhouse of the Church of England writes:

    “The rosary is chiefly associated with Roman Catholics, but many members of the Church of England also use it. And there are many Russian orthodox Christians who chant the name of Jesus several hundred or thousand times every day…

    “In the Book of Psalms there are biddings to praise the name of the Lord and to sing…I remember that during the Second World War, I was in Greece for Easter, and it was a wonderful thing to hear all the people chanting and singing ‘Christos anesethe’—Christ is risen.”

    The repetition of the Jesus prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me”) became a regular practice among members of the Eastern Church. In The Way of a Pilgrim, a Russian monk describes this form of meditation:

    “The continuous interior prayer of Jesus is a constant, uninterrupted calling upon the divine name of Jesus with the lips, in the spirit, in the heart… One who accustoms himself to this appeal experiences… so deep a consolation and so great a need to offer the prayer always, that he can no longer live without it.”

    “Perhaps you’ve heard about Hesychasm, a technique of mantra meditation that was employed by Christians as far back as the third century after Christ,” says the Reverend Alvin Hart, an Episcopal priest in New York. “The method was the simple chanting of ‘the Jesus prayer,’ which runs like this: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me.’ I personally have found great comfort in this mantra.”

    According to Reverend Hart, “Although it was recently popularized by the New Age movement…’the Jesus Prayer’ has a long and venerable tradition in the Philokalia, an important book on Christian mysticism. The word Philokalia literally means ‘the love of spiritual beauty,’ and I can say that the book definitely brings its readers to that level of appreciation…

    “The Philokalia also emphasizes the importance of accepting a spiritual master. The Greek words used are starets and geront, but they basically mean the same thing. The result of chanting under a proper master is theosis, or the ‘respiritualization of the personality.’”

    Reverend Hart says, “When we call on God — and we should learn how to do this at every moment, even in the midst of our day-to-day work — we should be conscious of Him, and then our prayer will have deeper effects, deeper meaning. This, I know, is the basic idea of Krishna Consciousness. In the Christian tradition, too, we are told to ALWAYS pray ceaselessly. This is a biblical command. (I Thessalonians 5:17)

    “In a sense, this could also be considered the heart of the Christian process as well. For instance, in the Latin Mass, before the Gospel is read, there is a prayer spoken by the priest: dominus sit in corde meo et in labiis meis, which means, ‘May the Lord be in my heart and on my lips.’ What better way is there to have God on one’s lips than by chanting the holy name? Therefore, the Psalms tell us that from ‘the rising of the sun to its setting’ the Lord’s name is to be praised. And Paul echoes this idea by telling us that ‘whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’ (Romans 10:13)”

    Dr. Klaus Klostermaier notes that meditation and prayer are “important in the Christian tradition, at least for certain sects and monastic orders… In the Philokalia and in the path recommended by The Pilgrim, you find the…’Jesus Prayer,’ which may be unknown to most Christians today, but was very powerful in its time.

    “So people are aware of the potency of ‘the name’ and the importance of focusing on it as a mantra… But it must be done with devotion… The idea of logos, or ‘the Word,’ has elaborate theological meaning that is intimately tied to the nature of Jesus and, indeed, to the nature of God.”

    “All the basic principles of bhakti yoga are richly exemplified in Christianity,” writes Dr. Houston Smith in The Religions of Man. Dr. Smith is a Professor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His 1958 book is used as a standard text in major universities. Dr. Smith explains the fundamental principle of bhakti or devotion:

    “All we have to do in this yoga is to love God dearly — not just say we love Him but love Him in fact, love Him only (loving other things because of Him), and love Him for no ulterior reason (even from the desire for liberation) but for love’s sake alone…

    “…every strengthening of our affections toward God will weaken the world’s grip. The saint may, indeed will, love the world far more than the addict, but he will love it in a very different way, seeing in it the reflected glory of the God he adores.

    “How is this love of God to be developed?” asks Dr. Smith. “Japa is the practice of repeating the names of God. It finds a close Christian parallel in one of the classics of Russian Orthodoxy, The Way of a Pilgrim. This book is the story of an unnamed peasant whose first concern is to fulfill the biblical injunction to ‘Pray without ceasing.’

    “He wanders through Russia and Siberia with a knapsack of dried bread for food and the charity of men for shelter, consulting many authorities only to come away empty-hearted until… he meets a holy man who teaches him ‘a constant, uninterrupted calling upon the divine Name of Jesus with the lips, in the spirit, in the heart… at all times, in all places, even during sleep.’

    “The peasant’s teacher trains him until he can repeat the name of Jesus more than 12,000 times a day without strain. ‘This frequent service of the lips imperceptibly becomes a genuine appeal of the heart.’ The prayer becomes a constant warming presence within him… a ‘bubbling joy.’ ‘Keep the name of the Lord spinning in the midst of all your activities’ is the Hindu statement of the same point.”

    In Islam, the names of God are held sacred and meditated upon. According to tradition, there are ninety-nine names of Allah, found inscribed upon monuments such as the Taj Mahal and on the walls of mosques. These names are chanted on an Islamic rosary, which consists of three sets of thirty-three beads.

    The Sanskrit literatures of ancient India are diverse and cover a vast body of knowledge. The one hundred eight principle Upanishads tend to focus primarily on spiritual wisdom, while the eighteen Puranas contain historical narrations from the distant past, when humans were pious, civilizations were more enlightened and the miraculous was ordinary. The Kali-santarana Upanishad emphasizes chanting:

    “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
    Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
    Hare Rama, Hare Rama
    Rama Rama, Hare Hare”

    to counteract the ill effects of this present age of spiritual darkness, while the Brihan-naradiya Purana emphatically states thrice that there is no alternative for spiritual deliverance in this age other than chanting God’s holy names. Traditionally, the Lord is glorified congregationally, with drums, cymbals and dance, or He may be praised individually, in silent prayer, upon rosary beads.

    Dr. Guy Beck’s PhD thesis, Sonic Theology: Hinduism and the Soteriological Function of Sacred Sound examines the doctrine that the Word or divine sound can have a “salvific” effect. Examining the Vaishnava (worshippers of Lord Vishnu, or Krishna) practice of chanting God’s names upon beads of prayer, he observes: “…a work from the sixth century AD, entitled the Jayakhya-Samhita, contains… many early references to the practice of japa or silent prayer.

    “It says that there are three considerations in doing japa repetitions — employing the rosary (the akshamala), saying the words aloud (vachika) or repeating them in a low voice (upamshu). There are quite a few details in this text, garnered from early sources, and so a case can be made for a pre-Islamic, and even pre-Christian, use of beads or rosary in the Vaishnava tradition.”

    Because the Roman Catholics did not begin using rosary or japa beads until the era of St. Dominic, or the 12th century, Dr. Beck concludes, “the Vaishnavas were chanting japa from very early on.”

    Father Robert Stephens, a Catholic priest in Australia, considers Krishna “one of the many names of God.” He writes that he is “saddened at the narrowness and arrogance of many Christian fundamentalists;” “those who claim a monopoly on all truth or goodness;” “those who desperately cling only to external forms under the pretense of faith in God,” and “those who have turned their Sacred scriptures into mere weaponry against those who differ from themselves.”

    According to Father Stephens, we who engage in interreligious discussion “have firm support from the Catholic Church, especially the Second Vatican Council, and from such official bodies as the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Dialogue Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.”

    Father Stephens observes that “Because spiritual riches belong to all, dialogue and sharing are not an optional extra in a pluralistic society. We cannot live in a fortress of one-eyed people.” Father Gerald O’Collins SJ, similarly, is of the opinion that the Bible does not necessarily provide authoritative answers to new questions which arise in the life of the Church, and that the Bible is not that kind of “norm for every problem and every situation.”

    Father Bede Griffiths says of Bhagavad-gita, “For a Christian, this is a wonderful confirmation of God’s love contained in the Gospel.” Meister Eckhart wrote: “When we say God is ‘eternal,’ we mean God is eternally young.” This is Krishna Consciousness. God is an eternal youth.

    Matthew Fox’s statement that “God and God’s Son are ultimately attractive and alluring because of their beauty” is also consistent with Vaishnavaism. The name “Krishna” means “the all attractive one.”

    Dr. Harvey Cox, a liberal Protestant theologian at the Harvard Divinity School, favorably compares Krishna Consciousness with Christianity:

    “You can see the obvious similarities. Here you have the idea of a personal God who becomes incarnate… revealing what God is about and eliciting a form of participation in the life of God.

    “I think a Christian will have some natural sensitivity to Krishna devotion… devotion of the heart, that is, pietistic Christianity… We noted several surprising similarities between what you might call Appalachian folk religion and Krishna Consciousness. Both religions put a big emphasis on joy, the spiritual joy of praising God…

    “…both traditions emphasize puritanical values and practice certain forms of asceticism such as no drinking, no smoking, no non-marital sex and no gambling… Both seem to put more emphasis on a future life or another world.”

    According to Dr. Cox, “You have to remember that if you had been there at the early Methodist frontier revivals here in America… you would have seen some very ecstatic behavior… jumping up and down and singing. This sort of ecstatic religious behavior is, of course, associated with religious devotion from time immemorial in virtually every culture. We happen to be living in a culture which is very restricted, unimaginative, and narrow in this regard.”

    The Sikh religion is a blend of Hinduism and Islam. The Sikhs emphasize the name of God, calling Him “Nama,” or “the Name.” Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, prayed, “In the ambrosial hours of the morn I meditate on the grace of the true Name,” and says that he was instructed by God in a vision to “Go and repeat My Name, and cause others to do likewise.”

    Rosaries are used in Buddhism. Members of Japan’s largest Buddhist order, the Pure Land sect, practice repetition of the name of the compassionate Buddha (“namu amida butsu”). Founder, Shinran Shonin says, “The virtue of the Holy Name, the gift of him that is enlightened, is spread throughout the world.” Followers believe that through the name of Buddha a worshiper is liberated from repeated birth and death and joins the Buddha in the “Pure Land.”

    Religions all over the world teach that God’s names are holy and meant to be glorified. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s humble requests to the confused and alienated American youth of the late 1960s are especially relevant today:

    “…don’t commit suicide. Take to chanting this Hare Krishna mantra, and all real knowledge will be revealed… We are not charging anything… No. It is open for everyone. Please take it… That is our request. We are begging you — don’t spoil your life. Please take this mantra and chant it wherever you like… chant, and you’ll feel ecstasy.”

    “…and you can develop (love of God) so simply. You just hallow the name of the Lord. Jesus says, ‘hallowed be Thy name, my Father.’ And we are also hallowing the name of the Lord. We don’t even demand you say ‘Krishna.’ You can say ‘Jehovah.’ You can say ‘Yahweh.’ You can chant the names of God…”

    –Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1972

    “If one has become a lover of God, naturally he will be detached from material enjoyment. Love of God and love of the material world cannot go together. Lord Jesus Christ never advised going for economic development, for industrial development. He sacrificed everything for God. That is one test — ‘Here is a lover of God.’ Lord Jesus Christ was punished. He was ordered, ‘Stop this preaching.’ But he did not. So that is love of God. He sacrificed everything.

    “The idea is that Lord Jesus Christ and his followers must both be, at least to some extent, at that point. That is the test. So we say that you follow any religious path. Which one doesn’t matter. We want to see whether you are a lover of God. That is our propaganda…

    “But Jesus Christ never said that he is God. He said ‘son of God.’ We have no objection to chanting the holy name of Jesus Christ. We are preaching, ‘Chant the holy name of God.’ If you haven’t got any name of God, then you can chant our conception of the name of God, Krishna. But we don’t say only Krishna…

    “And it is such a simple thing. They don’t have to go to a church or temple. It doesn’t matter if they are in hell or heaven. In any condition they can chant the holy name of God… There is no charge, there is no fee, there is no loss. If there is some gain, why not try for it?…

    “So what more do you want? Therefore let us cooperate. Don’t think that it is against Christianity or that it is sectarian. Let us cooperate fully. Jointly let us preach all over the world, ‘Chant the holy names of God.’ Let us join together. That should be the real purpose of devotees of God. My students are preaching love of God. Why should others be envious of them? We don’t say that you must chant Hare Krishna. If you have a name of God, chant it.”

    —Room conversation, London, August 14, 1971

    As to Jesus’ words: “When you pray do not repeat and repeat as the pagans do,” some Bible translations appear to be attacking chanting or praying in “vain repetition.”

    Was Jesus attacking the *method* of prayer (chanting/repeating) as being pagan, or rather the *mentality* behind the prayer?

    Matthew 6:7 suggests Jesus was attacking chanting/repeating, or praying “in vain repetition” as a pagan practice.

    However, Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 6:31-32 (in the very same chapter!): “Do not, then, be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ For on all these things pagans center their interest, while your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”

    Jesus told his followers there is no need to pray to God for material blessings or even necessities. (Matthew 6:8, 31-33; Luke 12:29-30)

    The *pagans* concern themselves with these things.

    When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, he began by teaching them to hallow God’s name, and to pray to do God’s will on earth as it is in heaven — to be a servant of God. (Matthew 6:9-13)

    This is the Hare Krishna mantra, which can roughly be translated as, “O Lord, please engage me in Your service.”

    Repetition helps keep the mind focused on God, rather than on worldly distractions.

    “Haribol” (“praise Hari!”) is the Sanskrit equivalent to “Hallelujah” (which means “praised be the name of God” in Hebrew).

    George Harrison explained his putting the chanting of Hare Krishna in his 1970 hit song, “My Sweet Lord”:

    “Well, first of all, ‘Hallelujah’ is a glorious expression the Christians have, but Hare Krishna has a mystical side to it. It’s more than just glorifying God; it’s asking to become His servant…

    “Although Christ in my mind is an absolute yogi, I think many Christian teachers today are misrepresenting Christ. They’re supposed to be representing Jesus, but they’re not doing it very well. They’re letting him down very badly, and that’s a big turn off.”

    The late Reverend Janet Regina Hyland (1933 – 2007), raised Catholic, but went on to become an evangelical minister, a vegan, and author of God’s Covenant with Animals (it’s available through People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA), wrote me on July 21, 2007:

    “I also received your paper on Krishna Consciousness and Christianity (Points of Similarity). Being familiar with Christian monasticism, I always saw many similarities between the two. When Catholics say the rosary beads, they are repeating the same prayers, over and over…

    “When I was at the Assembly of God Seminary, we would attend revival meetings at local and rural churches… ecstatic behavior pretty much defined the services.”

      • The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo….Karl Marx. (Religion does nothing but polarize people and allows self-serving pundits to attain incredible power and wealth by pitting brother against brother. So does politics, political parties, and political leaders)

    • Vasu, it is very obvious that you know NOTHING AT ALL about Christianity or Jesus. .Nothing you ever say is true. You are just a mindless robot who only knows how to copy and paste. You have no brain to think for yourself. Very sad. And you did not answer my question…What is the central theme of the entire Bible?? Why did God give it to us? I am certain that you have no clue because you have never studied it. The Bible is just words that you can use to support your sick agenda.

      • Reverend Marc Wessels of the International Network for Religion and Animals (INRA) writes: “The most important teaching which Jesus shared was the need for people to love God with their whole self and to love their neighbor as they loved themselves. Jesus expanded the concept of neighbor to include those who were normally excluded, and it is therefore not too farfetched for us to consider the animals as our neighbors.

        “To think about animals as our brothers and sisters is not a new or radical idea. By extending the idea of neighbor, the love of neighbor includes love of, compassion for, and advocacy of animals. There are many historical examples of Christians who thought along those lines, besides the familiar illustration of St. Francis. An abbreviated listing of some of those individuals worthy of study and emulation includes Saint Blaise, Saint Comgall, Saint Cuthbert, Saint Gerasimus, Saint Giles, and Saint Jerome, to name but a few.”

        Catholic Concern for Animals and some progressive churches (Episcopal, Methodist, Quaker, Unitarian) have shown interest in animal rights issues. The Baha’i faith endorses vegetarianism.

        The ancient eastern reincarnationist religions Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism all predate Christianity, all oppose abortion, all teach ahimsa, or nonviolence towards humans and animals alike to the point of vegetarianism, all are vegan-friendly, and all teach that abortion and war are the karma for killing animals, and that therefore, we cannot end abortion nor bring about world peace until first we abolish the killing of animals.

        Frances Arnetta of Christians Helping Animals and People endorses vegetarianism as “God’s best for good health, the environment, to feed the hungry.” She writes: “When we Christians are compassionate to animals, we are imitating our Heavenly Father. If non-Christian people are leading the way in respect for the lives of animals, it is because we Christians have failed to be the light Jesus commanded us to be. We should be an example of boundless mercy.”

        The International Network for Religion and Animals (INRA) was founded in 1985. Its educational and religious programs were meant to “bring religious principles upon humanity’s attitude towards the treatment of our animal kin… and, through leadership, materials, and programs, to successfully interact with clergy and laity from many religious traditions… Religion counsels the powerful to be merciful and kind to those weaker than themselves, and most of humankind is at least nominally religious. But there is a ghastly paradox. Far from showing mercy, humanity uses its dominion over other animal species to pen them in cruel close confinement; to trap, club, and harpoon them; to poison, mutilate, and shock them in the name of science; to kill them by the billions; and even to blind them in excruciating pain to test cosmetics. Some of these abuses are due to mistaken understandings of religious principles; others, to a failure to apply those principles. Scriptures need to be fully researched concerning the relationship of humans to nonhuman animals, and to the entire ecological structure of nature. Misinterpretations of scripture taken out of context, or based upon questionable theological assumptions need to be re-examined.”

        INRA’s Executive Director, Reverend Marc Wessels, concluded on Earth Day, 1990: “It is a fact that no significant social reform has yet taken place in this country without the voice of the religious community being heard. The endeavors of the abolition of slavery; the women’s suffrage movement; the emergence of the pacifist tradition during World War I; the struggles to support civil rights, labor unions, and migrant farm workers; and the antinuclear and peace movements have all succeeded in part because of the power and support of organized religion. Such authority and energy is required by individual Christians and the institutional church today if the liberation of animals is to become a reality.”

      • He has a screw loose but somehow finds articles that he can steal and claim as his own !! Some day he may get charged with plagiarism for stealing others thoughts and claiming as his own. Why these sites do not stop copying and pasting is beyond me !!

    • Chanting is not praying, period !
      Vasectomy murder, you are sick with blasphemy.
      I differ, that Handel Messiah , is NOT chanting!
      Get a life , go away from here, you muddy the waters, you are a false teacher and you are condemned. Repent Satan!

  4. religious scholarship and the need for medication are a bad combination all over the world. This pope should confess that he is a globalist shill and as full of arrogance, disdain, and presumption as any individual in a psych text book. That he seeks to destroy European/Western culture, populations, traditions, etc. by his dhimmi behavior and his Agenda 21/NWO positions is BLATANT.

  5. Please everyone that is TRYING to discuss these stories, contact Culture Watch and see if this fanatic Vasu can be blocked. Or at the very least limited to how much of his propaganda he can post.. This is getting too much to bear now….

    • Linda M. he has a ‘right’ ‘freedom’ to voice his opinions…. you have no right to block him..deny/forbid his freedom of speach..because you don’t like or agree with what he’s saying. You don’t have to read it!

      • Joz Lee; Maybe you haven’t noticed some use the right to freedom of speech to spread their LEFTIST lies on a Conservative site. He isn’t voicing HIS opinions, by the way. Just cut and paste his Leftist propaganda. If I take offense to that, then I am exercising MY right to freedom of speech. But if you read my post closely, I asked to LIMIT his postings .As many of us feel that Culture Watch would take this action….
        Thank you!

      • Joz Lee; Linda M. is quite correct. Please observe how much space Vasu has taken up on this one story stating SOMEONE’S Opinions ! Not his. But other’s Democratic propaganda !! This is a Conservative site. Not designed for his brain numbing BS.

  6. The Pope should stay on of politics and religious pronouncements. Jesus is the only head of the church (Ephesians 1:22). God proclaimed, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you” (Genesis 9:3). “For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables” (Romans 14:2).

    • Thank you!
      You’re the first to actually comment on the article regarding the Pope and the fossil fuel issue
      I think it strange the response of Vashti etc was so far off base that a moderator would have noticed ….

  7. The Pope should stay on of politics and religious pronouncements. Jesus is the only head of the church (Ephesians 1:22). God proclaimed, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you” (Genesis 9:3). “For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables” (Romans 14:2).

    You are wrong. When I have written. I have not repeated myself in anything I have written. Something is wrong with your system. I agree you should not keep repeating one person, but I am not that person.

  8. Pompous comes from leftest nation he’s just preaching what he’s whole life as been about, far left politics. It’s always been a rule of thumb politics and religion have no place together. The Christian faith is just that religion not politics as is Jewish faith.

    Pope hasn’t kept his nose out of the political arena since he was elected as the new pompous of catholic faith. The pope even denounced President Trump as a man of faith in wanting the wall built to Jeep out illegal immigrants and for not taking care of our nations immigration problems.

    But yet, what is Vatican City? A nation unto itself smallest in the world located in Roma. Pope Francis said Trump is wrong to build a wall. Let’s look closely at Vatican City a walled in nation if not mustached 30-40 feet high wall surrounding Vatican City.

    When the pope opens his borders to hundreds of thousands of immigrants out of Syria other parts of Europe Middle East Asia then maybe just maybe Trump might consider foregoing the wall, but I doubt it seriously.

    Yes, the gospels stated as Jesus said, you cloth me when I had no cloths you fed me when I had no food you took care of me when I was sick your came to me when in prison it’s the gospel according to over 2000 years ago.

    We live in different times now the world is not a small space quiet the opposite. How does the pope expect the working class people of nations that rely on fossil fuel for transportation get to their positions in life?

    You just don’t stop using fossil fuel or the products that are made from it other than fuel needs. Thousands of manufacturers use fossil fuel in their products so let’s just shut down thousands of producers of other goods we us daily because fossil fuel is a major ingredient in the manufacturing of such products.

    No, the pope needs to lead and preach the gospel according to Jesus Christ keeping his political thoughts and agenda to himself and deal with the religious ways of the Catholic church.

    • Absolutely! And so should those of all or any religions because of the pope trying to shove all this drivel down our throats. Whatever happened to “saving souls?” Surely the pope has heard of that!!

    • The catholics who are furious probably are still practicing catholics.
      Those who are not furious are 2-day a year catholics – Christmas & Easter.

  9. I don’t “trash” Christians! *I’m* the one extending an olive branch to them, trying to make friends with them, saying our religions have a lot in common, and quoting *Christian* scholars and theologians far more knowledgeable than I in this regard: Dr. Harvey Cox, Dr. A.L. Basham, Dr. Larry Shinn, Dr. Klaus Klostermaier, among others. I’m not doing anything more threatening than George Harrison in this regard.

    The Christians are demonizing *us*! They’re approaching us for a position on abortion, and when we patiently explain abortion and war are the karma for killing animals (God’s punishment, if you will, for killing God’s animals), we can’t end abortion till we first shut down the slaughterhouses, they don’t have to “convert” to our religion, they can become Christian vegans, etc…

    …they become angry!

    They don’t seem to appreciate the numerous theological similarities between our faiths, either. The Christians are NOT saying:

    “We know. Dr. Diana Eck, professor of Hinduism points out that the bhakti tradition of devotion to a personal God within Hinduism, goes back to at least the 2nd century BC., and is older than Christianity.”

    “We know. Dr. Thomas J. Hopkins, author of the 1971 book, The Hindu Religious Tradition, points out that one of the earliest archaeological evidences for the worship of Krishna is a column erected in India by Heliodorus, a Greek ambassador, 2,200 years ago. There were Westerners being converted to the worship of Krishna before Christianity even existed.”

    “We know. In his 1983 essay, ‘A Jewish Encounter with the Bhagavad-gita,’ Harold Kasimow points out that Krishna is an incarnation of God and that the doctrine of the incarnation of God is as central to the Gita as it is to Christianity and that neither Jews nor Muslims have been able to reconcile it with their own understanding of God.”

    “We know. At a Jewish-Vaishnava interfaith conference in 1986, none of the rabbis would take prasadam because it was food offered to idols. Catholic clergy, on the other hand, have defended Krishna devotees from charges of ‘idolatry’ from Christian fundamentalists and have favorably compared prasadam with the Eucharist.”

    “We know. John Plott has done elaborate studies comparing Vaishnavaism (the worship of Lord Vishnu) and Christianity, particularly the theology of Ramanuja (11th century) with that of St. Bonaventura (13th century).”

    “We know. Geoffrey Parrinder wrote “The Significance of the Bhagavad-gita for Christian Theology.”

    “We know. William Blanchard entitled his PhD dissertation, “An Examination of the Relation of the New Testament to the Bhagavad-gita.”

    “We know. Theologian Rudolf Otto (1869 – 1937) wrote an entire book about what he called, ‘India’s religion of grace.'”

    “We know. Dr. Harvey Cox compares Krishna Consciousness with Catholic monasticism and Appalachian folk religion.”

    “We know. Dr. A.L. Basham compares Krishna Consciousness to the Christian monastic orders.”

    “We know. During the Robin George case, one of the appellate justices in San Diego compared Krishna Consciousness to the Little Sisters of the Poor (a Catholic religious order).”

    “We know. During the Robin George case, the National Association of Evangelicals and other Christian organizations sided with ISKCON (the International Society for Krishna Consciousness).”

    “We know. Dr. Duane Gish, a UC Berkeley professor and anti-evolutionist appreciated it when the Bhaktivedanta Institute sent him a copy of Origins magazine.”

    “We know. Dr. Klaus Klostermaier points out that the Trinitarian conception is the closes parallel to the worship of God in plural form as Radha and Krishna.”

    “We know. Jews and Muslims don’t worship images. Jews and Muslims don’t believe in the incarnations of God. Jews and Muslims don’t worship a plural Godhead, like that of Trinitarian Christianity. Jews and Muslims don’t worship other human beings, saints and spiritual masters in disciplic succession.”

    “We know. Father Bede Griffiths says of Bhagavad-gita, ‘For a Christian, this is a wonderful confirmation of God’s love as contained in the Gospel.'”

    “We know. Christian theologian Keith Yandell loves Vaishnava theology.” (He wouldn’t say that if he were mistaking it for “moonies”!)

    “We know. The ethics of the Buddha are similar to those of Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount. No one accuses the Buddhists of being ‘moonies’ because that would be stupid. Buddhism, like Pythagoreanism, is older than Christianity. Instead, they conclude the opposite: centuries before Jesus, an earlier teacher lived the Christ life.”

    “We know. In the 1980s, a female New Age Christian teacher studied Hinduism, saw theological parallels, and concluded that Lord Vishnu is ‘the Christ light.'”

    “We know. In his book, The Living God: Basal Forms of Personal Religion, Nathan Soderblom similarly observed: ‘Warren Hastings was right in writing that of all known religions this comes nearest to Christianity.'”

    There ARE Christian vegetarians and Christian vegans of whom I have the deepest respect. Srila Prabhupada taught us to oppose animal-killing, oppose meat-eating, not Christians.

    There was a Jewish woman who studied Christianity at length and was surprised by the similarities Christianity shares with its parent faith, Judaism. She wrote an entire book on the subject entitled, Christianity… Is Jewish.

    That’s my experience, as one who is not a follower of any of the Abrahamic faiths. I’m pleasantly surprised by the numerous theological parallels and similarities between Christianity and Vaishnavaism.

    • You don’t trash Christians? With the LONG WINDED CRAP you post, that no one reads, you trash THE INTERNET. Why don’t you get a life?

    • You start off being a commenting jerk, and now you want to make friends with the very people you despise, just because we voted for Trump.
      You probably found that your views, and ideas don’t really relate to reality.
      Practice what you preach, and start with yourself.

  10. When the U.S. Senate invited a Hindu leader (Rajan Zed) to open a 2007 session with a prayer, David Barton objected, saying: “In Hindu [sic], you have not one God, but many, many, many, many, many gods. And certainly that was never in the minds of those who did the Constitution, did the Declaration when they talked about Creator.”

    Dr. A.L. Basham, author of The Wonder That was India, explains: “…the old-fashioned type of missionary was quite certain that Hinduism was the work of the Devil, and hence that it was very evil. It did all the things which Christianity, especially Protestant Christianity, said you shouldn’t do, such as image worship and the worship of many gods.

    “Catholics were always much more tolerant of this sort of thing. Though he may be theoretically monotheistic, the simple Catholic will, to all intents and purposes, pray to quite a wide range of divinities, including the Blessed Virgin Mary and various important saints, often in the form of physical images.

    “But Protestant Christianity was founded on the basis that there is one God only, divided into three persons, and that worship of images is sinful. To the Protestant of the old-fashioned kind, this was a terrible thing to do, almost as bad as it was to a traditional Jew or Muslim. So the missionaries, I think, are largely responsible for the polytheism stereotype and the ‘caste-ridden’ society stereotype.”

    In 1985, my friend Victor, who is Jewish, invited me to a Shabbat (Sabbath) observance with a group of Jewish students on our college campus. They were singing songs in Hebrew, and clapping hands — almost like a Jewish kirtan (Hindu devotional chanting and dancing)!

    I met a student who said she was interested in things like yoga and meditation, but was put off by the idea of worshiping images (“idols”). She was also skeptical of my assertion that according to Vedic cosmology, human civilization goes back millions of years: she told me she had taken a college course in Anthropology.

    At one point, she equated the worshipping of images (“idols”) with the pagan religions of ancient Greece and Rome, asking: “How can you (Hindus) worship images (“idols”) — that’s so Grecian!”

    I tried to shift the conversation towards deeper theological questions: “Does God have form?” “What does God look like?” Even Genesis 1:26-31 says man is made in the image of God!

    A convert to Hinduism from a Jewish background, Satyaraja dasa, (Steven Rosen) argues that the Old Testament only condemns the making of mundane graven images and then likening such images to the Supreme Lord. He insists that there is no prohibition against worshipping the form of God Himself. Rabbi Jacob Shimmel admitted to Satyaraja that there have been schools of thought within Judaism which regard God as a Person, with a divine form, attributes, qualities and characteristics.

    They based their position on a literal interpretation of the Bible. The Hebrew phrase “zelem Elohim” means “the image of God.” Exodus 24:10-12 and Numbers 12:8 also refer to seeing the image of God. God sits upon a throne (Isaiah 6:1); His hair is like wool (Daniel 7:9); and Moses saw His back (Exodus 33:23). In Isaiah 66:1, God says, “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is my footstool.” In Ezekiel 1:26, God has a human form and sits upon a throne.

    Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), Judaism’s greatest theologian thus far, took the position that God is immeasurable, inconceivable, and therefore, incorporeal. Since the time of Maimonides, Judaism has been impersonal, seeing God only as an omnipresent Spirit (nirvesesha brahman). Maimonides regarded passages from the Bible like the ones above as anthropomorphical and metaphorical. However, one of his most outspoken critics, Abraham ben David of Posquiere, wrote that scholars once believed in the literal words of the Bible, and were convinced God was a Person, and they ascribed physical-like characteristics to the Deity.

    Satyaraja’s assertion that there is no prohibition in the Old Testament against worshiping the actual form of God Himself is problematic. The biblical prophets of the Old Testament routinely denounce idol worship, and the idolatry they attack is the worship of any kind of image whatsoever… Some of their denunciations, for example, refer to the idols of the neighboring heathen populations of the Israelites as gods that can neither walk nor speak, etc.

    In Bhagavad-gita 12.1, Arjuna inquires of Lord Krishna: “Which are considered to be more perfect, those who are always properly engaged in Your devotional service or those who worship the impersonal Brahman, the unmanifested?”

    Lord Krishna replies: “Those who fix their minds on My personal form and are always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith are considered by Me to be most perfect.” (Gita 12.2) The Lord goes on to say that those who worship the impersonal Brahman also come to Him, but, “For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome.” Making progress in that discipline is harder. (Gita 12.3-5)

    So the Bhagavad-gita says worship of the Lord in His personal form is higher than worshiping the impersonal Brahman. The Western religious traditions generally stress the impersonal aspect of God over the personal. Impersonalism is not condemned in the first few verses of chapter 12 of the Gita, it is merely regarded as incomplete and inferior to personal theism.

    And this is the nature of Vedic civilization: to engage people from all walks of life, regardless of their station in life, and purify them in their souls’ progress towards God. Whereas in the Ten Commandments, God says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me,” in Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna merely dismisses demigod worship as “less intelligent” (Gita 7.23), even though He also classifies demigod worship as in the mode of goodness (Gita 17.4).

    Much of Christianity and Islam’s intolerance of other religions stems from Judaism, like the commandment against worshiping other gods, rather than merely dismissing it as an inferior form of worship, as Lord Krishna does in Bhagavad-gita.

    Of course, as I’ve stated elsewhere, when I refer to “Hindu polytheism”, I refer not to demigod worship, but to our concept of vishnu-tattva expansions. We worship a plural Godhead, similar to the Trinitarian conception of God, at the top of our pantheon, and even refer to the Deities (note that plural!) in the plural as “Them” or “Their Lordships”.

    This is foreign to the rigid monotheism of Judaism and Islam, but familiar to Trinitarian Christianity. Rabbi Shimmel even tells Satyaraja dasa that because of belief in a Trinity, Christianity cannot be considered a truly monotheistic religion. (I don’t know what Rabbi Shimmel would make of the loving affairs of Radha and Krishna, the pastimes of Krishna and Balaram, etc.)

    Father Raymundo Pannikar said: “It is within the *heart* that I embrace both religions (Hinduism and Christianity) in a personal synthesis, which intellectually may be more or less perfect… Religions meet in the heart rather than in the mind.”

    The biblical tradition *does* contain *some* knowledge of God!

    The Song of Songs poetically depicts the mutual love between God and Israel as a relationship between the lover and the beloved. The prophets Isaiah (5:1-7, 54:4-8), Jeremiah (2:2,32) and Ezekiel (16:23) also characterized the covenant between God and Israel as a marriage.

    “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.

    “His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.

    “His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.

    “His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers; his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

    “His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl; his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.

    “His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold; his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

    “His mouth is most sweet; yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend.”

    –Song of Songs 5:10-16

    Compare to Brahama-samhita 5.30:

    venum kvanantam aravinda-dalyataksham
    barhavatamsam asitambuda-sundarangam
    kandarpa-koti-kamaniya-visesha-sobham
    govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami

    “‘I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept in playing on His flute, whose blooming eyes are like lotus petals, whose head is bedecked with a peacock’s feather, whose figure of beauty is tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and whose unique loveliness charms millions of cupids.’ [Bramha-samhita 5.30]

  11. In Krishna Consciousness, one will find priests and monks with vows; the worship of consecrated images; the veneration of saints and different divinities; the chanting of the holy names on beads of prayer; the belief that sex is intended solely for procreation (upheld by St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas); two monastic orders (bramacharya and sannyassa); sacramental food; the use of holy water, candles, incense and ash; a platonic theology based upon metaphysical dualism: the spirit versus the flesh, the earthly versus the heavenly; an emphasis on “otherworldly” concerns such as salvation, the afterlife and eternal life; belief in the incarnations of God; and the worship of a plural (e.g., Trinitarian) Godhead.

    Indologist Dr. A.L. Basham, author of The Wonder That was India, said:

    “The bhakti tradition is very close to Christianity — Christianity of the devotional type — in its psychological attitudes. It comes particularly close to some aspects of mystic Catholicism. If you read the poems of mystics such as St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa, you find attitudes rather close to those of the bhakti poets of medieval India.

    “I would say, for this reason, among others, that one shouldn’t look on Krishna Consciousness as a rival of Christianity… there’s really no need for the Christians to look on you as their rivals… They ought to recognize you for what you are: a movement with doctrines and ideas very close to their own, with much the same aims and rather an ally than a foe.”

    The Christians are willing to listen to us on abortion, why won’t they listen to us when we patiently explain to them that abortion and war are the karma (God’s punishment, if you will) for killing God’s animals? That through abortion and war, God is punishing the Christians for killing His animals? That the Christians don’t have to change their religion, they need only merely cease to kill animals? That the Christians can follow the example of millions of mainstream secular Americans who have joined the struggle for animal rights? Perhaps we should just give them PETA literature.

  12. The biblical tradition is open to the possibility of other incarnations of God.

    The Reverend Alvin Hart, an Episcopal priest in New York, says that John 14:6 is often mistranslated. The original Greek — ego emi ha hodos kai haalatheia kai ha zoa; oudeis erkatai pros ton patera ei ma di emou –should read “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and none of you are coming to the Father except through me.”

    According to Reverend Hart, “…the key word here is erkatai. This is an extremely present-tense form of the verb…You see? In Palestine, two thousand years ago, Jesus was the guru. If he wanted to say that he would be the teacher for all time, he would have used a word other than erkatai, but he didn’t.

    Dr. Boyd Daniels of the American Bible Society concurs: “Oh, yes. The word erkatai is definitely the present tense form of the verb. Jesus was speaking to his contemporaries.”

    Christian theologian Charles Camosy writes in his 2013 book, For Love of Animals:

    “By the beginning of the Renaissance, this was an open topic for discussion. We have Roman Catholic cardinals like Nicholas of Cusa, for instance, being very explicit in saying, ‘We surmise that none of the other regions of the stars is empty of inhabitants.’… The great philosopher and theologian Francisco Suarez… claimed that an incarnation of God could take place more than once and that the object of Christian love should be ‘every rational creature.'”

    In an interview with Time magazine, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman elected to head a national branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion was asked, “Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?” She replied, “We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.”

    According to the Book of Mormon, God Himself specifically refutes the misconception that He can only make Himself known to one particular people at one point in human history, and leave only one set of written scriptures:

    “Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth My word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? Wherefore, murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of My word?

    “Know ye that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together, the testimony of the two nations shall run together also… And because I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for My work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man…

    “Neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. For I command all men, both in the East and in the West, and in the North and in the South, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them. For out of the books that will be written I will judge the world…”

  13. The biblical tradition commends sobriety.

    Condemnations of alcohol and drunkenness can be found throughout the Bible. The ancient Hebrews regarded alcohol as both a blessing and a curse. God was praised because “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle and fruits and vegetables for man to cultivate that he may bring forth food from the earth. Wine to gladden the heart of man…” (Psalm 104:14-15)

    On the other hand, alcohol was also an instrument of God’s displeasure: “Thou hast made Thy people suffer hard things; Thou hast given us wine to drink that made us reel.” (Psalm 60:3)

    Wine was permitted for medicinal use. (Proverbs 31:6-7; I Timothy 5:23). At no place in the Bible is alcohol (or any other drug) explicitly forbidden. Drunkenness, or the excesses of alcohol (and presumably all other drugs) is condemned, but not the drug itself.

    Complete abstinence from intoxication, however, was considered a sign of holiness. God commanded His priests to be holy and pure before worship. “Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou nor thy sons with thee, when you go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a perpetual statute for ever throughout your generations.” (Leviticus 10:9)

    God also established the order of the Nazarites. The Nazarites distinguished themselves by never allowing a razor to touch their head, abstaining from alcohol, and by their piety before God. “When either a man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite…. he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes…” (Numbers 6:1-21)

    Wine drinking was equated with sexual immorality and worshiping other gods: “Go, ye, love… an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.” (Hosea 3:1) “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.” (Hosea 4:11)

    It appears that wine was never intended for kings or political leaders, because of its intoxicating effects. (Proverbs 31:4-5)

    Excesses of alcohol amongst religious leaders were also denounced in biblical times: “the priest and the
    prophet reel with strong drink, they are confused with wine, they stagger with strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in giving judgment.” (Isaiah 28:7)

    According to Reverend Alvin Hart, an Episcopal priest in New York, the drinking of wine was frowned upon in biblical times. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1) Intoxicating beverages were known to be habit-forming (Proverbs 23:35), resulting in violence (Proverbs 4:17) and distracting their imbibers from God (Amos 6:6).

    The Bible says, “…wine is treacherous; the arrogant man shall not abide… woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink.” (Habbakuk 2:5,15) And: “Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without course? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine, those who try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder.” (Proverbs 23:29-32)

    John the Baptist never touched alcohol. Jesus told the multitudes: “John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine…” (Luke 7:33) Jesus warned his disciples: “Be on your guard,” he warned, “so that your hearts are not overloaded with carousing, drunkenness, and worldly cares…be vigilant and pray unceasingly.” (Luke 21:34-36) Referring to Proverbs 23:20, Jesus condemned one who “eats and drinks with the drunken.” (Matthew 24:49; Luke 12:45)

    Peter linked alcoholic excesses to the gentile practices of idolatry and sexual immorality. “For we have spent enough of our past in doing the will of the gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.” (I Peter 4:3)

    Paul did not forbid wine. Instead, he advocated moderation. Wine is to be taken sparingly, if at all.

    “A bishop then, must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous.” (I Timothy 3:2-3)

    “Likewise, deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money.” (I Timothy 3:2-3,8) For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled.” (Titus 1:7-8)

    “It was divinely proclaimed,” insisted the early church father Tertullian, “‘Wine and strong liquor shall you not drink, you and your sons after you.’ Now this prohibition of drink is essentially connected with the vegetable diet. Thus, where abstinence from wine is required by the Deity, or is vowed by man, there, too, may be understood suppression of gross feeding, for as is the eating, so is the drinking.

    “It is not consistent with truth that a man should sacrifice half of his stomach only to God–that he should be sober in drinking, but intemperate in eating. Your belly is your God, your liver is your temple, your paunch is your altar, the cook is your priest, and the fat steam is your Holy Spirit; the seasonings and the sauces are your chrisms, and your belchings are your prophesizing…”

    St. Basil (AD 320-79) taught, “The steam of meat darkens the light of the spirit. One can hardly have virtue if one enjoys meat meals and feasts… In the earthly paradise, there was no wine, no one sacrificed animals, and no one ate meat. Wine was only invented after the Deluge…

    “With simple living, well being increases in the household, animals are in safety, there is no shedding of blood, nor putting animals to death. The knife of the cook is needless, for the table is spread only with the fruits that nature gives, and with them they are content.”

    St. Jerome (AD 340-420) wrote to a monk in Milan who had abandoned vegetarianism:

    “As to the argument that in God’s second blessing (Genesis 9:3) permission was given to eat flesh–a permission not given in the first blessing (Genesis 1:29) — let him know that just as permission to put away a wife was, according to the words of the Saviour, not given from the beginning, but was granted to the human race by Moses because of the hardness of our hearts (Matthew 19:1-12), so also in like manner the eating of flesh was unknown until the Flood, but after the Flood, just as quails were given to the people when they murmured in the desert, so have sinews and the offensiveness been given to our teeth.

    “The Apostle, writing to the Ephesians, teaches us that God had purposed that in the fullness of time he would restore all things, and would draw to their beginning, even to Christ Jesus, all things that are in heaven or that are on earth. Whence also, the Saviour Himself in the Apocalypse of John says, ‘I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.’ From the beginning of human nature, we neither fed upon flesh nor did we put away our wives, nor were our foreskins taken away from us for a sign. We kept on this course until we arrived at the Flood.

    “But after the Flood, together with the giving of the Law, which no man could fulfill, the eating of flesh was brought in, and the putting away of wives was conceded to hardness of heart… But now that Christ has come in the end of time, and has turned back Omega to Alpha… neither is it permitted to us to put away our wives, nor are we circumcised, nor do we eat flesh.”

    St. Jerome was responsible for the Vulgate, or Latin version of the Bible, still in use today. He felt a vegetarian diet was best for those devoted to the pursuit of wisdom. He once wrote that he was not a follower of Pythagoras or Empodocles “who do not eat any living creature,” but concluded, “And so I too say to you: if you wish to be perfect, it is good not to drink wine and eat flesh.”

    “Thanks be to God!” wrote John Wesley, founder of Methodism, to the Bishop of London in 1747. “Since the time I gave up the use of flesh-meats and wine, I have been delivered from all physical ills.” Wesley was a vegetarian for spiritual reasons as well. He based his vegetarianism on the biblical prophecies concerning the Kingdom of Peace, where “on the new earth, no creature will kill, or hurt, or give pain to any other.” He further taught that animals “shall receive an ample amends for all their present sufferings.”

    Wesley’s teachings placed an emphasis on inner religion and the effect of the Holy Spirit upon the consciousness of such followers. Wesley taught that animals will attain heaven: in the “general deliverance” from the evils of this world, animals would be given “vigor, strength and swiftness…to a far higher degree than they ever enjoyed.”

    Wesley urged parents to educate their children about compassion towards animals. He wrote: “I am persuaded you are not insensible of the pain given to every Christian, every humane heart, by those savage diversions, bull-baiting, cock-fighting, horse-racing, and hunting.”

    The Bible Christian Church was a 19th century movement teaching vegetarianism, abstinence from wine, and compassion for animals. The church began in England in 1800, requiring all its members to take vows of abstinence from meat and wine. One of its first converts, William Metcalfe (1788-1862), immigrated to Philadelphia in 1817 with forty-one followers to establish a church in America. Metcalfe cited numerous biblical references to support his thesis that humans were meant to follow a vegetarian diet for reasons of health and compassion for animals.

  14. The biblical tradition opposes gambling.

    Although gambling is not explicitly forbidden in the Bible, it does prey upon the individual’s desire for worldly riches. This desire for immediate wealth and self-aggrandizement is contrary to the spirit of New Testament teaching.

    Jesus taught the multitudes to seek the eternal treasures in heaven rather than pursue temporary, earthly gain. He insisted upon the self-sacrifice and renunciation of earthly possessions and family ties and duties. (Matthew 6:19-21, 6:24-34, 8:21-22, 10:34-39, 19:20-21,29; Luke 9:57-62, 12:51-53, 14:25-26,33; James 5:1-3)

    Jesus had no interest in worldly disputes over income and property. (Luke 12:13-14) He taught that life is meant for more than the accumulation of material goods. He condemned those who lay up treasures for themselves, but are not rich towards God. (Luke 12:15-21) In his parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, Jesus expressed concern for materialistic persons (Luke 16:19-31).

    Jesus taught that it is hard for those attached to earthly riches to enter the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:16-24; Mark 10:17-23; Luke 18:18-25) His apostles lead lives of voluntary poverty; sharing their possessions with one another. Those among the brethren who did not do so were condemned. (Acts 2:44, 5:1-11)

    “He who loves his life will lose it,” taught Jesus, “and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life…For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36; Luke 9:25; John 12:25)

    In Paul’s words:

    “Piety with contentment is great gain indeed; for we brought nothing into the world and, obviously, we can carry nothing out. When we have food and clothing, we shall be content with these.

    “Those who are eager to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into numerous thoughtless and hurtful cravings that plunge people into destruction and ruin.

    “For the love of money is the root of all evil. In striving for it, some have wandered away from the faith…But you, O man of God, shun these things and go after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.”

    – I Timothy 6:6-11

    Although a representative of the Catholic church once said, “There is no eleventh commandment against gambling,” conservative Protestants have traditionally taken a dim view of gambling.

    “I find it impossible even in my weakest moments,” wrote Richard Emrich in the Christian Century, “when the financial needs of the church are most pressing, to imagine St. John, St. Paul, or St. Peter running a bingo party or our Lord sending out his disciples to sell chances.

    “And I shudder at the thought that some young person might say, “It’s all right to gamble. We do it at church.”

    The Puritans of Massachusetts enacted America’s first law against gambling in 1638. In 1682, the Quakers in Pennsylvania passed their own law against gambling and “such like enticing, vain, and evil sports and games.”

    During the period from 1830 to 1860, lotteries were banned across America. By 1908, nearly every state in the nation had banned horse racing.

    Neil Reagan, older brother to Ronald Reagan, once said of his younger brother, “I don’t think he ever saw the inside of a pool hall,” indicating that even in mainstream secular American society, gambling carries with it a shady connotation.

    Again: the biblical tradition opposes gambling, but this is an implied idea, not clearly spelled out in Scripture.

    I bet this is true of the pro-life position and many other moral positions taken by differing denominations, too!

    There are over 40,000 different Christian denominations, from Catholics to Baptists to Unitarians to Mormons to Jehovah’s Witnesses to Christian Science to the United Church of Christ to Seventh Day Adventists, etc… and they all have differing views on grace versus works, the Trinity, the afterlife, the divinity of Jesus, faith healing, speaking in tongues, snake-handling, smoking, drinking, gambling, abortion, etc. So there’s no reason they can’t welcome Krishna Consciousness into the mainstream.

    If killing animals is a choice (Romans 14) like slavery is a choice (Philemon), why isn’t killing the unborn also a choice, especially when the unborn clearly do not have the status of a person in the Bible (Exodus 21)?

  15. Apocalypse Now?

    Vedic (also known as Hindu) cosmology views time in vast cycles lasting hundreds of thousands of years, with phases of light and darkness corresponding to the level of spiritual awareness on the planet. According to the scriptures, men and women in previous ages were endowed with heroic and godly qualities. The supernatural was commonplace and miraculous events were ordinary.

    In his lucid translation and commentary of the Srimad Bhagavatam (1.17.6-8), A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes that people in ancient times were godly. They enjoyed thousand-year lifespans, and the earth was ruled by saintly kings (“rajarshis”) annointed by God. These noble rulers cared for both their human and nonhuman subjects: “men and animals were equally protected as far as life was concerned. That is the way in God’s kingdom.”

    According to Srila Prabhupada, such moral concern is required of today’s leaders: “The protection of the lives of both the human beings and the animals is the first and foremost duty of a government. A government must not discriminate in such principles.”

    The Vedic scriptures warn against atheism, licentiousness, and unnecessary violence. The sages teach that gradual forgetfulness of God and religious principles will only lead to moral degeneration and greater human suffering.

    According to the Vedic scriptures, our current age, known as Kali Yuga, the iron age, is one of spiritual darkness, violence and hypocrisy. The Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.31 records Kali Yuga as having began when the constellation of the seven sages (Saptarishi) passed through the lunar mansion of Magha. Vedic astrologers have calculated this to have been 2:27 a.m. on February 20, 3102 B.C. The beginning of Kali Yuga took place 36 years after Lord Krishna, who is God incarnate, spoke Bhagavad-gita to His disciple Arjuna.

    The scriptures teach that during the 432,000 year age of Kali, humanity deteriorates and falls into barbarism. Humans begin to indiscriminately butcher innocent animals for food. They fall under the spell of intoxication. They lose all sexual restraint. Families break up. Women and children are abused and abandoned. Increasingly degraded generations, conceived accidentally in lust and growing up wild, swarm all over the world.

    Political leadership falls into the hands of unprincipled rogues, criminals and terrorists, who use their power to exploit the people. Entire populations are enslaved and put to death. The world teems with fanatics, extremists and spiritual con artists, who win huge followings among a people completely dazed by hedonism, as well as by cultural and moral relativism.

    “Religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, physical strength and memory diminish with each passing day.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.1)

    The saints and sages of ancient India describe the people of this age as greedy, ill-behaved, and merciless. In this age, states the Srimad Bhagavatam, merely possessing wealth is considered a sign of good birth, proper behavior, and fine qualities. Law and justice are determined by one’s prestige and power.

    Marriage ceases to exist as a holy union—men and women simply live together on the basis of bodily attraction and verbal agreement, and only for sexual pleasure. Women wander from one man to another. Men no longer look after their parents in their old age, and fail to provide for their own children.

    One’s beauty is thought to depend on one’s hairstyle. Filling the belly is said to be the only purpose in life. Cows are killed once their milk production drops. Religious observances are performed solely for the sake of reputation.

    The Linga Purana (Ch. 40) describes the human race in Kali Yuga as a vain and stupid people “spurred on by the lowest instincts.” They prefer false ideas and do not hesitate to persecute sages. They are tormented by bodily desires. Severe droughts and plagues are everywhere. Slovenliness, illness, hunger and fear spread.

    Nations are continually at war with one another. The number of princes and farmers decline. Heroes are assassinated. The working classes want to claim regal power and enjoy royal wealth. Kings become thieves. They take to seizing property, rather than protecting the citizenry.

    The new leaders emerge from the laborer class and begin to persecute religious people, saints, teachers, intellectuals, and philosophers. Civilization lacks any kind of divine guidance. The sacred books are no longer revered. False doctrines and misleading religions spread across the globe. Children are killed in the wombs of their mothers. Women who have relations with several men are numerous. The number of cows diminishes.

    The Linga Purana says that in Kali Yuga, young women freely abandon their virginity. Women, children, and cows—always protected in an enlightened society—are abused and killed during the iron age. Thieves are numerous and rapes are frequent. There are many beggars and widespread unemployment. Merchants operate corrupt businesses. Diseases, rats, and foul substances plague the populace. Water is lacking. Fruits are scarce. Everyone uses vulgar language.

    The men of Kali Yuga only seek money. Only the rich have power. People without money are their slaves. The leaders of the state no longer protect the people, but plunder the citizenry through excessive taxation. Farmers abandon living close to nature. They become unskilled laborers in congested cities. Many dress in rags, or are unemployed, and sleep on the streets. Through the fault of the government, infant mortality rates are high. False gods are worshipped in false ashrams, in which pilgrimages, penances, charities and austerities are all concocted.

    People in this age eat their food without washing beforehand. Monks break their vows of celibacy. Cows are kept alive only for their milk. Water is scarce. Many people watch the skies, praying for rain. No rain comes. The fields become barren. Suffering from famine and poverty, many attempt to migrate to countries where food is more readily available.

    People are without joy and pleasure. Many commit suicide. Men of small intelligence are influenced by atheistic doctrines. Family, clan and caste are all meaningless. Men are without virtues, purity or decency. (Vishnu Purana 6.1)

    This Age of Kali runs for 432,000 years. It will be followed by a return to Satya Yuga, a golden age of light. This will be brought about by Lord Kalki, the next incarnation of God. Religious life and devotion to God are virtually impossible during Kali Yuga. This is a cruel, savage, bloodthirsty, licentious age, where “God is dead,” and religion is a dirty word.

    The saving grace of a personal God is our only real shelter in Kali Yuga. As this age continues, human piety diminishes. Animal slavery. Human slavery. AIDS. Abortion. The Holocaust. The annihilation of the Native Americans. The “killing fields” of Cambodia. Drug abuse. These are merely the tip of the iceberg—a preview of things to come.

    At the end of this age, the human race will have turned the earth into a wasteland. Humans will be cannibalizing their own children, and the life expectancy will be around 20 to 30 years.

    It is at this point in time that Lord Kalki, the next predicted incarnation of God, will appear. The scriptures say He will appear as the son of a brahmana (priest) whose name is Vishnu-yasa, in a place called Shambhala. There is a place in India with that name, so perhaps it is there that the Lord will appear.

    Kalki is depicted riding a horse and carrying a sword. Humanity is so fallen at this point that there is no other remedy, apart from total destruction of the human population, to save the world. Kalki judges the world.

    The Linga Purana describes “mlecchas” (barbarians) killed by the thousands by Lord Kalki, along with the thieves who have seized royal power. The Lord then re-establishes pure civilization and anoints a God-conscious king to rule on His behalf. The earth re-enters a phase of enlightenment, and the cycle of time continues.

    The prophecies given in these Sanskrit texts are consistent with Western apocalyptic literature such as the Book of Revelation.

    The Western traditions of a coming or a returning “messiah” presiding over the end of the world, judgment day and the restoration of paradise on earth, however, are seen in Vedic cosmology as cyclical events.

    The coming “Satya Yuga,” or golden age, has been expressed in the American popular culture as the dawning of the Aquarian or “New Age.”

    Mahabuddhi dasa tells of the first time he met Srila Prabhupada in the early ’70s. His name at the time was Randy, and he had long blond hair. He was a football player at San Diego State University, a leader in student government, and a son of wealthy parents. He had been taking part in the congregational kirtan (praise of God through song and dance) in the Los Angeles temple when invited to come upstairs to Prabhupada’s room.

    “Because you have been given some ability, wealth, and opulence by Krishna,” said Prabhupada, looking to Randy, who sat against the wall, “therefore you should use it in Krishna’s service. If you use it only for your personal sense gratification, that’s simply miserly. If you do not take to Krishna Consciousness, you will ruin your human form of life (and risk rebirth in lower species).”

    Prabhupada suddenly called for a copy of the Twelfth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam and began reading aloud of the predictions for degraded humanity in the coming age, the Age of Kali.

    “Men will consider that to have long hair means they are beautiful,” said Srila Prabhupada. When Randy heard that, he felt stunned!

  16. The apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians Chapter 7:

    “It is good for a man not to touch a woman, but because of prevailing immoralities, let every man have his own wife and let every woman have her own husband.

    “The husband must render to his wife the obligations that are due her, and similarly the wife to her husband…

    “Do not deprive each other, except by mutual agreement for a time to devote yourselves unhindered by prayer; and come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you on account of your lack of self-control.”

    (The apostle Paul’s words here suggest regulated or restricted sexual activity, even within marriage!)

    “I say this by way of concession, not as a regulation. I wish all were as I am (celibate), but each person has his own gift from God, the one in this direction, the other in that.

    “To the single and the widows, I say that it is good for them to remain as I am (celibate); but if they cannot restrain their passions, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn (with desire).

    “To the married couples I command — not really I but the Lord — that the wife must not leave her husband; and in case she does separate, she must either stay single or make up with her husband. And the husband must not divorce his wife.

    “…if the unbeliever wants to separate, let there be separation…”

    (Jesus forbade divorce, except in the case of unfaithfulness. And here we see Paul forbidding divorce, except in the case of an unbeliever demanding separation!)

    “Regarding the unmarried I have no divine injunction, but as one who has received mercy from the Lord to be trustworthy, I give my opinion… it is good for a person to remain in his present situation.

    “Are you united to a wife? do not seek release. Are you unattached to a woman? Do not seek a wife. But in case you marry, you do not sin; nor does the unmarried woman sin if she marries…

    “The single person is concerned with the Lord’s affairs, how to please the Lord, but the married person is concerned with things of the world, how to please his wife; he has divided interests.

    “The unmarried woman or the virgin is interested in the Lord’s affairs, that she may be dedicated to Him in body and spirit; but the married woman is concerned with things of the world, how she may please her husband.”

    “I mention this for your own good, not to throw a rope around you but to promote proper behavior and undisturbed devotion to the Lord.”

  17. Through Jesus and Christianity, Christians have *some* idea of spiritual life.

    Even Srila Prabhupada said the Bible contains *some* spiritual truth.

    “This is not to say that the Bible is nonsense. The Bible is the absolute truth. It is absolute truth that Lord Jesus Christ taught, but look at the people to whom he taught. They crucified him for teaching about God. He could not teach as great a depth.”

    –lecture, 1968

    Srila Prabhupada himself said:

    “…the Christian religion is very nice — if simply people have spiritual guides who help them to follow it perfectly. So many people have asked me, ‘Do you value Christianity?’ ‘Yes,’ I say, ‘If you faithfully follow your Christian religion, you will become perfect.”

    —Morning Walk, Geneva, June 6, 1974

    As far as Christianity is concerned, I see a parallel with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement. Some devotees are critical of TM saying it’s watered down (diluted) meditation (meditating only ten minutes in the morning and evening). Others say TM introduces people to ideas like karma, meditation, etc. and thus makes it possible for them to understand Krishna Consciousness. I’ve heard that in some countries, like Australia, many devotees came from a TM background.

    UC San Diego student bhaktin Barbara Lloyd, who lived briefly in the San Diego temple with her boyfriend / husband Scott Penrose in 1986, made a similar statement about Werner Erhard and “est” which introduced its practitioners to Vedic concepts like karma in terms of New Age psychology.

    Similarly, some devotees say Christianity and the example of Jesus brought them to Krishna Consciousness!

    Rohininandana dasa describes how he came to Krishna Consciousness:

    “While I was visiting Edinburgh at the time of the Arts Festival in 1970, a friend remarked to me, ‘There are some unusual people living just a few streets away. They shave their heads and wear robes, and they’re very poor. They’re some kind of monks. And whatever food they have they share with anyone who goes to their place.’ I was both awed and attracted just by hearing about these people, and I thought of my own miserly, anxious existence. Inside I wished that I was like them.

    “…I began searching for a teacher, a perfect Christian. Apart from Jesus, I had no faith in any ‘holy man.’ Jesus was my model, my hero… So I used to visit St. Paul’s cathedral and stand for long periods in front of a painting of Lord Jesus that hung above one of the side aisles. I felt the Lord’s presence here more than anywhere else. ‘I am the light of the world, standing at the door of your heart. If you hear my call and answer me, allowing me in, we can exchange love with each another.’ The kindness of Jesus touched my heart, and I felt I must follow him…

    “Lord Jesus had kindly given me a glimpse of his glory, but now I knew I needed training, practice in being a proper Christian. Yet who would teach me? I prayed,, ‘My dear Lord Jesus, please guide me to someone who perfectly practices your teachings…”

    Upon hearing Srila Prabhupada lecture, Rohininandana dasa was “amazed that what Prabhupada was saying made sense. He explained that there is a distinct difference between matter and spirit; that the soul within remains constant throughout the many changes of the body and therefore is unaffected by death; that there is a common spiritual goal for all humanity, the absence of which renders human life ultimately meaningless, and that when there are no higher principles for people to strive toward, the entire society eventually becomes pandemonium. As he expounded further, he cleared all of my doubts in such a simple and pure way that I began to realize, ‘Here is the person who is going to train me in spiritual life. Here is that perfect Christian I’ve been looking for.’”

    George Harrison said:

    “Although Christ in my mind is an absolute yogi, I think many Christian teachers today are misrepresenting Christ. They’re supposed to be representing Jesus, but they’re not doing it very well. They’re letting him down very badly, and that’s a big turn off.”

    Through Jesus and Christianity, Westerners have *some* idea of spiritual life. When a bogus guru like Rajneesh was interviewed on television over thirty years ago, they were asking him why he owned dozens of Rolls Royces, etc.

    Similarly, my friend Greg in San Diego is the second youngest of seven children, and his parents, devout Catholics, abstained from sex outside of marriage. Greg’s older sister Claire became born again, and Greg says she hasn’t had sex since the ’70s, because she’s unmarried and takes seriously the biblical injunction against sex outside of marriage.

    If Claire were to sleep around and were to try and rationalize fornication with “three times…” everyone would see her as a fraud!

    Conservative Christians are wary of anyone preaching what they think is a “false gospel.” Otherwise, why aren’t they still following Jim and Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, etc.?

    If Ted Haggard were to try and rationalize his homosexual affairs with “three times…” would the Christians take it seriously?

    Again: through Jesus and Christianity, Westerners have *some* idea of spiritual life. The Vedic literatures give a clearer and deeper understanding.

  18. 1. Veganism Is Direct Action!

    “A diet that can lead to heart attacks, cancer, and numerous other diseases cannot be a natural diet,” writes Keith Akers in A Vegetarian Sourcebook (1983). “A diet that pillages our resources of land, water, forests, and energy cannot be a natural diet. A diet that causes the unnecessary suffering and death of billions of animals each year cannot be a natural diet.”

    I understand there are conservative Christians who fear veganism… which is kind of like being afraid of nonsmoking, nondrinking, or recycling. Ronald J. Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, in his 1977 book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, pointed out that 220 million Americans were eating enough food (largely because of the high consumption of grain fed to livestock) to feed over one billion people in the poorer countries.

    A pamphlet put out by Compassion Over Killing says raising animals for food is one of the leading causes of both pollution and resource depletion today. According to a United Nations report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, raising chickens, turkeys, pigs, and other animals for food causes more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks and other forms of transportation combined.

    Researchers from the University of Chicago similarly concluded that a vegetarian diet is the most energy efficient, and the average American does more to reduce global warming emissions by not eating animal products than by switching to a hybrid car.

    “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”

    –Union Nations’ Food and Agriculture Association

    Nearly 75% of the grain grown and 50% of the water consumed in the U.S. are used by the meat industry. (Audubon Society)

    Over 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared to grow grain for livestock. (Greenpeace)

    It takes nearly one gallon of fossil fuel and 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of conventionally fed beef.
    (Mother Jones)

    Farmed animals produce an estimated 1.4 billion tons of fecal waste each year in the U.S. Much of this untreated waste pollutes the land and water.

    2. A World of Difference!

    Shifting to a plant-based diet literally makes a world of difference! It takes sixteen pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef.

    Ronald J. Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, in his 1977 book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, pointed out that 220 million Americans were eating enough food (largely because of the high consumption of grain-fed livestock) to feed over one billion people in the poorer countries.

    Oxfam estimates that in Mexico, 80 percent of the children in rural areas are undernourished, yet the livestock are fed more grain than the human population eats! The livestock are exported of course, to satisfy the developed nations’ craving for cheap hamburgers.

    In his book, The Hungry Planet, Georg Bergstrom points out that protein-starved underdeveloped nations export more protein to wealthy nations than they receive. He calls this “the protein swindle.”

    Ninety percent of the world’s fish meal catch, for example, is exported to rich countries. One-third of Africa’s peanut crop winds up in the stomachs of European livestock. Half the world’s cereal crop is fed to livestock and the United States annually imports one million tons of vegetable protein from Third World nations–just to feed its farm animals.

    Bergstrom writes: “Sometimes one wonders how many Americans and Western Europeans have grasped the fact that quite a few of their beef steaks, quarts of milk, dozens of eggs, and hundreds of broilers are the result, not of their agriculture, but of the approximately two million metric tons of protein, mostly of high quality, which astute Western businessmen channel away from the needy and hungry.”

    ****

    Vegan author John Robbins writes in his 1987 Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America:

    “Half the world’s population does not receive an adequate amount of food to eat. Ten to twenty million die annually of hunger and its effects. The Institute for Food and Development Policy reports that, ‘Forty thousand children starve to death on this planet every day,’ or one child every two seconds.

    “The livestock population of the United States today consumes enough grain and soybeans to feed over five times the entire human population of the country. We feed these animals over 80% of the corn we grow, and over 95% of the oats. Less than half the harvested agricultural acreage in the United States is used to grow food for people. Most of it is used to grow livestock feed.

    “The world’s cattle alone, not to mention pigs and chickens, consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people. It takes sixteen pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. According to Department of Agriculture statistics, one acre of land can grow 20,000 pounds of potatoes. That same acre of land, if used to grow cattlefeed, can produce less than 165 pounds of beef.”

    ****

    In the 2006 edition of The Higher Taste: A Guide to Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking and a Karma-Free Diet, we read:

    Food expert Frances Moore Lappe, author of the 1971 bestseller Diet for a Small Planet, once said in a television interview that we should look at a piece of steak as if it were a Cadillac. “What I mean,” she explained, “is that we in America are hooked on gas-guzzling automobiles because of the illusion of cheap petroleum. Likewise, we got hooked on a grain-fed, meat-centered diet because of the illusion of cheap grain.”

    The process of using grain to produce meat is incredibly wasteful: the USDA’s Economic Research Service shows that we receive only one pound of beef for each sixteen pounds of grain. In his book Proteins: Their Chemistry and Politics, Dr. Aaron Altschul notes that in terms of calorie units per acre, a diet of grains, vegetables, and beans will support twenty times as many people than a meat-centered diet.

    As it stands now, about half of the harvested acreage in America and in a number of European, African, and Asian countries is used to feed animals. If the earth’s arable land were used primarily for the production of vegetarian foods, the planet could easily support a human population of twenty billion or larger.

    Points and facts such as these have led food experts to point out that the world hunger problem is largely illusory. The Global Hunger Alliance writes: “Most hunger deaths are due to chronic malnutrition caused by inequitable distribution and inefficient use of existing food resources. At the same time, wasteful agricultural practices, such as the intensive livestock operations known as factory farming, are rapidly polluting and depleting the natural resources upon which all life depends. Trying to produce more foods by these methods would lead only to more water pollution, soil degradation, and, ultimately, more hunger.”

    A report submitted to the United Nations World Food Conference concurs: “The overconsumption of meat by the rich means hunger for the poor. This wasteful agriculture must be changed–by the suppression of feedlots where beef are fattened on grains, and even a massive reduction of beef cattle.”

    Pound for pound, many vegetarian foods are better sources of protein than meat. A 100-gram portion of lentils yields twenty-five grams of protein, while a hundred grams of soybeans yields thirty-four grams of protein.

    But although meat provides less protein, it costs more. A spot check of supermarkets in Florida in August 2005 showed sirloin steak costing $7.87 a pound, while staple ingredients for delicious vegetarian meals averaged less than $1.50 a pound.

    Becoming a vegetarian could potentially save an individual shopper at least several hundred dollars each year, thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime. The savings to consumers as a whole would amount to billions of dollars annually. Considering all this, it’s hard to see how anyone could afford not to become a vegetarian.

    “If you could feel or see the suffering, you wouldn’t think twice. Give back life. Don’t eat meat.”

    —actress Kim Basinger

    ****

    Vegan author John Robbins similarly writes in his 1987 Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America:

    “The livestock population of the United States today consumes enough grain and soybeans to feed over five times the entire human population of the country. We feed these animals over 80% of the corn we grow, and over 95% of the oats… Less than half the harvested agricultural acreage in the United States is used to grow food for people. Most of it is used to grow livestock feed…

    “The developing nations are copying us. They associate meat-eating with the economic status of the developed nations, and strive to emulate it. The tiny minority who can afford meat in those countries eats it, even while many of their people go to bed hungry at night, and mothers watch their children starve…

    “To supply one person with a meat habit food for a year requires three-and-a-quarter acres. To supply one lacto-ovo-vegetarian requires only one-half of an acre. To supply one pure vegetarian (vegan) requires only one-sixth of an acre. In other words, a given acreage can feed twenty times as many people eating a pure vegetarian (vegan) diet-style as it could people eating the standard American diet-style…

    “In a world in which a child dies of starvation every two seconds, an agricultural system designed to feed our meat habit is a blasphemy. Yet it continues, because we continue to support it. Those who profit from this system do not need us to condone what they are doing. The only support they need from us is our money. As long as enough people continue to purchase their products they will have the resources to fight reforms, pump millions of dollars of ‘educational’ propaganda into our schools, and defend themselves against medical and ethical truths.

    “A rapidly growing number of Americans are withdrawing support from this insane system by refusing to consume meat. For them, this new direction in diet-style is a way of joining hands with others and saying we will not support a system which wastes such vast amounts of food while people in this world do not have enough to eat.”

    Raising animals for food, even raising animals for animal by-products like milk and eggs, means wasting valuable acreage, because the animals have to be fed plant food! If we eat lower on the food chain, fewer resources are required to feed everyone, which means less agricultural acreage, etc., which means fewer rodents and insects are killed when fields are ploughed for farming, etc.

    If you carry this argument to its logical conclusion, a vegan diet is the least violent, because it requires one-third less acreage than a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, and twenty times less acreage than a meat-centered diet.

    ****

    Jeremy Rifkin, author of a dozen influential books and President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, writes in his 1992 bestseller Beyond Beef:

    “Cattle and other livestock are devouring much of the grain produced on the planet. It need be emphasized that this is a new phenomenon, unlike anything ever experienced before.

    “Contrary to popular belief, the poor are getting poorer each year… Increased poverty has meant increased malnutrition. On the African continent, nearly one in every four human beings is malnourished. In Latin America, nearly one out of every seven people goes to bed hungry each night. In Asia and the Pacific, 28 percent of the people border on starvation, experiencing the gnawing pain of a perpetual hunger.”

    “In the Near East, one in ten people is underfed. Chronic hunger now affects upwards of 1.3 billion people, according to the world Health Organization — a statistic all the more striking in a world where one third of all the grain produced is being fed to cattle and other livestock. Never before in human history has such a large percentage of our species — nearly 25 percent — been malnourished.

    “The transition of world agriculture from food grain to feed grains represents an… evil whose consequences may be far greater and longer lasting than any past examples of violence inflicted by men against their fellow human beings.”

    ****

    Vegan author John Robbins writes in his 1992 bestseller, May All Be Fed:

    “The Worldwatch Institute has released a remarkable report entitled Taking Stock: Animal Farming and the Environment, which lists nation after nation where food deprivation has followed the switch from a grain-based diet to a meat-based one.

    “Most of the nations importing grain from the United States were once self-sufficient in grain. The main reason they aren’t is the rise in meat production and consumption…

    “In country after country the pattern is repeated. Livestock industries are consuming feed to such an extent that now almost all Third World nations must import grain. Seventy-five percent of Third World imports of corn, barley, sorghum, and oats are fed to animals, not to people. In country after country, the demand for meat among the rich is squeezing out staple production for the poor…”

    “Many of us believe that hunger exists because there’s not enough food to go around,” writes vegan author John Robbins in his Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America. “But as Frances Moore Lappe and her anti-hunger organization Food First! have shown, the real cause of hunger is a scarcity of justice, not a scarcity of food.”

    ****

    In a 2011 article entitled “Ending Animal Agriculture: the Real Solution to the Food Crisis,” Mac McDaniel writes:

    “It will never cease to amaze me how people are so dedicated to the idea of eating animals. We’re looking at a global food crisis by 2050 and… we’re trying to George Lucas our way out of it with prototypes, science fiction, and undeveloped technology.

    “With any discussion of food shortages, the 800 lb. gorilla in the room is animal agriculture. (Nearly 75) percent of all agriculture land is used to raise livestock, and a third of land used for growing crops is used for growing feed for livestock. You simply can’t talk about increasing food supplies without talking about eliminating animal agriculture…

    “It doesn’t take a scientist to see the common sense that feeding plants to animals, and then eating the animals, is a horribly inefficient way to produce food…

    “That means between 75% and 90% of the gross weight of the food in the scenario is being completely wasted…

    “The only solution to the global food crisis is the end of animal agriculture. Freeing up that much farmland would not only increase food supplies by incalculable amounts — which would inevitably all but end hunger in the third world — it would benefit the health of everyone in the western world. And at the same time, it would finally end… the bloodiest and most violent era in human existence.”

    ****

    Barbara Parham writes in her 1979 paperback, What’s Wrong With Eating Meat?:

    “According to Buckminster Fuller, there are enough resources at present to feed, clothe, house and educate every human being on the planet at American middle class standards. The Institute for Food and Development Policy has shown that there is no country in the world in which the people cannot feed themselves from their own resources.

    “Moreover, there is no correlation between land density and hunger. China has twice as many people per cultivated acre as India, yet less of a hunger problem. Bangladesh has just one-half the people per cultivated acre that Taiwan has, yet Taiwan has no starvation, while Bangladesh has one of the highest rates in the world. The most densely populated countries in the world today are not India and Bangladesh, but Holland and Japan.”

    3. I agree, humans do more than consume food: we need not only food, but clothing, shelter, supporting technology, etc… But animal agriculture consumes fossil fuel energy, fresh water, land space, raw materials at an alarming rate, and contributes heavily to air and water pollution, deforestization, and global warming. (See below):

    Vegan author John Robbins provides these points and facts in his Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America (1987):

    Half the water consumed in the U.S. irrigates land growing feed and fodder for livestock. Huge amounts of water wash away their excrement. U.S. livestock produce twenty times as much excrement as the entire human population, creating sewage which is ten to several hundred times as concentrated as raw domestic sewage.

    Animal wastes cause thrice as much water pollution than does the U.S. human population; the meat industry causes thrice as much harmful organic water pollution than the rest of the nation’s industries combined.

    Meat producers, the number one industrial polluters in our nation, contribute to half the water pollution in the United States.

    Vegan author John Robbins writes:

    The water that goes into a 1,000 lb. steer could float a destroyer. It takes 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat, but 2,500 gallons to produce a pound of meat. If these costs weren’t subsidized by the American taxpayers, the cheapest hamburger meat would be $35 per pound!

    Subsidizing the California meat industry costs taxpayers $24 billion annually. Livestock producers are California’s biggest consumers of water.

    Every tax dollar the state doles out to livestock producers costs taxpayers over seven dollars in lost wages, higher living costs and reduced business income. Seventeen western states have enough water supplies to support economies and populations twice as large as the present.

    According to vegan author John Robbins:

    Overgrazing of cattle leads to topsoil erosion, turning once-arable land into desert. We lose four million acres of topsoil each year and 85 percent of this loss is directly caused by raising livestock.

    To replace the soil we’ve lost, we’re chopping down our forests. Since 1967, the rate of deforestation in the U.S. has been one acre every five seconds. For each acre cleared in urbanization, seven are cleared for grazing or growing livestock feed.

    One-third of all raw materials in the U.S. are consumed by the livestock industry and it takes thrice as much fossil fuel energy to produce meat than it does to produce plant foods.

    A report on the energy crisis in Scientific American warned: “The trends in meat consumption and energy consumption are on a collision course.”

    ****

    Mother and daughter, Jennifer Horsman and Jaime Flowers, write in their 2007 book, Please Don’t Eat the Animals:

    Meat production causes deforestation, which then contributes to global warming. Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, and the destruction of forests around the globe to make room for grazing cattle furthers the greenhouse effect.

    The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations reports that the annual rate of tropical deforestation has increased from nine million hectares in 1980 to 16.8 million hectares in 1990, and unfortunately, this destruction has accelerated since then. By 1994, a staggering 200 million hectares of rainforest had been destroyed in South America just for cattle.

    “The impact of countless hooves and mouths over the years has done more to alter the type of vegetation and land forms of the West than all the water projects, strip mines, power plants, freeways, and sub-division developments combined.”

    –Philip Fradkin, in Audubon, National Audubon Society, New York

    Agricultural meat production generates air pollution. As manure decomposes, it releases over four hundred volatile organic compounds, many of which are extremely harmful to human health. Nitrogen, a major by-product of animal wastes, changes to ammonia as it escapes into the air, and this is a major source of acid rain. Worldwide, livestock produce over thirty million tons of ammonia. Hydrogen sulfide, another chemical released from animal waste, can cause irreversible neurological damage, even at low levels.

    Livestock production affects a startling 70 to 85 percent of the land area of the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union. That includes the public and private rangeland used for grazing, as well as the land used to produce the crops that feed the animals.

    By comparison, urbanization only affects three percent of the United States land area, slightly larger for the European Union and the United Kingdom. Meat production consumes the world’s land resources.

    Half of all fresh water worldwide is used for thirsty livestock. Producing eight ounces of beef requires an unimaginable 25,000 liters of water, or the water necessary for one pound of steak equals the water consumption of the average household for a year.

    The Worldwatch Institute estimates one pound of steak from a steer raised in a feedlot costs: five pounds of grain, a whopping 2,500 gallons of water, the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, and about 34 pounds of topsoil.

    Thirty-three percent of our nation’s raw materials and fossil fuels go into livestock destined for slaughter. In a vegan economy, only two percent of our resources will go to the production of food.

    “It seems disingenuous for the intellectual elite of the first world to dwell on the subject of too many babies being born in the second- and third-world nations while virtually ignoring the overpopulation of cattle and the realities of a food chain that robs the poor of sustenance to feed the rich a steady diet of grain-fed meat.”

    –Jeremy Rifkin, pro-life AND pro-animal author, Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture, and president of the Greenhouse Crisis Foundation

    4. Earth Day Requests

    From PETA Asia:

    “Would you ever open your refrigerator, pull out sixteen plates of pasta, toss fifteen in the trash, and then eat just one plate of food? How about level five square meters of rain forest for a single meal? That sounds ludicrous, right? But if you’re eating chickens, fish, pigs, cows, eggs, or dairy products, that’s what you’re doing: wasting resources and destroying our environment.

    “According to the United Nations, raising animals for food (including land used for grazing and land used to grow feed crops) now uses a staggering 30 percent of the Earth’s land mass. A vegan diet requires 1,100 liters of water per day to produce, while a meat-based diet requires more than 15,000 liters per day. That means that it takes the equivalent of 50 bathtubs of water to produce just one steak.

    “And we haven’t even gotten into the staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions that are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute!

    “But we do have some good news: Science shows that going vegan is one of the most effective ways to fight climate change as well as one of the most powerful steps that you can take to make your life greener and healthier. It alleviates pressure on the world’s precious resources, helps tackle climate change and world hunger, and radically decreases your own risk of developing life-threatening diseases. And don’t forget that it saves the lives of animals, too!

    “So in honor of Earth Day, please take the vegan pledge to save the Earth.”

    ****

    Oakland Veg, promoting a plant-based diet in Oakland, CA, sent out the following email on Earth Day:

    “There are lots of ways to help the environment, but the easiest (and most delicious) is to choose Chipotle’s sofritas instead of pork carnitas, a veggie burger instead of a cow burger, or rich coconut milk for your coffee instead of cow’s milk. Here’s how you’ll be helping with by choosing chips and guacamole instead of chicken wings:

    “Animal agriculture is responsible for fifteen percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions and is recognized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as one of the ‘top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.’

    “Pasture expansion for farm animals is a key driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America. Worldwide, more land is used to raise and feed farm animals than for any other purpose. More than 97 percent of soymeal and 60 percent of the barley and corn produced globally are fed to farm animals.

    “According to the Sierra Club, if Americans reduced meat consumption by just 20 percent, it’d have the same environmental benefit as everyone switching from a standard sedan to a hybrid vehicle.

    “So enjoy your Earth Day dinner tonight, and…THANK YOU. Thanks for caring and thanks for doing something positive!”

    5. Nor can fish provide any help in alleviating global hunger.

    There are signs that the fishing industry (which is quite energy-intensive) has already overfished the oceans in several areas. And fish could never play a major role in the worlds diet anyway: the entire global fish catch of the world, if divided among all the world’s inhabitants would amount to only a few ounces of fish per person per week.

    The pacific sardine lives along the coasts of North America from Alaska to southern California. Sardines, once a major part of the California fishing industry, are now considered to be “commercially extinct.” Another species classified as “commercially extinct” is the New England haddock. Ecologists have also been concerned about the significant reduction in finfish, the Atlantic bluefin tuna, Lake Erie cisco, and blackfins that inhabit Lakes Huron and Michigan.

    Over 200,000 porpoises are killed every year by fishermen seeking tuna in the Pacific. Sea turtles are similarly killed in Caribbean shrimp operations.

    Factory farm pollution is the primary source of damage to coastal waters in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Scientists report that over sixty percent of the coastal waters in the United States are moderately to severely degraded from factory farm nutrient pollution. This pollution creates oxygen-depleted dead zones, which are huge areas of ocean devoid of aquatic life.

    The World Conservation Union lists over 1,000 different fish species that are threatened or endangered. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate, over 60 percent of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted. Commercial fish populations of cod, hake, haddock, and flounder have fallen by as much as 95 percent in the north Atlantic.

    According to a national Vegetarian Resource Group Poll conducted by Harris Interactive, nearly 15 percent of Americans say they never eat fish or seafood.

    6. It makes sense to eat lower on the food chain!

    The threat of “overpopulation” is frequently used to justify abortion as birth control. On a vegan diet, however, the world could easily support a human population several times its present size. The world’s cattle alone consume enough to feed over 8.7 billion humans.

    Some find it easier to be vegan on certain days of the week as a way to transition to being completely vegan. Sir Paul McCartney has endorsed a “Meatless Mondays” campaign. In 2011, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors signed a VegDay Resolution encouraging a plant-based diet on Mondays. They point out that if everyone in San Francisco went veg one day per week, it would save 37,000,000 lbs. of greenhouse gas emissions. That is the equivalent of taking 123,822 cars off the streets of San Francisco!

    According to the Sierra Club, if Americans reduced meat consumption by just twenty percent, it would have the same environmental benefit as everyone switching from a standard sedan to a hybrid vehicle.

    Les Brown of the Overseas Development Council similarly calculates that if Americans reduced their meat consumption by only ten percent per year, it would free at least twelve million tons of grain for human consumption — or *enough* to feed sixty million people.

    Even if you argue that shifting to a plant-based diet, a vegan diet, isn’t enough to stave off overpopulation, in light of the data showing the depletion of energy, food, fresh water, land space, raw materials and resources as well as the heavy contribution to air and water pollution, deforestization, and global warming caused by a meat-centered diet, how do you — worried about “overpopulation” consuming the world’s resources — justify consuming meat?!

  19. Doing Enough for Animals: An Open Letter to Pope Francis from the San Francisco Vegetarian Society:

    It is said that St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) bought two lambs from a butcher and gave them the coat on his back to keep them warm; and that he bought two fish from a fishwoman and threw them back into the water. He even paid to ransom lambs that were being taken to their death, recalling the gentle Lamb who willingly went to slaughter (Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29) to pay the ransom of sinners.

    “Be conscious, O man, of the wondrous state in which the Lord God has placed you,” instructed Francis in his Admonitions (4), “for He created and formed you to the image of His beloved Son–and (yet) all the creatures under heaven, each according to its nature, serve, know, and obey their Creator better than you.” St. Francis felt a deep kinship with all creatures. He called them “brother” and “sister,” knowing they came from the same Source as himself.

    Francis revealed his fraternal love for the animal world during Christmas time 1223: “If I ever have the opportunity to talk with the emperor,” he explained, “I’ll beg him, for the love of God and me, to enact a special law: no one is to capture or kill our sisters the larks or do them any harm. Furthermore, all mayors and lords of castles and towns are required to scatter wheat and other grain on the roads outside the walls so that our sisters the larks and other birds might have something to eat on so festive a day.

    “And on Christmas Eve, out of reverence for the Son of God, whom on that night the Virgin Mary placed in a manger before the ox and the ass, anyone having an ox or an ass is to feed it a generous portion of choice fodder. And, on Christmas Day, the rich are to give the poor the finest food in abundance.”

    Francis removed worms from a busy road and placed them on the roadside so they would not be crushed under human traffic. Once when he was sick and almost blind, mice ran over his table as he took his meals and over him while he slept. He regarded their disturbance as a “diabolical temptation,” which he met with patience and restraint, indicating his compassion towards other living creatures.

    St. Francis was once given a wild pheasant to eat, but he chose instead to keep it as a companion. On another occasion, he was given a fish, and on yet another, a waterfowl to eat, but he was moved by the natural beauty of these creatures and chose to set them free.

    “Dearly beloved!” said Francis beginning a sermon after a severe illness, “I have to confess to God and you that…I have eaten cakes made with lard.”

    The Catholic Encyclopedia comments on this incident as follows: “St. Francis’ gift of sympathy seems to have been wider even than St. Paul’s, for we find no evidence in the great Apostle of a love for nature or for animals…

    “Francis’ love of creatures was not simply the offspring of a soft sentimental disposition. It arose from that deep and abiding sense of the presence of God. To him all are from one Father and all are real kin…hence, his deep sense of personal responsibility towards fellow creatures: the loving friend of all God’s creatures.”

    Francis taught: “All things of creation are children of the Father and thus brothers of man…God wants us to help animals, if they need help. Every creature in distress has the same right to be protected.”

    According to Francis, a lack of mercy towards animals leads to a lack of mercy towards men: “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the ‘shelter’ of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”

    One Franciscan monk, St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231), who preached throughout France and Italy, is said to have attracted a group of fish that came to hear him preach. St. James of Venice, who lived during the 13th century, bought and released the birds sold in Italy as toys for children. It is said he “pitied the little birds of the Lord… his tender charity recoiled from all cruelty, even to the most diminutive of animals.”

    St. Bonaventure was a scholar and theologian who joined the Franciscan Order in 1243. He wroteThe Soul’s Journey into God and The Life of St. Francis, the latter documenting St. Francis’ miracles with animals and love for all creation. Bonaventure taught that all creatures come from God and return to Him, and that the light of God shines through His different creatures in different ways:

    “…For every creature is by its nature a kind of effigy and likeness of the eternal Wisdom. Therefore, open your eyes, alert the ears of your spirit, open your lips and apply your heart so that in all creatures you may see, hear, praise, love and worship, glorify and honor your God.”

    **

    “The livestock population of the United States today consumes enough grain and soybeans to feed over five times the entire human population of the country.”

    “We feed these animals over 80% of the corn we grow, and over 95% of the oats. Less than half the harvested agricultural acreage in the United States is used to grow food for people. Most of it is used to grow livestock feed.”

    –vegan author John Robbins, Diet for a New America

    “One man’s meat is another man / woman / child’s hunger.”

    This slogan is part of the “Enough” campaign, with its aim of reducing meat consumption. The campaign highlights the waste of resources involved in feeding grain to animals:

    “Every minute 18 children die from starvation, yet 40% of the world’s grain is fed to animals for meat.”

    Vegetarianism for a trial period is advocated to “help the hungry, improve the environment” and “stop untold animal suffering.” Vegetarianism is also recommended on health grounds. This campaign actually has the support of organized religion.

    Ronald J. Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, in his 1977 book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, pointed out that 220 million Americans were eating enough food (largely because of the high consumption of grain fed to livestock) to feed over one billion people in the poorer countries.

    The realization that meat is an unnecessary luxury, resulting in inequities in the world food supply has prompted religious leaders in different Christian denominations to call on their members to abstain from meat on certain days of the week. Paul Moore, Jr., the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of New York, made such an appeal in a November, 1974 pastoral letter calling for the observance of “meatless Wednesdays.”

    A similar appeal had previously been issued by Cardinal Cooke, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York. The Reverend Eugene Carson Blake, former head of the World Council of Churches and founder of Bread for the World, has encouraged everyone in his anti-hunger organization to abstain from eating meat on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

    “Is this not the fast I have chosen? To loosen the chains of wickedness, to undo the bonds of oppression, and to let the oppressed go free? Is it not to share thy bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless? Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.”

    —Isaiah 58:6-8

    “Honourable men may disagree honourably about some details of human treatment of the non-human,” wrote Stephen Clark in his 1977 book, The Moral Status of Animals, “but vegetarianism is now as necessary a pledge of moral devotion as was the refusal of emperor-worship in the early church.”

    According to Clark, eating animal flesh is “gluttony,” and “Those who still eat flesh when they could do otherwise have no claim to be serious moralists.”

    “Clark’s conclusion has real force and its power has yet to be sufficiently appreciated by fellow Christians,” says the Reverend Andrew Linzey, author of Christianity and the Rights of Animals. “Far from seeing the possibility of widespread vegetarianism as a threat to Old Testament norms, Christians should rather welcome the fact that the Spirit is enabling us to make decisions so that we may more properly conform to the original Genesis picture of living in peace with creation.”

    Father Thomas Berry, a Catholic priest, author, and founder of the Riverdale Center of Religious Research in New York, wrote in 1987 that “Vegetarianism is a way of life that we should all move toward for economic survival, physical well-being, and spiritual integrity.”

    In a speech before the World Council of Churches in September 1988, Dr. Tom Regan concluded:

    “…the whole fabric of Christian agape is woven from the threads of sacrificial acts. To abstain…from eating animals, therefore, although it is not the end-all, can be the begin-all of our conscientious effort to journey back to (or toward) Eden, can be one way (among others) to re-establish or create that relationship to the earth which, if Genesis 1 is to be trusted, was part of God’s original hopes for and plans in creation.

    “It is the integrity of this creation we seek to understand and aspire to honor. In the choice of our food, I believe, we see…a small but not unimportant part of both the challenge and the promise of Christianity and animal rights.”

    In biology, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe calculated the probability of proteins forming from the random interaction of amino acids–the building blocks of Life. They found the odds were one out of ten to the 40,000th power. Given these extreme odds, it’s hard to imagine the self-organization of matter without the deliberate intervention of some kind of higher power or intelligence.

    All life is thus precious and sacred. Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Francis Crick has admitted, “the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle.” Organized religion is just beginning to understand that the “sanctity of life” includes other species.

    In a 1989 article entitled, “Re-examining the Christian Scriptures,” Rick Dunkerly of Christ Lutheran Church concludes, “…the Bible-believing Christian, should, of all people, be on the frontline in the struggle for animal welfare and rights. We who are Christians should be treating the animal creation now as it will be treated then, at Christ’s second coming. It will not now be perfect, but it must be substantial, otherwise we have missed our calling, and we grieve the One we call ‘Lord’, who was born in a stable surrounded by animals simply because He chose it that way.” Dunkerly teaches Bible studies at his home Church and is actively involved in animal rescue projects.

    In 1992, members of Los Angeles’ First Unitarian Church agreed to serve vegetarian meals at the church’s weekly Sunday lunch. Their decision was made as a protest against animal cruelty and the environmental damage caused by the livestock industry.

    The Reverend Marc Wessels, Executive Director of the International Network for Religion and Animals (INRA) made this observation on Earth Day 1990:

    “It is a fact that no significant social reform has yet taken place in this country without the voice of the religious community being heard. The endeavors of the abolition of slavery; the women’s suffrage movement; the emergence of the pacifist tradition during World War I; the struggles to support civil rights, labor unions, and migrant farm workers; and the anti-nuclear and peace movements have all succeeded in part because of the power and support of organized religion. Such authority and energy is required by individual Christians and the institutional church today if the liberation of animals is to become a reality.”

  20. You’d think the unborn-right-to-lifers would immediately understand the animal-right-to-lifers! The case for animal rights should be readily understandable to the millions of Americans opposed to abortion on demand.

    “Although I may disagree with some of its underlying principles,” writes pro-life Democrat Karen Swallow Prior, “there is much for me, an anti-abortion activist, to respect in the animal rights movement. Animal rights activists, like me, have risked personal safety and reputation for the sake of other living beings. Animal rights activists, like me, are viewed by many in the mainstream as fanatical wackos, ironically exhorted by irritated passerby to ‘Get a Life!’ Animal rights activists, like me, place a higher value on life than on personal comfort and convenience, and in balancing the sometimes competing interests of rights and responsibilities, choose to err on the side of compassion and nonviolence.”

    The animal rights movement, representing a cross-section of mainstream secular American society, is NOT “officially pro-choice,” but IS divided on abortion. In a 1992 interview on Dennis Prager’s conservative talk show, when specifically asked about the animal rights position on abortion, Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), admitted, “We’re divided.”

    Former television game show host Bob Barker is a conservative Republican and an animal activist. Tony LaRussa of the Animal Rescue Foundation is a political conservative. Vegan labor leader Cesar Chavez was pro-life. Vegan civil rights leader Dick Gregory was pro-life. Former Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy, a devout pacifist, has expressed opposition to abortion, and in the 1980s was critical of Reverend Jesse Jackson for having changed sides on the issue.

    Dixie Mahy, past president of the San Francisco Vegetarian Society, has been vegetarian for sixty years, vegan for forty of those sixty years, and identifies herself as pro-life-and-pro-animal Matthew Scully, a conservative Catholic and former speechwriter for George W. Bush identifies himself as “Pro-Animal, Pro-Life.” Catholic Concern for Animals is pro-life-and-pro-animal. Reverend Frank Hoffman’s http://www.all-creatures.org Christian vegan website is pro-life-and-pro-animal Compassion for animals is a fundamental tenet of the Baha’i faith, which endorses vegetarianism, says abortion is more a matter of individual conscience, but concludes, without taking a position on abortion, life should not be destroyed.

    John Stuart Mill wrote: “The reasons for legal intervention in favor of children apply not less strongly to the case of those unfortunate slaves — the animals.”

    Animals are like children. Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), successfully prosecuted a woman for child abuse in 1873, at a time when children had no legal protection, under the then currently existing animal protection statutes. This case started the child-saving crusade around the world.

    In Christianity and the Rights of Animals, the Reverend Dr. Andrew Linzey writes: “In some ways, Christian thinking is already oriented in this direction. What is it that so appalls us about cruelty to children or oppression of the vulnerable, but that these things are betrayals of relationships of special care and special trust? Likewise, and even more so, in the case of animals who are mostly defenseless before us.”

    When told the animal rights movement is divided on abortion, Serrin Foster, Executive Director of Feminists For Life, said understandingly, “The Children’s Defense Fund is also divided on abortion.” Feminists For Life has many vegetarians and vegans. Serrin identifies herself as a vegetarian.

    From 1992 through 2003, James Dawson, raised Catholic and now a Buddhist, published Live and Let Live, a pro-life / animal rights / libertarian ‘zine. The ancient eastern reincarnationist religions Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism all predate Christianity, all oppose abortion, all teach ahimsa, or nonviolence towards humans and animals alike to the point of vegetarianism, all are vegan-friendly, and all teach that abortion and war are the karma for killing animals, and that therefore, we cannot end abortion nor bring about world peace until first we abolish the killing of animals.

    This knowledge, however, does not rest with everyone. Not all pro-life-and-pro-animal people advocate the reincarnationist strategy for ending abortion and bringing about world peace. Shay Van Vlieman, founder of Vegans For Life in the late ’90s, said she doesn’t expect to see a vegan president in her lifetime: she would just be glad to elect a president who will work to overturn Roe v. Wade. And she insists she is not a Republican, but a libertarian!

    During the late 1990s, Rachel MacNair, a Quaker pacifist, feminist, vegan, past president of Feminists For Life, moderated an email list for pro-life vegetarians and pro-life vegans. Rachel is now a psychology professor, and has written several books on nonviolence. In 1998, the Animals Agenda ran a cover story on the debate within the animal rights movement over abortion. Vegan congressman Dennis Kucinich (D – Ohio), one of the most liberal members of Congress, was pro-life throughout most of his political career.

    Pro-life vegetarians and pro-life vegans are found within the “consistent-ethic” movement: pro-lifers opposed to capital punishment. A significant number of “consistent-ethic” Christians were / are vegetarian or vegan: Rose Evans, Ruth Enero, Rachel MacNair, Albert Fecko, Carol Crossed, Bill Samuel, Mary Krane Derr, Mary Rider, Father John Dear, etc.

    Mary Rider, a practicing Catholic, wrote in Harmony: Voices for a Just Future, a “consistent-ethic” periodical in 2002:

    “So we teach our children to walk softly on the earth and to embrace nonviolence as the only legitimate means of conflict resolution, on both a personal and a global level. We are aware of the excessive, privileged life we lead as educated, first world U.S. citizens and of the responsibilities to which our privilege calls us. We try to live simply. We eat low on the food chain. We try to buy nothing new… We try to respect all life and carry that message forward in all we do… Because we value people and relationships over things… First world consumption kills people around the world… Pollution, environmental devastation, corrupt governments, war, sweatshops… all are a are a result of our desire to buy more at a lower price… We believe each person has a right to live a valued and respected life free from hunger and discrimination…”

    The threat of overpopulation is frequently used to justify abortion as birth control. On a vegan diet, however, the world could easily support a human population several times its present size. The world’s cattle alone consume enough to feed over 8.7 billion humans. Even if abortion advocates argue shifting to a plant-based diet, a vegan diet, isn’t enough to stave off overpopulation, in light of the data showing the depletion of energy, food, fresh water, land space, raw materials and resources as well as the heavy contribution to air and water pollution, deforestization, and global warming caused by a meat-centered diet, how do abortion advocates — warning about overpopulation consuming the world’s resources — justify consuming animal products?

    If vegetarianism were merely about “fit” or following a peculiar set of “dietary laws” why are pro-lifers offended by pro-choice vegetarians and pro-choice vegans? Clearly, they’re offended because they know vegetarianism involves the animals’ right to life, and thus these pro-choicers appear to value animal life over human life under some circumstances. And issues like animal experimentation, circuses, and fur have nothing to do with diet, eating, nor food, but do involve the animals’ right to life. Leonardo Da Vinci, Count Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, Susan B. Anthony, Percy Shelley, Rosa Parks, etc. were all vegetarian, and none of them were Jewish nor Muslim.

    For Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action offers an introduction to animal rights ethics within Christianity alongside directly related sanctity-of-life issues, like the possible rights of unborn children. The book’s foreword is written by Mary Eberstadt, senior fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, a Catholic who identifies herself as “Pro-Animal, Pro-Life.”

    Author Charles Camosy responds to criticisms from academicians Peter Singer and Lynn White, Jr., that the misinterpretation of “human dominion” (versus compassionate stewardship) is responsible for the current ecological crisis. Camosy indicates that Christianity cannot be blamed if humans with their imperfections distort their own religious teachings, that Christianity did not give rise to the industrial revolution, and that real Christianity — as it was meant to be practiced — is at odds with market-driven ethics and mass consumerism (a point made decades ago by liberal Protestant theologian Dr. Harvey Cox). Camosy concludes: “I became convinced that, if I wanted to be authentically and consistently pro-life, I should give up eating meat.” Dozens of books have been written on Christianity and animal rights. Camosy merely provides an overview of animal ethics in Christianity.

    Steve Kaufman, head of the Christian Vegetarian Association, was raised Jewish, and is now serving in the United Church of Christ, America’s largest pro-choice Protestant denomination. Steve expressed interest in Democrats For Life, his only reservation was whether Democrats For Life favors criminalizing abortion. Some animal advocates and activists (like Catholic vegan columnist Colman McCarthy) oppose abortion, but don’t think criminalization is the answer.

    In 2004, on the Democrats For Life email list, Maria Krasinski mentioned a poll which found animal activists evenly divided on abortion. This either indicates animal rights really are a bipartisan cause which conservatives can support alongside liberals, or it indicates many liberals are uncomfortable with abortion!

    In 2014, Kristen Day of Democrats For Life said: “Roughly a third of the Democratic Party is pro-life. And while many do not call themselves liberal, they share the values which seem to identify with liberalism, particularly a commitment to helping the vulnerable and providing a social safety net.”

    The Democratic Party platform should support: Animal Rights, Defending the Affordable Care Act, Ending Citizens United, Ending Marijuana Prohibition, Giving Greater Visibility to Pro-Life Democrats, Gun Control, Net Neutrality, Raising the Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour, Responding to the Scientific Consensus on Global Warming, and a Sustainable Energy Policy.

    Democrats for Life of America, 10521 Judicial Drive, #200, Fairfax, VA 22030, (703) 424-6663

  21. ZedMont writes on the Daily Kos:

    “The Christianity you see today is not the Christianity practiced by Jesus’ apostles. It is the Christianity that was unknown until the self-appointed ‘apostle’ Paul invented it, based on his personal, unwitnessed conversations with a vision of the resurrected Jesus, years after the crucifixion.”

    Agreed. The late Reverend Janet Regina Hyland (1933 – 2007), author of God’s Covenant with Animals (it’s available through People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA) once said to me in a phone conversation, what makes Paul’s “revelation” any more valid than Mohammed’s or Joseph Smith’s? Even Oral Roberts claimed to have a vision of a 900-foot Jesus in 1987!

    The scribes and the Pharisees, Jesus claimed, “have neglected the weightier matters of the Law; justice and mercy and faith.” (Matthew 23:14,16-23; Luke 11:42, 20:45-47)

    This is painfully obvious when contrasting Paul’s pronouncements on the Law with those of Jesus.

    The most-repeated argument against biblical vegetarianism I’ve gotten from Christians is that they claim they are no longer under Mosaic Law, because the apostle Paul referred to his background as a former Pharisee and his previous adherence to Mosaic Law (with its dietary laws, commandments calling for the humane treatment of animals, etc.) as “so much garbage.” (Philippians 3:4-8)

    Nothing in the synoptic gospels suggests a break with Judaism. Jesus was called “Rabbi,” meaning “Master” or “Teacher,” 42 times in the gospels. Jesus’ ministry was rabbinic. Jesus related scripture and God’s laws to everyday life, teaching by personal example. Jesus engaged in healing and acts of mercy. Jesus told stories or parables — a rabbinic method of teaching.

    Jesus 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 (Luke 4:16).

    Jesus called himself “Son of Man.” The prophet Ezekiel was addressed by God as “Son of Man.” (Ezekiel 2:1) In Hebrew, “son of man” (“ben adam”) was a synonym for “man.” Psalm 8:4 uses it in plural. Simon (Peter) referred to Jesus as “a man certified by God.” (Acts 2:22)

    Both John the Baptist and Jesus were considered prophets by the people. (Matthew 11:9, 21:11, 21:26, 21:46; Mark 6:15, 11:32; Luke 7:16, 7:26, 9:19, 24:19; John 4:19, 6:14, 7:40, 9:17)

    Jesus placed himself in the tradition of the prophets before him. (Matthew 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24, 13:33; John 4:44)

    Jesus frequently compared his ministry to the ministries of Noah, Lot and Jonah. (Matthew 10:15, 11:24, 12:39-40, 16:4, 24:37-39; Luke 10:12, 11:29,32, 17:26-29,32)

    Jesus began his ministry by teaching the multitudes not to “give what is sacred to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before swine.” (Matthew 7:6) Dogs, like swine, were considered foul and unclean by the Hebrew people. (Deuteronomy 23:18; I Samuel 24:14; II Kings 8:13; Psalm 22:16,20; Matthew 7:6; Luke 16:21; Revelations 22:15) These words were used by the children of Israel to describe the neighboring heathen populations.

    When sending his disciples out to preach, Jesus instructed them not to go to the gentiles, but to “go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10:5-6) When a Canaanite woman asked Jesus to heal her daughter, he replied, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel…It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (Matthew 15:22-28)

    Jesus regarded the gentiles as “dogs.” His gospel was intended for the Jewish people. Even the apostle Paul admitted that the gospel was first intended for the Jews, and that the Jews have every advantage over the gentiles in this regard (Romans 1:16, 3:1-2).

    When a scribe asked Jesus what is the greatest commandment in the Torah, Jesus began with “Hear O Israel, the Lord, thy God, is One Lord.” This is the Shema, which is still heard in every synagogue service to this day.

    “And you shall love the Lord with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength… And you shall love your neighbor as yourself,” Jesus concluded.

    When the scribe agreed that God is one and that to love Him completely and also love one’s neighbor as oneself is “more important than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices,” Jesus replied, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 12:29-34; Luke 10:25-28)

    In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus himself said:

    “Do not suppose I have come to abolish the Law and the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill…till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle pass from the Law till all is fulfilled. Whoever, therefore, breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven…unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20)

    Jesus also upheld the Torah in Luke 16:17:

    “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the smallest portion of the Law to become invalid.”

    Nor do these words refer merely to the Ten Commandments. Jesus meant the entire Torah: 613 commandments. When a man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus replied, “You know the commandments.” He then quoted not just the Ten Commandments, but a commandment from Leviticus 19:13 as well: “Do not defraud.” (Mark 10:17-22)

    Jesus’ disciples were once accused by the scribes and Pharisees of violating rabbinical tradition (Matthew 15:1-2; Mark 7:5), but not biblical law. At no place in the entire New Testament does Jesus ever proclaim Torah or the Law of Moses to be abolished; this was the theology of Paul, a former Pharisee who never knew Jesus, but who used to persecute Jesus’ followers. Paul openly identified himself not as a Jew but as a Roman (Acts 22:25-26) and an apostate from Judaism (Philippians 3:4-8)

    Sometimes Christians cite Matthew 7:12, where Jesus says “Do unto others…” and this “covers” the Law and the prophets.

    But Jesus was merely repeating in the positive what Rabbi Hillel taught earlier.

    Hillel was asked, “What is Judaism?”

    He replied: “What is hateful to you, do not do unto others. That is Judaism. All the rest is commentary.”

    No one took Hillel’s words to mean the Law had been abolished — why should we assume this of Jesus?

    If Jesus really came to abolish the Law and the prophets, Simon (Peter) would not have resisted a divine command to kill and eat both “clean” and “unclean” animals (Acts 10), nor would there have been a debate in the early church as to what extent the gentiles were to observe Mosaic Law (Acts 15).

    When Paul visited the church at Jerusalem, James and the elders told him all its members were “zealous for the Law,” and that they were worried because they heard rumors that Paul was preaching against Mosaic Law (Acts 21).

    None of these events would have happened had Jesus really come to abolish the Law and the prophets!

    Jesus not only repeatedly upheld Mosaic Law, he justified his healing on the Sabbath by referring to commandments calling for the humane treatment of animals!

    While teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, Jesus healed a woman who had been ill for eighteen years. He justified his healing work on the Sabbath by referring to biblical passages calling for the humane treatment of animals as well as their rest on the Sabbath. “So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham…be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” Jesus asked. (Luke 13:10-16)

    On another occasion, Jesus again referred to Torah teaching on “tsa’ar ba’alei chayim” or compassion for animals to justify healing on the Sabbath. “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” (Luke 14:1-5)

    Jesus compared saving sinners who had gone astray from God’s kingdom to rescuing lost sheep. He recalled a Jewish legend about Moses’ compassion as a shepherd for his flock:

    “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think? Who among you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

    “And when he has found it,” Jesus continued, “he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home,he calls together his friends and neighbors saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’

    “I say to you, likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Matthew 18:11-13; Luke 15:3-7,10)

    Paul, on the other hand, said if anyone has confidence in Mosaic Law, “I am ahead of him” (Philippians 3:4-8).

    Would that mean Paul places himself ahead of Jesus, who said he did not come to abolish the Law and the prophets?

    Would that mean Paul places himself ahead of Jesus, who said whoever sets aside even the least of the laws demands shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17-19)?

    Would that mean Paul places himself ahead of Jesus, who taught that following the commandments of God is the only way to eternal life (Mark 10:17-22)?

    Would that mean Paul places himself ahead of Jesus, who said that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the smallest portion of the Law to become invalid (Luke 16:17)?

    Paul may have regarded his previous adherence to Mosaic Law as “so much garbage,” but it should be obvious by now that JESUS DIDN’T THINK THE LAW WAS “GARBAGE”!

    If Christians revere Paul’s words over those of Jesus, then “Christianity” really is “Paulianity”.

    Bertrand Russell referred to Paul as the “inventor” of Christianity.

    I’m not saying Christians should all be circumcised and following Mosaic Law. The Reverend Andrew Linzey, the foremost theologian in the field of animal-human relations and author of Christianity and the Rights of Animals (1987), rejected such an approach in a 1989 interview with the Animals’ Agenda.

    I’m merely saying that Christianity for the past 2000 years has been based on a misunderstanding. Christians aren’t really following Jesus. They’re following Paul.

    Pete Cohn of Veggie Jews in San Francisco says Rabbi Michael Lerner, founder of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, focuses on Palestinian issues, not animal rights!

    At the end of 2007, we were distributing copies of Reverend Janet Regina Hyland’s God’s Covenant with Animals (actually, its previous incarnation, The Slaughter of Terrified Beasts, Viatoris Press, 1988) at a San Francisco Vegetarian Society (SFVS) potluck. I offered a copy to Pete Cohn, and he politely declined.

    When I told him People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had called the book a must-read for anyone tired of hearing the Bible misused to justify animal cruelty, Pete said, “PETA’s not Jewish.”

  22. Spiritual Strategies for the Age of Iron”

    by Ravindra Svarupa dasa (Dr. William Deadwyler)

    Behind Srila Prabhupada’s appearance on the alien Manhattan streets stand five millennia of planning and effort. The story of it opens one sunrise fifty centuries ago in the Himalayas, where the sage Krishna-Dvaipayana Vyasa sits in trance on the bank of the Sarasvati. In his meditation, Vyasa sees a future of unrelieved horror unfold before him. He sees Kali Yuga, the age of iron, begin and bring with it universal deterioration…

    The harassment of hard times upon an increasingly witless populace hastens its moral and spiritual decline. People begin to slaughter animals for food; they become more and more enslaved by drugs; they lose all sexual restraint. These habits further their physical and mental deterioration. Vyasa watches them sink deeper and deeper into sexuality and ignorance.

    Families break up, and women and children are abandoned. Increasingly degraded generations, conceived in lust and growing up wild, swarm over the earth. Leadership falls into the hands of unprincipled criminals who use their power to loot the people. The world teems with ideologues, mystagogues, fanatics, and spiritual bunko artists who win huge followings among a people dazed by social and moral anarchy. Unspeakable depravities and atrocities flourish under a rhetoric of high ideals.

    Vyasa sees horror piled upon horror; he sees the end of everything human; he sees the gathering darkness engulf the world.

    This is Vyasa’s prophetic vision on the eve of Kali Yuga, five thousand years ago. It spurs him into action. For Vyasa’s appearance on the brink of this temporal decline is not fortuitous. Vyasa is an avatar, the empowered literary incarnation of God, sent by Krishna specifically to prepare the knowledge of Vedic civilization for transmission through the coming millennia of darkness.

    Without such an undertaking, the erosion of human intelligence by the force of time would insure that all future generations would be completely cut off from their own cultural heritage and the matchless spiritual attainment of their forebears. Once the iron age began, they would not even realize that at one time the whole world had been governed by a single, supremely enlightened civilization; the Vedic culture.

    In that Vedic culture, everything was organized to further self-realization. Self-realization marks the ultimate development of human potential, in which a person knows himself directly as an eternal spiritual being, infrangibly bound to the supreme spiritual being, and without intrinsic relation to a temporarily inhabited material body. By cultivating self-realization, the Vedic civilization brought off this unparalleled achievement: it was able to eliminate completely the evils of birth, old age, disease, and death, securing for its members an eternal existence of knowledge and ever-increasing bliss.

    The Vedic culture recognized that not all souls who took human birth after transmigrating up through the animal forms would be able to make direct progress toward the supreme goal. Owing to different histories, people are born with different qualities and abilities. Nevertheless, Vedic culture enabled everyone to make some gradual advancement , and there were many arrangements for the gradual elevation of materialistic people. In any case, Vedic culture organized life so that everyone could satisfy the basic necessities in the simplest and most sensible way, leaving most of human energy free for the higher task.

    Vyasa saw that all this would disappear in Kali Yuga, since the focus of civilization would shift away from self-realization to sense gratification. Yet even though Kali Yuga could not be stopped, he would be able to mitigate its effects and keep alive the tradition of spiritual culture, in the same way that emissaries of a higher civilization can preserve their heritage among barbarians, or that a well-provisioned village can survive a raging winter.

    Vyasa was master of all the knowledge of Vedic culture–social, scientific, economic, political, ethical, aesthetic, and spiritual. This knowledge was contained in a single comprehensive canon called the Veda, a word that simply means “knowledge.” Until the time of Vyasa, the Veda was not written, because writing had been unnecessary. Far from being a sign of intellectual advancement, the appearance of writing is a testimony of decline, a device seize upon by to compensate for that mental deterioration which includes the loss of the ability to remember.

    It is interesting, by the way, that the Vedic date assigned to the advent of Kali Yuga (c. 3102 BC) corresponds closely to the date set by modern historians for the rise of civilized life, an event signaled by the appearance of literacy and the emergence of complex urban societies. All that historians recognize as recorded human history is, in fact, only human history in Kali Yuga. The academic historians’ ignorance of the earlier and incalculably higher Vedic civilization is what we have to expect from people suffering from the mental retardation of the times…

    They are unaware that simple living is the best basis for high thinking, and that a truly advanced civilization minimizes exploitation of nature and social complexity. They do not know that a real standard of progress is the caliber of people society produces. If we pursue material advancement at the expense of self-realization, measuring our standard of living only by the gratification of our senses, then we will only get a spiritually and morally debilitated people in control of an intricate and powerful technology–a terrifying combination that leads to horrors on a scale we are just beginning to experience.

  23. “Manifesto for a Politics of Transcendence”

    by Ravindra Svarupa dasa (Dr. William Deadwyler)

    …the November elections may give voters at least the appearance of a clear choice between a clear right and a clear left… My problem is that both sides seem to make good sense…I need consistency, and you pay dearly for contradiction, especially when it is embodied in social policy…

    Varnashrama-dharma, as the social manifesto of the Krishna consciousness movement is called, is the blueprint for a spiritual civilization, for it is based upon the idea that people are spiritual beings…We cannot plausibly expect to attain happiness by relying on our bodies, as they are certain to become diseased, to age, and finally to die. Rather, our welfare can rest only upon cultivation of our authentic and eternal self, the soul. We suffer unremittingly because we identify ourselves with our bodies, besieged as they are by material nature.

    So if a society wants to secure the highest good for all its members, it must arrange for all of them to attain enlightenment concerning the true self and thus enter into a full, pure consciousness that is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. At the same time, such a society must satisfy, as simply and efficiently as possible, all needs of the body. Varnashrama-dharma is designed to achieve both these goals…

    It calls for society to be divided into four occupational groups (called varnas) and four spiritual orders (ashrams). This division into varnas is quite natural. No civilized society can do without four classes: intellectuals (called brahmanas), political and military leaders (kshatriyas), farmers and merchants (vaishyas), laborers and artisans (sudras). Lack of any one of these would obviously cripple a society. They form the head, arms, belly, and legs of the social body, which can be healthy only if all the parts are sound and working cooperatively…

    This system might remind you, as it did me when I first heard it described, of the society of medieval Europe, a purportedly God-centered civilization with its four orders of clergy (brahmanas), feudal lords (kshatriyas), bourgeious (vaishyas), and serfs (sudras). For a time, at least, the European kings required priestly sanction to rule, they were crowned by the pontiff. The ideal king was supposed to be saintly. Yet this society was only a rather primitive approximation of varnashrama-dharma. The brahmanas never came to a sufficiently high standard of purity, and when they became corrupt, the civilization lost what spiritual vision it had, and the whole system crumbled. And it is still crumbling.

    For the collapsing of the primitive medieval varnashrama-dharma has taken more than five hundred years, and it constitutes all of our modern European history. It began with the corruption of the brahmanas. When the brahmanas become tainted by worldly ambition, they lose their moral and spiritual authority–the only power they ever possess–and the kshatriyas begin to see them as worldly princes on the same level as themselves. There is no longer any justification for brahminical preeminence, and therefore the kshatriyas break loose from brahminical domination, a social revolution epitomized in Europe by the Protestant Reformation.

    Without brahminical direction and restraint, the kshatriyas rapidly lose self-control and become intolerable tyrants. No longer can they justify their sovereignty by divine sanction. The vaishyas therefore rebel against the oppression of a corrupt and useless nobility, an upheaval epitomized by the French Revolution. The clever and enterprising vaishyas come to life, accumulate capital, build up industry and commerce and, in their untrammeled greed for profit, ruthlessly oppress and exploit the sudras, who mount their own rebellion, an upheaval exemplified by the… communist revolution.

    The concept of varnashrama-dharma thus makes our own history intelligible, and several things become clear. One is that we have formed our ideas of society, class, and their relations on the basis of a society in various stages of progressive decay or collapse, and we are now living through the terminal stage of that collapse. The idea of varnashrama-dharma is thus quite relevant to our contemporary social and political experience.

  24. In his 1979 essay, “Celibacy: Exquisite Torture or a Yes to God?” Ravindra-Svarupa dasa (Dr. William Deadwyler) writes about his speaking before Catholic seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia:

    “…I knew some of their problems. I knew that the Church was losing priests at an alarming rate, and that there was agitation among the clergy for a married priesthood. Indeed, I had seen some of this turbulence at an appallingly close range: while I was doing graduate work in religion at Temple University. I had watched as one Catholic religious after another abandoned their vows to take up secular life. Some got married; others simply hit the streets…

    “…After years of lecturing, I could get just about any audience to chant, but this chanting was exceptional; this chanting was robust, spirited, with none of the sectarian reluctance I had feared. It was alive. These were clearly not ordinary men…

    “…with much bitterness and resentment, they began criticizing the rule of celibacy. The Krishna consciouness movement, of course, has married priests. (I’m one.) But I told them that even married couples restrict sexual intercourse to once a month; and then only if they are trying to have a child. (‘Rhythm’ we regard as another form of cheating.) One of them said that it sounded *worse* than celibacy; they clearly didn’t want marriage on those terms, either.

    “I was appalled by the amount of sexual frustration these men were giving voice to. It was wrong. So I started to question them about their life in the seminary, and it soon became quite clear why they were having such immense difficulty. To begin with, they had large stretches of idle time on their hands. Moreover, they freely read novels and magazines, habitually watched television. All these activities certainly agitated their senses. And there was nothing spiritual about their eating habits. It was strictly for the tongue, and they were accustomed to drinking beer and smoking. This was their plight: they had lots of idle time, their senses were kept continuously under the bombardment of materialistic stimulation, and then–they were told to be celibate!

    No one could be celibate under those circumstances. They were being cruelly, exquisitely tortured. Then I remembered the monsignor with his perverse syllogism: ‘Everything God has made is good. God has made alcohol…’ (He made arsenic, too, but you don’t ingest that!) I became angry. It was criminal to do this. These seminarians were not ordinary men: they wanted, and wanted very badly, to dedicate their lives fully to God. But nobody was showing them how. They were living in a way to agitate all their senses, and then commanded to be celibate! Of course they were always falling down, always laboring under a huge load of guilt. No wonder they were so cynical, so bitter and resentful. I wondered why nobody was teaching them. They didn’t even know the ABCs of spiritual life. They were being criminally betrayed.

    **

    Of course, Ravindra Svarupa dasa comments on Bhagavad-gita 12.10 in the November 1991 Back to Godhead: “…there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the movement’s having all kinds of people who aren’t following the strict regulative principles. Where we have a problem is with people who have at one time or another taken formal vows to follow the principles and then found themsleves unable to keep them.

  25. My friend Greg, whom I’ve known since high school (a gay Catholic in San Diego), said that joining a celibate priesthood “…is a great cover” for gay Catholics.

    On another occasion, Greg told me that in Catholic circles there were all kinds of rumors surrounding California governor Jerry Brown, who once studied for the Catholic priesthood before going into politics.

    When running for president in 1992, Jerry Brown ran a truly grassroots campaign, and appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live, where he said lightheartedly, “Do I like women? — Yes I do.”

    When Greg’s homophobic friend Blake from UCLA (an archconservative, whom Greg referred to as a “white Republican extraordinaire”) decided to join the Catholic priesthood, it caused Greg to wonder about Blake’s sexual orientation.

    Greg said that Catholics tend to be liberal on social justice issues: poverty, the environment, the nuclear arms buildup, etc., and I told Greg, “I know. That’s one of the things I like about the Catholic Church!”

    (Even Al Gore, in his 1992 book Earth in the Balance, pointed out that while the Catholic Church still opposes birth control, they’re good for things like literacy and education in the third world.)

    Greg said that Blake, an archconservative, must really be optimistic, if Blake thought he could make the Church conservative on social justice issues.

    The Catholic clergy have been criticized: here you have celibate men dictating morals to a sexually active America.

    This prompted my friend Patricia Law, a lay person or congregational member in Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship, to comment that a married priesthood (which means women priests!) would be more in touch with mainstream secular American society on matters related to love and sexuality.

    Patricia (a vegetarian and teetolaler) herself has admitted to going through long periods of celibacy. And a friend of hers, Madeleine, once joined the clergy of Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship, only to later step down and serve as a congregational member.

    Madeleine, who attended a FOLK (“Friends Of Lord Krishna”) congregational program in San Diego at the end of 1987 with Patricia, was pleased to see the emergence of a formal laity within the Krishna Consciousness movement, welcoming fallen initiates (disciples) into a lower echelon of service alongside those of us unprepared to take lifelong vows.

    Similarly, the Catholic clergy also appear to gradually becoming in touch with reality.

    As early as 1993, editor Laura Moretti and The Animals’ Voice Magazine showed photos of slaughtered animals, like aborted fetuses, being discarded in garbage cans, with a caption reading: “If you were being treated like garbage, we’d be fighting for your rights, too!”

    Priests For Life appears to have caught on! I must admit, as an organizational title, Priests For Life sounds redundant — are there any “priests for choice”?

    Well, maybe there are. In 1993, I asked my friend Ruth (a Catholic, sympathetic to the economic, human rights and social justice arguments supporting animal rights) about the ordination of women in the Catholic Church. Ruth dropped the word “little,” and said there’s a greater push for abortion than for women priests in the Church!

    Along the lines of Laura Moretti and The Animals’ Voice Magazine from a decade earlier, in 2003, Father Frank Pavone of Priests For Life sent out an email favorably comparing animal rights literature with graphic photos of animals being killed and abused in slaughterhouses and factory farms with pro-life literature showing graphic photos of aborted fetuses.

    Rose Evans, pro-life Episcopalian, editor and publisher of Harmony: Voices for a Just Future (a “consistent-ethic” periodical on the religious left)who had been vegetarian since the ’70s, was pleasantly surprised, saying, “It’s not what you’d expect from a conservative Catholic group!”

    ****

    A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes in The Path of Perfection:

    “…for those who want to be initiated (ordained as disciples) in this Society for Krishna Consciousness, there are four principles (lifelong vows): no illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat-eating, and no gambling.

    “We don’t say, ‘No sex.’ But we do say, ‘No illicit sex.’ If you want sex, get married have sex only for begetting Krishna conscious children.

    “‘No intoxication’ means not even taking tea or coffee — to say nothing of other intoxicants. And there is no gambling and no meat-eating (including no fish nor eggs).”

    Since not everyone can be a brahmana or a priest, and most of the second-generation devotees (children born into the Krishna Consciousness movement) have gone astray or now lead secular lives, a lay community or congregation has emerged, consisting of fallen initiates or fallen disciples and those unprepared to be initiated or follow lifelong vows.

    I understand FOLK (“Friends Of Lord Krishna”) also known as nama-hatta (“the marketplace of the holy names”) or congregational preaching programs are thriving in England.

    In 1996 the British band Kula Shaker (named after the ninth century emperor King Kulasekhara, one of the twelve Alvars, or Vaishnavaite Hindu saints of South India) had a hit with their song “Tattva.”

    The lyrics to “Tattva” were based on the theology of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486 – 1534), the golden avatar, or most recent incarnation of God: achintya-beda-beda-tattva.

    Mahaprabhu’s theology differs from advaita vedanta or pantheistic Hinduism by stating that the individual soul is simultaneously one with, yet distinct from the Supreme Soul, or God, as a child of God.

    A personal relationship with a personal God is only possible if we are individuals, separate and distinct from God, meant to love Him.

    Kula Shaker’s album K was released in 1996, with their song, “Govinda,” hitting number seven on the charts, with the lyrics completely in Sanskrit!

    Lead guitarist Crispian Mills is the son of British actress Hayli Mills, a longtime friend and well-wisher of the Krishna Consciousness movement (she wrote the foreword to Adiraja dasa’s vegetarian cookbook in the late ’80s).

    Srila Prabhupada writes in The Path of Perfection:

    “According to some religious processes, it is said that one can commit all kinds of sin and then go to church, confess to a priest, and be freed of all sin.

    “Therefore people are sinning and confessing and sinning and confessing over and over again. But this is not the process of Krishna Consciousness.

    “If you are freed, that’s all right, but don’t do it again. After all, what is the purpose of confession? If you confess, ‘I have committed these sinful activities,’ why should you commit them again?

    “If a thief confesses that he has been pickpocketing, he is freed of his sin by virtue of his confession, but does this mean that he should go out again and pick pockets?

    “This requires some intelligence. One should not think that because by confessing one becomes freed, he should continue to commit sinful activities, confess again, and again become freed. That is not the purpose of confession.”

    • Vasu, clearly you are a god in regards to spewing compete and irrefutable nonsense, only mindless fools vomit such toxic waste because no one is getting anywhere near it as in they are steering completely clear of poison you consider ambrosia, I just see a very long thread of gibberish and waste no time as to taking note of the words.

  26. from Faithful America:

    Nationalism is the toxic idea that supporting a country means never criticizing its government. Under the Trump administration, Americans have had to contend with something even more dangerous: The rise of Christian nationalism. Christian nationalism is what we see whenever Donald Trump inspires violence against his critics or retweets the idea that he is “the second coming of God.” It is the suggestion that only Christians (particularly conservative white Christians) can be good citizens, thus merging Christian and American identities. Christians must speak out now against this authoritarian distortion of our faith, or we will regret our silence for decades.

    That’s why Faithful America is proud to join the exciting coalition of Christian leaders behind an important new statement, “Christians Against Christian Nationalism.” If enough Christians speak out now, we can make it clear to the media – and future generations – that Jesus’s message was one of love and justice, not hateful partisanship. Sometimes, Christian nationalism takes the form of words from the religious right, like Franklin Graham and Paula White’s recent prayers for God to tear down the president’s critics. But all too often, it manifests itself in actual laws and policies – such as Trump’s ongoing Muslim travel ban.

    The “Christians Against Christian Nationalism” statement says that conflating religious authority with political authority is idolatrous, and makes it clear that people of all faiths and none have the right to engage in the public square. It also condemns acts of violence inspired by Christian nationalism against other religious communities.

    When you sign the statement, you’ll be adding your name alongside many prominent Christian leaders, including Sister Simone Campbell, Bishops Michael Curry and Elizabeth Eaton, authors Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo, and more. Join the coalition to reclaim our faith from hatred today: Publicly add your name to the statement “Christians Against Christian Nationalism.” Thank you for everything you do to love your neighbor!

    In peace,

    – Rev. Nathan and the Faithful America team

    P.S. Faithful America depends on the support of members like you to continue our work of challenging the religious right’s efforts to hijack the Gospel and reelect President Trump. Can you chip in today to support this urgent mission?

  27. I guess Pope Francis will have to stop flying around in his private jet, drinking 99 point wine and eating the best steaks that money can buy. Also will have to go back to candle power and shut the oil burner off in the Vatican basement.
    Matthew 23:2-4) Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

    • Sorry i guess I am so upset with the pope I missed spelled a lot/ I meant I am Catholic. The Pope needs to stay out of politics & America’s business only when it pertains to the RC Church, God bless America & President Trump. Trump 2020.

      • Nothing wrong with some misspelled words as long as you got your point across. And I agree totally. The Pope needs to stay out of politics and concentrate on the priests that are raping young men(little boys) every day in this world. Concentrate on that and leave the politics to the politicians. And I promise Murti and anyone else in his cult,that I will continue to devour as much meat as I can full myself with day in and day out. And you know what’s wonderful about that? There’s not a damn thing you can do about it because I’m a free,white Trump loving American.

  28. This Pope is just voicing what the Catholic church has stood for for centuries. NOW, HOLD THE ARROWS, Please! Like many other organizations, main stream, run-of-the-mill Catholics have no idea what the higher-ups or, I like this word better potentates, of the church hierarchy are doing or believe. I can say the same thing for my Methodist friends, my Baptist friends, my Masonic Lodge friends, and all other organizations. The Roman potentates kept their citizens busy by providing “Bread and Circus.” In other words, the Romans made sure the people had food and entertainment and were kept busy with those things so they would not pay attention to what was actually happening to them. Sadly this is the exact same thing that has been happening to all Western countries, especially here in America, for many years and was put on a fast-track-forward with the hippie generation of the sixties. If you do not believe me, I challenge you to think about how many people you know that can quote the latest sports statistics of any given team, or who played in the latest Hollywood (actually that should be Hollyweird) film but do not know who the leaders of the United States Senate or House of Representatives are? Or the mayor of the city they live in? or their county commissioners?

  29. You all have a problem here. The problem has a name-Vasu Merti-or whatever the spelling is. I’ve wanted to comment a few times here but this mindless fool takes up way too much time & space with crap NO ONE has ever read that I just close up & move on. Hopefully you can get rid of this fool that thinks he knows everything about everything & actually knows nothing about anything.
    It’s been my experience in over 60 years that anyone that “talks” as much as he does know nothing at all about anything at all. Good luck with that fool.

    • Fred Flintstone: I was reprimanded by another poster for voicing my opinion about Culture Watch blocking him. Or at least limiting him on how many times he can post. She’s claiming he is exercising his right of freedom of speech to voice his opinions. and he is entitled to that right. But he is NOT voicing HIS own opinions. He’s just using cut and paste to post his DNC propaganda on this Conservative site. And quite frankly, I’m sick of my fingers cramping up trying to post on the story at hand to get past his drivel…..

  30. Fred,I agree 100%. How does anyone have the desire let alone the patience to type all those words in what I consider to be just another article or post to comment on. It certainly didn’t need the sermon he put on here. I couldn’t even begin to read even half of the nonsense he was typing.

  31. I’m curious, does the Papal jet run on holy water? And I assume the Vatican residents do nod eat meat, the Pontiff’s teachings have become so far fetched and out of context with church teachings it scares me to no end.

    • Yeah. I remember meatless Fridays when I was a kid. And being subjected to the dreaded (breaded) Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks. The philosophy was incredibly convoluted. Jesus was nailed to a cross on Good Friday, and therefore Catholics should not eat meat on Fridays. Makes sense right? Only if happen to be a fasting cannibal.
      I would love to see the daily Vatican menu. Doubt it’s Vegan.

  32. Well Said Fred Flinstone ! This Vasu character seems to think that by posting long and rambling commentary , people will think he knows of what he speaks . Truth be told , he is as full of it and himself as Pope Francis is . Spewing obvious B**l Sh*t in copious amounts only serves to stink up the site and prevent serious discussion .

  33. Vasu is posting these diatribes only to ruin and corrupt the sit and the other legitimate responses. A well-known fascist/ communist tactic. Similar to a TV talk show host asking a guest a question, not liking the answer, and then talking over the poor victim who got suckered into making the appearance in the first place.

  34. It is evident that this fool is a main reason people are leaving the church. The real problem is that the idiots that support this kind of thinking are the same clowns ruining every country this mindset is established within. Germany, france, and much of the e.u. has fallen under the grips of other idiots that are pushing this one size fits all and is dragging down every country it touches.

  35. I think this POPE should worry about the CATHOLIC CHURCH instead of having his nose in politics-has he gotten the statistics on the decline of parishioners????

  36. Not my job to criticize the Pope. As human he is not perfect. Do not abandon the Church. “This is My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. Remember the greatest commandment. Love God above all things and thy neighbor as thyself. the Church has man made rules that change from time to time. We are given free will. Use common sense which has also been given to us. Remember that commandment and you will live a virtuous life as God intended. Pray always. Let all your deeds be a prayer to God. Remember always He is your best Friend. Keep smiling! God loves you!

  37. Your most Freakiness when you willingly do away with all your modern conveniences many that would not be possible if not for fossil fuel at least without everyone’s living expenses considerably increasing, because their are ways to generate electricity without fossil fuels but something tells me then you would start condemning Nuclear energy as well and after electrical generation/production from burning coal Nuclear is the 2nd most economically viable source there is, I have been informed that even those fortunate enough to have their own electricity producing Windmill that any excess electricity the greedy power plant investors simply steal from you unless you have a legal written contract.

    Francis is a first rate hypocrite as all Communists are.

  38. I’m sick of all this asinine garbage about Pope Francis being “far left “. He isn’t even remotely far left . He’s still opposed to abortion , even though the Catholic church is responsible for the deaths of countless desperately poor women from botched illegal abortions in poor countries where it’s illegal by relentlessly blocking the available of contraceptives there .
    But he’s still a really good man and is genuinely concerned about the poor worldwide and wants the Catholic church to dome to help the poor , even though it has actually done very little to do this in our time and Vatican prelates live in luxury merely pay lip service to helping the poor . Francis lives a modest life style and refuses to live a luxurious life .
    And since when does being concerned about the devastating effects of pollution on the world make you “far left ?” Concern for the environment isn’t a liberal or conservative thing, it’s just plain COMMON SENSE .
    Pope Francis has expressed a more tolerant attitude toward homosexuality than the Vatican’s hypocritical condemnation of it . The Vatican is basically a group of elderly, closeted gay men who condemn homosexuality , even though the existence of a gay brothel in the Vatican is an open secret . It’s quite possible that Francis is gay himself although this isn’t known with certainly , and “Pope emeritus ” Benedict is known to be gay and apparently has a boyfriend . The Vatican has been run by gay men for centuries . Gay Popes who were not at all celibate have been common .
    Some idiot right-wing extremist ” journalists ” in America have accused Pope Francis of being a “communist ” or at least supporting communism, which makes about as much sense as calling him a
    Buddhist .

  39. I believe Pope Francis ia a Fake Pope put in place by The New World Order!!!!!!He can’t be a follower of Jesus with the Issues he has Promoted!!!!!Being Kind and being Ignorant to the Teachings of Jesus are Two Vastly different things!!!!!!Look at the Wealth of The Vatican and the lack of wealth in Italy!!!!!Only The Sheep who have been Subliminally put in a trance over many years of Deception would not understand the Scope of how Religions all over the world have been being used as a Scapegoat.Try to understand how the world began and how it is evolving!!!!!!To Preach against the teachings of Jesus will surely get you to the gates of hell!!!!If you honor Lucifer keep up the good work!!!!!It’s obvious to me that the far left dems are those who honor Lucifer!!!!!From the Blood of our Babies,to allowing Deviant Sex habits,to controlling supposedly Acts of Nature!!!!!!Wake up America before it’s too late!!!!!!After which we will all pay the price!!!!!!

    • Berger is wrong about the nobility of Francis whereas your opinion is completely correct, he is about as far left Communist scum as you can get, makes me wonder if Bob Berger is a queer priest which Francis also has not done enough to punish those within the faith for sexually abusing the young.

  40. Clearly “Apu” Vasu Murti is a computer programmed specifically for the sole purpose of trying to drive sane people crazy, why do the CW moderators allow posts to continue from that source?

  41. “Vaseline Apu” Murti has to be a hot as Rigel A flaming homosexual none of those type of individuals ever make any sense.

  42. My apologies, I should have said that either Vasu is a computer created by evil demons to drive sane people crazy or the hottest burning faggot that exists.

  43. Just a thought but methinks Vasu Murti needs a job! The Bible doesn’t belong to mankind, it is God’s and all we humans do is manipulate it to serve our peculiar opinions. It is the living Word of God, given for us to absorb and grow in the Lord. Murti can drone on but all he does is regurgitate another man’s thoughts. Read it, dine on it, grow in it and seek the Lord with your whole heart – He will give you the understanding you need!

  44. Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and to God what is God’s!!! Stick to the separation of Church and State!! Religion is a subject of faith…never of debate!! Climate and Weather is God’s and nature’s domain, adapt to it but don’t mess up with it. In short..keep your hands off climate change. Help humanity by doing your share, but never play God!!! Don’t impose your belief in other people’s faith. Kachit!!

  45. This pope is an ABOMINATION and does NOT know the truth . . . The true mark of a Reprobate. Leave the Leftist/Marxism alone and STICK with what God says in HIS Word.

  46. In a secular democracy, there’s no reason we can’t merely respect and appreciate the similarities as well as the differences between each other’s faiths.

    “I understand something about the deep spiritual concepts which are upheld in India and I appreciate them,” said Pope John Paul II. “I’ve heard about Krishna. Krishna is great.”

    Srila Prabhupada was pleased when Southern Cross wrote a very favorable article about the Hare Krishna movement. He wanted Christians and Vaishnavas to cooperate and respect and appreciate each other’s faith.

    “The Hare Krishna movement should be a source of inspiration and move us Christians on to give closer attention to the very spiritual teachings of Jesus,” says Father Kenneth L. Robertson, a Roman Catholic priest in Nova Scotia, Canada. “My prayer is that this good work prosper and be appreciated by all men and women of good will for the greater good of mankind.”

    Father Robert Stephens, a Catholic priest in Australia, considers Krishna “one of the many names of God.” He writes that he is “saddened at the narrowness and arrogance of many Christian fundamentalists;” “those who claim a monopoly on all truth or goodness;” “those who desperately cling only to external forms under the pretense of faith in God,” and “those who have turned their Sacred Scriptures into mere weaponry against those who differ from themselves.”

    According to Father Stephens, we who engage in interreligious discussion “have firm support from the Catholic Church, especially the Second Vatican Council, and from such official bodies as the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Dialogue Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.”

    Father Stephens observes that “Because spiritual riches belong to all, dialogue and sharing are not an optional extra in a pluralistic society. We cannot live in a fortress of one-eyed people.” Father Gerald O’Collins SJ, similarly, is of the opinion that the Bible does not necessarily provide authoritative answers to new questions which arise in the life of the Church, and that the Bible is not that kind of “norm for every problem and every situation.”

    Father Bede Griffiths says of Bhagavad-gita, “For a Christian, this is a wonderful confirmation of God’s love contained in the Gospel.”

    Meister Eckhart wrote: “When we say God is ‘eternal,’ we mean God is eternally young.” This is Krishna Consciousness. God is an eternal youth.

    Matthew Fox’s statement that “God and God’s Son are ultimately attractive and alluring because of their beauty” is also consistent with Vaishnavaism. The name “Krishna” means “the all attractive one.”

    World Religions: From Ancient History to the Present, edited by Geoffrey Parrinder, states that one conclusion of Bhagavad-gita is:

    “…there is no rebirth when a man devotes his whole heart to the Lord. The wicked man who adores the Lord becomes holy; even women, vaishyas and shudras (are saved).”

    The Vaishnava tradition is described as a warm, devotional religion, drawing women and members of the low castes to itself… first announced in the Gita…destined for a long and fruitful career through Indian history.”

    World Religions explains: “The Vaishnava saints… wrote ecstatic poetry in praise of the Lord in the vernacular…”

    A key Vaishnavaite doctrine is that of prapatti, or throwing oneself completely on God’s mercy; feeling oneself completely dependent upon the Lord. One school of thought teaches that receiving salvation is comparable to the monkey, which carries its young clinging to its belly—the individual must properly use his free will for grace to assent. Another school of thought uses the analogy of the cat which carries its kitten by the neck—God’s grace requires no human effort.

    In Bhagavad-gita (“The Lord’s Song”), Lord Krishna reveals Himself as an incarnation of God to His disciple Arjuna. According to the Gita (11.48), one cannot come to know God personally by study of the scriptures, nor by performing sacrifices, nor by charity, nor by good deeds, nor by penances.

    The Gita (11.54-55) teaches that God can only be known through love and devotion. The Brahma-Samhita (34) says the ascetics and deep thinkers who try to understand God through their own abilities merely touch the outskirts of His lotus feet, and do not know Him intimately. The Gita (Ch. 12) explains one must lead a life of devotion to a personal God. Those completely devoted to God are not affected by worldly conflicts, concerns, and entanglements, and are very, very dear to Him.

    The Lord’s devotees are lifted by the Lord into a state of spiritual grace; free from the entanglements of the world and the flesh, because—by His mercy—they are able to serve Him personally. (Gita 14.26-27) One can understand God only by devotion. (Gita 18.55) Only through devotion can one enter into the kingdom of God. One must surrender oneself completely to God.

    By His grace (“tat-prasadat”) one receives everlasting peace and the spiritual Kingdom. (Gita 18.58-66)

  47. The biblical tradition is open to the possibility of other incarnations of God.

    Whether or not Jesus is God or an empowered representative serving on God’s behalf (which is closer to the Judaic concept of the messiah) and was later deified by his followers, is subject to debate. In Acts 2:22, Peter refers to Jesus as a “man certified by God.” The doctrine of the godhood of Jesus is questionable. (Matthew 12:18, 27:46; Mark 13:32; Luke 23:46; John 14:2, 17:21; Acts 2:22, 3:13).

    Yes, Jesus says, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30), but he also prays with his disciples, “As You and I are one, let them (the disciples) also be one in us” (John 17:21), implying this “oneness” is a relationship others may also experience. The biblical phrase about Jesus sitting at the right hand of God would also be meaningless if there were not two distinct individuals — God and Jesus: the Lord and His servant.

    Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille, founder of The Way International, wrote an entire book on the subject, entitled: Jesus Christ is not God.

    In his 1983 essay “A Jewish Encounter with the Bhagavad-gita,” Harold Kasimow discusses ideas “which seem totally incompatible with the Jewish tradition. The most striking example is the doctrine of incarnation, a concept which is as central to the Gita as it is to Christianity. According to the Gita, Krishna is an incarnation (avatar), or appearance of God in human form.

    “A study of the Jewish response to the Christian doctrine of incarnation shows that Jews, and I may add, Muslims have not been able to reconcile this idea with their own scriptural notion of God.”

    The existence of other sons of God–other messiahs and other incarnations of God–has been dealt with by one of the 20th century’s leading Protestant theologians. Paul Tillich wrote in a 1978 essay, “Redemption of Other Worlds”:

    “…a question arises which has been carefully avoided by many traditional theologians…It is the problem of how to understand the meaning of the symbol ‘Christ’ in light of the immensity of the universe… the infinitely small part of the universe which man and his history constitute, and the possibility of other ‘worlds’ in which divine self-manifestations may appear and be received.

    “Such developments become especially important if one considers that biblical and related expectations envisaged the coming of the Messiah within a cosmic frame. The universe will be reborn into a new eon. The function of the bearer of the New Being is not only to save individuals and to transform man’s historical existence but to renew the universe. And the assumption is that mankind and individual men are so dependent on the powers of the universe, that salvation of the one without the other is unthinkable.”

    In other words, given the vastness of the universe and the possibility of other worlds, how can the divine incarnation on this small speck of dust be understood on a cosmic scale?

    Tillich sees the basic answer to such questions “in the concept of essential man appearing in a personal life under the conditions of existential estrangement (from God)… The man… represents human history… he creates the meaning of human history. It is the eternal relation of God to man which is manifest in the Christ. At the same time, our basic answer leaves the universe open for possible divine manifestations in other areas or periods of being.

    “Such possibilities cannot be denied. But they cannot be proved or disproved. Incarnation is unique for the special group in which it happens, but it is not unique in the sense that other singular incarnations for other unique worlds are excluded.

    “Man cannot claim that the infinite has entered the finite to overcome its existential estrangement in mankind alone. Man cannot claim to occupy the only possible place for Incarnation. Although statements about other worlds and God’s relation to them cannot be verified experientially, they are important because they help to interpret the meaning of terms like ‘mediator,’ ‘savior,’ ‘Incarnation,’ ‘the Messiah,’ and ; ‘the new eon.’

    “Perhaps one can go a step further. The interdependence of everything with everything else in the totality of being includes a participation of nature in history and demands a participation of the universe in salvation.

    “Therefore, if there are non-human ‘worlds’ in which existential estrangement is not only real–as it is in the whole universe–but in which there is also a type of awareness of this estrangement, such worlds cannot be without the operation of saving power within them. Otherwise self-destruction would be the inescapable consequence.

    “The manifestation of saving power in one place implies that saving power is operating in all places. The expectation of the Messiah as the bearer of the New Being presupposes that ‘God loves the universe,’ even though in the appearance of the Christ He actualizes this love for historical man alone.”

    Within Christian theology, then, Tillich sees the possibility of other incarnations of God on other worlds, as well as the salvation of nonhumans. This theology is almost Hindu in thought, recognizing that God has indeed incarnated many times, and on many different worlds, in many different universes. According to Hindu thought, there are billions of worlds and universes, endlessly being created and destroyed in time cycles lasting billions of years.

    Today, our world is one. Nations are globally connected, as never before in human history. This was not the case two thousand years ago, where Palestine, China and South America were–for all intents and purposes–separate worlds. Tillich’s theology also opens up the possibility of nonhuman–even animal–spirituality.

    The Reverend Alvin Hart, an Episcopal priest in New York, says that John 14:6 is often mistranslated. The original Greek–ego emi ha hodos kai ha alatheia kai ha zoa; oudeis erkatai pros ton patera ei ma di emou–should read “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and none of you are coming to the Father except through me.”

    According to Reverend Hart, “…the key word here is erketai. This is an extremely present-tense form of the verb…You see? In Palestine, two thousand years ago, Jesus was the guru. If he wanted to say that he would be the teacher for all time, he would have used a word other than erkatai, but he didn’t.”

    Dr. Boyd Daniels of the American Bible Society concurs: “Oh, yes. The word erketai is definitely the present tense form of the verb. Jesus was speaking to his contemporaries.”

    Christian theologian Charles Camosy writes in his 2013 book, For Love of Animals:

    “By the beginning of the Renaissance, this was an open topic for discussion. We have Roman Catholic cardinals like Nicholas of Cusa, for instance, being very explicit in saying, ‘We surmise that none of the other regions of the stars is empty of inhabitants.’… The great philosopher and theologian Francisco Suarez… claimed that an incarnation of God could take place more than once and that the object of Christian love should be ‘every rational creature.'”

    In an interview with Time magazine, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman elected to head a national branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion was asked, “Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?” She replied, “We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.”

    According to the Book of Mormon, God Himself specifically refutes the misconception that He can only make Himself known to one particular people at one point in human history, and leave only one set of written scriptures:

    “Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth My word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? Wherefore, murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of My word?

    “Know ye that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together, the testimony of the two nations shall run together also… And because I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for My work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man…

    “Neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. For I command all men, both in the East and in the West, and in the North and in the South, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them. For out of the books that will be written I will judge the world…”

    Reverend Norman Moorhouse of the Church of England wrote:

    “I’ve thought of Jesus Christ as a guru. He said that he was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father but through him. In this way, he was speaking as a guru to his disciples…

    “We must get beyond the external rituals, forms, and terminologies. The Vedas (Hindu scriptures) teach that there is a sense in which all religions are the same: we should all be living our lives in love and service to God. I’m quite sure that Christian people can accept this as a principle to live by.”

  48. Peacemakers: Jesus, Ethical Vegans, Animal Advocates

    A Sermon Delivered to
    The Compassion Internet Church

    13 April 2014

    Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

    Scripture References

    Psalm 31:9–18
    Matthew 21:1–17
    Philippians 2:1–11

    Over the years we have found a very interesting comparison between Jesus on one hand, and ethical vegans and animal advocates, including peaceful animal rights activists, on the other hand.

    The example Jesus set for us leads us to do every peaceful thing in our power to free creation from its present corruption, and we have found that ethical vegans and animal advocates do the same thing, whether or not they know Jesus.

    Jesus tried to lead people back into living in the heavenly will of God; if they had listened to Jesus and done this, we would have a kinder world today, which is exactly what most ethical vegans and animal advocates are trying to do.

    Jesus is supposed to make a triumphal entry into our hearts and souls, but from the way most people live, it appears that most people have failed to allow this to happen.

    We have also seen most ethical vegans and animal advocates, including animal rights activists, try to lead people to live more compassionately; and like Jesus, they get ridiculed and ostracized, even in the churches, for their efforts.

    And since this is Palm/Passion Sunday it seemed appropriate to show these similarities in the hope of waking people up to the harm most Christians do to God’s beautiful creation, including our fellow humans and all the other animals.

    Let’s use this parallel approach to living in the heavenly will of God as we look at Psalm 31:9-18…

    9. Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
    My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.

    In many cases we have seen ethical vegans and animal advocates, who don’t know or acknowledge Jesus as Lord, including atheists, being more Godly than most professing Christians, when it comes to living as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God, who actively seek to end the corruption of creation, particularly when it comes to animals and the people who care about them.

    And just as Jesus felt grief over the hardness of heart of the people that He was trying to reach, so do these ethical vegans and animal advocates feel the same kind of grief and frustration in our present time.

    10. For my life is spent with sorrow,
    And my years with sighing;
    My strength has failed because of my iniquity,
    And my body has wasted away.

    We all sin and fall short of the heavenly will of God, but there are many truly compassionate people in the world who also feel they are somehow at fault because they can’t end the horrible suffering of animals, and if they don’t blame God for continuing to allow this to happen, they turn the suffering inward upon themselves and “waste away.”

    11. Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach,
    Especially to my neighbors,
    And an object of dread to my acquaintances;
    Those who see me in the street flee from me.

    Like Jesus, many of the sensitive people become a reproach to their neighbors and others.

    12. I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind,
    I am like a broken vessel.

    13. For I have heard the slander of many,
    Terror is on every side;
    While they took counsel together against me,
    They schemed to take away my life.

    14. But as for me, I trust in Thee, O LORD,
    I say, “Thou art my God.”

    This is the way we feel, as do many of the sensitive Christians feel who care about animals.

    15. My times are in Thy hand;
    Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.

    And most importantly, deliver the animals from the hands of their enemies.

    16. Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant;
    Save me in Thy lovingkindness.

    17. Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call upon Thee;
    Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol.

    18. Let the lying lips be dumb,
    Which speak arrogantly against the righteous
    With pride and contempt.

    NASB

    We all need to have this kind of encouragement from God, but at the same time we need to remember that only God can send someone to hell (Sheol). Thankfully, we don’t have the right or power.

    Let’s go on and look at Matthew 21:1-17 as Jesus begins to make His entry into Jerusalem.

    1. And when they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,

    2. saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them, and bring them to Me.

    3. “And if anyone says something to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

    4. Now this took place that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying,

    5. “Say to the daughter of Zion,
    ‘Behold your King is coming to you,
    Gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
    Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'”

    This prophecy is from Zachariah 9:9, which is part of the Hebrew Bible from which the religious leaders should have easily seen how Jesus was fulfilling it when He entered the city.

    6. And the disciples went and did just as Jesus had directed them,

    7. and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid on them their garments, on which He sat.

    8. And most of the multitude spread their garments in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees, and spreading them in the road.

    9. And the multitudes going before Him, and those who followed after were crying out, saying,
    “Hosanna to the Son of David;
    Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
    Hosanna in the highest!”

    Riding on a donkey or the child of a donkey isn’t something that animal advocates would sanction, but we need to remember that in Jesus’ day, this was a standard mode of transportation.

    And in Jesus’ day, a worldly king would not wear common clothes or sit on used clothing, as Jesus did.

    10. And when He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?”

    11. And the multitudes were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

    12. And Jesus entered the temple and cast out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves.

    Many people consider this act of Jesus to be an attempt to end the sacrificial cult in the Temple and animal sacrifice in general, but Jesus may have also had another purpose as we are told next.

    13. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.”

    Jesus is also calling attention to the fact that this sacrificial cult is cheating the people by overcharging for the sacrificial animals, knowing that they had no other choice but to pay.

    At the same time we are considering this cheating that Jesus denounced by cleansing the Temple, we also need to keep in mind that this cheating of the people is a direct result of the animal sacrifice business of the temple hierarchy.

    14. And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.

    15. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant,

    No truly godly person would ever be indignant because of seeing the works of God being displayed; instead they would praise God; nor would they say what they said to Jesus.

    16. and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes Thou hast prepared praise for Thyself’?”

    17. And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and lodged there.

    NASB

    Jesus was not going to waste His time on people whose heart’s desire is to remain evil; He was going to take His message to the people who would listen.

    This is also what we try to teach vegans and animal advocates; don’t waste your time and effort on trying to change people who clearly don’t want to listen to the truth; go on to people who will listen and change their lifestyles.

    As we look at Philippians 2:1-11, let’s also continue our discussion about the comparison between Jesus on one hand, and vegan and animal advocates on the other hand.

    1. If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,

    2. make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

    This is the same way we all should be, but unfortunately most people do just the opposite; for there is no love involved in the horrible things that happen to animals, except their love (lust) for the pieces of an animal’s cadaver that is on their plate.

    And no one who lives this way can be of one mind with Jesus Christ and united in His Spirit.

    3. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;

    We should feel this way about every other living being whether they are human or animal.

    And the atrocious exploitation of animals is filled with selfishness and conceit.

    4. do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

    And again, this should include the animals.

    5. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

    6. who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

    7. but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

    This is the way He entered Jerusalem.

    He asked for nothing for Himself; just as the vast majority of ethical vegans and animal advocates ask nothing for themselves, they just want to help the animals and the people to live more healthful lives.

    8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

    9. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

    10. that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,

    11. and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    NASB

    Jesus is Lord of All, and even though He humbled himself as a servant in the form of Man, He is still Lord, while vegan and animal advocates remain in the position of servant to the animals and the people who care about them.

    We can live this way, if we want to.

    We can help free creation from its present corruption

    We can help usher in God’s peaceable kingdom.

    Amen?

    Amen!

  49. I must point out our own hypocrisy in this regard: strict devotees of Krishna, practicing ahimsa or nonviolence towards humans and animals alike as bhakti-yoga, or devotion to a personal God, avoid rennet, an enzyme used in coagulating cheeses and found in store-bought cheeses from the commercial dairies, because rennet comes from the lining of a calf’s stomach. If you believe the cow is sacred and must never be killed and you’re morally opposed to cow-killing, it makes no sense to purchase cheese containing rennet.

    Similarly, it makes no sense to consume dairy products as an alternative to meat (e.g., enjoying “curd steaks” at Ratha Yatra festivals instead of beef steaks), if the cows are being killed in the commercial dairies in the process of obtaining the dairy! Many lacto-ovo-vegetarians, too, might purchase Morningstar Farms veggie burgers and veggie sausages from the supermarket, as a cruelty-free alternative to meat, but if these items contain even traces of eggs and dairy, one is still implicated in the violence of animal-killing, just as pro-lifers are implicated in the violence of killing an unborn child if they don’t refrain from vaccines containing aborted fetal cells. It’s counterproductive. It’s self-defeating.

    Greg wrote:

    “Even if one does not eat meat, if one prepares or purchases meat, they are also complicit.

    “A vegetarian is not complicit in the death of animals.”

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a secular organization, similarly tries to show its members that even if one purchases items containing only “fur trim,” an animal had to be killed. The killing of millions of unborn children is subsidized by our tax dollars, wealthy philanthropic organizations, supported by politicians in both political parties, etc., but the killing of animals is institutionalized on a scale a thousand times greater, with animals killed by the billions, and aquatic life (fish) killed by the trillions. We are appalled at the Nazis making soaps and lampshades from the skins of Jews, but are we humans any different in wearing leather?

    You’d think the unborn-right-to-lifers would immediately understand the animal-right-to-lifers. Similarly, you’d think Krishna devotees, thinking themselves smugly superior to and referring derisively to the meat-eaters as “mlecchas” and “yavanas” (Sanskrit for flesh-eaters, barbarians, bloodthirsty demons, etc.), concerned about foods containing animal ingredients like gelatin, lecithin, mono-and-diglycerides, etc., not wanting to dine in restaurants which serve meat, not wanting to be implicated in the violence associated with animal-killing, showcasing cruelty-free products in temple gift shops in the 1992 Hare Krishna Resource Guide and Directory along with articles on permaculture or sustainable agriculture, the problems of a petroleum-based economy, citing Gandhian economics, Frances Moore Lappe, Vandana Shiva, etc. would immediately understand the vegans, not wanting to be implicated in cow-killing through the commercial dairies. If a preparation is strictly vegan, then lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and even meat-eaters can enjoy it, too!

  50. Krishna Consciousness Is Part of the Anti-Drug Campaign

    1. Srila Prabhupada speaking to reporters in San Francisco, CA in 1967:

    “We welcome everyone, in any condition of life, to come to our temple and hear the message of Krishna consciousness,” he says.

    “Does that include Haight-Ashbury hippies and bohemians?” a reporter asks.

    “everyone, including you or anyone else,” Swamiji says. “Whatever you are–what you call an acid-head, or hippie, or whatever–what you are doesn’t matter. Once you are accepted for training, you will change.”

    “What is your stand on drugs and sexual freedom?” another reporter asks.

    “There are four basic prerequisites for those entering this movement,” Swamiji says. “I do not allow my students to keep girlfriends. I prohibit all kinds of intoxicants, including coffee, tea, and cigarettes. And I prohibit meat eating and gambling.”

    “And LSD?”

    “I consider that an intoxicant. I do not allow my students to use that or any other intoxicant.”

    This announcement provokes the reporters to question Allen Ginsberg…poet laureate of the beatniks and now acknowledged patriarch of the hippies…”Well, you might say the Swami is very conservative,” Allen answers. “That is, conservative Hindu. You might even say he is to his faith what the hard-shell Baptist is to Christianity.”

    “Conservative? How is that?” Swamiji asks, concerned.

    “In respect to sex and drugs,” Mukunda suggests.

    “Of course, we are conservative in that sense,” he says. “We cannot depart from Bhagavad-gita. But conservative we are not… we are accepting everyone into this movement, regardless of sex, race, faith, caste, position, or whatever. Everyone is invited to come chant Hare Krishna. No, we are not conservative.”

    2. In an interview with the London Times:

    When a reporter asked what he would have to do to be initiated (ordained) in the Krishna consciousness movement, Srila Prabhupada said:

    “First of all, you’d have to give up illicit sex life… In every country and in every religion, there is some system of restricting sex life (marriage). You would also have to give up all intoxicants, including tea, cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana — anything that intoxicates… You’d also have to give up eating meat, eggs, and fish. And you’d have to give up gambling as well.

    When the reporter asked if the Krishna consciousness movement is growing, Srila Prabhupada said:

    “Yes, it is growing — but slowly. This is because we have so many restrictions. People do not like restrictions… Now twelve-or-thirteen-year-old boys and girls are having sex. How can they have a spiritual life? Spiritual life means voluntarily accepting some austerities for the sake of God realization. That is why we insist on no illicit sex no meat-eating, no gambling, nor intoxication.

    “Without these restrictions, any ‘yoga meditation’ or so-called spiritual discipline cannot be genuine. It is simply a business deal between the cheaters and the cheated.

    3. All religions teach sexual restraint: to be concerned with things of the spirit rather than the flesh.

    A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami writes in The Path of Perfection:

    “Yoga does not mean going to some class, paying some money, engaging in gymnastics, and then returning home to drink, smoke, and engage in sex. Such yoga is practiced by societies of the cheaters and the cheated…

    “If one tells you that you can indulge in sex as much as you like and at the same time become a yogi, he is cheating you. If some so-called guru tells you to give him money in exchange for some mantra and that you can go on and engage in all kinds of nonsense, he is just cheating you. Because we want something sublime and yet want it cheaply, we put ourselves in a position to be cheated…

    “…if we want perfection in yoga, we have to pay for it by abstaining from sex. Perfection in yoga is not something childish, and Bhagavad-gita instructs us that if we try to make yoga into something childish, we will be cheated. There are many cheaters awaiting us, waiting to take our money, giving us nothing, and then leaving.”

    4. In Elevation to Krishna Consciousness, Srila Prabhupada similarly writes:

    “When we come to the platform of truth… and understand that we are not these bodies, then our activities change from material activities to spiritual activities. As long as we are operating under the bodily conception of life, our activities are material, but as soon as we understand, ‘I do not belong to this body, aham brahmasmi, I am spirit soul,’ our activities will be in accordance to that realization, that is to say that they will cease to be motivated from the material or bodily platform. Knowledge of our proper identity as separate from the body is real knowledge, but this knowledge is denied as long as we cling to this bodily identification.

    “In the scriptures it is said that as long as we are in this bodily conception of life, all our activities will be defeated… everyone requires to be educated as to his real identity… by following the purificatory processes…

    “…there are four basic characteristics of an impure life — illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling. According to the Vedic principles, sex should not be indulged in outside of marriage. In human society there is therefore a system of marriage… Whether we are Hindu, Muslim, or Christian, we acknowledge the system of marriage. The purpose of this system is to avoid illicit sex.

    “According to the Vedic system, intoxication is also discouraged; nor is meat-eating advocated, for human beings should be nonviolent. We have been given sufficient grains, fruit, milk, and vegetables, and there is no necessity to kill poor animals… Gambling is also discouraged because it simply agitates the mind…”

    (Srila Prabhupada’s words classifying milk as nonviolent only make sense if the milk is obtained humanely and nonviolently and not from factory farms.)

    5. Srila Prabhupada was opposed to intoxication in his Society:

    Srila Prabhupada repeatedly condemned intoxication:

    “There are many pseudo-devotees of Lord Siva who want to indulge in smoking ganja (marijuana) and similar intoxicating drugs, forgetting that by so imitating the acts of Lord Siva they are calling death very near.”

    Bhagavad Gita 3.25 purport

    “Lord Siva drank an ocean of poison, so some of the followers of Lord Siva imitate him and try to take intoxicants like ganja (marijuana).Here the curse is that if someone follows such principles he must become an infidel and turn against the principles of Vedic regulation.”

    Srimad Bhagavatam 4.2.28 purport

    “So this Krishna consciousness movement means to train people to become the topmost yogi. Topmost yogi. Because they have controlled their senses. No meat eating, no intoxication, not smoking or drinking tea. This is yoga (indistinct). Not that simply by pressing nose one becomes yogi. Practical life… That is not yoga practice, smoking ganja… intoxication, tea, and he has become a yogi. These are useless, all bogus. Yoga means he has controlled his senses. Yoga indriya-samyamah. The yoga practice means controlling the senses and engaging the mind on the lotus feet of Krishna. That is yoga system.

    Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 4.9, Bombay 3.29.74:

    Letter To a devotee, unknown date:

    “I have heard a rumor by… that you have been detected, along with … smoking ganja or other things like that. This is not at all good, and I am very much disturbed to hear it. I had also got one report that you were previously smoking ganja at… You are one of the important leaders, so if you are feeble and you are still victim of such habits, then the other members who are following your example will be led to ruination by you only. That will be the greatest disservice to Krishna, if we work so hard to make a man a devotee and then seeing the older members taking intoxication and doing all nonsense, they become lost to Krishna, that is the greatest sin. You may be forgiven once, twice, but more than that it is impossible.

    “So I do not know why this weakness has come upon you, you are intelligent boy, but we shall not tolerate such nonsense again. Once before our Rayarama was also detected and exposed as a cheater and he left our Society. So no one is exempt from being asked to leave, only I have got great affection for you personally and you have done so much service that I am little reluctant to become angry upon you. But do not involve the other devotees in your nonsense activities of intoxication.”

    Lecture Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.7 Vrindavana, Oct. 18, 1972:

    “If you don’t follow these principles, then how you are following sadhu (saint, holy man)? If you are intoxicated, if you are fond of smoking, drinking, ganja… wine, even chewing pan (betel nut)… Pan (betel nut) is also intoxication. Drinking tea. These are all intoxication. So if you are addicted to these habits, how you can be sadhu? Sadhu-marganugamanam.”

    You prefer lacto-vegetarians to vegans? In my (2001) critique of Kathleen Marquardt’s Animal Scam, I wrote:

    Nor are all ethical vegetarians guided by the secular moral philosophy of animal rights. Organizations like the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), like the back to nature movement or the Amish, advocate “simple living and high thinking,” and preach ethical vegetarianism and a high degree of animal welfare towards domesticated animals such as cattle, in the same context as chanting the holy names of God on beads of prayer, worshipping images of the incarnations of God, sexual chastity, abstinence from gambling, and abstinence from drugs, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.

    “There is a very strong case for vegetarianism as compared with teetolalism. Drinking one glass of beer cannot by any philosophy be drunkenness; but killing one animal can, by this philosophy, be murder.”

    —G.K. Chesterton

    6. I wrote in A Source of Inspiration:

    Since its coming West in the 1960s, the Hare Krishna movement has received numerous commendations for getting young people off drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine.

    “The combination of our medical care, and the spiritual care from the Hare Krishna philosophy, has resulted in a very powerful tool indeed for the treatment of drug addiction and for this we are very grateful,” wrote Fraser McDonald, Medical Superintendent of the Parnell Drug Clinic, in Auckland, New Zealand.

    Similarly, Addictions magazine, the magazine of the Washington, DC Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Inc., reported that “Krishna Consciousness is one hundred percent successful in stopping drug use among those who voluntarily enter the program.” New Orleans welfare director Morris Jeff said, “You have done good work in establishing a workable alternative to the problem of drug addiction and alienation.”

    Dr. Gertrude Speiss, a national senator and former mayor of Basel, Switzerland concurs: “The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is very much engaged in the fight against drugs and assists those who have been harmed by drug use. I, therefore, wish this society all the best.”

    A Christian clergyman in Australia, similarly predicted the Hare Krishna movement would become “the Salvation Army of the 21st century” in this regard.

    **

    In 1984, bhaktin Mary Sluder, a fringe-type devotee in San Diego, CA, mentioned a vegetarian restaurant in Santa Cruz, CA, called McDharma’s which managed to attract people who ordinarily wouldn’t go to a vegetarian restaurant, because they served alcohol.

    Pariksit dasa (Don Vitcenzos), mused aloud that McDharma’s couldn’t possibly be run by Hare Krishna devotees if they serve alcohol, and if it were run by Hare Krishna devotees, “…these are not the kind of devotees we would want to associate with.”

    If you see any Hare Krishna devotees engaged in non-Vedic or non-Vaishnava practices, like birth control, divorce, dating, the keeping of boyfriends and girlfriends, illicit sex within marriage, not chanting the minimum number of rounds required for formal initiation, etc…

    …they should be open and honest enough to admit they’re really lay practitioners of bhakti-yoga, serving as congregational members.

    And if they’re taking intoxication, as Pariksit dasa would say, they’re “…not the kind of devotees we would want to associate with.”

    What standards should a congregation follow?

    In July 1975, Lieutenant David Mozee of the Chicago Police Department asked Srila Prabhupada a question along these lines:

    Lieutenant Mozee: “Sir, isn’t the difficulty that although a small circle of priests and devotees may follow the religious principles, those on the fringe deviate and cause trouble (like Greg and Rankin smoking pot)? For example, assume that the Hare Krishna movement grows to gigantic proportions, as Christianity has. Wouldn’t you then have a problem with people on the fringe of the movement who professed to be followers but were actually not?”

    Srila Prabhupada said:

    “That possibility is always there, but all I am saying is that if you are not a true Christian, then your preaching will not be effective. And because we are strictly following religious principles, our preaching will be effective in spreading God consciousness and alleviating the problem of crime.”

  51. 1. In conversation with Steven J. Gelberg (Subhananda dasa), Dr. Larry Shinn explained:

    “In the Christian tradition, the notion that Jesus is the one who comes directly from God’s right hand and is God in person, has been a notion that Christians, of course, have fought over for centuries. That is, what does that mean? At the least it means that he was a human being whose words and deeds were directly inspired by God Himself. At the most it means that he was God Himself, that he was God who chose to take a human form, that he was God-man. And Christians have, as I said, disagreed over the proper interpretation of that notion for a long, long, time. But the important point I’m making is that however Christians resolve the divinity-of-Jesus question, they all do assert that they can come to know God’s will by listening to the words of Jesus and by observing Jesus in action, buy observing his life. So he serves as a mediator between a divine which cannot be seen and human beings. So, the idea is that God is so transcendent that people cannot aspire to know Him or to see Him directly, but He can be known and understood through Jesus who is God in human form.”

    Steven J. Gelberg asked: Other than Jesus himself, are there other examples of the role of guru in Christian tradition? For instance, what about the role of the Abbot in the Catholic monastery. Isn’t he the spiritual leader or guide of the community of monks?

    Dr. Larry Shinn responded: “No, the Abbot does not play that role exactly. Of any personages in the Catholic tradition, the saints come closest to playing the role of guru, because one can appeal *through* the saints to God. But one does not pray *through* the Abbot to God.

    Steven J. Gelberg explained: “I’m thinking of the Abbot in this regard not exactly as one through whom the monk reaches God in prayer, but as one who provides spiritual guidance.”

    Dr. Larry Shinn answered: “Yes, but then it’s always assumed that the Abbot can make mistakes. The Abbot is not thought to be infallible in his role as a spiritual guide. Also, Abbots are replaced; it’s not a role that one has forever.”

    Steven J. Gelberg responded: “I suppose my concept of the Abbot as guru related merely to his practical function as director and guide.”

    Dr. Larry Shinn explained: “Yes, but in that sense the meaning of guru becomes too broad. When we speak of the idea of ‘guru,’ we mean one who acts as a channel between the worshipper and God. The Abbot is not the one who presents God directly to the various monks of the monastery. It is Jesus who does that. There’s no confusion over that role. The monk never assumes that the Abbot is in the disciplic line of Jesus. For the Catholic, the Pope comes closer to the role of guru, inasmuch as he sits in a kind of disciplic succession from Peter, the disciple of Jesus. When the Pope speaks ex Cathedra, he is understood to be revealing authentic Christian wisdom. In that sense, he comes closer to the role of guru.”

    Steven J. Gelberg: “But then what is the meaning of Jesus’ alleged statement, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me…’ ?”

    Dr. Larry Shinn:

    “There are different interpretations of the phrase ‘through me.’ Christianity is not a monolithic tradition. Some Christians interpret ‘no one comes to the Father except through me’ in very literal terms: that Jesus came as a sacrificial lamb whose blood washed away the payment of all previous and future sins. I have no idea what the percentages are, but my suspicion is that those kinds of Christians are in a distinct minority — those who view him as ‘the way’ in terms of blood payment. But, you see, having made that payment, their prayers and their worship are directed entirely to God, not to Jesus — except for those few who have divinized Jesus to the point where Jesus and God become almost synonymous. But I would say that those Christians are in the minority. A more common understanding of ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by me,’ is that one comes to the Father through the *example* of Jesus — walking in his footsteps one comes to the Father. ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ (John 8:31) In that sense ‘through me’ is understood metaphorically, not literally.

    “In practice itself, there is seldom worship of Jesus as being, somehow, the only channel through which one can reach God. In the largest Christian tradition, Catholicism, Christians pray through Mary and through the various saints. There are many channels in that sense, but those channels are never understood to be exclusive channels — that without them one cannot approach God directly in deep prayer. The Reformation, in fact, made this point: we are all priests to our brothers. The fellowship of priests, in which we all, in a sense, have that same task of directing others to God directly, becomes a strong theme in Christian piety. So, again, Jesus becomes, for some, an *only* channel through blood payment, or an only channel in the sense that we must somehow approach him as an intermediary to the Father. But that is rare in Christianity. The more common understanding is that one can and must approach God directly in prayer; one doesn’t depend on Jesus as the only conduit.”

    2. Srila Prabhupada said:

    “To be nonviolent to human beings and to be a killer or enemy of the poor animals is Satan’s philosophy.”

    Srila Prabhupada was merely using Christian terminology to make a point.

    God is omnipotent! God doesn’t have a competitor! If you have a 100-watt light bulb, there is no such thing as a 100-watt “dark bulb” to cancel it out. Darkness is merely the absence of light. Similarly, what theologians call “evil” or “Satan” is merely the absence of God or good.

    The word “satan” merely means “adversary (of God).” Satan is allegorical, not literal, depicting a living entity being cast out of the kingdom of God.

    A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada similarly drew an analogy between the biblical and Vaishnava teaching on the Fall from grace:

    “When a living entity disobeys the orders of God, he is put into this material world, and that is his punishment… The real fact is that the living entity is eternal, and the material world is created to satisfy his false existence… The individual is thinking that he is independent and can act independent of God. That is the beginning of paradise lost, of Adam’s fall.

    “When Adam and Eve thought that they could do something independently, they were condemned. Every living entity is the eternal servant of God, and he must act according to the desire or will of the Supreme Lord. When he deviates from this principle, he is lost. Losing paradise, he comes into the material world…

    “That is the process of transmigration, the rotation of the cycle of birth and death. This is all due to disobeying God… Having rebelled against the principles of God consciousness, we are cut off from our original position. We have fallen.”

    Following biblical tradition, St. Augustine made a distinction between the earthly and the heavenly, the temporary flesh and its bodily appetites versus the spirit and peace of the soul. Describing the predicament of the soul in a physical body in the material world, Augustine similarly wrote:

    “And so long as he is in this mortal body, he is a pilgrim in a foreign land, away from God; therefore he walks by faith, not by sight.”

    Augustine said the soul “needs divine direction, which he may obey with resolution, and divine assistance that he may obey it freely…”

    These doctrines are all consistent with Vaishnava theology.

    The Vaishnava practice of offering one’s food in devotion to God has favorably been compared to the Eucharist. Episcopal priest Reverend Alvin Hart says, “It’s like the Mass, where the Host is considered nondifferent from the body of Christ…”

    The peaceable kingdom doesn’t exist here in the material world, which is a temporary and inferior reflection of a higher reality, and which is filled with miseries like repeated birth, death, old age, and disease.

    The peaceable kingdom exists in the spiritual world, where life is eternal and full of bliss.

    3. In a 1980 essay, “Immortal Longings,” Ravindra-svarupa dasa writes:

    “Selves are beings that experience, centers of consciousness, subjects. Matter does not experience; it is without subjectivity; it is completely an object. Selves live; matter is lifeless. When the selves enter the alien, material energy, they acquire and animate bodies made out of lifeless matter.

    (The word “inanimate” literally means “without spirit” in Latin!)

    “Now the self thinks of itself as a product of nature, as an object created and destroyed in time. As the body is damaged by disease and injury, as it disintegrates with age, and as it dies, the self thinks, ‘This is happening to *me*.’
    “Thus, the self enters the interminable horror of material existence, a nightmare of carnage from which it cannot awake. As one body is destroyed, nature transfers him to another, to undergo a similar destruction.

    “The self moves blindly through these bodies, driven by an overwhelming appetite for enjoyment… through interminable bodily incarcerations, hurtling us over and over into forms that fill us with fear, suffer the onslaught of injury and disease, disintegrate while we still occupy them, and are destroyed.

    “In reality, none of this happens to us, but we have erroneously identified ourselves with the body and have thereby taken these torments upon us. Death is an illusion we have imposed upon ourselves by our desire to enjoy this world.”

    4. In college in the spring of 1985, during the course of a casual armchair theological discussion, John Antypas (half-Jewish and half-Protestant) said Krishna devotees are merely repeating familiar Christian theology, the apostle Paul writing:

    “…if you live in a fleshly way, you will die. But if through the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, then you will live… death, where is thy sting?”

    Like Christians, Vaishnavas also believe that souls in this world have fallen from grace, that this world is transitory, and that there is an inner conflict between one’s carnal and spiritual natures.

    In 1985, during the course of a casual armchair theological discussion, John Antypas (half-Jewish and half-Protestant) said Krishna devotees are merely repeating familiar Christian theology. John merely saw belief in reincarnation, rather than vegetarianism, as a point of contention.

    The biblical verses about “eternal life” in New Testament Christianity don’t make any sense unless the only alternative is temporary or transitory life, or repeated birth and death… eternal damnation is also an “eternal life,” too!

    John asked, why couldn’t the soul just be transferred permanently to either heaven or hell at the end of one lifetime, and then he caught himself and realized what he was describing is very similar to reincarnation.

    (Right. For one brief lifetime, you’re gonna get a whole eternity of reward or punishment?! In an essay on Christianity and reincarnation entitled Christian Metempsychosis, the 19th century American philosopher Francis Bowen of Harvard, admitted, “An eternity of either reward or punishment would seem to be inadequately earned by one brief period of probation on earth.”)

    John later explained his reasoning behind his saying the soul being transferred permanently to either heaven or hell at the end of one brief lifetime is very similar to reincarnation:

    If you accept the premise that the conscious self is different from the physical body, that the conscious self is the observer within the body, then, at the time of death, the conscious self has merely shifted vantage points.

    He later said, “I’m so glad to hear there’s no eternal damnation…”

    Anantarupa dasa, who took his present birth in Ireland and came to Krishna Consciousness from an Irish Catholic background, likes to tell Christians, “We’re not that different from you.”

    Again, the word “satan” merely means “adversary (of God).” This is *our* predicament in this material world.

    “The only devils in this world are those running around in our own hearts, and that is where all our battles should be fought. ”

    — Mohandas Gandhi

  52. How to Debate Liberals on Abortion:

    John Morrow, a pro-life Christian taking a stand against abortion on secular human rights grounds, converted me to the pro-life cause, when he was debating pro-choice liberals (and they were dominating the discussion!) on USENET, from 1986 – 1988.

    Prior, I was under the impression that abortion was solely a “religious” issue, and we shouldn’t impose our “religious beliefs” upon others.

    The sad irony is many pro-lifers see animal rights not as social and moral progress for all mankind, but as someone else’s “religious belief” which they think doesn’t apply to them. A lot of people look at abortion that way, too, you know!

    1. John Morrow said he disagreed with the Republicans for failing to provide enough social support for children once they’re born.

    In 1992, pro-life Democrat Robert Casey said he would strongly support Lynn Yeakel who was then running against pro-choice Republican Senator Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania.

    Yeakel favored abortion-rights, too, but, Casey said, “we agree on all the other issues.”

    Casey stated further that he would not leave the Democratic Party. The anti-abortion Republicans, he insisted, “drop the children at birth and do nothing for them after that.”

    Barney Frank similarly commented that for Republicans, “Life begins at conception and ends at birth.”

    2. John Morrow said his opposition to capital punishment led him to oppose abortion.

    3. John Morrow compared discrimination against the unborn to homophobia and xenophobia when debating pro-choice liberals.

    4. John Morrow said he supported sex education.

    5. John Morrow said he supported contraception.

    6. John Morrow said when Roe v. Wade came down, a different set of morals was in place: even mainstream secular American society would not accept single mothers, there were “shotgun weddings,” homes for unwed mothers, etc.

    I must point out that when the Mary Tyler Moore show premiered in 1970, they decided against making her character a *divorced* woman, thinking Americans weren’t ready for it!

    7. And John Morrow said health care in the U.S. should be “federalized” i.e., “socialized, like it is in the UK.”

    We Democrats have been pushing for health care reform since Harry Truman.

    (When I repeat John Morrow’s arguments, the right wing attacks me.)

    “The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

    –Hubert H. Humphrey

    Fifty-nine percent of Democrats favored a ban on partial-birth abortion. (Gallup Poll, November 1, 2000)

    Eighty-nine percent of Americans favored informed consent for women seeking abortions. (Gallup Poll, 2002)

    Sixty-seven percent of Democrats would outlaw some or all abortions. (Gallup Poll, May 5-7, 2003)

    Forty-three percent of Democrats agreed with the statement that abortion ”destroys a human life and is manslaughter.” (Zogby Poll, December 2004)

    Seventy percent of high school senior females say they would not consider abortion if they became pregnant while in high school. (Hamilton College/Zogby Poll, January 2008)

    Seventy-seven percent of Americans believe abortion should have stricter limitations. (CBS News Poll, January 2008)

    Twenty-nine percent of Democratic Convention delegates disagreed with the statement, “Abortion should be generally available to those who want it rather than under stricter limits or not permitted.” However, 52 percent of Democratic voters as a whole disagreed. This large discrepancy between party leadership and membership indicates a serious problem that Democrats For Life of America wants to rectify.

    During the 2008 campaign, Reverend Jim Wallis (of Sojourners) advised Barack Obama to support a plank in the Democratic Party Platform that would aim to reduce abortions by focusing on supporting low income women and making adoption easier. (This is the 95-10 Initiative, advanced by pro-life Democrats in Congress.) Reverend Tony Campolo served on the Platform Committee and has issued a strong statement in support of a pro-life position.

    A “conscience clause” which appeared in the 2000 Democratic Platform (but not in 2004) acknowledges that there are pro-life people in our Party and we respect their views. It reads as follows:

    “We respect the conscience of each American and recognize that members of our Party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, like abortion and the death penalty. We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions on these and other issues.”

    Kristen Day of Democrats For Life said in 2014: “Roughly a third of the Democratic Party is pro-life. And while many do not call themselves liberal, they share the values which seem to identify with liberalism, particularly a commitment to helping the vulnerable and providing a social safety net.”

    The Democratic Party platform should support: Animal Rights, Defending the Affordable Care Act, Ending Citizens United, Ending Marijuana Prohibition, Giving Greater Visibility to Pro-Life Democrats, Gun Control, Net Neutrality, Raising the Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour, Responding to the Scientific Consensus on Global Warming, and a Sustainable Energy Policy.

    Democrats for Life of America, 10521 Judicial Drive, #200, Fairfax, VA 22030, (703) 424-6663

  53. Wow…. Vasu Murti, you found a few more books that you can cut and paste. Seems like you went to a library to check out every book on this BS you are trying to preach to us, so that you can just scan the books and paste their content without reading and understanding what you are commenting. Reallly…. when will you come up with your own thought out comments to place on this site, something that might make sense instead of this BS you posted

  54. Vasu Murti…OH yeah, by the way… I had to take off my high top boots so I can climb into a pair of Hip wader pants from the BS that you have piled so high today.

  55. Now as far as Pope Francis… as a Christian I am disgusted that he was chosen by the Catholic Cardinals to be placed in this seat of religeous Hierarchy. Just like I was a Navy Veteran, swore to obey the laws of the President and those appointed over me, I swore to obey the Pope, but it seems like its time for me to break this vow to follow this Pope’s orders. I believe he is part of the Illuminati and a danger to the Christian faith. A plant to destroy the Christian Faith like OBOZZO was a plant to destroy the US from within. He should stay out of politics unless for some reason the politics is touching on the Christian Faith. It is not his place to comment on something that doesn’t concern him or the Church.

  56. Dear Pope: The use of Fossil Fuels is the BEST RECYCLE PROGRAM ON EARTH…………..making use of dead dinosaurs…………………Climate change has always occurred…….Remember: “THE PARTING OF THE RED SEA”?………………Keep your day job & stick to religion!

  57. Francis. Stay away from what you are clueless which is politics. Your RADICAL LEFT agenda is not compatible with the teachings of Christ. You may want to seem pious but sorry,,, you just dont have it.
    Im Catholic and your views are far from those taught in catechism school. I practice my faith not because of you but because of Christ’s teachings not YOuR opinioons. I truly miss John Paul II

  58. I think all Christians and the Pope in particular should remember that God is almighty and the believers are his children. He is omnipresent and aware of anything and everything. At least that is what I hear from Christians all the time. So why is all this shi!! happen in this world? Instead of praying for him to fix it why don’t you people ask Him why he lets that shi!! happen in the first place? That goes for every time some disaster happens somewhere and the faithful are on their knees asking him for help! Talk to your leader,Pope, to have a word with that guy in the clouds and remind him of his responsibilities to take care of his servants. 3 possibilities- 1. he doesn’t give a rats ass, 2. he has a hell of a god time ,just like the old Greek gods ,playing with mankind or 3 he does not excist. Take your pick. I have made mine a long time ago.

    • I think that all Christians need to read the Bible According to the bible, The Sabbagh is on Saturday, Every Calender has Saturday as the 7th day. I think if God make tis a commandment, When Jesus rose from the dead, He would hve said that the Sabbath was to be changed. He never did that, and while Paul said that one ould pick the way that you honor it, But one thing will always be true. You rest o the Sabbath. I have decided to start attending a Messianic Synagogue. I just have to learn how to eat Kosher around them

  59. A free market economy Vs a “Green New Deal” ?

    Should meat be *taxed* ? I’ve heard that when he was with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Bruce Friedrich would urge legislators to “tax meat” — similar to the “sin taxes” we now see on cigarettes and alcohol.

    Before joining PETA (and later marrying Canadian vegan Hindu Dr. Alka Chandna), Bruce Friedrich distributed copies of his essay “Veganism and Nonviolence” to the numerous Catholic Worker houses across the United States, pointing out that many Catholic worker-types like to think of themselves as nonviolent, but are unaware of the violence that goes into a hamburger and/or a glass of milk.

    A bumper sticker by Friends of Animals reads “Veganism Is Direct Action”…

    …but direct action might be economic impact:

    Abolish “welfare ranching”!

    Abolish all taxpayer support for the livestock industry.

    Vegan author John Robbins provides these points and facts in his Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America (1987):

    Half the water consumed in the U.S. irrigates land growing feed and fodder for livestock. It takes 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat, but 2,500 gallons to produce a pound of meat. If these costs weren’t subsidized by the American taxpayers, the cheapest hamburger meat would be $35 per pound!

    Livestock producers are California’s biggest consumers of water. Every tax dollar the state doles out to livestock producers costs taxpayers over seven dollars in lost wages, higher living costs and reduced business income. Seventeen western states have enough water supplies to support economies and populations twice as large as the present.

    U.S. livestock produce twenty times as much excrement as the entire human population, creating sewage which is ten to several hundred times as concentrated as raw domestic sewage. Meat producers contribute to half the water pollution in the United States.

    Again: half the water consumed in the U.S. irrigates land growing feed and fodder for livestock. It takes 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat, but 2,500 gallons to produce a pound of meat. If these costs weren’t subsidized by the American taxpayers, the cheapest hamburger meat would be $35 per pound!

    If we abolish all taxpayer support for the livestock industry, the cheapest hamburger meat would be $35 per pound, putting the cost of meat out of reach for most Americans, and effectively making everyone in the United States a vegetarian. This would have far greater and far-reaching consequences than merely taxing meat.

    It takes nearly one gallon of fossil fuel and 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of conventionally fed beef. (Mother Jones)

    Nearly 75% of the grain grown and 50% of the water consumed in the U.S. are used by the meat industry. (Audubon Society)

    Over 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared to grow grain for livestock. (Greenpeace)

    In their 2007 book, Please Don’t Eat the Animals, mother and daughter Jennifer Horsman and Jaime Flowers write:

    “Half of all fresh water worldwide is used for thirsty livestock. Producing eight ounces of beef requires an unimaginable 25,000 liters of water, or the water necessary for one pound of steak equals the water consumption of the average household for a year.

    “The Worldwatch Institute estimates one pound of steak from a steer raised in a feedlot costs: five pounds of grain, a whopping 2,500 gallons of water, the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, and about 34 pounds of topsoil.

    “Thirty-three percent of our nation’s raw materials and fossil fuels go into livestock destined for slaughter. In a vegan economy, only two percent of our resources will go to the production of food.”

    And as a vegetarian, I must ask: why should *my* tax dollars subsidize *your* choice of “lifestyle” — especially if I don’t want my tax dollars subsidizing the taking of innocent life? Abolishing “welfare ranching” is based upon free market principles which conservatives claim to espouse and would have far greater impact than the so-called “Green New Deal” involving greater expansion of government powers, which conservatives claim to oppose. Abolishing “welfare ranching” is the animal rights equivalent to the Hyde Amendment.

    • is it ok, that when these kids as young adults tend to kill each other. A 15 year old Boy, in a single parent home was killed 8 days ago. You know who pays for his Funeral, and the therapy tht his family, and neighbors need to go to.Maybe what is really needed is this. Before the left started Changing the Laws, they outlawed the bible. 1962, andf before, the Bible was read in Public Schools. Wew had less problems.And we had full employment at a livible wage We were aldo the world’s richest nation while our citizens were very charitable as well. That is what God blessing you 7 times greater than you gave.

  60. Before everyone starts attacking Pope Francis for speaking out against climate change and the fossil fuel industry and before everyone starts attacking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Democrats in general for the so-called “Green New Deal,” I must point out:

    You’d think the unborn-right-to-lifers would immediately understand the animal-right-to-lifers! The case for animal rights should be readily understandable to the millions of Americans opposed to abortion on demand.

    “Although I may disagree with some of its underlying principles,” writes pro-life Democrat Karen Swallow Prior, “there is much for me, an anti-abortion activist, to respect in the animal rights movement. Animal rights activists, like me, have risked personal safety and reputation for the sake of other living beings. Animal rights activists, like me, are viewed by many in the mainstream as fanatical wackos, ironically exhorted by irritated passerby to ‘Get a Life!’ Animal rights activists, like me, place a higher value on life than on personal comfort and convenience, and in balancing the sometimes competing interests of rights and responsibilities, choose to err on the side of compassion and nonviolence.”

    The animal rights movement, representing a cross-section of mainstream secular American society, is NOT “officially pro-choice,” but IS divided on abortion. In a 1992 interview on Dennis Prager’s conservative talk show, when specifically asked about the animal rights position on abortion, Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), admitted, “We’re divided.”

    Former television game show host Bob Barker is a conservative Republican and an animal activist. Tony LaRussa of the Animal Rescue Foundation is a political conservative. Vegan labor leader Cesar Chavez was pro-life. Vegan civil rights leader Dick Gregory was pro-life. Former Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy, a devout pacifist, has expressed opposition to abortion, and in the 1980s was critical of Reverend Jesse Jackson for having changed sides on the issue.

    Dixie Mahy, past president of the San Francisco Vegetarian Society, has been vegetarian for sixty years, vegan for forty of those sixty years, and identifies herself as pro-life-and-pro-animal Matthew Scully, a conservative Catholic and former speechwriter for George W. Bush identifies himself as “Pro-Animal, Pro-Life.” Catholic Concern for Animals is pro-life-and-pro-animal. Reverend Frank Hoffman’s http://www.all-creatures.org Christian vegan website is pro-life-and-pro-animal Compassion for animals is a fundamental tenet of the Baha’i faith, which endorses vegetarianism, says abortion is more a matter of individual conscience, but concludes, without taking a position on abortion, life should not be destroyed.

    John Stuart Mill wrote: “The reasons for legal intervention in favor of children apply not less strongly to the case of those unfortunate slaves — the animals.”

    Animals are like children. Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), successfully prosecuted a woman for child abuse in 1873, at a time when children had no legal protection, under the then currently existing animal protection statutes. This case started the child-saving crusade around the world.

    In Christianity and the Rights of Animals, the Reverend Dr. Andrew Linzey writes: “In some ways, Christian thinking is already oriented in this direction. What is it that so appalls us about cruelty to children or oppression of the vulnerable, but that these things are betrayals of relationships of special care and special trust? Likewise, and even more so, in the case of animals who are mostly defenseless before us.”

    When told the animal rights movement is divided on abortion, Serrin Foster, Executive Director of Feminists For Life, said understandingly, “The Children’s Defense Fund is also divided on abortion.” Feminists For Life has many vegetarians and vegans. Serrin identifies herself as a vegetarian.

    From 1992 through 2003, James Dawson, raised Catholic and now a Buddhist, published Live and Let Live, a pro-life / animal rights / libertarian ‘zine. The ancient eastern reincarnationist religions Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism all predate Christianity, all oppose abortion, all teach ahimsa, or nonviolence towards humans and animals alike to the point of vegetarianism, all are vegan-friendly, and all teach that abortion and war are the karma for killing animals, and that therefore, we cannot end abortion nor bring about world peace until first we abolish the killing of animals.

    This knowledge, however, does not rest with everyone. Not all pro-life-and-pro-animal people advocate the reincarnationist strategy for ending abortion and bringing about world peace. Shay Van Vlieman, founder of Vegans For Life in the late ’90s, said she doesn’t expect to see a vegan president in her lifetime: she would just be glad to elect a president who will work to overturn Roe v. Wade. And she insists she is not a Republican, but a libertarian!

    During the late 1990s, Rachel MacNair, a Quaker pacifist, feminist, vegan, past president of Feminists For Life, moderated an email list for pro-life vegetarians and pro-life vegans. Rachel is now a psychology professor, and has written several books on nonviolence. In 1998, the Animals Agenda ran a cover story on the debate within the animal rights movement over abortion. Vegan congressman Dennis Kucinich (D – Ohio), one of the most liberal members of Congress, was pro-life throughout most of his political career.

    Pro-life vegetarians and pro-life vegans are found within the “consistent-ethic” movement: pro-lifers opposed to capital punishment. A significant number of “consistent-ethic” Christians were / are vegetarian or vegan: Rose Evans, Ruth Enero, Rachel MacNair, Albert Fecko, Carol Crossed, Bill Samuel, Mary Krane Derr, Mary Rider, Father John Dear, etc.

    Mary Rider, a practicing Catholic, wrote in Harmony: Voices for a Just Future, a “consistent-ethic” periodical in 2002:

    “So we teach our children to walk softly on the earth and to embrace nonviolence as the only legitimate means of conflict resolution, on both a personal and a global level. We are aware of the excessive, privileged life we lead as educated, first world U.S. citizens and of the responsibilities to which our privilege calls us. We try to live simply. We eat low on the food chain. We try to buy nothing new… We try to respect all life and carry that message forward in all we do… Because we value people and relationships over things… First world consumption kills people around the world… Pollution, environmental devastation, corrupt governments, war, sweatshops… all are a are a result of our desire to buy more at a lower price… We believe each person has a right to live a valued and respected life free from hunger and discrimination…”

    The threat of overpopulation is frequently used to justify abortion as birth control. On a vegan diet, however, the world could easily support a human population several times its present size. The world’s cattle alone consume enough to feed over 8.7 billion humans. Even if abortion advocates argue shifting to a plant-based diet, a vegan diet, isn’t enough to stave off overpopulation, in light of the data showing the depletion of energy, food, fresh water, land space, raw materials and resources as well as the heavy contribution to air and water pollution, deforestization, and global warming caused by a meat-centered diet, how do abortion advocates — warning about overpopulation consuming the world’s resources — justify consuming animal products?

    If vegetarianism were merely about “fit” or following a peculiar set of “dietary laws” why are pro-lifers offended by pro-choice vegetarians and pro-choice vegans? Clearly, they’re offended because they know vegetarianism involves the animals’ right to life, and thus these pro-choicers appear to value animal life over human life under some circumstances. And issues like animal experimentation, circuses, and fur have nothing to do with diet, eating, nor food, but do involve the animals’ right to life. Leonardo Da Vinci, Count Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, Susan B. Anthony, Percy Shelley, Rosa Parks, etc. were all vegetarian, and none of them were Jewish nor Muslim.

    For Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action offers an introduction to animal rights ethics within Christianity alongside directly related sanctity-of-life issues, like the possible rights of unborn children. The book’s foreword is written by Mary Eberstadt, senior fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, a Catholic who identifies herself as “Pro-Animal, Pro-Life.”

    Author Charles Camosy responds to criticisms from academicians Peter Singer and Lynn White, Jr., that the misinterpretation of “human dominion” (versus compassionate stewardship) is responsible for the current ecological crisis. Camosy indicates that Christianity cannot be blamed if humans with their imperfections distort their own religious teachings, that Christianity did not give rise to the industrial revolution, and that real Christianity — as it was meant to be practiced — is at odds with market-driven ethics and mass consumerism (a point made decades ago by liberal Protestant theologian Dr. Harvey Cox). Camosy concludes: “I became convinced that, if I wanted to be authentically and consistently pro-life, I should give up eating meat.” Dozens of books have been written on Christianity and animal rights. Camosy merely provides an overview of animal ethics in Christianity.

    Steve Kaufman, head of the Christian Vegetarian Association, was raised Jewish, and is now serving in the United Church of Christ, America’s largest pro-choice Protestant denomination. Steve expressed interest in Democrats For Life, his only reservation was whether Democrats For Life favors criminalizing abortion. Some animal advocates and activists (like Catholic vegan columnist Colman McCarthy) oppose abortion, but don’t think criminalization is the answer.

    In 2004, on the Democrats For Life email list, Maria Krasinski mentioned a poll which found animal activists evenly divided on abortion. This either indicates animal rights really are a bipartisan cause which conservatives can support alongside liberals, or it indicates many liberals are uncomfortable with abortion!

    In 2014, Kristen Day of Democrats For Life said: “Roughly a third of the Democratic Party is pro-life. And while many do not call themselves liberal, they share the values which seem to identify with liberalism, particularly a commitment to helping the vulnerable and providing a social safety net.”

    The Democratic Party platform should support: Animal Rights, Defending the Affordable Care Act, Ending Citizens United, Ending Marijuana Prohibition, Giving Greater Visibility to Pro-Life Democrats, Gun Control, Net Neutrality, Raising the Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour, Responding to the Scientific Consensus on Global Warming, and a Sustainable Energy Policy.

    Democrats for Life of America, 10521 Judicial Drive, #200, Fairfax, VA 22030, (703) 424-6663

  61. Even Srila Prabhupada said the Bible contains *some* spiritual truth.

    “This is not to say that the Bible is nonsense. The Bible is the absolute truth. It is absolute truth that Lord Jesus Christ taught, but look at the people to whom he taught. They crucified him for teaching about God. He could not teach as great a depth.”

    —lecture, 1968

    “Lord Jesus Christ preaches love of God, we are also preaching the same thing, love of God. But our process is little different.

    —lecture, 1969

    “…there is no contradiction between Jesus Christ’s description and our Vedic description. God is Supreme Father. That’s a fact.”

    —lecture, 1972

    “We are presenting Krishna before you, and you take it. Most of the Western country, they are Christian. So the Christians believe in Lord Jesus Christ as son of God. But we are presenting the Father, God Himself. So there is no contradiction. If there is son, there must be…”

    —lecture, 1972

    “…we can chant combinedly. Where is the difficulty? So those who are professing Christianity, never mind. You have god the name of God. Otherwise, why Jesus recommended that ‘You glorify the name of God’? That is chanting. So let us combinedly glorify the name of God. This is common platform.”

    —lecture, 1974

    Yes, the Christians must stop killing. They know that! If a person claims to be saved but continues working in an abortion clinic, for example, pro-life Christians won’t take it seriously, even if the person claiming to be saved argues that ceasing to participate in abortion is “work”!

    The Christians might ask us, “If you’re saved, why are you still working?”

    To which, we could respond: “If *you’re* saved, why are you still sinning?”

    My friend Rankin Fisher, a former Missionary Baptist minister, said the problem with Christianity today is that there’s too much emphasis on salvation, and not enough emphasis on *sanctification* or leading a godly life after being saved.

    The very first steps on the path of bhakti are described by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura as follows:

    “When we analyze the stages that lead to love of God, we understand that faith or sraddha is the first stage. Without sraddha, there is no way to obtain love of God. From faith, one seeks saintly association which is called sadhu-sanga. This leads to shelter at the feet of a spiritual teacher. Thereafter, pancha-samskara or initiation follows. Pancha-samskara gives rise to bhajana-kriya or the personal worship of God.”

    –Pancha-Samskara, The Process of Initiation

    Without a formal laity, the Krishna Consciousness movement has been circumventing the first steps on the path of bhakti, bringing adherents directly to a spiritual teacher, so it’s not surprising that so many have fallen.

    Similarly, through sraddha and sadhu-sanga (faith and fellowship), the Christians may have some knowledge, but if they’re still sinning after having come to Christ, they’re lost.

    The biblical tradition *does* contain *some* knowledge of God!

    The Song of Songs poetically depicts the mutual love between God and Israel as a relationship between the lover and the beloved. The prophets Isaiah (5:1-7, 54:4-8), Jeremiah (2:2,32) and Ezekiel (16:23) also characterized the covenant between God and Israel as a marriage.

    “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.

    “His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.

    “His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.

    “His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers; his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

    “His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl; his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.

    “His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold; his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

    “His mouth is most sweet; yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend.”

    –Song of Songs 5:10-16

    (Compare to Brahama-samhita 5.30.)

    In an interview with India’s Bhavan’s Journal in August 1976, the following exchange took place:

    Srila Prabhupada:

    “One gentleman has written me that Tolstoy once said, ‘Unless dynamite is put underneath the church, there cannot be any peace.’ Even now the Russian (communist) government is very strictly against God consciousness, because they think that religion has spoiled the whole social atmosphere.”

    Interviewer:

    “It seems there could be some truth in that.”

    Srila Prabhupada:

    “The religious system might have been misused, but that does not mean that religion should be avoided. Real religion should be taken. It does not mean that because religion has not been properly executed by the so-called priests, religion should be rejected. If my eye is giving me some trouble on account of a cataract, it does not mean that the eye should be plucked out. The cataract should be removed. That is Krishna consciousness.”

    Interviewer:

    “I think history shows that many people have misused religion. Isn’t that a fact?”

    Srila Prabhupada:

    “These people have no conception of God, and they are preaching religion. What is religion? Dharmam tu sakshad bhgavat-pranitam: ‘The path of religion is directly enunciated by the Supreme Lord.’ They have no conception of God — they do not know what God is — and they are professing some religion. How long can it go on artificially? It will deteriorate. That has become the present condition…

    “Just ask — in any religious system, what is their conception of God? Can anyone tell clearly? No one can tell. But we shall immediately say:

    venum kvanantam aravinda-dalyataksham
    barhavatamsam asitambuda-sundarangam
    kandarpa-koti-kamaniya-visesha-sobham
    govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami

    “‘I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept in playing on His flute, whose blooming eyes are like lotus petals, whose head is bedecked with a peacock’s feather, whose figure of beauty is tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and whose unique loveliness charms millions of cupids.’ [Bramha-samhita 5.30]

    “Immediately, we can give a description of God.”

  62. Human activity has ruined the world? Well it’s not ruined yet, but with a population of over 7 BILLION and increasing every second, it’s possible. Over population is more of a problem than emissions from coal/oil/gas.

  63. Pope Francis is really out of his range. Francis kowtows to Hindu and Muslim doctrine while ignoring the slaughter of Christians by Islamic militants. If Pope Francis would care more for his own people who are in the throes of genocide, maybe he could be taken seriously. As it is, this “Pope” is more interested in his leftist politics than in the salvation of Christians, either spiritually of physically. Pope Francis is a pure disaster for the Church.

  64. Vasu Murti : You are using flawed sources for your religious information !!! You should instead be reading the New Testament, in the Bible – which is The Word Of God, INSPIRED by The Holy Spirit Of God. In First Timothy, Chapter 4, verses 1-5 : “But the Spirit says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude ; for it is sanctified by means of the Word Of God and prayer.” God gave meats to mankind for food after the great flood. Genesis, Chapter 9, verses 1-4 : “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky ; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you ; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” So we see that God DID GIVE MEATS TO MANKIND FOR FOOD. This was during the Patriarchal Dispensation. This was a change from the original food having been only vegetation, as was told in Genesis, Chapter 1, verses 29-30. God modified this while speaking to Moses and Aaron, in Leviticus, Chapter 11, verses 1-47. That was for the Mosaic Dispensation. In that passage God labeled numerous things to be “unclean” for His chosen people to eat, to consume. God’s chosen people, Israel (the Jews) were the nation/race through whom God would send Messiah (which translates to Christ, or Savior.) When Messiah/Christ (Jesus of Nazareth) came, He taught what was to be God’s law after His death, burial, and resurrection. It is now called The New Testament. It went into effect after the death of the Testator, Jesus Christ, thus beginning the Christian Dispensation. Jesus fulfilled the purpose of the separation of the chosen people by His coming as Messiah/Christ, and ended the Mosaic Dispensation, canceling the Law Of Moses. See Colossians, Chapter 2, Verse 14, “…having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us ; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Jesus had taught His specially selected disciples, His Apostles, during His ministry of approximately three years. Jesus told His Apostles that, after His departure the Comforter/Helper (The Holy Spirit) would come to them, and “when He, The Spirit Of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth…” John, Chapter 16, Verse 13. See also John, Chapter 14, Verse 25-26, “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, The Holy Spirit, whom The Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” We also learn that false prophets and false teachers would later arise, as told in First Peter, Chapter 1, verses 20-21, and Chapter 2, verses 1-3 : “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by The Holy Spirit spoke from God. But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned ; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words ; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
    Here is the point, Vasu Murti : the law of God now in effect is that which Jesus taught His disciples ; the law of which they THEMSELVES were reminded and taught by The Holy Spirit, during the First Century A. D. Changes to that later are by FALSE TEACHERS AND FALSE PROPHETS !!! Vasu Murti : you need to read The Bible as your source of religious information, rather than Tertullian or others who differ with The Word Of God – The Bible. Throughout time, The Holy Spirit has made the truth of God available to mankind so that we are enabled to revere and obey Him, not falling for the deceptions of Satan/the devil. We are not forced to obey Him, YET ; we have the choice and the resulting responsibility to do so. Consequences WILL follow. Revelation, Chapter 2, Verse 10b, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

  65. In Bhagavad-gita 18.66, Krishna says:

    sarva-dharman parityajya
    mam ekam saranam vraja
    aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
    mokshayishyami ma suchah

    “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”

    “I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions.” This idea is similar to the Christians saying, “Jesus saves.” One is freed from all sins when one surrenders to God, but no one comes to God except through the spiritual master. (Compare John 14:6)

    In the Srimad Bhagavatam, one of the main scriptures in the Vaishnava canon, Lord Krishna tells His disciple Uddhava that the spiritual master is “one with Me” (compare John 10:30 and John 17:21), is to be revered as though he were an incarnation of God, and must never be mistaken for an ordinary man, for he “fully embodies all the qualities of God.” (Compare Colossians 2:9)

    Scripture teaches that one is saved and freed from all sins when he or she becomes the disciple of a divine master. The guru or spiritual master willingly suffers for the sins of his or her disciples (takes on their karma). In his purport (commentary) on the Srimad Bhagavatam 9:9:5, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes:

    “The spiritual master, after accepting a disciple, must take charge of that disciple’s past sinful activities, and suffer — if not fully, then partially — for the sinful acts of the disciple.”

    In a letter to his disciples Satsvarupa and Uddhava dated July 27, 1970, Srila Prabhupada wrote:

    “The spiritual master has got the responsibility of absorbing the sinful reaction of his disciple’s life. This is a great responsibility of the spiritual master… To accept disciples means to take up the responsibility of absorbing the sinful reaction of life of the disciple.”

    Srila Prabhupada similarly wrote to another disciple: “Regarding your question about sufferings of master, you can simply ponder over Lord Christ’s crucification.” (Letter to Rebatindandan dasa, 12/31/72.)

    This concept of the messiah is foreign to Judaism, but familiar to Christianity. In his book, You Take Jesus, I’ll Take God: How to Refute the Christian Missionaries, Jewish writer Samuel Levine exchanges letters with a Jewish convert to Christianity. The new convert to Christianity quotes John 15:13, referring to the sacrificial death of Jesus, that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for others. Samuel Levine responds that suicide is prohibited in the Torah!

    (Christians unable to validate the authenticity of their own beliefs from Judaism and the Old Testament, can thus turn to Vaishnavaite Hinduism to substantiate their views.)

    The guru is considered sinless, because he is obedient to the will of God through scripture; following the instructions of his own spiritual master. Thus, there is a living chain of saints and spiritual masters who take on disciples and guide them toward maturity in their relationship with God. Brother Aelred, a Catholic monk and Krishna disciple residing in Armidale, Australia in the 1990s, compared the disciplic succession in Vaishnavaite Hinduism to the Apostolic succession in Catholic Christianity.

    Through a guru, one receives God’s directions on a deeper, more personal level than one receives through scripture itself. Moreover, it is taught in scripture that the only way to know God personally is through those souls whose relationship with Him is already established. No one comes to God except through a spiritual master. (Compare John 14:6)

    Srila Prabhupada may be compared to other Vaishnava acharyas (spiritual masters and founders of institutions) like Madhva or Ramanuja. A guru, or living spiritual master, suffers for the sins of his disciples once they have taken formal vows to follow him. A guru is given the honor and worship Christians ascribe to Jesus Christ — he is revered as though he were an incarnation of God.

    Srila Prabhupada himself is revered as a shaktya-avesha-avatar, or empowered representative of God in Vaishnavaite Hinduism. A few days before Srila Prabhupada left the planet in 1977, his godbrother Puri Maharaja said, “You have saved millions of people around the world. You should be called maha-patita-pavana (the great savior of the fallen).”

    I’ve given the following example to Christians to explain disciplic succession:

    …suppose Jesus’ twelve apostles each became a master in his own right; each accepted disciples, took on the karma of these disciples (suffered for their sins); and when each of the apostles passed away, the respective disciples of each of these apostles each becomes a master, each taking on disciples, etc…

    …over the centuries, in a lineage going back centuries, indeed, millennia!

    And our tradition is *older* than Christianity.

    Dr. Diana Eck writes:

    “The Krishna Consciousness movement is part of an important and distinctive tradition of devotional faith, the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, which began in the 16th century with the great saint Sri Chaitanya, but which participates in a much older movement of devotion dating back to at least the 2nd century BC.

    “This devotional faith is called bhakti, which means devotion to God or love of God. Bhakti expresses the relationship between human beings and the Lord. It is a relationship of shared being and of mutual love.

    “The bhakti tradition found a full expression in the ancient Bhagavad-gita, ‘The Song of the Lord,’…an existential dialogue on some of the most deeply significant human questions… What is human life? What is transcendence? How can one be actively engaged in the world without being ensnared by it? The Gita has been heard and told and cherished by generations of Hindus, who have seen Krishna as the Supreme Godhead.

    “One of the most vigorous and vibrant periods of devotional activity on the Indian subcontinent began about five hundred years ago, when a new wave of this ancient bhakti tradition broke across north India. The love of Krishna was an important part of this movement…

    “There were many poets, saints, and theologians who contributed to this era of exuberant devotion. Among them was the Bengali spiritual leader Sri Chaitanya, who may be called the founder of the Hare Krishna movement. He gave himself fully to the devotional worship of Krishna, popularizing and developing a form of worship called kirtan, the chanting and singing of the holy names of the Lord to the accompaniment of… hand cymbals and…drums.

    “In 1933, one of the leaders of the Gaudiya Vaishnava movement, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami, initiated a new disciple: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, whose special task was to bring the message of krishna-bhakti to the English-speaking world.

    “In 1965, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami came to the United States, arriving by freighter, with little money and no contacts. In time, with difficulty, he established the first Krishna temple in the United States…Within a decade, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness—the American strand of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition—spread to most major American cities.

    Dr. Thomas J. Hopkins, author of The Hindu Religious Tradition, similarly says:

    “Interestingly, one of the earliest archeological evidences of the worship of Krishna is a monument to Krishna erected by a Greek named Heliodorus at a place called Besnagar.

    “This monument, called the ‘Besnagar Column’ or the ‘Heliodorus Column,’ is usually dated at the mid-second century of first century BC, and was erected by a Greek who was an ambassador to one of the regional courts of India.

    “In the inscription on the monument, he describes himself as a bhagavata, a devotee of Lord Krishna. It’s interesting that this evidence of Krishna worship comes through the medium of a foreigner who was converted to the worship of Krishna…

    “If you look back in history, the two traditions which generally have been access points for foreigners seeking entrance into Indian religious tradition are the Vaishnava devotional movements and Buddhism…

    “…the formal brahminical (priestly) tradition… was extremely purist and elitist. But they were accepted by… the Vaishnava devotional movement wherein they could worship Vishnu and Krishna, and they were also accepted by Buddhism.

    “And its intriguing when you look at the twentieth century AD, and see which movements have successfully moved into the West — again it’s Buddhism and a Vaishnava devotional movement.

    “These two traditions, historically, have been to a very large extent culture-free, in the sense that they have not depended upon a particular cultural setting to make them work… Some traditions have not been able to make that kind of cross-cultural move.

    “It’s noteworthy that the form of Buddhism that has traditionally been the most exportable — the form you find in China, Japan, and Korea — is salvation Buddhism, what you might call ‘bhakti Buddhism’ which involves devotional worship of Amida Buddha, the compassionate Buddha who grants salvation and elevates his worshippers, who devotionally recite his name, to a heavenly ‘Pure Land.’

    “…That’s the quality that this tradition has had all along. Historically, it has cut across all kinds of caste lines, education lines, regional lines, and national lines… That’s why Krishna Consciousness, Vaishnava devotionalism, could be brought to the West in the first place, and why it could flourish among people to whom Indian and Hindu tradition was a completely foreign element.

    “Heliodorus presumably was not the only foreigner who was converted to Vaishnava devotional practice. Certainly, there must have been others. The point is that there were no barriers to a foreigner’s becoming a Vaishnava.

    “If you committed yourself on the path of devotion, if you had real devotion, you were accepted as a genuine bhakta, a genuine devotee. There was no further qualification needed.”

  66. And speaking of Pope Francis, which the article is about, as a Catholic I am very disappointed with him not to mention disgusted because he has not spoken against the full term abortion the left proposes. One can wonder if the left is paying him to promote their evil ideas. It is preposterous what this Pope is saying and condoning. He knows what he’s doing is not right maybe that’s why he always asks that we pray for him. I will pray for you father Francis and will ask God to guide you and turn you towards Him and give you the ability to preach and promote all that is good.

  67. As a leftist, the Pope cannot keep his nose out of causes that he has no business addressing. When did he become an expert in “climate change”? Has he studied or read the many extremely credentialed and qualified scientists who have well-founded opinions that do not support the self-serving theory of man-caused climate change. Those that support that theory are revered by the media. Those that dispute the theory are dismissed and reviled as non-believers. This is science and scientists over the centuries have always had differing views. In this case, however, it is not being treated as science, rather it is politics and the belief that man is causing a change in the climate has become a religion for its close-minded ignorant followers, including the pope.

  68. Yep…I have a Catholic neighbor who’s stopped going and listed this loony pope as one reason. Another was when he was asked if he’d be willing to take out a $20,000.00 loan to help them build a local church.

  69. Some Catholics say their Catholicism brought them to Krishna!

    Dr. Joseph T. O’Connell, Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, discusses sadhana — spiritual discipline, or a pattern of religious practices or observances. He agrees that sadhana exists in every religious tradition.

    “You’ll find a lot of this, of course, in the Christian tradition, where you have a great variety of denominations and religious orders which have their own specific ways of honing and reinforcing the devotional sensibility of the Christian.

    “And even the average layperson is encouraged — especially in more traditional forms of Christianity — to have a program of daily or weekly prayer, or periodic participation in church services. They may be asked to do a certain amount of scriptural reading. For some laypersons this is done in a very systematic way, for others, it is more casual. All this can be seen as Christian sadhana.

    A strong spiritual regimen lies at the heart of Krishna Consciousness. Srila Prabhupada set down four principle vows, required of any student in devotional life who wished to become his disciple:

    (1) No eating of meat, fish, nor eggs.

    (2) No intoxication — this proscription includes even mild substances like tobacco or caffeine.

    (3) No gambling.

    (4) No illicit sexual connections. Sex is permitted only within marriage and only with the intent of procreation.

    In addition to these four regulative principles, Srila Prabhupada called for 16 rounds of chanting God’s holy names on rosary beads. Such a regimen would not be uncommon in a Christian monastic community.

    Compared to the demands Jesus made upon anyone wanting to become his disciple (Matthew 19:16-24; Mark 10:17-23; Luke 9:57-62, 14:25-26,33, 18:18-25), these four regulative principles are not at all unreasonable.

    The Western religious traditions also teach that the body is a temple of God, a vessel for the soul, which is to be sanctified and used for His glory, rather than for one’s own lust. Many religious conservatives and fundamentalists believe sex is meant only for procreation; they condemn fornication, homosexuality, birth control, divorce, etc.

    Gambling, drugs, alcohol, and sexual immorality are denounced as evils in spiritual circles. Vegetarianism makes perfect sense in terms of human anatomy, nutrition, ethics, resources, environment, energy, and economics.

    In the West, vegetarianism, or nonviolence towards animals, can be traced back to Pythagoras. It has been a way of life for Jewish mystics, Christian saints, and Christian monastic orders. The Bible teaches that God intended humans to be vegetarian. Biblical history begins (Genesis 1:29-31) and ends (Isaiah 11:6-9) in a kingdom where violence is unknown. Chanting on beads is a common form of prayer for Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, etc…

    The apostles studied under Jesus. A disciplic line was started by Jesus beginning with Simon (Peter). Aquinas studied under Albertus Magnus.

    Writing in 1987, Dr. Larry Shinn explains:

    “In his book Soul Friend, Kenneth Leech unfolds the often forgotten heritage of the spiritual director in the Christian tradition. He notes that the practice of submitting oneself to a spiritual guide was primarily a monastic or elitist one in both the Jewish and Christian traditions.

    “There was the zaddik in later Hasidic communities and the abbot in the Roman Catholic monastery. For example, in the writings of the Christian desert fathers, the advice is given, ‘Go, attach yourself to a man who fears God…give up your will to him, and then you will receive consolation from God.’

    “The contemporary Trappist monk Thomas Merton describes the Christian ‘spiritual father’ or ‘spiritual director’ as one who was set on fire by the Holy Spirit.

    “According to Merton, such a person should be, above all else, a charismatic leader marked by complete devotion to God. Second, he should be a man of experience who has struggled with the realities of prayer and devotion in the midst of worldly life. Third, he must be a man of learning who is steeped in the scriptures. Fourth, the spiritual guide must be a man of discernment who has special perception and insight into the world and its limitations as well as into his pupil’s soul and its particular needs. Finally, such a guide must always be open to the direction of the Holy Spirit as the channel of God’s love and grace.

    “Only a person marked with these special attributes can hope to help others ‘read the breathings of the spirit.’ The similarity of these criteria to those for the Krishna spiritual master is obvious.

    “It is not surprising that the Krishnas’ chanting raises suspicions among worried parents or persons who are unaware of the Indian context out of which this practice comes. Chanting is one way of focusing the mind’s attention as Christian monks and nuns who practice the ‘Jesus Prayer’ know.

    “Also, chanting in most theistic traditions does have as its goal a lessening of material and worldly attachments so that one becomes more attached to God than to oneself, one’s friends, or one’s family.

    “However, only in the monastic traditions of Christianity is the admonition of Jesus to love God more than family really taken seriously (see Matthew 10:37-39).

    “Since ISKCON began primarily as a monastic tradition in America, and one that demanded complete surrender to the religious path, it is a mistake to compare ISKCON’s life and practices with those of Protestant Christianity or Reform Judaism which do not require — except in lip service—a full twenty-four-hour, seven-days-a-week religious lifestyle.

    “Congregational Christianity and Judaism are quite distant from their own monastic traditions that require the undivided attention to the religious life that ISKCON does in its devotional practices.

    “Nonetheless, anticult critics continually insist on viewing the deity worship and chanting of Krishna devotees as fanatical devotion caused by malevolent manipulation.”

    On the subject of “deprogramming,” Dr. Shinn notes that “the attempt to dissuade persons forcibly to abandon their chosen faith is as old as religion itself… the closest thing to contemporary deprogrammings occurred in the thirteenth century when both Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi were abducted by family members in order to discourage their new ascetic lives.

    According to Dr. Shinn, the real danger of deprogramming “is that anyone in any situation is a potential victim. Two members of the Tucson Freedom of Thought Foundation deprogrammed an Old Catholic priest because his Episcopalian parents objected to his faith choice.

    “(Ted) Patrick has tried to deprogram two Greek Orthodox women ages twenty-one and twenty-three ‘because the parents were upset that their daughters had resisted the traditional Greek custom of living at home until the parents found them suitable husbands.’… Patrick has also tried to deprogram a young woman who joined an unpopular political party!

    “In criticizing the Ted Patrick type of deprogramming, Galen Kelly, another deprogrammer, tells this story: One time a deprogrammer ‘snapped’ a young woman out of her ‘cult mind’ and then proudly announced to her parents, ‘You’ll be glad to know your daughter’s a Christian again.’ ‘But,’ said the dazed parents, ‘she used to be Jewish.’”

    Lord Acton has been quoted as saying, “The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities. Liberty, by this definition, is the essential condition and guardian of religion.”

    According to Dr. Harvey Cox, “Some deprogrammers have gladly deprogrammed people in the Episcopal and Catholic churches, depending on the preference of those who wanted them deprogrammed. As far as I can see, deprogrammers are simply hired-guns. They will deprogram anybody you pay them to deprogram.”

    Dr. Shinn observes further that a significant number of Krishna devotees came from Jewish and Catholic backgrounds:

    “While the number of new converts to ISKCON from Jewish backgrounds has dropped to 15 percent or lower in recent years, the number ranged above 20 percent for the first decade of ISKCON’s history in America. Likewise, the proportion of youths from Catholic backgrounds ran above 30 percent in a survey this author did several years ago. Why are Jewish and Catholic youths in particular attracted to ISKCON?

    “One common attraction of Jewish and Catholic youths to ISKCON is ISKCON’s stress on its ancient Indian scriptural tradition that is mediated through a formal and complex ritual cycle. However, while both Jewish and Catholic traditions extol the value of history and tradition, the theological orientation of these traditions is dramatically different.

    “On the one hand, most devotees raised in a Jewish context saw their decision to join ISKCON as a *break* with their ethnic/religious family tradition that practiced no devotion to a personal God. On the other hand, most devotees raised in Catholic homes felt that becoming a Krishna devotee was a continuation or deepening of their Catholic faith. One woman said bluntly, ‘I am a better Catholic now.’

    “…the Krishna theology included their previous faith, their new faith also superseded their old one… there is a similarity in the Krishna and the Catholic traditions in their stress on formal rituals, the abundant use of iconography, their hierarchical institutional/authority structure, their strong emphasis on the private prayerlife, and their ideals of the monastic life of full time religious service and personal piety.”

    Dr. A.L. Basham suggests a possible explanation: “…the old-fashioned type of missionary was quite certain that Hinduism was the work of the Devil, and hence that it was very evil. It did all the things which Christianity, especially Protestant Christianity, said you shouldn’t do, such as image worship and the worship of many gods.

    “Catholics were always much more tolerant of this sort of thing. Though he may be theoretically monotheistic, the simple Catholic will, to all intents and purposes, pray to quite a wide range of divinities, including the Blessed Virgin Mary and various important saints, often in the form of physical images.

    “But Protestant Christianity was founded on the basis that there is one God only, divided into three persons, and that worship of images is sinful. To the Protestant of the old-fashioned kind, this was a terrible thing to do, almost as bad as it was to a traditional Jew or Muslim. So the missionaries, I think, are largely responsible for the polytheism stereotype and the ‘caste-ridden’ society stereotype.”

  70. The Trappist monks of the Catholic Church practiced vegetarianism from the founding of their order until the Second Vatican Council in the late 1960s. According to the Trappist rules, as formulated by Armand Jean de Rance (1626-1700), “in the dining hall nothing is layed out except: pulse, roots, cabbages, or milk, but never any fish… I hope I will move you more and more rigorously, when you discover that the use of simple and rough food has its origin with the holy apostles (James, Peter, Matthew).

    “We can assure you that we have written nothing about this subject which was not believed, observed, proved good through antiquity, proved by historians and tradition, preserved and kept up to us by the holy monks.”

    Reverend Norman Moorhouse:

    “The rosary is chiefly associated with Roman Catholics, but many members of the Church of England also use it. And there are many Russian orthodox Christians who chant the name of Jesus several hundred or thousand times every day. In the Book of Psalms there are biddings to praise the name of the Lord and to sing…I remember that during the Second World War, I was in Greece for Easter, and it was a wonderful thing to hear all the people chanting and singing ‘Christos anesethe’ — Christ is risen.”

    Dr. A.L. Basham:

    “Well, I think you (Krishna devotees) have quite a lot in common (with the Christian monastic orders). You take a vow of poverty. You live very simply–without superfluous material comforts and possessions. As for chastity, your monks… live strict celibate lives. Even… the married members, abstain from sex unless they wish to conceive children.

    “As far as obedience is concerned, reverence for the teachings and guidelines laid down by the scripture and by the guru are certainly quite important in your order. To live in your ashrams, one must follow certain strict rules concerning diet and conduct and so on. So you have much in common with the Christian monastic orders. Certainly, you dress much more gaily, though…

    “In monastic life the whole world over, there are many things in common, if not in theology and dogma, then at least in moral and spiritual practice. Especially in olden times, the monasteries used to feed travelers, the beggars, and the poor, and you do the same. They were religious centers of prayer and song, music, literature, and story telling, and you’re doing pretty much the same thing. There is quite a lot in common between you.

    “Usually the monastics have a good grounding in theology and they approach their theological dogmas in a rather different spirit from that of the lay person. Their involvement is obviously more experientially oriented, as is yours. Yes, I’m sure you can find quite a lot in common with Benedictine and Cistercian monks.

    “The bhakti tradition is very close to Christianity — Christianity of the devotional type–in its psychological attitudes. It comes particularly close to some aspects of mystic Catholicism. If you read the poems of mystics such as St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa, you find attitudes rather close to those of the bhakti poets of medieval India.

    “I would say, for this reason, among others, that one shouldn’t look on Krishna Consciousness as a rival of Christianity… there’s really no need for the Christians to look on you as their rivals… They ought to recognize you for what you are: a movement with doctrines and ideas very close to their own, with much the same aims and rather an ally than a foe.”

    Dr. Harvey Cox:

    “…there aren’t many examples around of people who choose a path of religious asceticism, and devotion… The people who understand the Hare Krishna movement better than many others are people who have a relative who’s become a Benedictine monk or a nun. They know somebody who has chosen to do something which appears to be crazy: giving up television, giving up family life, leaving professional careers and going off to live in a monastery. But that’s legitimated in the Catholic system. I’ve talked with people about the Hare Krishna movement in this way and they can easily make the connection.

    “I’ve heard Catholics say how comforting it is to walk into a Mass anywhere in the world and see the same gestures and hear the same words, especially during the old days of the Latin Mass. You can walk into any temple in Vrindavana, or in ISKCON, and pretty much the same thing is going on.

    “You can see the obvious similarities. here you have the idea of a personal God who becomes incarnate… revealing what God is about and eliciting a form of participation in the life of God.

    “I think a Christian will have some natural sensitivity to Krishna devotion… devotion of the heart, that is, pietistic Christianity… We noted several surprising similarities between what you might call Appalachian folk religion and Krishna Consciousness. Both religions put a big emphasis on joy, the spiritual joy of praising God… both traditions emphasized puritanical values and practice certain forms of asceticism such as no drinking, no smoking, no non-marital sex and no gambling… Both seem to put more emphasis on a future life or another world.

    “You have to remember that if you had been there at the early Methodist frontier revivals here in America… you would have seen some very ecstatic behavior… jumping up and down and singing. This sort of ecstatic religious behavior is, of course, associated with religious devotion from time immemorial in virtually every culture. We happen to be living in a culture which is very restricted, unimaginitive, and narrow in this regard.

    “I find Vaishnavaism and ISKCON itself, a fascinating and challenging spiritual and theological movement. My interest in it probably stems, in part, from the fact that it touches certain aspects of my own spiritual tradition, my own spiritual trajectory, in a way that other movements do not.”

    Dr. Klaus Klostermaier:

    “In Christianity, too, you have highly personalistic ideas, like those of the medieval Beghines — female devotees of medieval Germany. They envisioned the playfulness of God in highly personalistic terms, according to private revelations, and there were other, similar schools of thought. The Puranas — like the Bible — deal with creation, history of dynasties, biographies of saints, moral laws, human wisdom, the first created being, a Noah-type personality, the birth of the saviour, miracles of all sorts. These things are there and they can be elaborated upon with volumes of commentary.

    “For the Christian, the Trinity represents the deepest mystery of faith… Similarly, the Radha-Krishna relationship cannot be fathomed by paralleling it with romantic love poetry or late medieval Marian devotion, as some writers have tried to do. The mystery of these things goes very deep, and there is no earthly symbolism that can accurately convey its truth.”

    According to Dr. Klostermaier, meditation and prayer are “important in the Christian tradition, at least for certain sects and monastic orders… In the Philokalia and in the path recommended by The Pilgrim, you find the… ‘Jesus Prayer,’ which may be unknown to most Christians today, but was very powerful in its time.

    “So people are aware of the potency of ‘the name’ and the importance of focusing on it as a mantra… But it must be done with devotion…The idea of logos, or ‘the Word,’ has elaborate theological meaning that is intimately tied to the nature of Jesus and, indeed, to the nature of God.”

    “All the basic principles of bhakti yoga are richly exemplified in Christianity.”

    —Dr. Houston Smith, The Religions of Man, 1958

    In his monumental work, The Story of Christian Origins, secular historian Dr. Martin A. Larson notes that according to Hindu, Buddhist, and Pythagorean doctrine:

    “…hell itself was actually a kind of purgatory, since it was a place in which perhaps a majority of all people underwent repeated refinement and punishment,” before being reborn as a plant, animal, or human being.

    Dr. Larry Shinn:

    “…there is a similarity in the Krishna and the Catholic traditions in their stress on formal rituals, the abundant use of iconography, their hierarchical institutional/authority structure, their strong emphasis on the private prayerlife, and their ideals of the monastic life of full time religious service and personal piety.”

    Father Bede Griffiths says of Bhagavad-gita, “For a Christian, this is a wonderful confirmation of God’s love contained in the Gospel.”

    “When we say God is ‘eternal,’ we mean God is eternally young.”

    —Meister Eckhart

    Protestant theologian Rudolf Otto (1869-1937) called Vaishnavaism, “India’s religion of grace.”

    In The Living God: Basal Forms of Personal Religion, Nathan Soderblom similarly observes:

    “Warren Hastings was right in writing that of all known religions, this comes nearest to Christianity.”

    Vaishnavas, like Christians, are not pantheistic, but dualistic. The Vaishnava theology makes a clear distinction between the paramatma (God, or higher self within one’s heart) and the jivatma (individual ego or consciousness): distinguishing between a personal God and His children.

    Like Christians, Vaishnavas also believe that souls in this world have fallen from grace, that this world is transitory, and that there is an inner conflict between one’s carnal and spiritual natures.

    Srila Prabhupada drew an analogy between the biblical and Vaishnava teaching on the Fall from grace:

    “When a living entity disobeys the orders of God, he is put into this material world, and that is his punishment… The real fact is that the living entity is eternal, and the material world is created to satisfy his false existence… The individual is thinking that he is independent and can act independent of God. That is the beginning of paradise lost, of Adam’s fall.

    “When Adam and Eve thought that they could do something independently, they were condemned. Every living entity is the eternal servant of God, and he must act according to the desire or will of the Supreme Lord. When he deviates from this principle, he is lost. Losing paradise, he comes into the material world…

    “That is the process of transmigration, the rotation of the cycle of birth and death. This is all due to disobeying God… Having rebelled against the principles of God consciousness, we are cut off from our original position. We have fallen.”

    Following biblical tradition, St. Augustine made a distinction between the earthly and the heavenly, the flesh and bodily appetites versus the spirit and peace of the soul.

    Describing the predicament of the soul in a physical body in the material world, Augustine wrote:

    “And so long as he is in this mortal body, he is a pilgrim in a foreign land, away from God; therefore he walks by faith, not by sight.”

    Augustine said the soul “needs divine direction, which he may obey with resolution, and divine assistance that he may obey it freely…” These doctrines are consistent with Vaishnava theology.

    In Krishna Consciousness, one will find priests and monks with vows; the worship of consecrated images; the veneration of saints and different divinities; the chanting of the holy names on beads of prayer; the belief that sex is intended solely for procreation (upheld by St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas); two monastic orders (bramacharya and sannyassa); sacramental food; the use of holy water, candles, incense and ash; a platonic theology based upon metaphysical dualism: the spirit versus the flesh, the earthly versus the heavenly; an emphasis on “otherworldly” concerns such as salvation, the afterlife and eternal life; belief in the incarnations of God; and the worship of a plural (e.g., Trinitarian) Godhead.

    Srila Prabhupada’s disciples recall a heartwarming dialogue with Christian clergy which took place when Srila Prabhupada was visiting Detroit in the 1970s. His guests were two Catholic priests. Srila Prabhupada spoke beyond the superficial, external, cultural differences between religions.

    He asked them: “Do you believe that God is a Person?” (i.e., a personal God) They said yes. He asked: “Do you believe we are also persons, meant to love God?” They agreed. He asked: “Do you believe that sin separates man from God?” They said yes.

    Srila Prabhupada challenged them: “Then why don’t you teach people to stop sinning?”

    He then explained how killing animals, intoxication, gambling, and illicit sexual connections are ungodly and unspiritual. When the priests left, garlanded and carrying holy books and Bengali sweets, one of them said to Srila Prabhupada, “Why, I feel as if we’ve become *your* disciples!”

    The prayers and life story of Mahema dasi are revealing:

    “I went to the Catholic church and knelt before the altar and prayed to Jesus, ‘I’m not going to turn my back upon you.’ I sort of took Jesus’ permission to join the Hare Krishna movement because I felt close to Catholicism; but I also felt that this was a path that could lead me even further.

    “On a spiritual level, in my heart, I felt that the link was still their to my Catholic upbringing. But it was like I had gone through Catholicism and was continuing on another path. I was not turning my back on my faith, nor was I rejecting Catholicism. I sensed that I had gotten permission to join ISKCON, and the next day I was initiated (accepted discipleship; taken formal vows)… I was twenty-three…

    “I saw my joining ISKCON as a natural extension of my Catholic spirituality. I had been born in a suburb of Detroit in 1948, but my parents moved to California, where my father had bought a small orchard…

    “My father had been raised in a Jewish home and had converted to Catholicism during the Second World War. He met my mother while he was a Marine and she was working for the Navy.

    “I remember them as devout Catholics who went to Mass every Sunday and tried to follow the principles of the Catholic Church. My mother prayed a lot and used to say, ‘Never underestimate the power of prayer.’

    “…I immersed myself in the life of a middle-class parochial school student. My high school career was uneventful, as I did well scholastically and participated fully in school social activities. I even considered becoming a nun. However, when I went to a Catholic college, I hung out with friends who had a very different response to their Catholic backgrounds.

    “They smoked dope, drank, and smoked. They were active in the anti-Vietnam War movements and were much more activists than I was…my friends’ dependence on drugs seemed silly to me. I liked to be more in control of myself than they did… it actually frightened me to see how people were becoming speed freaks and dope addicts, and I didn’t find that attractive at all.

    “By the beginning of my third year in college I was beginning to feel the need to return to the simple life in the country. So I dropped out of school and shortly thereafter went to the Woodstock Festival with some friends…While there, I began to search for alternatives to the Catholic religious life…

    “From Woodstock, I joined a group of traveling hippies who were going to New Mexico in an old bus they owned. We stopped at several hippie communities that were practicing American Indian paths to spiritual growth. I came to appreciate the Hopis’ and the Navajos’ simple way of life. I had never been into the violent antiwar protests nor the heavy drug scene, so this rural way of life really agreed with me. Most of my friends were flower children who were more into nature than drugs and demonstrations…

    “…I was also attracted to the chanting and the kirtan (praise of God through music and dance in Krishna Consciousness). Kirtan was especially blissful and reminded me of the communal chanting we had done on the farm… You really felt a spiritual high from singing, which also was attractive to me. These religious occasions reminded me of my childhood when I would feel chills go up my spine while praying or singing in the church…

    “…I was reading the books and I was attracted to the philosophy. The Bhagavad-gita was my main attraction. I was convinced by the Gita’s argument that the soul is eternal and that there was a purpose for every life. And the Gita showed how one could come to a higher level of consciousness in the spiritual life… I believed that love was the motivation for the world, that love tied the world together.

    “But I knew that pure love was something that had to be cultivated. So I felt the Gita was right when it said pure love was love of God—not just each other. Consequently, in reading the Gita I felt that all I believed as a Catholic was being confirmed and that the Gita was going further because it was telling you how to love God… step by step.

    “It took me about a year to assimilate the philosophy. I visited the Oregon and Berkeley temples for short stays during this time. I was reading the Gita and I was chanting, though not consistently. I tried to cultivate the spiritual life… At that point I felt actually an inner strength from Srila Prabhupada… The next day I went to the Catholic church to ask for Jesus’ permission. And I actually sensed that my joining was authorized.”

    Dr. Larry Shinn notes that unlike their ex-Catholic brethren, Krishna devotees from Jewish backgrounds felt they were leaving one venerable religious tradition in favor of another.

    In June 1993, Prana Krishna dasa (Frank Morales) of Chicago, IL, wrote the following letter:

    “I am currently majoring in philosophy and minoring in theology at Loyola University of Chicago, a Catholic university… I’ve had many opportunities to have friendly discussions with Christian clergy and laymen about Vaishnava philosophy — usually with the result that we are all surprised at how many similarities there are between Vaishnava and Christian (pre-Thomist) theologies.”

    In an October 1993 letter, Prana Krishna dasa explained further:

    “…in my fifteen years of studying religion… I, in concert with many other scholars and devotees, have found the similarities between Vaishnavaism and Christianity to be quite striking. Indeed, Vaishnavas seem to have more in common (theologically, as opposed to culturally or historically) with Christianity than with any other world religion.

    “This is most especially true of early, Pre-Thomist Christianity. Most early Christian theologians and philosophers, before Thomas Aquinas, were influenced by the Platonic school of philosophy. Plato’s teachings were, in turn, very Hindu-like.

    “He believed, for example, in reincarnation, the separateness, qualitative superiority and ontologically antecedent nature of the soul in comparison with the body/matter; and the primacy of a transcendent reality, of which this world is but a secondary (and inferior) reflection. Pre-Thomist Christians were all greatly influenced by these (and many other) Platonic ideas.

    “With the triumph of Thomism as the predominant Christian paradigm in the Fourteenth century, and the consequential decline of the Platonist world-view, Christianity took a radical turn for the worse. Aquinas based his theology on the philosophical works of Aristotle, who was a materialistic, empirical philosopher.

    “By stressing Aristotelianism, Aquinas grounded his theology (later to become the official theology of the Catholic Church!) upon the philosophy of a materialistic world-view; and, as you and I know well… one cannot build a theology upon the ideas of an atheist. From that point on, Christianity has plummeted downward.”

    The Reverend Alvin Hart confirms these statements: “Christian doctrine was essentially Platonic — all the way up to the time of Aquinas, when Aristotelian philosophy started to influence Church teaching.” The Greek influence upon Western civilization and especially upon Christianity cannot be ignored or denied.

  71. Reverend Janet Regina Hyland (1933 – 2007), a real Christian radical, stood for animal rights, the plight of migrant farm workers, and women’s rights. She supported the sanctuary movement during the 1980s, and opposed Texas governor George W. Bush’s execution of Karla Faye Tucker in 1998.

    Many of the early American feminists —including Lucy Stone, Amelia Bloomer, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton saw animal rights as social progress in the tradition of women’s rights and civil rights.

    Count Leo Tolstoy similarly described ethical vegetarianism as social progress:

    “And there are ideas of the future, of which some are already approaching realization and are obliging people to change their way of life and to struggle against the former ways: such ideas in our world as those of freeing the laborers, of giving equality to women, of ceasing to use flesh-food, and so on.”

    Sara VanScoy writes on SojoNet:

    “I have both an MD (psychiatrist) and master’s degree in divinity; I grew up in a Southern Baptist church in Jonesboro, Arkansas…But we don’t ordain women, we don’t have women deacons, and we will never call a woman ‘pastor.’… When churches regard women as second-class citizens, they are espousing an ideology that is less than God’s ideal!”

    A 1980 United Nations report states that women constitute half the world’s population, perform nearly two-thirds of its work hours, yet receive one-tenth of the world’s income and own less than one-hundredth of the world’s property.

    Recent data shows:

    Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, but earn only 10 percent of the income.
    Women produce more than 55 percent of all food grown in developing countries.
    Women make up two-thirds of the world’s nearly one billion illiterate adults.

    One in five girls in developing countries never finishes elementary school, either.

    The impact of the secular women’s movement upon organized religion is being heralded as a Second Reformation. Women are now being ordained as priests, pastors and ministers, while patriarchal references to the Almighty as “Father” are replaced with the gender-neutral “Parent.” Jesus Christ is designated the “Child of God.”

    The words of the apostle Paul are seen today not as a divine revelation, but rather as an embarrassment from centuries past:

    “Let the women keep silent in the churches, for they are not allowed to speak. Instead, they must, as the Law says, be in subordination. If they wish to learn something, let them inquire of their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church… let a woman learn quietly with complete submission.

    “I do not allow a woman to teach, neither to domineer over a man; instead she is to keep still. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, since she was deceived, experienced the transgression. She will, however, be kept safe through the child-bearing, if with self-control she continues in faith and love and consecration.”

    (I Corinthians 14:34-35; I Timothy 2:11-15)

    Professor Henry Bigelow similarly observed: “There will come a time when the world will look back to modern vivisection in the name of science as they do now to burning at the stake in the name of religion.”

    Animal rights, as a secular, moral philosophy, may appear to be at odds with traditional religious thinking (e.g., human “dominion” over other animals), but this is equally true of democracy and representative government in place of the divine right of kings, the separation of church and state, the abolition of human slavery, the emancipation of women, birth control, the sexual revolution, LGBT rights, and all social progress since the end of the Dark Ages and the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment.

    Reverend Janet Regina Hyland was raised Irish Catholic and attended Catholic school as a youth, but went over to the Protestants to become an evangelical minister, since the Catholics don’t (yet) ordain women. She reverently referred to Jesus as “my guru.”

    Regina was vegetarian since the 1970s, but found it odd that some religious vegetarians also consider mind-altering substances like alcohol to be “unspiritual.” Regina admitted that having been raised Irish Catholic, she enjoyed an occasional drink, and believed (like most Christians) that the Bible permits alcohol in moderation.

    She said she religiously read a copy of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, which I sent her years ago. She obtained a copy of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s book, The Path of Perfection when living in Texas a few decades ago, and says that while she was attracted to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings on yoga and meditation, she was put off by his (apparently) sexist comments about women.

    Regina was the author of Sexism is a Sin: A Biblical Basis for Female Equality, and God’s Covenant with Animals (which is available through People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA). She was involved with the plight of migrant farm workers, women’s rights, and animal rights.

    When I visited Regina in Sarasota, FL, in August 2003, I gave her a set of japa (prayer) beads (a “Hindu rosary”), but couldn’t show her how to properly use them in the bead bag, since she was left-handed. Regina was familiar with Western astrology, but not Hindu astrology, and said she believed in reincarnation.

    Regina said she was never close to her father, an idealistic journalist in New York City, who cared for no one and did nothing for anyone except watch TV. He died in the early ’70s. Regina said she was close to her stepmother Mildred, even though Mildred was self-centered and narcissistic; Regina said she loved her dearly. Mildred passed away in the early ’60s. On the other hand, Regina’s birth mother passed away in the late ’80s.

    Regina and her half-sister Jean shared a common birth mother, but different fathers. Jean was born in 1942. Regina and Jean had lived together since 1970, and from 1985 to 2007 lived near to one another, but Regina said they were never really close until 1995. Regina’s brother Don was born on May 18, 1935, and died of meningitis in June 1943.

    Regina was married on July 2, 1954 to Glen Edward. Glen was struck by a drunk driver on August 9, 1954. He was in a coma for a year, and then in a persistent vegetative state for seven years after that. He eventually died. Regina became a widow at an early age, enjoying only a month of marriage.

    Regina herself had suffered numerous afflictions. She faced an ovarian tumor in 1957 and described herself as having been “on the ropes,” i.e., in and out of hospitals from 1961-63.

    Regina began seminary studies in biblical theology in 1955-58, but didn’t complete a Masters in Theology until the late ’70s through early ’80s. She studied with the Assembly of God Home Missions beginning in 1982, and was ordained on November 24, 1984.

    Shortly before she passed away, I spoke to Regina Hyland over the phone. Among her last words to me were: “The Christian God cares (for animals).” Regina cared deeply for animals and was in the forefront of social change: religion and animal rights. Long before SERV (the Society for Ethical and Religious Vegetarians) was started, she published Humane Religion, a twice-monthly Christian vegetarian periodical.

    Regina was the author (in 1988) of The Slaughter of Terrified Beasts, which was revised and expanded in 2000 by Martin Rowe of Lantern Books as God’s Covenant with Animals. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) once described the book as a must-read for anyone tired of hearing the Bible misused to justify animal cruelty.

    Regina wrote the foreword to my own book, They Shall Not Hurt or Destroy, and endorsed the book before it was published, calling it “a valuable resource,” and “a must for every humane library.”

    Regina was an ardent feminist and described herself as a “dyed-in-the-wool Democrat.” When I first contacted Regina in 1996, she was convinced the entire pro-life movement was a vast, right-wing conspiracy. Since then, I turned her on to Feminists For Life, Democrats For Life and Consistent Life (a coalition of peace and justice groups on the religious Left that takes a stand against war, abortion, poverty, the arms race, racism, capital punishment, and euthanasia—the Dalai Lama has signed their Mission Statement)… and before she passed away, she was hoping that as an alternative to abortion, science would come up with a form of contraception that even the Pope would approve of!

    On April 14, 2007, she wrote me:

    “…I want to take this opportunity to tell you how very much I appreciate your friendship, both in a personal sense and also as colleagues / activists. You are a blessing in my life…”

    Regina told me she once attended a conservative Christian religious conference, but her reputation as a liberal Democrat, a feminist and an animal advocate involved with the plight of migrant farm workers had preceded her. She said when she arrived, they didn’t recognize her. They were expecting a Gloria Steinem type, and instead saw (in her words) “an aging Debbie Reynolds.”

    Frances Arnetta (founder of Christians Helping Animals and People) condemns factory farming as “diabolical,” and endorses vegetarianism as “God’s Best for All Concerned,” but refuses to say one must be a vegetarian to be a good Christian.

    Regina, on the other hand, told me plainly about meat-eating: “It’s a sin.”

    On July 21, 2007, she wrote me:

    “I also received your paper on Krishna Consciousness and Christianity (Points of Similarity). Being familiar with Christian monasticism, I always saw many similarities between the two. When Catholics say the rosary beads, they are repeating the same prayers, over and over…

    “When I was at the Assembly of God Seminary, we would attend revival meetings at local and rural churches…ecstatic behavior pretty much defined the services.”

    Regina was planning to attend the World Vegetarian Weekend festival in San Francisco at the end of September 2007, when she suddenly fell ill. I live in Oakland, and was looking forward to seeing her and selling her books with her.

    She was pleased when I told her that I not only distributed her pamphlets and sold her books at World Vegetarian Weekend, but that I managed to sell a copy of God’s Covenant with Animals to a group of Catholic high school students who had formed an animal rights club on campus. She had faith in the younger generation.

    Regina died of breast cancer October 9th, 2007—one day after a “Day of Fasting,” designated by the Network of Spiritual Progressives in protest against the Iraq War. Her Hindu astrological chart has Jupiter in the 12th house, indicating a fortunate next birth.

    She is missed by everyone who knew her. I know I miss her dearly.

  72. These Ideas Are Now in the Mainstream:

    I understand there are conservative Christians who fear veganism… which is kind of like being afraid of nonsmoking, nondrinking, or recycling. Ronald J. Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, in his 1977 book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, pointed out that 220 million Americans were eating enough food (largely because of the high consumption of grain fed to livestock) to feed over one billion people in the poorer countries.

    Buddhist spiritual master Thich Nhat Hanh has similarly said along the lines of a belief in karma and reincarnation: “Every day forty thousand children die in the world for lack of food. We in the West, who are feeding grains to animals to make meat, are eating the flesh of these children.”

    In his 1987 Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America, vegan author John Robbins’ concluding chapter on the environmental devastation caused by raising animals for food, the waste of energy, grain, and other resources that could feed the hungry, etc., begins with a quote from (reincarnationist) Christian mystic Edgar Cayce about karma: “Destiny, or karma, depends upon what the soul has done about what it has become aware of.”

    John Robbins then elaborates:

    “To supply one person with a meat habit food for a year requires three-and-a-quarter acres. To supply one lacto-ovo-vegetarian requires only one-half of an acre. To supply one pure vegetarian (vegan) requires only one-sixth of an acre. In other words, a given acreage can feed twenty times as many people eating a pure vegetarian (vegan) diet-style as it could people eating the standard American diet-style…

    “In a world in which a child dies of starvation every two seconds, an agricultural system designed to feed our meat habit is a blasphemy. Yet it continues, because we continue to support it. Those who profit from this system do not need us to condone what they are doing. The only support they need from us is our money. As long as enough people continue to purchase their products they will have the resources to fight reforms, pump millions of dollars of ‘educational’ propaganda into our schools, and defend themselves against medical and ethical truths.

    “A rapidly growing number of Americans are withdrawing support from this insane system by refusing to consume meat. For them, this new direction in diet-style is a way of joining hands with others and saying we will not support a system which wastes such vast amounts of food while people in this world do not have enough to eat.”

    John Robbins concludes, “A new direction for America’s diet-style would be a significant step towards a nonviolent world. It is a way of saying: ‘Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.’ A nonviolent world has roots in a nonviolent diet.”

    PETA literature from the 1980s similarly concluded: “A nonviolent philosophy begins at breakfast.”

    Raising animals for food, even raising animals for animal by-products like milk and eggs, means wasting valuable acreage, because the animals themselves are raised on plant food! If we eat lower on the food chain, fewer resources are required to feed everyone, which means less agricultural acreage, etc., which means fewer rodents and insects are killed when fields are ploughed for farming, etc. Fewer plants are killed, too. If you carry this argument to its logical conclusion, a vegan diet is the least violent, because it requires one-third less acreage than a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, and twenty times less acreage than a meat-centered diet.

    And these ideas are now in the mainstream. Country music star Reba McEntire believes in reincarnation. Carrie Underwood was voted sexiest vegetarian by PETA members in 2007; an honor previously given to Shania Twain. There are millions of ordinary mainstream Americans who don’t smoke, nor drink, nor do any drugs, nor gamble, are vegetarian or vegan, oppose abortion, practice mantra meditation (e.g., pray the rosary or chant the holy names), practice yoga not merely along the lines of aerobics, jazzercise, or pilates, or as physical fitness to attract the opposite sex, but as an actual sadhana (Sanskrit for spiritual practice or spiritual discipline), don’t believe in evolution but do believe in karma and reincarnation, take part in kirtan (glorifying God through music, song, dance, and ecstatic behavior in general) in traditional Hindu temples, etc.

    Decaffeinated coffees and teas have been on the marketplace since the late 1970s, with decaffeinated and diet or sugar-free sodas appearing shortly thereafter, as well as nonalcoholic beers, etc. I see vegetarians as “fellow travelers” alongside vegans. Issues like antibiotics, cage-free, cruelty-free, factory farming, fair trade, gluten-free, GMOs, grain-fed Vs grass-fed, organic, pesticide-free, sustainable agriculture, vegan, vegetarian, etc. are all given serious discussion on the political left, whereas the right won’t even give these issues the time of day.

    According to the editors of World Watch, July/August 2004: “The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future — deforestization, topsoil erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities and the spread of disease.”

    In her 2008 book, Yoga and Vegetarianism, Sharon Gannon, who attended Catholic school till the sixth grade, and now follows an earlier and deeper spiritual tradition, advocates veganism:

    “In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali presents an eight-step plan for liberation called raja-yoga. The first step is yama, which means restraint. It consists of five ethical guidelines regarding how yogis should treat others, all of which clearly support a vegetarian diet. The first yama Patanjali gives is ahimsa, or nonharming… Stop perpetuating violence and it will cease… Billions of animals are killed every year for human consumption after living confined in horrible conditions on factory farms and enduring untold extremes of suffering. This fact alone is good reason for any yoga practitioner to adopt a vegetarian diet.

    “Meanwhile, from the individual health perspective, a vegetarian diet has been proven to prevent and even reverse heart disease and cancer, two of the leading causes of human death in our world today. The terrible toll that eating meat, fish, and dairy takes on our planet’s air, water, soil, and whole ecosystem is another reason for yogis, who have traditionally cultivated a close relationship with nature, to consider vegetarianism… Extending compassion towards animals purifies our karmas, creating an internal state of being conducive to enlightenment.”

    According to Sharon Gannon, the single most important part of one’s yoga practice is the strict adherence to a vegetarian diet–a diet free of needless cruelty, harm, and injustice. Gannon offers truth and wisdom from a tradition of spiritual practice thousands of years old and explains how to apply these practices to our modern lifestyles. Along with David Life, she is the creator of the Jivamukti Yoga Method, a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings. Blessed by her teachers Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, Swami Nirmalananda, and SriK.Pattabhi Jois, she is a pioneer in teaching yoga as spiritual activism. Vegetarianism as nonviolence towards humans and animals alike is a core principle of the Jivamuki Yoga Method.

    As for the sexual restraint taught in yoga (alongside abstinence from all mind-altering substances as a spiritual discipline), also found in all the world’s great religions as well, Sharon Gannon merely asks her readers to use discretion before entering into committed relationships. Gannon is the author of many books and the producer of numerous yoga-related DVDs and music CDs. She is the recipient of the 2008 Compassionate Living Award. Vanity Fair gives her credit for making yoga cool and hip.

    Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most liberal parts of the country, you see bumper stickers spelling out the word “Coexist” with symbols from each of the world’s great religious traditions. There is now a thriving vegan scene in the SF Bay Area, with vegan restaurants in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Jose. There are vegan restaurants in Sacramento and Santa Cruz as well.

    Vegan Meetups abound! San Francisco Bay Area Vegans in Technology has nearly eight hundred members. Bay Area Vegan Food and Meditation Circle has nearly eight hundred members. Silicon Valley Social Vegans has over nine hundred members. East Bay Vegan Food and Health has over fifteen hundred members. Rhythm & Greens in the Bay Area has nearly seven hundred members. The San Francisco Organic & Plant-Based Food Meetup has close to three thousand members.

    Adventist couple Dave Koot (an ordained minister) & Patricia Koot (a certified nutritionalist) host weekly vegan dinners in San Francisco, there are vegan MeetUps for dining out at vegan restaurants, vegan potlucks, vegan speed dating, etc. Animal rights organizations like Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) hold vegan parties, potlucks, vegan “ice cream” socials, movie nights, etc. Kid-friendly and teen-friendly VegFests are held annually in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa, and Sacramento, too.

    Again, these ideas are now in the mainstream. At a Respect Life conference at the Diocese of San Francisco in September 2004, I managed to distribute copies of They Shall Not Hurt or Destroy, my 2003 book on religion and animal rights, to a few priests and a nun. Vicki Evans, the local Feminists For Life contact, later told me in a phone conversation, “Somebody distributed PETA literature!”

    “I hate to say it,” sings Sting, “but it’s probably me.”

  73. Pro-life Catholic Cassy Fiano claims she opposes abortion on secular grounds, but writes on Live Action: “I despise hearing abortion advocates screech about the elusive separation of church and state (which doesn’t actually exist), using it as an argument for why abortion should be legal.”

    Church-state separation is not a myth (see below). A secular society is laissez-faire toward all belief AND disbelief, which protects religious minorities, atheists, agnostics, etc. This country (the United States) wasn’t founded by Christians.

    (If you expect those outside of your faith to be bound by secular arguments on to protect the unborn, will you likewise be bound by secular arguments to protect animals? Or will you cry “MOVE”! as if we were discussing some lifeless, soulless thing, devoid of religious inspiration? And when pro-lifers are shown the long history of animal advocacy within Christianity, will they say, “Animal rights are a Christian cause! Like civil rights and/or protection of unborn children. This is a cause we Christians must support!” ?)

    A Roman Catholic priest, Reverend David K. O’Rourke, said, “Every religious group in the United States is a minority group. Some may be unhappy with this status and wish they had official standing. I am not unhappy with it. The Catholic Church, the largest of these minorities, has prospered greatly in this country where we separate church and state.”

    According to journalist Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State: “We have a vibrant, multifaith religious society that, with the exception of a few fundamentalist Muslim states, is admired all over the globe.

    “We have a degree of interfaith harmony unmatched in the world. Our government is legally secular, but our culture accommodates and welcomes a variety of religious voices. New faiths take root here without fear…

    “Americans remain greatly interested in religion and things spiritual—unlike their counterparts in Western Europe, where religion is often state subsidized but of little interest to most people….

    “Children are no longer forced to pray in school or read from religious texts against their will, yet they are free to engage in truly voluntary religious worship whenever they feel the need. The important task of imparting religious and philosophical training to youngsters is left where it always belonged—with each child’s parents or guardians…

    “Some European nations have passed so-called anticult laws aimed at curbing the rights of unpopular new religions. Such laws would not be acceptable in the United States or permitted under the First Amendment.

    “In a multifaith society such as the United States,” observes Boston, “a type of religious marketplace does exist. Religious groups that aggressively seek converts, such as the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, are well aware that people in the United States are able and even willing to change their religious beliefs. To these groups, it’s well worth it to enter the marketplace and advertise their goods. Lots of people might buy them…

    “Because the U.S. government is secular, religious groups are left to contend for members based solely on their own initiative. They create a free marketplace of religion that spurs competition and a vigorous religious life. This explains why the United States, which maintains church-state separation, retains a high degree of religiosity among its people.

    “The more sophisticated and perceptive believers realize that the separation principle is a boon to their faith,” notes Boston. “They see danger in any attempt by government to decide which religion is true and which is false.

    “They know that a faith that is in favor with the government today can be out of favor tomorrow. These believers are thankful for the free marketplace of religion and the secular state that makes it possible. They understand that the way to get new members is through persuasion, not government aid.”

    In 1787 when the framers excluded all mention of God from the Constitution, they were widely denounced as immoral and the document was denounced as godless, which is precisely what it is. Opponents of the Constitution challenged ratifying conventions in nearly every state, calling attention to Article VI, Section 3:

    “No religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    An anti-federalist in North Carolina wrote: “The exclusion of religious tests is by many thought dangerous and impolitic. Pagans, Deists and Mohammedans might obtain office among us.”

    Amos Singletary of Massachussetts, one of the most outspoken critics of the Constitution, said that he “hoped to see Christians (in power), yet by the Constitution, a papist or an infidel was as eligible as they.”

    Luther Martin, a Maryland delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 wrote that “there were some members so unfashionable as to think that a belief in the existence of a Deity, and of a state of future rewards and punishments would be some security for the good conduct of our rulers, and that in a Christian country, it would be at least decent to hold out some distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright infidelity or paganism.”

    Martin’s report shows that a “Christian nation” faction had its say during the convention, and that its views were consciously rejected.

    The United States Constitution is a completely secular political document. It begins “We the people,” and contains no mention of “God,” “Jesus,” or “Christianity.” Its only references to religion are exclusionary, such as the “no religious test” clause (Article VI), and “Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” (First Amendment)

    The presidential oath of office, the only oath detailed in the Constitution, does not contain the phrase “so help me God” or any requirement to swear on a Bible (Article II, Section 1).

    The words “under God” did not appear in the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954, when Congress, under McCarthyism, inserted them.

    Similarly, “In God we Trust” was absent from paper currency before 1956, though it did appear on some coins beginning in 1864.

    The original U.S. motto, written by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, is “E Pluribus Unum” (“Of Many, One”) celebrating plurality and diversity.

    In 1797, America made a treaty with Tripoli, declaring that “the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” This reassurance to Islam was written under Washington’s presidency and approved by the Senate under John Adams.

    We are not governed by the Declaration of Independence. Its purpose was to “dissolve the political bonds,” not to set up a religious nation. Its authority was based upon the idea that “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” which is contrary to the biblical concept of rule by divine authority.

    The Declaration deals with laws, taxation, representation, war, immigration, etc., and doesn’t discuss religion at all. The references to “Nature’s God,” “Creator,” and “Divine Providence” in the Declaration do not endorse Christianity. Its author, Thomas Jefferson, was a Deist, opposed to Christianity and the supernatural.

    “Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus,” wrote Thomas Jefferson. However, Jefferson admitted, “In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man and that other parts are the fabric of very inferior minds…”

    It was Thomas Jefferson who established the separation of church and state. Jefferson was deeply suspicious of religion and of clergy wielding political power.

    Jefferson helped create the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786, incurring the wrath of Christians by his fervent defense of toleration of atheists:

    “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others. But it does no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

    Jefferson advocated a “wall of separation” between church and state not to protect the church from government intrusion, but to preserve the freedom of the people:

    “I consider the doctrines of Jesus as delivered by himself to contain the outlines of the sublimest morality that has ever been taught;” he observed, “but I hold in the most profound detestation and execration the corruptions of it which have been invested by priestcraft and established by kingcraft, constituting a conspiracy of church and state against the civil and religious liberties of mankind.”

    Jefferson and the founding fathers were products of the Age of Enlightenment. Their world view was based upon Deism, secularism, and rationalism.

    “The priests of the different religious sects dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight,” wrote Jefferson. “The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter…we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away all this…”

    As late as 1820, Jefferson was convinced everyone in the United States would die a Unitarian. Jefferson, Madison and Paine’s writings indicate that America was never intended to be a Christian theocracy. “I have sworn upon the altar of God,” wrote Jefferson, “eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

    In his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists, Jefferson wrote:

    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

    Similarly, in an 1824 letter to John Cartwright, Jefferson expressed anger at judges who had based rulings on their belief that Christianity is part of the common law. Cartwright had written a book critical of these judges, and Jefferson was glad to see it. Observed Jefferson:

    “The proof of the contrary, which you have produced, is controvertible; to wit, that the common law existed while the Anglo-Saxons were yet pagans, at a time when they had never yet heard the name of Christ pronounced, or knew that such a character had ever existed.”

    Jefferson challenged “the best-read lawyer to produce another script of authority for this judicial forgery” and concluded, “What a conspiracy this, between Church and State!”

    As president, Jefferson put his “wall of separation” theory into practice. He refused to issue proclamations calling for days of prayer and fasting, insisting that they violate the First Amendment. As early as 1779, Jefferson proposed a bill before the Virginia legislature that would have established a series of elementary schools to teach the basics—reading, writing, and arithmetic.

    Jefferson even suggested that “no religious reading, instruction, or exercise shall be prescribed or practiced, inconsistent with the tenets of any religious sect or denomination.” Jefferson did not regard public schools as the proper agent to form children’s religious views.

    As president, James Madison also put his separationist philosophy into action. He vetoed two bills he believed would violate church-state separation. The first was an act incorporating the Episcopal Church in the District of Columbia that gave the church the authority to care for the poor. The second was a proposed land grant to a Baptist church in Mississippi.

    Had Madison, the father of the Constitution, believed that all the First Amendment was intended to do was bar setting up a state church, he would have approved these bills. Instead, he vetoed both, and in his veto messages to Congress explicitly stated that he was rejecting the bills because they violated the First Amendment.

    Later in his life, James Madison came out against state-paid chaplains, writing, “The establishment of the chaplainship to Congress is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles.” He also concluded that his calling for days of prayer and fasting during his presidency had been unconstitutional.

    In an 1819 letter to Robert Walsh, Madison wrote, “the number, the industry and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state.” In an undated essay called the “Detached Memoranda,” written in the early 1800s, Madison wrote, “Strongly guarded… is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States.”

    In 1833 Madison responded to a letter sent to him by Jasper Adams. Adams had written a pamphlet titled “The Relations of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States,” which tried to prove that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. Madison wrote back: “In the papal system, government and religion are in a manner consolidated, and that is found to be the worst of government.”

    Madison, like Jefferson, was confident that separation of church and state would protect both the institutions of government and religion. Late in his life, Madison wrote to a Lutheran minister about this, declaring, “A due distinction… between what is due to Caesar and what is due to God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations… A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.”

    In the early part of the 19th century, a general understanding existed that the government should not promote religion, or favor one religion over another. In 1829, Senator Richard Johnson of Kentucky wrote:

    “It is not the legitimate province of the Legislature to determine what religion is true, or what is false. Our Government is a civil and not a religious institution. Our Constitution recognizes in every person the right to choose his own religion, and to enjoy it freely, without molestation. Whatever may be the religious sentiments of citizens, and however variant, they are alike entitled to protection from the Government, so long as they do not invade the rights of others…

    “Among all the religious persecutions with which almost every page of modern history is stained, no victim ever suffered but for violation of what Government denominated the law of God. To prevent a similar train of evils in this country, the Constitution has wisely withheld from our Government the power of defining the divine law.”

  74. Vasu Murti : Your MANY quotations of “religious leaders” appear to show you trying “to cover all bases.” The ONLY faith acceptable to God is that which He gave. Romans 10:17 “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Also read Ephesians 4:4-6 “There is one body and one spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling ; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” God is very jealous and REJECTS our following any “competition.” Deuteronomy 5:7 “You shall have no other gods before Me.” God rejects false teachers and false doctrines. First Timothy 4:1-5 “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude ; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”
    Vasu Murti : Ideas and worship which conflict with God’s revealed Word are NOT ACCEPTABLE to God. John 4:24 [words of Jesus] “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

  75. Nonsectarian Virtues:

    The Puritans of Massachusetts enacted America’s first law against gambling in 1638. In 1682, the Quakers in Pennsylvania passed their own law against gambling and “such like enticing, vain, and evil sports and games.” During the period from 1830 to 1860, lotteries were banned across America. By 1908, nearly every state in the nation had banned horse racing. Muslims were a virtually nonexistent minority in Protestant-dominated America when these laws when into effect. Nor did the Muslims coin the term “sin city” to refer to Las Vegas. The Muslims didn’t coin the term “demon rum” to refer to alcohol, nor were the Muslims responsible for the Prohibition of alcohol in the United States.

    My point is Christians today fail to see nondrinking, nonsmoking, abstinence from gambling, sexual restraint, vegetarianism, praising God, etc. as nonsectarian virtues, even though these values are taught in Christianity as well. Early church fathers like Tertullian, Origen, Clement of Alexandria, St. Basil, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysostom, and others were vegetarian, and many of them wrote extensively on the subject. It’s possible Christianity began as a vegetarian religion and was gradually corrupted over the centuries, beginning, perhaps, with the “apostle” Paul. Over 150 canonized Christian saints were vegetarian and their lives and teachings have been well documented. Protestant reformers like John Wesley (founder of the Methodist church), Ellen White (founder of the Seventh Day Adventist church), and General William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army) were vegetarian, as were Quaker poets, pacifists, and abolitionists like Joshua Evans. The moral status animals continues to be debated within Christianity to this day, as evidenced by the writings of Karl Barth and Dr. Albert Schweitzer, as well as current trends in animal liberation theology: Reverend Marc Wessels, Reverend Andrew Linzey, Reverend Annika Spalde, Reverend Frank Hoffman, the late Reverend Janet Regina Hyland, Dr. Stephen Webb, Baptist theologian Dr. Richard Alan Young, Dr. Charles Camosy, Rick Dunkerly of Christ Lutheran Church, etc.

    There was an episode of The Brady Bunch in which Greg Brady is caught with cigarettes on him, he pleads innocence, and at the end of the episode, it’s discovered the cigarettes belong to a friend of his whose mother is involved in a campaign against teen smoking. Were the Brady Bunch “Mormon” ? Should we presume the anti-smoking campaign is Mormon? Of course not! Again, my point is Christians today fail to see nondrinking, nonsmoking, abstinence from gambling, sexual restraint, vegetarianism, praising God, etc. as nonsectarian virtues, even though these values are taught in Christianity as well. In recent decades, the straight edge punk scene has embraced these values.

    Sarva Satya dasa (Ron McClellan), a fallen Prabhupada disciple who really ought to step down and serve as a congregational member, commented around 1989 – 1990 that there was a time, a few generations ago, “…when being a Christian actually meant something…” The values espoused by the Krishna Consciousness movement are nonsectarian virtues, and were once considered conservative Christian values.

    George W. Bush quits drinking and drugs, and as governor of Texas, endorses the “True Love Waits” campaign of young Christian teens pledging to save themselves for marriage… and everyone thinks that’s wonderful! When Hare Krishna devotees do these things, Christians react negatively, seeing it as “cultish,” making allusions to Farrakhan, skinheads, etc.

    Child Marriage in Christianity:

    Kansas ‘retreat’ to set up arranged marriages for teen girls

    by Vyckie Garrison

    A group of ultra-conservative Christian men are planning to meet up in Kansas later this year to arrange marriages for their pubescent daughters … and they don’t believe their daughters’ consent is actually necessary.

    Quiverfull patriarch, Vaughn Ohlman, who runs a website promoting early, “fruitful” marriage for Truly True Christian™ children, has announced plans for a “Get Them Married!” retreat where fundamentalist fathers will find, and TAKE, suitably submissive young brides to bear many babies for their adolescent sons.

    The weekend retreat, which will be held in Wichita this coming November, is “designed to bring together like-minded families (and their unmarried young men and women) who are committed to young, fruitful marriage and to help them overcome the barriers which have kept their children unmarried.”

    For around $1200 per family, Quiverfull parents will spend three days “networking” with similarly-delusional zealots who believe men are to be in charge, wives are to be submissive baby-makers, and children are to be sheltered, isolated, indoctrinated, and pushed toward early, prolific marriages for Jesus.

    How early? According to Ohlman, young men and women should get married as soon as possible:

    “When do boys become men and girls become women? When are their bodies developed enough to have children? When do they begin to develop romantic interest in the opposite sex, and when does fornication begin to become an issue? The Bible provides many reasons for marriage, and most if not all of them demonstrate that marriage typically ought to happen in the youth (as in, before the age of 20).”

    In case you’re inclined to doubt they actually mean to marry off their girls the minute their bodies have developed enough to have children, Ohlman elaborates, so make no mistake about it:

    “John Calvin defines the ‘flower of her age’ (1 Corinthians 7:36) as ‘from twelve to twenty years of age.’ Likewise, John Gill defines it as ‘one of twelve years and a half old.’ And Martin Luther says, ‘A young man should marry at the age of twenty at the latest, a young woman at fifteen to eighteen…’ We do not endorse marriage at ages as young as twelve. Our position is that, for a woman:

    “The ‘youth’ ready for marriage has breasts. A woman who is to be married is one who has breasts; breasts which signal her readiness for marriage, and breasts who promise enjoyment for her husband. (We believe that ‘breasts’ here stand as a symbol for all forms of full secondary sexual characteristics.)

    “The ‘youth’ ready for marriage is ready to bear children. Unlike modern society Scripture sees the woman as a bearer, nurser, and raiser of children. The ‘young woman’ is the woman whose body is physically ready for these things, physically mature enough to handle them without damage.

    “The ‘youth’ ready for marriage is one who is ready for sexual intercourse sexually and emotionally. Her desire is for her husband, and she is ready to rejoice in him physically.”

    Why do they want to rush their kids into marriage and coerce them to start having babies ASAP?

    “[W]e know from scientific studies (as well as first-hand knowledge, in many cases) that the fertility of women (and even men, to some extent) goes down steadily after the age of twenty, and dips even more sharply after thirty and forty. This is even more the case if a woman has reached such an age without having had any children yet. So, by reason of these facts, it is clear that it is best to marry much earlier than thirty to better fulfill the command to be ‘fruitful and multiply.’

    “Scripture speaks of the father of the son ‘taking a wife’ for his son, and the father of the bride ‘giving’ her to her husband…. It gives example after example of young women being given to young men, without the young woman even being consulted, and often, in some of the most Godly marriages in Scripture, the young man is not consulted….

    “Some use the idea of ‘consent’ to deny the very relevance of the action of their authorities to bind them in covenant, as if a covenant was of no effect whatsoever and all that matters is what the person themselves decide. Others consider a covenant to be something substantial but that it is not really binding until the person themselves ‘consents.’

    “In contrast, our study of Scripture has shown that the Word of God considers a covenant made by an authority to be meaningful and binding upon the those under his or her authority. Biblical consent is not the ‘consent’ of dating or courtship. It is not a ‘veto’ power. It does not presume to cast judgment over their father’s actions. And so, a lack of consent of the individual concerned is a choice of disobedience, a breach of a vow and of a relationship. God has designed the marriage relationship (in particular that of the virgin daughter marrying the virgin son) to be a relationship initiated by the parents, in particular the fathers, of the young couple. This is the example that God uses constantly in Scripture, and even where an example strays from this, these principles are still kept in focus.”

    Some of these patriarchs go so far as to expect to “Get Them Married!” via Ohlman’s retreat for profit:

    “Bride price: What is it, and why is it important? Wouldn’t a bride price be like selling your daughter? A ‘bride price’ is anything paid or given by the man or his representative at the time of his betrothal or receiving his bride.

    “Scripture certainly teaches about it, but it is not mandated, however, except in the case of a couple of laws. The law concerning bride price (Exodus 22:16-17) indicates that part of the punishment for fornication with an unbetrothed woman is the payment of a ‘standard’ bride price for virgins, indicating that the bride price was a normal part of the marriage process.

    “The bride price plays a significant function: It shows the woman’s value, and the point isn’t that the father gets the money but that he keeps it for his daughter, if her husband should ever abandon her.”

    Heard enough? Seriously, this is what True Believers™ in the Quiverfull world consider “godly” and “biblical.” You realize that the patriarchs take it all very, very seriously and foist it on their children … actual young women and men whose “choice” is to obediently honor their fathers, or else face the wrath of God and the hordes of hell for daring to believe that their lives are their own to do with as they please.

    You can read our stories at No Longer Quivering. If you like Twitter drama, you can also follow me: @NoQuivering.

    Vyckie Garrison was once a minor celebrity in the Quiverfull Movement, made famous by TV’s Duggar family. As a devout, Bible-believing Christian and the mother of seven homeschooled children, Garrison spent sixteen years, with her husband, publishing a newspaper for families on a similar path. Today, via a website called No Longer Quivering, she publishes resources for women leaving the movement.

  76. I knew the catholic church was not right from a young age. I am a Messianic Jew but was raised a Catholic. In kindergarten I was asked what I was getting for Christmas. I said I didn’t know and really didn’t care I was waiting for Channukkah. That did not go over well with the nuns and priest at school. I learned then to keep my ideas to myself and just keep my ideas to myself. Thank goodness for a Zeide (Grandfather in Hebrew), he taught me from the Torah and Tenach (Old Testament) and showed me that Yeshua was the Messiah.

  77. All the foregoing verbiage notwithstanding, salvation is a gift that can be apprehended solely by way of faith in the person and the works of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God and, in his humanity, son of Mary..

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