Along the Trail

03-06-98 ยท Dan Green, Editor

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the vegetarian, self-styled "animal rights" group, has gone too far this time.

Or at least, they've impinged on one of my favorite subjects for Biblical study and given me this opportunity to blast them again.

PETA has taken the occasion of the Lenten season to proclaim that Jesus was a vegetarian.

It is waging a campaign to persuade more than 400 Catholic bishops, archbishops and cardinals, as well as evangelical Protestant leaders Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Oral Roberts to "encourage your parishoners to follow Jesus by adopting a vegetarian diet throughout Lent and beyond."

The group's vegetarian coordinator, Bruce Friedrich, uses the claim that Jesus was an Essene, a Jewish sect that Friedrich said avoided meat and that "early Christians did not eat meat."

In fact, Mary, Jesus' mother, may have been part Essene, but some Essenes ate meat, and there was great controversy in the sect about it.

Friedrich quoted St. Basil, a Catholic saint and not a Biblical figure, as saying "The stream of meat darkens the light of the spirit."

This has not set well with prominent Catholics, much less Protestants like me.

"It's a kooky idea," said biblical scholar Joseph Fitzmyer, a Jesuit theologian and professor emeritus at Catholic University in Washington D.C.

"There's nothing in the New Testament that would suggest that Jesus was a vegetarian, let alone any proof that Jesus was an Essene," Fitzmyer concluded.

Actually, the PETA case is even more ludicrous than that.

Jesus is noted repeatedly in the scriptures as celebrating all the Jewish feasts, including Passover, from which our Lenten Season and Easter are descended.

Jewish Law lays out very specifically what is eaten at the feasts, in what order, and that you "eat the whole thing, with not even bones" left over. Each of these feasts includes the eating of a lamb, of which Jesus certainly partook.

From Genesis, the first book of the Bible, on through, it is clear that God intended man to eat meat. He tells Adam "I have given you dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowls of the air and the beasts of the Earth."

Genesis has a lengthy discussion of teeth, and how men were given teeth to eat animal flesh, while animals were given teeth to eat grass and other plants.

In the book of Romans, chapter 14, the Apostle Paul urges tolerance for those who have chosen not to eat meat, but says in the second verse: "For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables."

For some years, I have been collecting notes, articles and material on the Biblical basis for eating meat, intending to write a book or article series.

It looks like I should expedite the project.

Steve Hughes

Glenrock Livestock Exchange

Glenrock, Wyoming

Our moisture situation looks real good. There was a heavy storm last week that hit most of Eastern Wyoming, and while there was wind, most of the heavy, wet snow stayed on the ground and will soak in. There's been good mountain snow, so there's good snowpack that will help the irrigation water. Calving hasn't really started yet, so the storm didn't hurt that. We have plenty of winter feed. Hay is $80-$100 a ton for the better quality. Most have sold their calves, with only a few held over into the new year. We've had few heifers held over or any other evidence of herd expansion around here.

A little snow broke the open winter in a few places this last week:

Brent Heilman

South Texas Auction Co.

Alice, Texas

We've had no winter. There's been lots of rain, so its very wet here. Its looks very favorable going into spring. Our nights are still too cool to grow grass, although we have a good weed cover, which we need. Temperatures are 35 degrees at night and 80 in the day, so the swing hurts cattle health. Bred cows are starting to sell, so herd expansion, after our recent years of drought, is definitely on people's minds. People are hanging onto cattle since they have the feed. Because of that, we don't expect to see new crop calves until May or June. Older feeder cattle are mostly what we're seeing through the auction right now, which were held over from last year for tax reasons.

Clark Hervert

Farmers Bank

Sargent, Nebraska

We usually have far more snow by now than we've had. Just this last week we had two inches of snow, with two storms forecast for this week. Its been a very open winter until now, with cows out on corn stalks until last Friday. Usually they come off in December. We have a surplus of winter feed and really needed to sell some, but there has been no market and the price has dropped. There's been no calving trouble yet, which started 2-3 weeks ago for most folks, but there could be in the storms forecast.

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