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|Vegetarianism and Me: A Call for Acceptance|
Mar. 23rd, 2007 at 11:16 am
I recently had lunch with a friend at Arbyâ€™s. As we sat eating our roast beef sandwiches, I mentioned that I was a vegetarian. My friend inquired, â€œSo howâ€™s that going?â€ I had to admit it was toughâ€”I mean, after all, here I was eating a roast beef sandwich. And it wasnâ€™t an isolated incident. I had meat the previous night for dinner, bacon for breakfast, and chicken on at least two occasions over the past week. Indeed, some would argue I am not a vegetarian at all. How could I be if I eat meat?
Such a narrow understanding of vegetarianism is unfortunate, because it tends to create a high degree of insensitivity toward vegetarians like myself who sometimes question our beliefs and often struggle putting them into practice. If a vegetarian is â€œa person who does not eat or does not believe in eating meat, fish, or fowl,â€ at what point do I cease to be a vegetarian simply because I struggle to practice my sincerely held beliefs?
Religious activity in the LDS Church may be a helpful analogy. At what point do members cease being LDS? If they go to church only once every few months? If they arenâ€™t obeying the Word of Wisdom? I recently made a home teaching visit to a guy who hadnâ€™t been to church for several years, and showed up at the door in nothing but his Fruit-of-the-Loom underwear. (Incidentally, he asked if weâ€™d give him a backrub, but thatâ€™s a story for another time.) No question this guy is highly inactive, but clearly, heâ€™s still considered LDS. Can we not extend the same courtesy to vegetarians?
I may not be the most active vegetarian, but this is no reason to exclude me from the vegetarian fold.