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Lots of important Christians--leaders and saints, past and
present--have been vegetarian. Here are some notable
Saint Basil, called the
Great. AD ?329-379. Greek patriarch; an opponent of
Arianism and one of the founders of monasticism. A quote from
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
William and Catherine Booth.
Founders of the Salvation
"It is a
great delusion to suppose that flesh-meat of any kind is essential
to health. Considerably more than three parts of the work in the
world is done by men who never taste anything but vegetable,
farinaceous food, and that of the simplest kind. There are more
strength-producing properties in wholemeal flour, peas, beans,
lentils, oatmeal, roots, and other vegetables of the same class,
than there are beef or mutton, poultry or fish, or animal food of
any description whatever."
(Orders and Regulations of the Officers of
the Salvation Army)
Chrysostom AD ?345-407
Greek patriarch; archbishop of Constantinople (398-404).
are exceedingly loving and gentle to
mankind, and even to brute
beasts ... Surely we
ought to show
them [animals] great
gentleness for many reasons, but, above all, because
they are of the same origin as ourselves.
Tertullian. "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...[such] a grossly- feeding Christian is akin to
lions and wolves rather than God. Our Lord Jesus
called Himself Truth and not habit."
Tolstoy. "The vegetarian movement ought to fill
with gladness the souls of those who have at heart the realization
of God's kingdom upon earth, not because vegetarianism itself is
such an important step towards the realization of this kingdom (all
real steps are equally important or unimportant), but because it
serves as a criterion by which we know that the pursuit of moral
perfection on the part of man is genuine and
"[For] [i]f a man aspires towards a
righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to
"[W]hen we do
abstain [from eating meat], we do so because �we keep under our body
and bring it into subjection� (I Corinthians 9:27), and desire �to
mortify our members that are upon the earth, fornication,
uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence� (Colossians
3:5); and we use every effort to �mortify the deeds of the flesh.�
of Alexandria, Saint. AD
"It is far better to
be happy than to have your bodies act as graveyards for
animals...The unnatural eating of flesh meats is as polluting as the
heathen worship of devils, with its sacrifices and its impure
feasts, through participation in it a man becomes a fellow eater
with devils...Those who use the most frugal fare are the strongest,
the healthiest and the noblest...
"If any righteous man does not burden his
soul by the eating of flesh, he has the advantage of a rational
(Founder of Methodism and Wesleyanism.)
"Thanks be to God!" he
wrote 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." Partly inspired by Isaiah's vision of the Kingdom of Peace,
where "on the new earth, no creature will kill, or hurt, or give
pain to any other" (Is. 11:6-9), Wesley further taught that animals
"shall receive ample amends for all their present sufferings."
Original John Wesley letter
Ellen G. White and countless other Seventh-Day
Adventists, who are considerably healthier than the general
population, living 10 years longer on average.
"[I]t will not be long
until animal food will be discarded by many besides Seventh-day
Adventists. Foods that are healthful and life sustaining are to be
prepared, so that men and women will not need to eat
meat...Not an ounce of flesh
meat should enter our stomachs....
"[For] [t]he moral
evils of a flesh diet are not less marked than are the physical
ills. Flesh food is injurious to health, and whatever affects the
body has a corresponding effect on the mind and the soul. Think of
the cruelty to animals meat-eating involves, and its effect on those
who inflict and those who behold it.
destroys the tenderness with which we should regard those creatures
of God! [We should therefore] [n]ever be ashamed to say, "No thank you; I
do not eat meat. I have conscientious scruples against eating the
flesh of dead animals."
"How much better to
get it direct by eating the food that God provided for our
Campolo. Author and speaker, adviser to President
Clinton. "In this day and
age, it is important for us to consider vegetarianism - not only for
health reasons, but also for the good of the planet. We all know the
environmental implications of the increasing dependency of Western
civilization on a meat diet. Furthermore, we are aware of how
depending on beef has diminished the amount of protein that would
otherwise be available to the general population."
"b. Richard Melville Hall, 11 September 1965, New York,
USA. A New York DJ, recording artist, Christian, vegan and
Philosophy graduate. Moby is so nicknamed because of the fact that
he can trace his ancestry to the author of the famous whaling tale."
Also: proprietor of TeaNY cafe.
"I'm often asked,
'well, as a vegan, what do you eat?' which seems like such a strange
question. What do non-vegans eat? Meat, cheese, milk, eggs? Vegans
eat everything else. Indian food, Chinese food, Mexican food, Thai
food, Japanese food, African food, and so on, and so on.
"Whether I'm having a
pan bagnia sandwich (olive tapenade, roasted red peppers, basil and
onions, on ciabatta bread) at Teany, my restaurant, or having
marinated exotic mushrooms with mixed baby greens and an orange
vinaigrette in Paris, or having fajitas in Los Angeles, or vegan
Chinese food in lower Manhattan, or vegan Pad Thai in Melbourne, or
etc etc - I'm always a very happy eater.
"Primarily I'm a vegan
for ethical reasons, but if the truth be told it's the culinary
aspect of veganism that has sustained me for 16 years of
animal-product free living." (World Vegan Day statement)
Rev. Fred Rogers, composer, creator, author and
host of "Mister Rogers'
Neighbourhood," is a renowned children's educator and
entertainer, as well as an ordained Presbyterian minister--and a
"Children see television much the same way they see a
refrigerator or a stove -- it's something that parents provide," he
told Christian Century
magazine in 1994. "In a young child's mind, parents probably condone
what's on the television, just like they choose what's in the
refrigerator or on the stove. That's
why we who make television for children must be especially
Mr. Rogers' refrigerator or on his stove?
"I exercise and eat healthy foods. I'll show you
some of them. These are all soy foods. Soybeans--you need to boil
those, cook them. You can put sauce over them, like a tomato sauce.
There's vegetarian-- vegetarian burgers. It's all vegetables, no
meat in that at all. Of course, it's a soy food. These soybeans are
already cooked. There's tofu. I eat a lot of tofu. You'll like
it...It will be all healthy...I like being here with all these
different foods. I like to keep trying to add new healthy
foods all the time."
Presidential adviser and speechwriter; author of
Dominion: The Power of Man the Suffering of Animals, and
the Call to Mercy.
"It is a terrible thing that religious
people today can be so indifferent to the cruelty of the farms,
shrugging it off as so much secular, animal rights foolishness.
They above all should hear the call to mercy." (from