My daughter has decided to follow a vegan diet. I had to question that decision – it’s part of my job description as a mom. I don’t really mind, as long as she’s healthy and finds suitable sources for balanced nutrition. She’s begun buying her own ingredients, when they’re not part of our normal pantry-stock, and is learning to cook new and different dishes. So, really, it’s a positive thing.
But our ‘vegan’ conversation got me to thinking…
People don’t want to eat animals, particularly animals that have been treated inhumanely…
What about human cruelty?…
Why should the treatment of animals be considered so much more than the treatment of people?
We don’t want to eat certain foods because of how the creature was treated, what it was fed, how it was captured, or killed, but do we put that much consideration into the people who grew the food, harvested it, or sold it? Is our coffee-grower given a fair price for his crop? Is our chocolate produced by using slave labour?
Are we willing to not just think about these things, but change what we buy based on the answer to these questions? What about the clothes we buy? Where and by whom have they been produced? Are the conditions safe? Are the workers paid a fair wage? What conditions are they working in, or being forced to live in?
Thinking about these questions makes me think about the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, in the book of Luke. The reason Jesus told the story was in answer to the question, “Who is my neighbor?”
25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”[c]
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
That’s a very good question as we consider our responsibility, whether to animals God has made, or people who are made in the image of God,
Does the command to love our neighbor apply to the people living on the other side of the world, who are a link in the chain used to supply the clothes we wear, or the food we eat?