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Patrick Hukins is a vegan. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that if it is the diet he prefers. Jesus made it pretty clear in Matthew 15:18 that, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth.” In other words, it is not material acts that are the root of sin in a person’s life, but the motives of the heart. But is there more to Patrick’s story?
Hukins lives in Sydney, Australia. One day he went to a Domino’s Pizza store and ordered a vegan pizza – one that does not contain any type of animal product. Domino’s Australia has vegan offerings, with several that look and taste like meat, but which are actually plant-based imitations. When he bit into his pizza, Patrick had a bad feeling that he was eating meat, so he went up to the order desk and inquired about the topping. At that point, he was assured that it was fake meat that was made completely of plant-based ingredients. So, he went ahead and ate it.
Turns out, somebody made a horrible mistake. They actually made and served him a ham pizza. Only after he had eaten it and started to feel sick, was he sure he had eaten ham.
Well, something like that should not happen. If a company advertises a product for a particular clientele, they should certainly deliver it, no matter what the product might be. So Domino’s was definitely in the wrong. And to their credit, they owned up to it, apologized publically to their aggrieved customer, and did what they could to make it right. While he did make the incident public, Hukins expressed his appreciation to Domino’s for taking measures to make sure that nothing like that would happen to him, or others, in the future.
But Domino’s’ mistake, and Hukins’ reaction, is not the real story here. The real story has to do with the reason Mr. Hukins is a vegan. His culinary choice was not simply a matter of him wanting a vegan pizza. Rather, he is a vegan because, according to his own words, “Not eating animals has become a core part of my belief system.” He explained further, “I felt betrayed. I have been vegan for four years, and having eaten an animal against my knowledge or consent has really thrown me off, as I feel my values.” So, Hukins’ objection was not really about food, but about his beliefs. He believes that killing and eating animals is a sin.
As it turns out, Hukins’ religious beliefs center around animal rights. In explaining his beliefs, he said, “I just want to bring it back to what is the important concern here: the welfare of the defenseless animals that have to endure horrendous suffering and horrifying deaths in slaughterhouses.” Explaining further, “Veganism is not about me. Honestly, this whole drama has led me to realize how insignificant and unimportant my discomfort in eating that pizza is, when compared to what it means for the poor pigs who die screaming for their lives in gas chambers.”
Hukins’ beliefs come straight out of Naturalism. He believes that human beings are merely one species of natural animal among many, and every animal should be equally protected. Of course, human beings do have a responsibility before God to be good stewards of his creation, but pigs are not morally equivalent to human beings. And assuming good stewardship practices, God actually gave animals, as well as plants, to man to be used as food.
As was mentioned at the beginning, there is certainly nothing wrong with eating a vegan diet if that is what a person prefers. But when the veganism becomes a matter of religious doctrine, one has moved outside of a biblical worldview and into something entirely different.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
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