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Vegetarian and Vegan Religions - Summary

Jains are completely dedicated to non-violence and vegetarianism, even sparing insects as a mandate. Many Hindus are vegetarian, but not all. Some Buddhists are as well, particularly Mahayana Buddhists. Seventh Day Adventists were founded with a firm belief in vegetarianism for health reasons, unfortunately, many do not practice this anymore. I was friends with the SDA pastors near my former parish and they spent most Sundays at a BBQ place and said the teachings about meat were "outdated." I was so disappointed! However, the potlucks at their church were mostly vegetarian (not vegan), so that was at least better than most of our potlucks.

Some Rastafarians are vegetarian and many members of the Bahai faith are because it is advocated but not mandatory in both of these groups.

Interestingly, the "Quan Yin Method" founded by Ching Hai of Vietnam (a religion mixed with new age philosophy, Christianity, and Buddhism), with many disciples here in the US, contacted me several years ago for an interview about Christianity and vegetarianism. Vegetarianism/veganism is at the heart of their philosophy in saving the planet and they have vegan restaurants all over the world. One of their restaurant chains, the Loving Hut, is right here in San Diego and has excellent vegan food. If you Google "Supreme Master Television" you can see their many vegetarian cooking shows, articles, etc. on a constant 24 hour stream.

Finally, many Orthodox are totally vegan during Lent....certainly with ancient precedence and in line with some of the strict Christian religious orders which are vegetarian or vegan (like the Trappists). My reading of St. Francis and the early friars and nuns is that they fasted from meat throughout the year as part of their ascetic lifestyle. Let's bring it back!

My hope is that we can continue to tap into these traditions and help move our church into the right direction, especially now with all the concerns for our planet gaining attention.

Peace, Rebecca Dinovo+



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