Written by Gregg Brekke
The committee charged with considering "A Resolution for Mindful and Faithful Eating" recommended on Sunday morning that General Synod 28 delegates approve the measure when it comes to the floor for a vote this week.
The resolution, submitted by the Southern California-Nevada Conference, evaluates ways in which our dietary choices can have profound implications on the environment, as well as on human well-being and animal welfare. Encouraging Christians to explore and discuss how food choices can accord Chistian values and beliefs, the resolution calls for development and utilization of an education curriculum addressing issues related to food choices.
“Based on the feedback I received from those who participated, I think it went well,” said committee chairperson Keith Scott of the Illinois Conference. “We made it possible for everybody to be heard, put them at ease and made them feel comfortable. The honesty and respect that I stressed at the beginning really came out from them, and I appreciate that.”
Previous GS actions have expressed concern for God’s creation and called for responsible stewardship (“A Perspective on Christian Life Style and Ecology,” 10th GS, 1975; “Integrity of Creation, Justice and Peace Proposed Priority, 17th GS, 1989; “Global Warming,” 22nd GS, 1999; and “A Resolution on Climate Change,” 26th GS, 2007); for the rights of workers (“A Resolution on Worker Justice at Smithfield,” 26th GS, 2007); and for the humane treatment of animals (“Respect for Animals,” 19th GS, 1993).
The resolution points out that dietary choices reflect many of these social, environmental and economic justice issues. Modern intensive farming is a leading cause of land, water and energy consumption; worldwide, animal agriculture contributes more to global warming (18 percent of greenhouse gases) than all forms of transportation combined (14 percent).
The committee considered whether animal and human welfare issues are intricately linked in numerous other ways, such as pollution problems caused by CAFOs, particularly in Iowa and North Carolina; bacterial resistance to antibiotics caused by the routine feeding of antibiotics to animals; “Mad Cow Disease,” bird flu and other human health risks associated with intensive animal agricultural practices; a wide range of medical disorders linked to the typical American diet, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, arthritis and certain cancers; and the negative impact of CAFOs on small family farms.
Because people have a variety of nutritional needs, financial situations and degrees of access to food, the resolution recognizes that a mindful and faithful diet for one person at one location might vary significantly for someone at another location.
Justice and Witness Ministries is requested to implement this resolution.