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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

An Animal Rescuer more Christ-like than Flesh-Eating Christians -- A Remark on Christspiracy. By Dr. Chapman Chen




Diane Gandee Sorbi, a 62-year-old American animal rights activist interviewed by the directors Kip Anderson and Kameron Waters of the documentary Christspiracy, turned out to be more Christ-like and Buddha-like than most carnist Christians and Buddhists. For facing a potential ten years' prison sentence for rescuing in 2017 three badly injured, gravely ill and dying turkeys from an animal farm in Utah, Sorbi' told her interviewers that she's still adamant that it's worthwhile even for the sake of saving just one single animal life. In contrast, in 2017, Arizona Pastor Steven Anderson preached that vegan diets kill children, and that vegans who persuade others to not eat meat are preaching the devil's doctrine! Similarly, the Dalai Lama, who had repeatedly turned down Kip and Kam's request for an interview, said in the same year that it's alright to have meat of dead animals, just not those slaughtered. IMO, veganism is the ultimate litmus test for Christians and Buddhists, because Christ is love and Buddha is compassion.



In January 2017, Diane Gandee Sorbi, a retiree, together with five other comrades, including Wayne Hsiung, all volunteers with Direct Action Everywhere, entered a farm in Moroni, Utah, filmed the abhorrent situation there, and rescued three turkeys who were clearly suffering from extreme disease and injury and on the brink of death. The farm supplies turkeys to Norbest, a large company that aggressively markets itself to the public as selling “mountain-grown” turkeys who are treated with particularly humane care. In May 2018, Sorbi and the other five were each facing two felony charges that carry possible prison terms of five years each.

 

What the activists found at the farm was something radically different: tens of thousands of turkeys crammed inside filthy industrial barns, virtually on top of one another. The activists say the animals were suffering from diseases, infections, open wounds, and injuries sustained by pecking and trampling one another. Countless chicks and adult turkeys were barely able to stand, or were lying in their own waste, close to death. They also saud that, as a result of the filth in these barns, hepatitis and other viral diseases were rampant and spreading throughout the flock, which in turn caused the farm to put various antibiotics, including penicillin, into the barns’ water supply.

 

Sorbi the vegan activist spent much of her free time volunteering at animal shelters. In the interview, she jokingly called herself an open rescue terrorist while the directors pointed out that she had not harmed anybody. Sadly, Sorbi passed away in 2020 after a surgery.

 

In one of his 2017 youtube videos, Pastor Anderson demonizes vegetarianism and veganism:

 

If you’re gonna say [we should be vegetarian] because God wants us to, that’s a doctrine of devils… so if a vegetarian starts commanding me to abstain from me, that’s when I’m gonna say, “Hey, get thee behind me, Satan.” I’ll tell you what this veganism is: It’s a substitute for biblical morality. It becomes “save the animals” morality. God doesn’t take care of our oxen, friend. He cares about us. We’re made in His image. (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnGPiWCF2rM&t=28s)

 

However, God is love (1 John 4:7 NIV); God loves the world (John 3:16), including ALL His creation (Psalm 145:9); Christ is compassion (Matthew 12:6-7). As argued by Pastor Robert Munro, Mr. Keith Akers, Prof. Andrew Linzey, and Prof. James Tabor in the film, not only was Jesus vegan, but He even died for animal liberation. In driving out from the Holy Temple those vendors who were buying and selling animals for cruel sacrifice (Matthew 21:12), Jesus disrupted the revenue stream of the chief priests and teachers of the law (Mark 11:18), and deeply offended them, resulting in his arrest, trial under Pontius Pilate, and crucifixion.

 

Likewise, while sojourning in Bomdila, the headquarters of West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, in April 2017, and replying to a woman's question as to whether Buddhism, a religion professing peace and compassion, should endorse non-vegetarianism, the Dalai Lama said that Buddhists are neither vegetarian nor non-vegetarian. "It is all right to have meat of dead animals, not those slaughtered or purposefully killed for meat,” he said. (https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/dalai-lama-alright-to-have-meat-of-dead-animals-not-those-slaughtered/story-LfTDgXxkRO8iDyPHClDyVJ.html)

  

I think the Dalai Lama was referring to the three pure meat, i.e., meat that one has not seen, heard, or suspected to be prepared especially for the eater. However, without demand, there will be no supply. In the Liṅga-avatāra Sūtra, Buddha clearly states, "if you do not ask people to kill an animal, if you do not want to eat their flesh, if you do not crave for it, there will be no three pure meat. As the three pure meat does not come out of nowhere, it should not be eaten!"

 

As concluded by the filmmakers, all religions, at their root, value compassion for all beings. Religious systems that uphold eating animals aren’t representative of their own foundational Scriptures or leaders, and believers who kill and eat animals are, consciously or not, missing the point of their own religions.

 

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