Once upon a time, Veggie Tales was an entertaining effort in animation to teach children about virtue and faith. It may have been a bit fluffy and superficial, but since the mid-1990s, a more pernicious, heretical version of Veggie Tales has sprung up. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) ran a billboard campaign in 1999, claiming that Jesus was a vegetarian. PETA imposed a vegan agenda on the Scriptures. After all, PETA’s founder Ingrid Newkirk wasn’t exactly affirming the image of God and human uniqueness when she claimed, “A rat is a pig is a boy is a dog.” In this and most other attempts to elevate animals, the result is a diminished human status. They must increase, and we must decrease.

With growing fervor and more resolute political activism, some Christians and various denominations have taken up the banner of “prescriptive Christian vegetarianism.” That is, Christians are duty-bound (“prescriptive”) to adopt a plant-based diet and avoid eating meat of any kind (“vegetarianism”). Of course, some “vegetarians” might eat fish, eggs, or dairy products. However, the stricter “veganism” rejects meat of any kind. Invoking theological reasons for veganism has become a moral and spiritual cause. These Christians seek to “respectfully encourage healthy, God-honoring plant-based nutrition.” Some also hold to the view that eating meat dishonors God since viewing humans as the “crown of creation” is to denigrate animals. This misguided vegan compassion isn’t Christian at all. It actually borrows from pagan beliefs, which often advocate reincarnation or similar views that blur the animal-human distinction. And to turn personal dietary preferences or even convictions into duties for all defies the spirit of Scripture.

This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Paul Copan about his online-exclusive article, “Veggie Tales Gone Rogue: PETA, Veganism, and the Christian Faith (A Summary of Themes from What Would Jesus Really Eat?)”

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CRI Resource: What Would Jesus REALLY Eat?: The Biblical Case for Eating Meat