What is true justice?
“As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.
—Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer and Nobel laureate (1902–1991)”
I stumbled across this quote recently, and it make me think of Dr. Will Tuttle’s book, “The World Peace Diet”, which I recently finished reading, and would heartily recommend to any vegan or non vegan who might be curious in exploring vegan ideas and principles. Dr. Tuttle speaks to this idea that we as a society, as humanity, have struggled for thousands of years to apply the principles of peace and justice in our world. A countless number of concerted efforts have been made across the centuries, but peace and mercy remain the ever elusive ideals that have yet to be recognized on a comprehensive scale.
As a society, we are likely to try and from solutions that might address the symptoms, rather than addressing the problem at the roots. As a physician might prescribe a medication, instead of proposing a long term lifestyle change, we find ourselves doing little to work at the core of the issue, which is the mindset that violence is a natural and acceptable part of life, particularly in regards to our fellow creatures, whose only crime is their mere existence in a world that sees them as commodities to be exploited for profit or pleasure.
In my ethics class, we’ve begun to study the idea that causing harm to someone who cannot defend themselves against an attack of any sort is morally unacceptable, particularly if we consider ourselves (as Christians) to be members of a faith that teaches kindness, love, and mercy to all. Therefore, there is no justice for the pig, or the cow, or the chicken, if we mutilate their bodies for our purposes, leading to a sickness of the mind that is created when one perpetuates unnecessary violence and bloodshed for its own sake. For further reflection, we must consider the extreme irony of allowing a female dog to give birth, to nurse her young, and to rest comfortably while we tend to her; yet, when a cow gives birth to her calf, we immediately take her child from her, slaughter her brutally, and turn her child into a “delicacy”. We may well have fooled ourselves into believing we are, as Andrew Linzey says, “mini-deities”, who have the power to choose which lives are spared and which are vanquished in the most horrific manner possible. As a believer, it is immensely clear to me that this dichotomy we have created in our minds originates from a land of darkness, an arena of barbarism that has no place in a community that wishes to show kindness, love, peace, and compassion to all creation, as we are explicitly called to do within the holy scriptures. We are but a fallen race, destined to err gravely, but we must learn from our transgressions so as not to repeat our prior mistakes. I would be remiss if I did not urge my brothers and sisters to act upon the ideals of the peaceable kingdom mentioned in the words of Isaiah, to show a love towards the sentient beings God created as our covenant partners on this earth.