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2.07.2008 ||> Vegetarianism and Wicca
As you might be able to tell from my side bar, I am Wiccan and listen to Wiccan podcasts. Podcasts are cool, because they're like radio shows about things I'm interested in, rather than some dumb asshole in the morning getting in between me and my music. I specifically like two - Witch in the City and Deo's Shadow. Witch in the City is my favorite though, because I love ranting, she's podcasting from Arizona, and she has a great perspective of city life as a Wiccan.
However, for the last two shows, there has been some diatribe against vegetarianism that I can't stand. Literally, it's like nails scratching the chalkboard of my skull. It develves from "vegetarianism/veganism isn't part of paganism" which I agree with to "meat is part of the circle of life, kumbaya. Yay meat!" The promotion of meat eating is exactly the kind of thing they were railing about vegetarians doing the opposite of and it drives me crazy.
So, I would like to explore some vegetarian myths out there. In fact, ones that were perpetuated by the podcasts.
1. Vegetarians do not want to convert you. No, that one vegan your cousin's college roomate met that one time doesn't count. It's what sociologists call anecdotal evidence. On the whole, vegetarians are too busy making sure that meat wasn't "accidentally" slipped on their plate to even look at what you're eating, much less convert you. On the whole, we do not care about your dietary choices, as we get frustrated when ours aren't respected.
2. Vegetarians do not eat fish. Ok, Serenity did not talk about this, but it begs repeating. Unless someone shows me the plant that fish grow on, it's still meat and I'm still not eating it. Vegetarians that do are not being truthful about being vegetarian.
3. Eating a plant is not the same as eating an animal. There are whole philosophical arguments dating back millenia about this. Buddhists, Hindus and mystics of other faiths and philosophers agree: animals are sentient, plants are not. Killing a sentient being is not the same as killing a being that is not sentient.
And how do we know plants are not sentient? Well, since this is a blog, and I don't have time or inclination to type out all the philosophical evidence for thousands of years, I'm just going to say: because they're not, and I refuse to try proving a negative to satisfy a stupid argument. If you're so interested in proving they are, go for it.
So, basically, saying killing a tomato is the same as killing a calf for veal is not the same. The tomato example is especially infuriating because it's fruit. It's like saying cutting someone's toenails is the same as killing that person. A tomato is not a plant, it's the product of the plant.
4. Eating meat is not part of the "circle of life." The circle of life does not involve a chicken growing up on a factory, having its beak cut off so that it won't poke the birds next to it on it's one foot wide feeding crate, and being forced to reproduce over and over and over again until it is too old, and then electrocuted to death so that someone can pick up chicken wings from Wal-Mart. The circle of life should never include Wal-Mart. Surely, Simba never shopped there.
If you're a hunter and you eat only the meat you kill or fish, then great. You can say that you are part of this circle. Here's a gold star. But if you are buying your food from facories that are interested in profit and productivity over health, safety or even basic compassion, then you are sadly mistaken that you are part of some natural pecking order. What we do to get our food is so far from natural, I don't even have the words.
I'm not calling out this podcast because I don't agree with the majority of views, but there is a call for common sense, and yet when it comes to dietary lifestyles, that seems to go out the door. My refusal to eat meat is not an idictment of other's choice to do so, and yet any omnivore would be amazed at the amount of hostility I receive for just this one change from people who just assume that I am judging them. I really wish those defensive people would get over themselves, and leave my plant eating in peace.
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Candlemas is tomorrow.
In Wicca, we call Candlemas Imbolc. However, I like the name Candlemas, because it really does show off the festival of lights feeling I get from the holiday. The first of the new year, it is the time where spring is almost there. It's the most painful time to me for this reason. I hate winter and the snow and ice that come with it (why again did I leave Arizona?), so I really look forward to the spring kicking winter's ass. During Candlemas, I fill my space and life with light, in the hope that the sunlight will do so shortly.
Of course, now that we have global warming, the sun does come sooner. So I count my blessings.
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The longest night is tonight. Tonight is my holiday, almost forgotten in the debates about other holidays that tangentally affect me too. Will this store be papered in blue and white, or red and green?
Tonight, for me, it will be black. At least, until the Lord comes back and light is restored to those of us praying for an end to cold weather.
Happy Solstice, and a Cool Yule!
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