Religion and food go together like Easter and ham or Thanksgiving and turkey, but vegan activist groups are spinning scripture to persuade churchgoers to leave meat off their plate not just at every holiday, but at every meal. This tactic is not new, but it has gained traction in recent years as families return from church with vegan pamphlets and children learn about “factory farming” in Sunday school.

Groups including the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have established faith outreach or religion programs that target people of faith and church leaders, pressuring Christians to adopt the belief that eating meat is a sin. Unfortunately, some church leaders have joined the activist chorus.

Meat is a "gift from God" and Christians need to be armed with accurate information to prevent vegan activists from taking that gift away.

So, why are activists targeting people of faith? Research gives us a few hints: People of faith tend to have sustained beliefs. Once they believe something, they are more committed. They traditionally contribute more money to charities, animal issues appeal to their sense of compassion and giving money to organizations may help appease guilt associated with knowing animals die for their benefit (guilt that activist groups foster).

To give farmers, ranchers, meat industry leaders and others a resource to reference when faced with this activism, a group of scholars wrote a book titled “What Would Jesus Really Eat: The Biblical Case For Eating Meat.” The book looks at what the Bible has to say about using and eating animals from several perspectives and tackles topics including the challenges to Christian meat-eating, human exceptionalism and humanity’s dominion over other living creatures.

The book includes chapters from Paul Copan, Ph.D., professor and Pledger Family Chair of philosophy and ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University; Wes Jamison, Ph.D., associate professor of public relations at Palm Beach Atlantic University; Timothy Hsiao, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy at Grantham University; Walker Kaiser Jr., Ph.D., president emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Old Testament and Ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; and Tom St. Antoine, Ph.D., professor of communication at Palm Beach Atlantic University. The book also features a chapter written by hog producers Gordon Spronk, DVM, and Randy Spronk.

According to the book, “God gave his permission to eat meat in Genesis 9:3-4.” The authors also give several examples of how Jesus gave meat to others to eat and how he himself ate meat. Meat is a “gift from God” and Christians need to be armed with accurate information to prevent vegan activists from taking that gift away. To purchase “What Would Jesus Really Eat?” to help prepare you for these discussions, visit AnimalAgAlliance.orgNP